Worst boat would definitely be my 2007 Catalina
309, bought new. That boat suffered from numerous factory defects, like bad gelcoat
and a furling
main that barely worked, and a dealer that screwed up everything they touched.
Just one of the many problems was a rudder
tube that was crooked. I didn't become aware of it until the warranty was over. The tube was so far off that Catalina
had modified the bearings to cobble it up, but it only masked the problem. Also, the bearings are normally held in with screws that go through the rudder
tube, and just PARTIALLY into the Marelon bearings to hold them in place. Some nitwit at Catalina had screwed them all the way through the bearings, and they were scoring the rudder shaft. The whole cobbled up affair lasted longer than it should have, but after five seasons it inevitably failed, resulting in the wheel
being very difficult to turn.
Because the rudder post was so far off, simply replacing the bearings with a new set of overpriced bearings was not possible.
I talked to Catalina repeatedly, and sent them high resolution photos. I'm a former pro photographer, so the photos were razor sharp, well lit, and numerous. On the phone
with the guy in charge in their Florida
plant as he looked at the photos, I remember him saying he didn't know what he was looking at. It's the bearing you guys ground down to try to make it work, you fool! I could not get him to comprehend that the rudder post didn't even come close to lining up with the hole and plate in the cockpit
sole. Probably because he didn't want to understand it.
I became an expert on the rudder system, tore it apart and fixed it myself, lost
much of a sailing season, and got rid of that stupid boat.
Just one of the dealer's screwups was to insist that they apply the bottom paint
. I explained that I know how to deal with the mold
wax and prep the bottom, but they insisted on doing it. I finally relented and overpaid for the job. Well, most of the bottom paint
failed after six months in fresh water
. Bubbled up and came off. I showed it to the dealer, who said "that's normal", and refused to do anything about it. Next spring, I stripped it all off (fun, huh?), removed the mold
wax, sanded, and applied new bottom paint
. No problems with the bottom paint
after that. Nice dealer network you have there, Catalina.
The list of problems with that boat went on and on. If I listed them all you'd fall asleep, and if you stayed awake, you probably wouldn't believe me.
Two years ago, I bought a 1996 Catalina 28. Nice boat.
Thanks for nothing, Catalina, on that 309.