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Old 24-12-2011, 03:03   #1
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Catana Experience

When you order a goose for Christmas, would you like to receive a goat instead? And for Easter into the bargain? Or for Lent? And a sick goat? And with the seller not caring where you should look for medicine?

If your answer is no, then perhaps you should be acquainted with some experiences of ordering a Catana boat, which by no means calls for envy.

The following stories were told by my childhood friends and some of their colleagues, who all had ordered boats from Catana. All of them were inclined to use four- and-more letter words to describe their ventures. In catalogues everything looked perfect, though the reality proved to be quite different….

The first one to order a big Catana custom boat was a courageous South African, who, after possessing an old Catana 58, ordered a record huge catamaran for the shipyard of 90 feet. It was named “Orion”.

To cut a long story short, after all the pain he had got through with the Catana, he decided he was sick and tired and fed up with the Catana management and owners. So he closed that page, forgot about sails and switched to motor yachting.

And now comes the story of semi-custom series of 65 foot catamarans.

The first hull was ordered by a Greek. His boat delivery was delayed by about 10 months, although he was a passionate racer who hated to miss the season. After the first visit to the shipyard for services and other repairs, he discovered the boat was overweight.

He was disappointed with the repairs and decided not to show up there anymore and to have all further repairs and refitting at another shipbuilding facility at Canet en Roussillion.

A contract to supply the second Catana hull was signed in early 2007 for delivery in March of 2008. However, this boat was commissioned with a six months delay in August 2008 exactly at the end of the Med season!

And this was just the first surprise. Contract specifications provide for the maximum weight of 27 metric tons. But the Catana delivered had an actual weight of between 33 and 34 tonnes! Should anything else be said about the meaning of the difference for sailing?

The boat manufacturers did not even bother to provide the actual data. The truth was discovered only after the first after sales services were performed in October 2008, when the boat was taken out of the water to renew the antifouling layers. Those were so badly applied that they started to fall out after the first months at sea.

Surprises did not stop there. It turned out that one daggerboard was 30 cm shorter than the other (probably taken from the 50’s series). Do you think it is nice to sail with two different daggerboards?

During the first sail in the Mediterranean, it was also discovered that the teak cover leaked.

The manufacturers’ repeated promises to provide the MCA certification have never materialized though its costs of around 18.000 € were paid and never refunded.

After the first months of Mediterranean sailing, Catana put the boat for services to a remote place in the marina at its services outlet at Port Pin Rolland near Toulon. They kept it there for weeks, showing little attention.

After some time of insistent discussions with Catana, the boat was finally transferred to the first marina row and raised ashore. It then turned out that really all the antifouling layer had to be renewed - this took another two weeks.

After the work was finished the boat was put in the water again. Too soon this time, as the paint had yet to dry!

The results did not have to wait long. During the crossing of the Atlantic in November and December the antifouling paint started peeling in many places.

The crossing itself went smoothly until after anchoring in Barbados it was discovered that the anchor winch went out of order. This resulted in extra expenses at Barbados and later in Martinique, where it turned out that the windows leaked and sea water also destroyed one of the onboard computers, a lot of other electronics and electric appliances, including the anchor winch.

There were also other problems, but a Catana representative at Le Marine refused to provide assistance, saying he and his colleagues were busy with their own fleet and suggested the boat owners should look for help elsewhere.

All this happned was while the boats’ guarantee period had not expired and the manufacturer was responsible for the damages and consequently repairs. No compensation was ever received, although nearly a month was spent for repairs and fixing the windows.

Not much is known about hull Nr. 3. It went to remote places though rumor has it that owners had problems with the Catana management. The delivery was delayed quite a bit as well.

The fourth hull was ordered by a Swiss banker, who apparently fell into the financial crisis turmoil and was unable to continue building his boat. The hull was taken over by some Russian or Ukrainian in August of 2011.

They came back to Canet in October with broken computers and electric appliances. The boat took water during a transfer to Canet due to heavy rains as the deck fixing and windows were not water tight. Because of this and other problems this hull is spending the winter at the shipyard instead of going to the Caribbean.

Little is known about the fifth hull, but it is unlikely it differed much from others in the series.

The sixth hull was never built as the builders failed to find clients. Probably because the sailing society was becoming aware of little Catana “secrets”.

The seventh hull was delivered in June 2011 instead of November 2010!

Luckily, this time an independent surveyor was hired, who helped to overcome some problems in the process of construction. But not all of them. The main sail turned out to be dirty and wrinkled and with some construction defects.

It took a lot of persuasion from the skipper and the surveyor to get the sail repaired. But dirty spots remained. So when helmsmen look at the main sheet, they always say something “nice” about Catana …

It was also discovered that the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) was not new! The shipyard had just installed a used EPIRB without even servicing it or changing the data.

After this the boat spent 2 months at a shipyard for after sale services with the water line lower than it should have been and with antifouling pealing in places where it was supposed to be repaired.

The owners were tricked into paying for the lifting of the boat out and then putting it in the water again, while this should have been taken care of by the yard. The boat was returned with a fuel measurement system suggested by Catana, proved to be not operational, the spreaders lights not functioning, two big batteries missing. Other defaults have also been discovered.

No wonder that no more hulls of the series have been ordered …yet…

Now the new model of 59 footer is being advertised. It would be extremely interesting to learn who will be those new brave Catana purchasers. Probably we have missed a story of a happy Catana customer, or leopards do change their spots?

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Old 24-12-2011, 03:15   #2
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Well said
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Old 24-12-2011, 05:45   #3
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Re: Catana Experience

I'm willing to bet that there is at least one happy Catana customer out there.

Or they would never have sold the second one.
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Old 24-12-2011, 06:12   #4
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Re: Catana Experience

For that sort of price and with a semi-custom / low volume build would be sensible (if not essential) to hire own Surveyor to supervise the build and to sign off (or not) on the finished boat (someone with PII cover would be nice!).......unless it is a case that if the boat is no good when built the yard simply don't get the cheque!........but I suspect at least stage payments are involved, (on that note, these do not have to be simply on the say so / request of the yard.......depends on the contract signed....a Lawyer specialising in Boats and building of would be a good idea, if only to let the Yard know you will be a customer to stay on the right side of - they can juggle / short change someone else!).

Of course snagging is to be expected on any new boat (especially a new design or tailored to a client's own requirements). But given the OP, would seem (well past) time to throw a lawyer (or 2) at the situation......
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Old 24-12-2011, 12:06   #5
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Re: Catana Experience

The sixth hull was never built, but the seventh hull was. How does that work?
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