Barra hit it. The older Catana are Crowther, the newer are Barreau. They're really rather different boats. There is the lightness thing, but the biggie for me is the layout.
What I like:
--Heads are aft, and are much roomier. Engine
access is via the head
. I can't imagine what a PITA it would be to have to climb down into the engine
room through the hatch
in a sea, and of course your engine wouldn't break down in nice weather
being more closed off, especially as the helmsman. I like also the way the transoms are done with the bolt-on steps and the big lower step - easy boarding from the dink and the external steps make for more space in the engine room.
--The main cabin
layout - the galley
faces the aft cabin
bulkhead and the salon
takes the rest of the space. Reefer top is nav table space if you like.
--The running rigging
is all cabin-top/external, nothing run through tunnels in the deck
. Simply done, and the horizontal winches are good as you can stand and grind.
Mine has been a very liveable boat so far, and I'm well pleased with her. The only thing I'm wishing for is slightly wider bunk but I'm going to fix that.
Be advised, it's likely with the older boat you'll have to fix/replace things. That's OK with me, I get what I want.
Good luck with whatever you choose
Oh, btw, have you seen the 39S in France
? She has tiller steering
, which I'd be all over that. If this boat hadn't been too far away for me, I'd have given her a serious look. You're in the UK, right?