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Old 17-06-2009, 09:15   #1
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Catalina 320 and 387 - Thoughts?

Being fairly new to sailing but also having been bit by the cruising bug my head is in shambles it seems trying to decide what boat to go with..

I currently own a pearson 26 that I'll be selling as soon as I buy the bigger, sea worthy, boat. While sailing on the lake here in dallas I've become enamoured with a few Catalina 320's & 387's that are around. I can't, however, say that I've really been on that many different boats so I havn't a clue what I'm comparing.

What are your thoughts about taking a catalina 320 or 387 bluewater?

My plans will be to leave the texas coast to coastal sail for a few years then beyond.
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Old 17-06-2009, 12:04   #2
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don't know much about the 32, but I have seen a few 38's; they seem very capable vessels.
In terms of finding what you are looking for;
Decide what features are important to you and narrow down the field.
a number of " bluewater " boats will not have all of these things, but some will, and in the process you will be able to determine waht makes a bluewater vesssel for you.
As a start, this is what I was looking for;
Centre cockpit
ketch rigged
fin keeled, skeg hung rudder
speedy enough
wheel steering - cable not hydraulic
at least one GOOD seaberth
single heads
Perkins diesel
comfortable cockpit seating
large nav table
there was some other stuff that I forget but those were the main things
hope this helps
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Old 17-06-2009, 13:21   #3
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Originally Posted by Dallas_Chris View Post
What are your thoughts about taking a catalina 320 or 387 bluewater?

No doubt, there are lots of Catalinas sailing around all over the place... You may want to also narrow it down to the age of the (whichever) boat - it is entirely possible that they were built better/worse certain years.

Have fun!

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Old 17-06-2009, 13:25   #4
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Pearson 26? Is it an Ariel?
International Man of Leisure
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Old 17-06-2009, 16:39   #5
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No, It's a Pearson 26 One Design. Pretty sweet boat, built like a tank. Just no where near big enough for me to take on the seas. Wouldn't have enough tankage or space down below.

The Catalinas I'm looking at are 1995 or newer. I just wasn't sure because I rarley see them in the talk & forums along side other boats that people are talking about for cruising.
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Old 17-06-2009, 16:46   #6
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I wouldn't consider the 320 a bluewater boat. It's capsize ratio is 2.06 (max for blue water is 2). It also is what I would call a "big ass" boat, waterline length to beam of 2.39, very beamy for it's length and the beam is carried way back. Potentially not the best in a following sea. The 320 and 350 are almost more like dock queens, IMHO.

I would consider a 34 or 36, especially a Mark I 36 which has a capsize ratio of 1.97. The 387 is a different ball game at 1.83 and way more money. Bear in mind these are just production boats with all that entails, though a family of 4 have sailed a 36 from Alaska to New Zealand and are currently in the south seas. Their last passage was anything but a coconut run, more of an ass kicking. They and their boat came through fine.
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Old 17-06-2009, 17:12   #7
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I've been reading the various posts regarding choices of boats for both coastal and blue water cruising. My wife and I struggled with the same types of choices, and please accept my apologies in advance if I enter into controversial territory. And as a disclaimer.... I'm still relatively new to this cruising thing....

First, I'm a fan in general of Catalinas. They're a popular boat, and as such, resale is generally a plus for them. For coastal cruising, weekend getaways, and vacations, I think they are well suited. If we were not planning to cross oceans, a 38 or 40 would be on our short list. We currently have a Tayana 37, and we enjoy it's sea motion, heftiness, and overall security. But for coastal cruising, the trade-off is light air performance and room below for guests.

We've all heard stories about Catalinas, Hunters, and others crossing oceans. Without entering a debate about quality... for a blue water cruiser, several other factors may need to be considered. Capsize ratio was already covered. For us, several factors that we had to consider were: storage capacity (not only for food, but also for all the spare parts and supplies), tankage (fuel and water), sea-berths, cockpit design and drainage, decent nav station, and a layout below that allows one to navigate safely fore and aft in heavy seas. As well as a galley designed to be used at sea.

Boats can be modified and reinforced for strength for the constant 'working that the boat will get offshore, but alot of the other features seem to be designed for the most intended use of the boat. Yes, I know there are exceptions.

So, if it were me (and I know you aren't), I'd definatly consider the Catalina as a good coastal cruiser. As I learned more about my needs, wants, and planning cruising grounds.... I'd look at several boats that may be better suited. I'm not sure that I'd consider the (stock) Catalina a true bluewater cruising boat... but it's been said before that many have crossed oceans.

Just my opinion....
Steve Abel
SV Victoria Rose, Tayana 37
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Old 19-06-2009, 12:05   #8
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Hi Chris

I have spent the past 2 winters cruising in the Bahamas in a 2004 Catalina 387. We have set up our boat for comfortable living aboard and I can share with you what we found works for us.

I am just in the process of purchasing a larger boat so my Catalina 387 may be coming up for sale. Contact me off the list so we can talk.

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Old 19-06-2009, 14:43   #9
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Please email me.. I'm interested, what you did, would do differently, ect ect.

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catalina, catalina 320

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