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Old 24-11-2010, 11:36   #1
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Catalina 445 as Potential Bluewater Boat

I'm a first time poster, but I visit these forums regularly. I'm well-aware of the view that "Catalinas are not bluewater boats". I own and sail a C-30 out of Oriental, N.C. My wife and I are coastal cruisers, but we've also done a very limited amount of offshore sailing (2-3 day passages on several occassions) on other boats, i.e., an IP380, a Catalina 42 and a Caliber 46. We have bareboated in the Caribbean several times and in Greece. I certainly agree with the the general view that most of the Catalina fleet is not bluewater capable. In fact, I don't believe Catalina designed or considers most of its fleet to be bluewater boats. However, virtually every Catalina Morgan 440 and Catalina 470 owner I've spoken with considers those models to be safe, capable bluewater boats. Several experienced delivery captains and owners of other more traditional bluewater boats have told me, based on their experience, that they too consider the 440 and 470 to be bluewater capable.

In 3-5 years my wife and I hope to purchase our "retirement boat". A couple of years after purchase we hope to spend about two years cruising the Caribbean and South Pacific. I realize the Catalina 445 is a model introduced only two years ago, but I'm interested in opinions and ideas about the 445 as a potential bluewater boat. It seems to me that the 445 has great potential as a bluewater boat that would do mostly trade wind cruising. Is there something I'm missing in giving the 445 serious consideration?

Jim Woodall
s/v Kanaloa
Oriental, N.C.
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Old 24-11-2010, 12:17   #2
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The fin keel version would probably make a fine world cruiser. It is not so much the boat as how you use it and take care of it. Folks have walked across the Atlantic on foot pontoons and others have done it in bathtubs, small lifeboats and about every other imaginable vessel that floats.
- - Although not specifically designed as a "blue-water" boat, there are an awful lot of similar cruisers like Beneteau's, Jeanneau's, Hunters, etc., etc. currently and in the past that have circumnavigated just fine. But I wouldn't go for the "shoal draft" version. You want a boat that will track nicely and not constantly roll gunwale to gunwale when going downwind.
- - I would of course specify heavier sales and any "beefing up" when possible. Particular attention to the interior where you want to have every door, locker, hatch and floor access panel to be able to be locked down in place. A lot of that prep can be done yourself after purchase.
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Old 01-08-2011, 14:46   #3
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Re: Catalina 445 as Potential Bluewater Boat

Jim,

I'm glad to see your posting because it shows that I'm not alone. I'm hoping to purchase a boat for cruising and am seriously looking at the 445.

I started looking at used boats that were considered true bluewater boats. Several things are driving me to a new 445.

First, the idea of a new boat, while there are shakedown problems, looks like a better choice for me because I don't want to spend a year or more getting it up to the shape I want. I'll have new electronics, new engine, new sails and other things that will not be worries with a used boat.

The other thing I like about the 445 is the cabin arrangement. The flex cabin makes it great for 3 people who want separate space.

Right now I'm trying to see if I can figure out how to overcome a few problems with the 445. My local broker is going to ask Catalina if they have a way to significantly increase the fuel capacity. It's too damn small for even coastal cruising IMO.

I'm hoping to set off to cruise from California to Panama and then to the Caribbean over a 5 or 6 year period. The 445 comes with a 6-11 fin or 5-0 wing keel. One reply to your initial post was adament about having a fin keel. Here on the Pacific Coast that makes sense. I'd love to get more info on how the 6-11 would impact Caribbean cruising? What about the South Pacific?

If all you care about is pointing, then there is no question that one needs a fin keel. I have other issues that are tending to make me go with a fin keel. One is kelp. With a fin keep it can be dislodged farely easily without diving. I suspect that is not the case on a wing keel. Regardless of the draft, every instructor I've had says that eventually you will run agound. So while a wing keel will help you not run aground, if you do it will be much harder to get off. And I suspect that with a wing keel that one will try to go into shallower waters.

So the only real reason to get a wing keel is to be able to get in a little closer and into some shallow anchorages.

