Originally Posted by thomm225
Can someone give me some accurate information on the Catalina 30?
As others have stated, the Catalina 30 had the longest production run of any sailboat. It was entered into the sailing hall of fame in 2001. IMHO, it is one of the best all-around boats ever designed and built because it is a cost point that let a lot of people get into sailing that otherwise would have been priced out of the market.
It was built in 3 models, named Mark I (1974 to 1986), Mark II (1986 to 1993) and the Mark III (1994 to 1997). (These years will become important to answering one of your questions below) A new design, the Mark IV was supposed to be put on the market in 1997 but instead it was put on the market in 1998 as the C310. Some didn't like the non-traditional layout of the C310. Later the C309 was put on the market to get back to the traditional layout of the C30.
As others have said, it's a great coastal cruiser (although there are many different definitions of coastal cruising). But many people have pushed this. Here is a blog
for a guy who sailed his to New Zealand
from the west coast
. We plan to sail our C310 down to the Caribbean
You will not find a boat with a better support group. There are Catalina owners associations in just about every major port. An International Catalina 30 Owners Association
. And an extremely helpful forum at Catalinaowners.com
. Oh, and a source for factory direct replacement parts
from Catalina Direct
I've heard that it has weak chainplates, that there is a problem that causes the keel to drop somewhat. (Catalina Smile) and that they are not strong enough for serious cruising.
I have never really heard of a specific Catalina chainplate issue. But the older C30s are nearing 40 years old. If you don't have a good regular maintenance
program, you will have issues with any chainplates. This would likely include new chainplates in just about any boat but the time you get to 20-40 years old.
The Catalina Smile is the result of using wood
for a keel stub that was encapsulated in fiberglass
. The keel bolts
then pass through the wooden stub. Over time the bolts loosen and small amounts of water
are allowed in to the wood
. As a result the wood rots and the keel starts to sink. Hence the Catalina Smile. Hey, they were part of the pioneer group of fiberglass
builders and you learn things along the way. By the Mark II's they realized this mistake and fixed it.
There are two other known problems with early C30s: the mast compression
post block and the "trailer hitch" wiring
. The mast compression
post block is similar to keel stub issue. Here is the basics of the fix
. The "trailer hitch" wiring
issue was just using a cheap
part to save money
that ended up not being a good decision. Here is a good write up of the fix
for that. I believe both of these were fixed by 1989 to 1990.
And yet I've also heard that they've sailed everywhere, that it's a 10,000 lb 30' boat, and that there have been almost 6500 of them built! Something is not adding up.
There is a lot of production boat bashing that happens. Sure, we would all love to have an expensive, custom built boat. But most of us can't afford a boat like that and would be left at the dock
if only custom boats were available. There are certainly some corners cut in production boats. Some aren't that big of a deal, others can be major problems.
I'll be looking at a 1987 model btw.
So an 1987 model would be an Mark II. That means it wouldn't have the Catalina Smile issue but could have the mast compression post block and wire harness issues. Those are two things to look at along with the general condition of the boat.
Remember that there will always be air-chair or dock-queen sailors telling you a boat can't do something or that something is wrong with a particular model. Ultimately it is up to you to decide what your boat and, more importantly, you are capable of doing. Generally the boats are far more capable than the sailors and if the sailor is that capable the condition of the boat is more important than the make and model of the boat.
Good luck and fair winds,