Catalina Owner Reviews

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Review of the Catalina 350 by TN

Year built 2004  
Location of boat Puget Sound  
The boat is sailed on Bays, sounds, or protected salt water  
How the boat is used Weekends and longer  
Normal wind strength 10-15 knots  
Average size of crew 2-4  
Liveaboard? No  
Owner bought the boat in 2008  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? Yes. We have been extremely pleased with our Catalina 350. My view may be biased as we came from a 27-foot Hunter. It is like a palace compared to the 27 footer.  
Gear that's been added No, the boat came fairly well equipped. The only thing it really needs is autopilot, which we plan to install this spring.  
Structural or complex improvements No.  
The boat's best features I originally withdrew my offer on this boat because it was advertised as having a standard main, but we learned it had a roller furling mainsail. The salesman persuaded me to give it a try and I must say I would never go back to the standard main. The roller furling main looks like a limp handkerchief, but the manageability of the roller furling sail is so great that it compensates entirely for any performance or aesthetic loss.  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. The ladder into the cabin is not designed to swing up and away to allow for access to the engine compartment - you have to unpin it and carry it away, and it is not light. Then, you have to remove the front part of the engine compartment, and manually insert a rubber doorstop to hold the lid up. Rather cumbersome overall. It would be very challenging to have an engine issue underway with this setup. I much prefer the single-unit molded steps used by other manufacturers. The lazarette doors are poorly designed, and the hinges poorly fastened. We'll eventually need to re-engineer the hinges. Otherwise, very happy with the well-thought out design.  
Sailing characterisitcs Has an easy motion, very little weather helm (compared to my previous boat), great fun in the high teens. We've seen 7.5 true knots on some days.  
Motoring characterisitcs Motors fine, does not seem to have significant prop walk in reverse.  
Liveability The cockpit is huge and accommodates as many friends as we want to bring along. The interior is massive - the high ceiling and huge amount of interior light never fails to impress. The kitchen is extremely usable (double-bin sink!). The wood interior makes it an inviting place to be. The shower, which I originally poo-poo'd as a gimmick designed to sell boats to wives at boat shows is actually very nice. When we cruise we usually use the aft cabin as a garage, so the interior is not overwhelmed with gear.  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any)  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any  
Other comments One of the main reasons we bought a Catalina is that all the systems, in general, are very accessible - more so than in some competing brands. And, the styling wears well with the years where other production boats tend to have styling that becomes dated quickly. However, it is just a great all around boat to own if most of your sailing is evenings and weekend days with friends, weekends, and an occasional two week cruise. I'm looking forward to a day when we can go out for a month!  

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