Of course many of the great cruising sailboats have shallower, but longer length keels.

But just as important is the rudder. I would prefer a skeg hung or keel hung rudder for safety, but I know I'm not going to find that in a production boat.

Clearly there are features of the 445 that could be changed to make it a better cruising boat. Most are little like the lack of handholds in the cabin. But on the positive side, it would be a new boat and less chance of having to worry about the engine failing, etc.

All and all, I too like the 445.

My local broker, she and a lady friend, sailed her 470 in the trans-Pac and returned in really bad weather (50 kts for a couple of days). They sailed the whole way. They even got knocked down on their return to California.

That brings me to probably the only real issue that can't be dealt with. What's the limit of positive stability of the 445? My broker is going to find out. While many high-end cruising boats are on the order of 130, I'd be happy with 120. Most production boats do not meet that. But for coastal cruising, which would be my mainstay, 115 would probably do just fine. With no schedule one can hole-up and wait for good weather though that is no guarantee you will not get trapped in a blow.

By the way, I've sailed many Catalinas from the 22 to 42 on San Francisco Bay and ocean. They sail great and would hope the 445 would do as well.

My goal is to try and not get overwhelem by thinking that any one feature is absolutely necessary. Right now, I figure that the 445 with fin keel and added fuel capacity (even if that's jerry cans) will work fine for my cruising plans.

I'm going to sail a Catalina 42 from San Francisco to Cabo this fall. That should be a nice test.

I'd love to talk with you more about what have decided. My email is mlibkind@bsweet.net.

Marcus Libkind
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Old 01-08-2011, 16:26   #4
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Big decision. Why not charter or buy a smaller boat?

A new boat would be nice, but even volume production boats boats are built in limited numbers mostly by hand. While your broker will doubtless be happy to help there would be many items to check.

If you do decide to follow this path I notice that Boat US has a list of recommended surveyors some of whom look to specialize in surveys of new boats.

We're looking at serious boat bucks here, so this is not a decission to be made lightly. Including options I'd expect the figure to be in the $400k range.

Including the usual expenses and depreciation that's going to translate to in the region of $100k p.a. or about $2,000 each week.

As the money is only going to start flowing out when you sign on the dotted line there's a few things that it may be wise to do first.

* Have a very long talk with your wife and make sure she's totally on board. Unless you are planning to sit on this big boat by yourself of course.

* Do a crewed charter. Bring any significant others. Watch how experienced professionals manage a big boat.

* Do a bareboat charter of a big boat.

* Reconsider some of the other boats you've mentioned, and other classic yachts. Times are tough. Some of the producers of classic cruising yachts may be happy to see you.

* Consider secondhand boats. Most of that big depreciation hit would have already gone and a fastidious owner will have taken care of all those niggling warranty issues. For similar money to the Catalina you may get a real stunner.

* Consider a catamaran. Just don't do it on this Forum (Just kidding...).
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Old 01-08-2011, 17:57   #5
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Re: Catalina 445 as Potential Bluewater Boat

Boracay,

Thanks for your insight. You've reinforced many things that I've thought about.

I've done some of the things you suggest. For example, I did a 30-day cruise in the Sea of Cortez on a Hunter 37 last year. That's when I really got hooked on cruising as opposed to day sailing on San Francisco Bay (which can be exciting). Here's my write-up on that trip.

Chronicles of the Sea of Cortez

This past April I also chartered a Jeaneau 43 in the Sea of Cortez and short handed it. We had very poor conditions, but still had a wonderful time. You just have to have the right friends.

I'm also signed up to crew from San Francisco to Cabo this fall on my friends Catalina 42. By the end of that time I should know if owning a boat is really what I want.

Interestingly enough, if I was interested in the 445 that the broker has on hand it would be very reasonable even including the addition of things like life raft, dingy and engine, SSB, etc. But regardless of the total price, I would appreciate a translation for your abbreviation "p.a.".

