Catalina Owner Reviews

Serving sailors online since 1997

Review of the Catalina 30 by Ernie Pollock

Year built 1986  
Location of boat Lake Murray, Columbia, SC  
The boat is sailed on Lakes  
How the boat is used Day sailing  
Normal wind strength 10-15 knots  
Average size of crew solo  
Liveaboard? No  
Owner bought the boat in 1986  
If the clock could be turned back, would owner buy again? Yes I would buy this boat again. She is comfortable, reliable and well built. She has been very forgiving for having been used so little since commissioning.  
Gear that's been added I have added a nice stereo system with speakers inside only, a VHF radio and some interior woodwork and updated some of the wiring.  
Structural or complex improvements I have made no major changes to the hull or any other structural assembly.  
The boat's best features The Catalina 30 is roomy and very comfortable. With our family of three, it has been perfect for weekend get-aways. The diesel engine has been very reliable and with maintenance has given us years of good service. I like the wide beam and the stability of my tall rig. She handles smoothly even when I single hand her. I like the interior layout and find it a fun boat to entertain on and spend time on.  
Problem areas in terms of design, materials, maintenance, etc. Because I have taken good care of the boat, nothing has broken. I have replaced some of the rigging because it needed it because of wear or deterioration. The only things that quit and had to be replaced were the bilge pump and the maserator, both easy to replace.  
Sailing characterisitcs While the Catalina 30 is not the fastest boat on the lake, it is one of the most comfortable and stable. Sailing the 30 is easy with all lines run aft. Wheel steering makes lock down quick for manuvering. The 30 does not turn on a dime and needs more than a breath of wind to gain any knot speed but suffices beautifully for cruising. I have found that the spinaker is near impossible to fly without a crew, but that is hardly a problem. She is responsive with about 10-15 knots and feels stable with heavier air.  
Motoring characterisitcs Motoring on an inland lake in South Carolina during the summer is expected. Hot temperatures steal the wind and motoring is expected. The Diesel engine is great and continues to run in spite of me. I have pulled adults and children with a line tied to a tube. The 30 responds well underway and reverse is great as I back into my slip. Motoring is necessary when the wind dies or the long keep end up in the mud as has happened because of fluctuating water levels or unknown shoals. Top speed under power appears to be about 7.5 knots  
Liveability We refer to our Catalina as our floating lakehouse. We keep creature comforts aboard including linens pillows, blankets, fans, television and toiletries. The galley is fully furnished and we have used the gimbled stove and oven to prepare everything from simple meals to a gourmet feast with fine china, silver and candles. We like the size for our lake and while it might be a little small for a couple of live aboard, I feel that I could live aboard easily as a bachelor.  
The owner's experience in dealing with Hunter (if any)  
The owner's experience with the boat dealer or broker, if any The dealer, Valk Sailboats, has been out of business for years. Buying the boat was less thanthe perfect experience. While I got everything I wanted, having her rigged and commissioned, I had to exert some pressure to have things placed like I wanted them. The worst part of th experience was after she was launched the shaft came loose from the engine, came through the hull and the boat nearly sank. The seizing wire and screws were incorrectly installed on the shaft. Valk took full responsibility and the boat was put back in tip top shape. It has been smooth sailing since.  
Other comments considering the size, comfort, reliability endurance and detailing, the Catalina 30 is a great boat for what I paid for it new in 1986. The re-sale value could be a bit higher considering the cost of new Catalina 30's but that is another issue. We have found the Catalina 30 to be a super boat for our family.  

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