BOATOWNER’S BOAT REVIEW
Catalina 320 By Capt. Diane Fowler S/V Windy City, Hull #948 Cape Coral, FL
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Sun/Rain awning, self supported, no halyard. Rigid, folding, flexible frame. “Stands on lifeline”. Waterproof, marine grade construction throughout. Easy up & down. Stows complete in 10"x36" bag. Designed for use in true cruising conditions. Stock models for up to 50ft LOA $300-$800. Custom designs also available.
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n 2002, we ordered a brand-new Catalina 36 from California. She arrived in April, and we loved that boat and all the luxury features of Catalinas in general (see my review on the Catalina 36 at: www.southwindsmagazine.com, Back Issues, May 2010). In 2010, we sold the Catalina 36 and bought a 2008 Gemini 34 catamaran, but I craved the heeling of a monohull again and needed to feel the wind in my face (see Back Issues, June 2011 for my article “Making the Switch from Heeling to ‘Flat’ Cat” in the June 2011 issue). We decided to switch boats again, sold the Gemini, and this time, we chose the Catalina 320. Known in Catalina circles as THE racing model, the 320 main sail area (249 square feet) is almost the same as the 36! The mast is farther forward, and double spreaders give her superior pointing ability. Her LOA is 32’ 6” with a LWL of 29’. The beam is 11’9” (WOW!), and our wing keel draws just 4’4”. Displacement is 11,700 pounds. It’s perfect for river races, too. This model was first produced in 1993, with the final one built in 2011—hull #1175. In October, 2006, the MK II was introduced. The original brochure points out the contemporary design that “combines modern features and construction with comfort and value.” Our favorite feature is the HUGE cockpit! It feels like the same size as the 36 and is twice as large as most boats we looked at in the 30- to 34foot range. After all, we live in Florida. And where do guests “hang out”? In the cockpit! Very little time is spent below decks—especially sitting at the large table. My husband, Ray Gherardini, made a smaller table for “just us two.” This gives you much more room to walk around down below, and it holds two plates and two drinks. The rigging and spar systems are engineered for performance, including a ball-bearing mainsheet traveler system and adjustable boom vang. An anchor windlass is standard equipment, too. Features we particularly like include: 5.8 cubic-foot Adler Barbour refrig/freezer; true queen-size aft berth with plenty of light and ventilation; wide side decks which make for easy walking; a 22-gallon holding tank; “princess seats” on the two quarter stern cockpit railings (sure missed those www.southwindsmagazine.com