Catalina Yachts has always had a knack for knowing what the general sailing public wants and once again it has produced a winner. Not too big, not too expensive, with lots of space, the Catalina 350 should provoke a lot of interest in Northwest sailors.
We hopped on board with Tom Britton and Geoff Chamness of Performance Yachts and headed out into Bellingham Bay on a sunny May day, with a nice stiff breeze blowing out of the south.
The main easily unrolled from inside the mast and we unfurled the jib off the Schaeffer roller furling. The boat is set up for cruising in our light summer winds so the 150 was a bit to big for the conditions. Still, the boat stood up nicely, balanced out well, and we moved solidly to windward. We cracked off so we could use all that sail power and reached off at a good speed. On all points of sail the boat felt "bigger", not as quick as a 35-foot racer but with nice speed and movement—a nice all-round combination for recreational cruisers.
The word "bigger" doesn't just apply to how the boat feels under sail but in almost every aspect. A 13-foot beam that's carried well aft makes for a very comfortable cockpit, with over eight feet of seating on each side with tall, contoured backrests. There is a bar under the cockpit table for support when heeled. A nice touch is the compartment in the top of the cockpit table for binoculars, sunglasses, cameras, and all that miscellaneous stuff you want at hand but not sliding around. The owner had added some nice electronics on the pedestal but I found their location blocked a clear view of the compass.
All that space aft allows for a "walk-in" lazarette, along with propane storage and two more storage lockers flanking the swimstep stern.
The wide beam also means wide sidedecks for going forward. All lines were run aft from a mast plate through numerous blocks to stoppers next to the companionway. Most hardware is by Garhauer. Winches are Harken.
For cruising the bow has an anchor locker separated into two compartments to service the double anchor roller, so you don't have to choose between Danforth or Bruce, just get both. A Maxwell electric windlass will pull them off the bottom. After a delightful sail we stopped short of the marina, furled the sails and put her through her paces under power. This boat had a three bladed prop which transferred a lot of power from the Universal M-35B engine. We backed up, spun around and the boat easily did every maneuver we asked of her.
As we go down below that word "bigger" comes into play again. The salon is carried almost the full width of the cabin which, with the 13-foot beam again, is considerable, resulting in a very spacious salon. To port is a settee facing either a standard or smaller cocktail table, both come with the boat. There is also a built in TV cupboard. On the starboard side are two individual seats separated by a table. This could be converted to what we called a "grandkids" berth. Woodwork throughout the boat is teak vaneer with solid teak cabinetry finished in a satin finish.
The U-shaped galley has a large divided refrigerator and freezer with front and side access doors so you won't have to let the cold out of one to get to the other. There is a special spot for a microwave over the stove.
The one bathroom is just off the forward double berth and can be entered from either the cabin or the berth. It features a separate shower and seat compartment. Another spacious double-plus berth is aft.
The hull is solid fiberglass with an outer vinylester skin. The deck is bulsa core construction. Before installing the hull liner a fiberglass grid is bonded to the hull to strengthen and stiffen the hull. Transverse supports of stainless steel support the compression load from the mast.
As we said in the beginning, Catalina knows its market. They claim it's the biggest 35-footer in its' class and I can't find argument with that. They've chosen a roominess and comfort theme and carried it throughout the boat, from the spacious cockpit to the commodious main salon, it is definitely a "bigger" boat. Put that with a hull that performs well and they've got a new boat that should fit the needs of many a sailor planning to cruise our Northwest waters.
... on to page two specifications and more photographs