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Author Topic: Larger boat  (Read 1514 times)

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Ron Volk

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Larger boat
« on: December 23, 2012, 12:39:34 PM »

Scotty,

From somebody who has thoughts of possibly moving up in boat size, I was wondering since you did move from a 34 to a 400 if you could give a rundown on pros & cons or thoughts between these two boats.

Thanks for any information.
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Ron - GOOSE III - Hull 1235 - 1993
Tall Rig - Fin Keel
Dana Point, CA

scotty

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Re: Larger boat
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2012, 06:07:39 PM »

My first thought is to remark that the Catalina 34 is a great boat.  It sails well and has a great cabin layout.  We owned ours for only a short while, and loved it, yet moved up to a Catalina 400.  The reasons are that the boat is easier to single-hand and is more comfortable.  Let me explain.  I really wanted a furling main.  I had installed lazy jacks, and could have installed a Dutchman, and it made dousing the main a much easier task.  I also installed a two line system for reefing which led back into the cockpit.  This made reefing really easy also.   But still, I wanted a system where I really didn't leave the cockpit for sail handling.  If I was to go to the expense of refitting my existing boat to a mast  (or boom) furler, it opened the door to thinking about a new boat.  So we looked....

The 400 is easier to sail.  The in-mast furler is really easy to use.  The bow thruster helps close quarter maneuvering.  The larger boat has a wider turning radius, more windage and more momentum, but those things are just adjusted for and it actually handles as easily as a 34.  An electric winch makes main sail handling (opening, setting and main sheet adjusting) simple for the single-hander.  All of these things could be put onto a Catalina 34 (the bow thruster might be overdoing it a bit) but they were not on my 34.  There are some handling characteristics that are unique to the larger boat.  The 400 is faster (which is not a big deal to me - well, OK, I love it.) and a more stable platform in the type of winds I often encounter (around 20 knots).  I usually sail between Monterey and San Francisco (out of Santa Cruz) and I think that the 400 has a more kindly motion in ocean swells.  The 400 is drier (less spray) than the 34 - although I found the 34 to be a very dry boat!  I bought a 2004 boat.  The upgraded systems compared to the 1987 are significant.  This would also be true in a later model 34.  The bigger gear (winches, lines, sails, etc.) are actually easier for me to work, probably because of the increased mechanical advantage, and the electric winch.  The deck is easier to walk on and stores a dingy more comfortably. The larger cockpit (of which the 400 is much larger than the 42) makes a huge difference for me.  We sail with a lot of family and friends.  In the 34 I always felt that 3 people was a perfect fit; with more people it ment sharing space (which is fun).  In the 400 with 7 adults in the cockpit you don't have that same issue.  Double wheels make the after-guard so easily accessible that it's amazing.  They also provide great visibility and the "feel" is excellent.  The other day, we spent the whole day with 8 people in the cockpit and could easily have had several more people with space to spare.

The 400 has more space.  Boy, does it ever.  Down below the two of us (Lisa and I) move around the cabin without having to stand aside for the other person to move past.  Seems like not-a-big-deal, but it really makes it nice.  The bench in the main cabin is much wider, and therefore more comfortable to lie down on.  The table settee is larger and comfortably fits more people.  The nav station chair also is a comfortable seat.  Add that up and it's easy to entertain a dozen people!  Wait, how can a dozen..  Oh yeah, the aft cabin.  The 34 is comfortable to sleep in, but getting in and out of the forepeak requires some effort.  The aft cabin of the 34 makes for good (not great) storage, and sleeps one person comfortably, and two with a bit of effort.  The sleeping accommodations of the 400 are vastly superior.  Our forepeak is kid territory, and is used for guests and also for storage.  The 400 has a huge aft cabin, with moulded in seats that can take a couple of people sitting (or lounging) on the double bed, while two (or more!) are sitting on the seats.  An opening sliding hatch allows people in the aft cabin to be part of the main cabin.  It can be closed for privacy.  Close the door and it is a very private owners suite, with a bed that is easily accessible for two people.  The bed does not have much height to the liner, which can be a problem for some people, but it is quite comfortable for us.  When we first saw a 400 (a year or so ago) Lisa loved it!  When we got Rosa Nautica last July, my brother's wife lay down it the bed and said, "Brian, we've got to talk!".  They, by the way, have a Catalina 36 and are seriously thinking about buying a Catalina 42.  The 42 has a bit more storage, and is configured differently.  They are both great boats for coastal cruising, and can go offshore (and have done so) even though that is not the emphasis of their design.

The bad news is that the D**n things are expensive.  To get one in good shape you're spending 150 - 200K.  Gear is more expensive (10-25%), berthing, insurance, stuff.  A bigger boat doesn't have the quick feel that a smaller boat has, but that line, for me, had already been crossed in the 34.  The freeboard on the 400 is taller, which makes it a little bit harder to get on and off at the dock.  I'm still active on the I-34 website because it is, in my opinion, MUCH more active and has deeper and more sophisticated technical advice. The 42 has a much more active site than the 400, and has a much larger fleet.  The 400 had a much smaller production run (about 350 boats) and that makes them a bit of an oddity, which might affect resale.  Or is that resail?  Anyway...

That stuff all added up for us.  We love the new boat and hope to sail it for many years to come.  Good luck to you in your decision.  It's nice to have such fine options.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 08:53:26 PM by scotty »
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Scotty

Ron Volk

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Re: Larger boat
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2012, 07:15:19 PM »

Scotty,

Thanks for your thoughts, good luck with the new boat.
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Ron - GOOSE III - Hull 1235 - 1993
Tall Rig - Fin Keel
Dana Point, CA
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