I also appreciate your words of wisdom about hiring a surveryor for a new boat. I had not thought of that.

Marcus
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Old 01-08-2011, 19:29   #6
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p.a.

Unfortunately, p.a. as in per annum.

My explanation: I'll use a purchase price of $400,000 for simplicity. Real life, of course, will vary greatly.

Depreciation: The biggest hit: 12.5% or $50,000.
Maintenance: Not much on a new boat, but you'll want everything in top notch order. Say $3,000
Insurance: Cruising insurance is not cheap. Say $6,000.
Marinas and slips: New boat, so you'll want something good, say around a grand a month for half the year. $6000
Slipping : Its a new big boat, so you'll be needing the best. Say $5,000 p.a.
Upgrades: Not everything you need for cruising will be on the boat. From your response (dinghy, SSB etc) about $10, 000.
Lost interest or loan: The money you use to buy the boat could have been working its little head off, or it'll need to come from a bank. Cash is king. Say 6.1% p.a. for a cost of $24,400.

I come up with a grand total of $104,400. Does not include tips for the boat boys.

If I apply the same costing to a second hand boat of one third the price the cost comes down in approximate proportion. I note that 9 year old Jeanneaus (4'3-45') coming out of charter have an asking price around the $120,000 mark.

Its what I console myself with as I row out to my hard chine steel rustbucket. It might not be beautiful, but its seaworthy enough for my needs and cheap.

And I don't tip the boat boys.
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Old 15-08-2011, 19:48   #7
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Re: Catalina 445 as Potential Bluewater Boat

Hi, I just took delivery a month ago on a Catalina 445 if anyone has any questions. Someone asked a question about fuel tanks. I ordered the yacht with the optional 18gal tank under the galley sole. This is in addition to the 66 gal standard tank under the starboard rear berth.

Current project is installing a 300 watt mono crystalline flexible solar array on top of a hard dodger. Hope to finish that this weekend!
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Old 12-09-2011, 09:26   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PiMatrix
Hi, I just took delivery a month ago on a Catalina 445 if anyone has any questions. Someone asked a question about fuel tanks. I ordered the yacht with the optional 18gal tank under the galley sole. This is in addition to the 66 gal standard tank under the starboard rear berth.

Current project is installing a 300 watt mono crystalline flexible solar array on top of a hard dodger. Hope to finish that this weekend!
Can you post pictures of the hard dodger? I'm looking at a 445 and I'm trying to make up my mind about the dodger. I haven't seen one or any pictures of one.
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Old 17-11-2011, 23:51   #9
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Re: Catalina 445 as Potential Bluewater Boat

Sorry for the late reply. Here's a picture of the hard dodger that you requested.


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Old 18-11-2011, 00:59   #10
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Re: Catalina 445 as Potential Bluewater Boat

Ive been around the islands some 3or4 yrs ago and noticed there were more boats from the big manafactures(benetoue,caterlina etc)and all of them seemed to have very few problems compaired to some of the older so called cruising vessels.With the modern weather traking systems it is possable to keep away from the big surprizes.Iha catalinas did have a bit of a problem with the rudder shaft(made from grp)i dont no if thay have gone to s/s or carbin
they can be a bit noisey going to wind ward in a blow,flatish for_ foot,I had to slow down going to windward for 2 days in a bene 411, coming of the back of the waes doing 7kts she just slammed to mush so reefed down made 4to5 kts and it was just fine.A hard dodger is worth its weight in gold.
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Old 25-07-2013, 13:29   #11
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Did we ever find the limit of positive stability for the C 445? Does anyone know of a good source for this data for other boats?
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Old 25-07-2013, 13:45   #12
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Re: Catalina 445 as Potential Bluewater Boat

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Originally Posted by Land an View Post
Did we ever find the limit of positive stability for the C 445? Does anyone know of a good source for this data for other boats?
I assume that you are talking about AVS (angle of vanishing stability). To my knowledge, the best (only) way to get that is from the manufacturer. Some older boats are listed Cruising Handbook by Nigel Calder.
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