I have a 75 Catalina which I thoroughly enjoy. I learned to sail and used a Tanzer 26 the most in my life. The early Catalinas suffered some problems because frankly the Catalina company didn't know what it was doing.
When Catalina first came out with their boats, almost all purchasers were Californians. Sailing in California
is kind of like sailing on lake Michigan, there aren't that many places to go and hence most sailing was day sailing
, even in 27's. So a guy and his guests would jump on the boat, go out and sail and drink, come back to the dock
at night, perform the military 4 S's while at the dock
, then go out the next day and repeat. There are only a few islands that are accessible to the California
the clock forward and folks from the Pacific North West started buying
the boats with the intentions of sailing them for a weekend, long weekend, or weeks at a time: sailing conditions conducive to the Pacific North West (and coastal BC). When they brought the boats up, the North West sailors started whining about a decent anchor locker
, whined about a lovely sized head
but no shower
in it, drawers that were to small to hold dishes, etc. It was this crowd that changed the boat over to a full time cruiser perfect for our North West Waters.
So the Catalina 27 has evolved over time. At our Vancouver boat show
last week I saw the new Catalina 28 foot boat and it knocked my socks off, they've really utilized the room, the best I have ever seen on a Catalina in that size area.
The Catalina's have some issues that Mike has addressed, but there are fixes for most of them. The hatch
does lean forward so make sure your used boat
has a dodger
, if not, plan on buying
one. The hatch will also leak, so purchase
a canvass cover for the hatch - they go for about $35 or so. Walking forward on the Catalina is a bit tight as Mike mentioned, but if you replace two stanchions on either side with ones that angle out 5 or 10 percent (available from Catalina Direct - a separate company from Catalina), you will have more room.
The Catalina because it is heavier than the Tanzer won't sail as well in lighter winds, but be a bit more stable in a heavier blow. The Tanzer was originally built for the great lakes
, then latter brought out to the coast; I sailed on one of the early Tanzers to come out here. I sailed the Tanzer for about 5 years.
Because the Catalina has been built for so long, its kind of a "Lego" boat, there's so much to support it, including Catalina only forums
. The boats have been incredibly modified by many and if you have a problem and post it in a Catalina forum (I notice a number of members here also haunt another forum in which Catalina owner's heavily predominate, I notice Mike is a member
there as I am).
I would recommend the Catalina to you and if you can impose heavy discipline it can be your life time boat if you want; this means you can - over time - through a lot of money
into it and bring it up to specs to suit contemporary cruising. One of the most common complaints you will hear from snobs is that it is a "production boat;" by response is to say "so is my BMW, but I like it a lot." The finish in the Catalina isn't up to snuff of higher end boats, like the Hunter
however the Catalina will get you out on the water
, get a smile on your face, reduce your stress, and meet new friends who also own Catalinas. The editor of "Pacific Yachting" a major magazine in the Pacific North West, published out of Vancouver
, recently bought a wooden power boat
. He woke up to the realities of owning a wooden boat and sold
it; in its place he purchased an older 27 foot Catalina.
Another strong advantage of the Catalina is that it is still a production boat, unlike the Tanzer or any other brands with ceased production. This means you can still order items directly from Catalina. For example, I priced out reupholstering here in Vancouver and it turns out I can get new cushions
with new covers cheaper than I can get my cushions
recovered for here. Catalina will ship up the cushions in one of their new boats destined for Vancouver and save me the shipping
Below are links you might like to check out for the Catalina 27 foot sailboat: