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Old 09-13-2007, 04:26 AM   #1
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A friend has asked me if I know anything about Catalina yachts. I don't! He is considering buying a MK11, 34' 2001 model which has never been chartered and has just 580 hours on the engine (Universal M35..?). He describes the boat as in 'new' condition. It is fitted for coastal cruising and would need at least an improved electronics set up for extended cruising. The boat has a deep keel, wheel steering and has been owned by the same person since new.

Is the Catalina 34mk11 a good boat?

Is it capable of ocean passages?

Is it of similar/poorer/better quality than a small Benny Oceanis?

Does anyone know if the Catalinas have any bad habits?

Finally, is the Catalina MK11 36 the same as the 34 with just added size, or is it a different yacht altogether?

(I ask that because there is a Cat MK11 36' in my marina)

Cheers

David.
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Old 09-13-2007, 05:33 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
Finally, is the Catalina MK11 36 the same as the 34 with just added size, or is it a different yacht altogether?

(I ask that because there is a Cat MK11 36' in my marina)

Cheers

David.
Hello David,

No specific knowledge of either model - but there are plenty of Catalinas around, bound to get some 1st hand experience.

Here's the spec. for the 34 :-

C34II_WSpecP.jpg

And here's a picture of the Cat 36's walkthrough transom - which I guess is OK for reverse berthing in some marinas (especially in the Med) Not so sure ideal for off-shore cruising ??

Cat_36_Mkii_transom.jpg
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Old 09-13-2007, 07:30 AM   #3
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Thanks Richard, I picked up quite a bit from the 'net, but was hoping to hear a few first hand reports. The Catalina website is very helpful but a bit short on cruising testimonials. The 34' looks as though it should be a fair offshore boat. Whether it is up there with the S&S, or Sadler 34's is hard to say. My mate wants to buy something like the Sadler or S&S, but wants a modern boat (not negotiable before 2000) which hasn't been bashed away from every coastline on the planet.

The Catalina seems to be reasonably well regarded as a coastal sailer...and it appear a good one from this century will set him back approx. AU$130K, which is good if it can be cruised across oceans with reasonable confidence.

Cheers

David.
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:38 AM   #4
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I really hate to diss a boat. I done a bit of sailing on a catalina 34, not sure if it was a MkII or not, so take these comments with a grain of salt.

Is the Catalina 34mk11 a good boat?

No.

Is it capable of ocean passages?

An empty sardine tin will make an ocean crossing. However the Catalina 34 isn't the boat I'd pick for one. They are short, fat, and have a flimsy feel to them. On the up side they have quality leather upholstery. I'm not sure if quality leather upholstery is what your friend is looking for, but if it is then the Catalina 34 is probably the right boat for him.

I can't compare it to a small Benny oceanis, the only ones I've sailed are the 40s and 44s. I have my doubts about them in an ocean crossing too.

Does anyone know if the Catalinas have any bad habits?

The one I sailed in tended to stern-kick off a trailing sea. On the way down a wave the stern would slide forwards, trying to overtake the bow. In a short sea that meant it was a little uncomfortable to helm, but probably nothing that a good autopilot couldn't cope with. On a big sea I'd worry about it broaching. I think that's due to the aft shape of the boat, very wide and flat.

Don't know anything about the relationship between the 34 and the 36, sorry.

I'm sure there are bigger and better and more seaworthy boats that your friend can get for his hundred grand plus. The Catalina 34 is great for harbour cruising, twilight racing, or having parties with champagne and cocktails on while tied to the mooring, but I wouldn't take one out of the heads. Still, mad dogs and englishmen, they do say that.

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Old 09-13-2007, 02:47 PM   #5
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A friend bought a Catalina 42 on which I sailed occasionally in coastal waters. Before he went very far with it, he had to upgrade things like the factory-installed windlass, alternator, and other systems that he didn't think hefty enough for more than coastal work. I remember him writing from Luperon about water gushing in through the shaft, which had fallen out for the second time--but at least he knew how to fix whatever went wrong. (The shaft issue may have had nothing to do with the make of boat...certainly shaft seals need maintenance and perhaps his hadn't gotten it. I don't know, but his story of having to hold back the flood while he reinserted the shaft was hilarious--after the fact.) This friend was the sort who was only willing to sail 4-5 hours max before dropping the hook and taking refreshment, so he rarely let me sail if we had to go to weather--tacking took too long. Good thing his engine worked.

Now that I have had more experience with blue water boats, I think if I were your friend I'd hold off until I could find a good S&S design built for ocean crossing--if that's what he wants. There certainly are other fine ocean-capable boats out there. Here in SF Bay, there's a lovely Hans Christian 38 that's already equipped with windvane and other goodies selling for $100,000. Of course, the HC isn't going to go to weather as well as the S&S or the Catalina, and it has a lot of teak, but it's a very pretty boat!
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Old 09-14-2007, 05:16 PM   #6
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Hi David

I would agree with the rest of the folks that you should probably look for a bit more robust vessel for offshore travels. My sister has a Cat34 and they are headed to Ecuador from California this fall. I have done a fair bit of work on it and it really is designed for coastal cruising. My sis and her husband have a circumnavigation already in an old woody so the expertise factor is very high. This trip they are making is almost all coastal except for a few days passage on the final jump to Ecuador. My brother had a Cat27 many years ago that I raced coastal races on

A friend Patrick Childress sailed a Cat27 around the world. I met him in Samoa in the lat 70's. So it can be done.

I think the Catalina line is all from the same design board except for the Cat38 and if my memory serves me is from SS.

Depending on where you are headed but if offshore passages are in the plans I would think you could find a better offshore capable vessel for the money.

Good Luck

Chuck

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www.jacarandajourney.com
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