Catalina Owner Reviews

Serving sailors online since 1997

Review of the Catalina 30 by Chris OBrien

Year built 1981  
Location of boat United States  
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 solo  
Liveaboard? No  
Owner bought the boat in 2005  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? Yes-It is a great starter "Big" boat and has proven an excellent learning ground for sailing and boats overall. Was in fair/poor shape when bought and have upgraded/refurbed to be a very nice cruiser since. Sails amazingly well for a "winnebago with sails"-have taken her out in 30+ knot wind single handed on the Chesapeake and does fine. I have the old Shoal draft pseudo-scheel keel and find the boat points quite well, handles well and sails very nicely. For where we sail, much preferable to a fin and doesn't have the same grounding challenges inherent to a wing keel. I have the original Universal 5411 11hp diesel and am very happy with it. It is simple, reliable, and gets the boat to 5-6 knots in still water and has enough punch to handle 3-5 foot chop in the Bay/3+ knot current in C/D canal and Deleware River. Parts are readily available online. If I were to do it over, I'd either get a newer version of this boat or a new C28 or a C27 rigged for heavy sailing. My next step -I may go to a C34 or C36 but very happy with the C30 and always seem to find a reason not to part with it once in the boat.  
Gear that's been added see below  
Structural or complex improvements Many upgrades: Stern Perch seats from Zarcor-single best purchase ever- Bimini -second best purchase (one mistake-I did not get a "window" to see main-so have to duck around to see top of sail) Garmin Chart Plotter (2010) and filled in the knotmeter hole as was leaking. New exhaust hose/professionally rebuilt aqualift muffler (courtesy catalina direct)-2012 New exhaust manifold and riser with hump hose joint (2013) New Oberdorfer water pump (2005-rebuilt 2013) Racor Fuel filter and Raw Water filter (2005) Oil Pan hose to easily change oil (2005) New septic hose (old one had bubbles) 2005 New standing rigging and lifelines (2010) New 135% genoa and main (2014) New CD Flexible Furler Roller Furler 2014 (replaced original CDO aluminum track FR bent in storm 2013) New alcohol tank for pressurized EtOH oven (2006) New Chefmate non-pressurized Etoh stove 2012 (Origo knock-off) installed in place of pressurized Etoh stove burners (no flare ups-works great!) New batteries 2014(2) New toilet 2013 New faucets and drains in galley and head 2012 Backing plates installed on stanchions and stanchions rebedded Windows rebedded/grouted Entire interior varnished 2010-2012 Formica refinished to white 2012 (looks great-has held up well) Ice box/freezer insulated 2010 Spruce spreaders replaced with aluminum spreaders (2010) All original interior light fixtures replaced 2009. VHF antenna and masthead sheaves replaced 2010 120V GFI outlets retro fitted 2011 flatscreen TV/DVD (2012) Paper Charts laminated to Saloon table and Chart table-covered by Lexan (2012) BlueSea control panel added by PO-substantial improvement from original Catalina panel. Pedestal VHF unit added by PO Cruisair portable A/C and bug screens added by PO (most useful in the Bay) Aft and galley fans added (by PO) New cabin upholstery (by PO)  
The boat's best features Sails well and shoal draft (nonwing) keel allows good access to upper Bay great interior layout with generous headroom simple rig/easy single handed boat even in heavy weather  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. This was a salt water boat for a while-replaced standing rigging and lifelines when a lifeline snapped when I stepped on it I have a 1981 boat that was somewhat neglected so knew I'd be upgrading/maintaining. That being said, I have sailed every year and gradually replaced/fixed, etc. It has been an outstanding learning experience and if something not quite right on first go, no worries, it's an old boat!  
Sailing characterisitcs Great boat for moderate and heavy air. Have single handed in 30+ knot winds without concern. In light air, will ghost along but not quite as fast as lighter boats-however, sails remarkably well- turns quickly/points well and backs up in a relatively predictable manner  
Motoring characterisitcs Motoring goes about 5.5-6 knots with 11hp Universal 5411 diesel. For my purpose on Chesapeake and Delaware River, this is more than adequate-even for long haul motor cruising. I installed secondary Racor fuel filter and raw water filter. These have worked well. The old 5411 raw water system freaks people out as the thermistor does not yield a constant exhaust water outflow that people are often used to (instead intermittent water flush with a small trickle and mist in between). Keep an eye on the engine temp should hold at 140-155 degrees. If not, check to see if manifolds have clogged or engine needs to be flushed.  
Liveability Great space-easily able to stay on boat 3-5 days+  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any) Not with Catalina, but have used Catalina Direct and for most purchases. Have always had good result with Catalina Direct (they were particularly good rebuilding our lift muffler for fair price/nice work) Bimini from BoatOwners was an excellent add-they were great to deal with.  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any Bought through a broker-G Winters in Riverside. Have stored boat there in past and liked the marina (very well protected) but a bit expensive and no finger piers made boarding an adventure for some. Never had a problem with yard or marina and did a lot of DIY with no complaints.  
Other comments Great boats. I continue to waffle between our vintage and those with an open transom. As I get older, the ability to walk on does have appeal...  

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