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30-32 foot new boats

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removehtml]If you have bought a new 30-32 foot Catalina, Beneteau, or Hunter since 2000, I would be interested in hearing what made you choose one over the other (since that aspect rarely is mentioned in the reviews posted here), what things you like about the boat you chose, and what you would change if you could. I'd be interested in knowing if you moved down to this size boat or up to it. I'm especially interested in people who have bought some of the newer models to market, i.e., the C309, H31, and Beneteau 323. I'd also be interested in Bavaria 30/31 owners or Hanse owners although those boats seem to be few and far between.Error: Error: expected [/URL], but found [/removehtml] instead[/removehtml]
Sep 6, 2007
Catalina 320 Gulfport, Fl
Catalina 320

I started with a Hunter 23 wing keel. Loved the way it handled and ease of sailing single handed. Next was a 38 Seafarer Cutter an old rhodes design. Modified full keel, Great for open ocean saling, but as my wife really doesn't like to sail it got to be too much fot mr to single hand. I also didn' like having to find crew for a couple days out/ The Catalina 320. a 2000 modle hull 771. Spent about a year or more looking for the right boat. I wanted one roomey unough to stay on for a week or more, and east to single hand. I wanted many toys on it, at the right price. This past year I found it in the 320. I was torn between hunters and Catalinas but i really didn't want the swept back spreaders. What I've got is a boat that is 8 years old but looks new. It has a drippless packing and not a drop of water in the bildge. In fact you can eat out of it. The roller furling main lets me make the sail exactly the size I want with out having to leave the cockpit to mess with reefing lines. Auto pilot, wind speed and direction while not a necessity was high on my list, I'm glad I have it. A feathering prop allows the boat to go just a little bit faster and is a nice addition. Because we have so many island here, dingy davits were desired but I thought I could add it, fortunately it was already there. The only toy not on the boat was radar, and it probably won't ever go on. I like the roominess of the cockpit and the cabin. The queen bed in the master cabin aft is really nice to strech out in as I am 6' 4". The PO is 6' 7" having both the stove and oven is nicer than a non gimbaled stove alone. We like to cook while under sail and can't do it well with out the gimbal. The only thing still to be added is the combination tri light and anchor lite at the truck of the mast. I hope this gives you a little insight into why I went with Catalina. If I ever get the money, yea I don't count on it either, I would get a Caliber 47 LRC
May 11, 2005
Seidelman S37 Slidell, La.
May come down to the dealer

I have some friends who have purchased a couple new boats in the past few years. First one got taken by Katrina. From their problems and the problems with getting the problems resolved, my advice would be that the dealer be a big part of your decision. While they bought Hunters, and these are fine boats, I think that the selling dealer has as much to do with the enjoyment of a new boat, as do any of the amenities.


Oct 30, 2005
Beneteau 323 East Hampton, New York
Beneteau 323

I bought a new Beneteau 323 a couple of years ago. I opted for a lifting keel model because the exceptionally shallow draft gave me great flexibility in navigating over a sand bar I need to pass to get to my dock. With the lifting keel, this meant I was not nearly as constrained by tidal height. This option is not available on too many boats. But we also fell in love with the boat at the Annapolis boat show, where we were not actually planning on doing any boat shopping. We previously had an O'Day 272LE, which we had been happy with. Aside from the lifting keel, when we compared our boat with others of similar size and price, we especially liked the overall look and feel of the boat; the arrangement of the open transom; the more traditional rig (as opposed to the B&R rig with what I feel are excessively swept back spreaders, no back stay and an arrangement of the traveler on the arch which is hard to reach and see) -- we opted for the traditional rather than the furling main, because I wanted battens, and I an always concerned something could go wrong with the furling mechanism and leave you with a main that you can't furl and can't lower. We also really loved the airiness and open feel of the cabin, especially with the wonderful natural light below, and the ample head compartment and headroom below, as well as berths that fit my 6'4" frame. We have been very happy with our choice, but we are not of the school that says that because we like our boat, the others must be crappy; their owners seem to be happy as well. we primarily cruise and daysail, use the boat a pretty fair amount, and definitely spend our time sailing, rather than sitting at the marina.
Jun 2, 2004
Several Catalinas C25/C320 USA
Catalina 320

Ditto to what Patrick said. Much more solid than some of the competition, check the numbers...weight, beam, ballast, etc, plus you can pick up the phone and talk to the factory.


Jan 24, 2006
Beneteau 323 Chester Basin, NS
Beneteau 323, Hunter 31 & Catalina 309

We bought a Beneteau 2007 323 this spring. We considered many boats, but focused in on the three largest production boat builders: Hunter, Beneteau and Catalina. We had had several boats including a C&C 30 MKII, and a Catalina 30 Tall Rig. We liked elements of both boats, but neither was a perfect fit. We viewed a 2007 Beneteau 323, a 2007 Hunter 31 and a 2008 Catalina 309. Our first thought was the Catalina, however one of the yacht brokers we were dealing with had a very decked out 309, and we felt that it was just too expensive. It would have been close to $20K more than the Hunter, and $27K more than the Beneteau 323. It also had a furling main, which was something that we weren't interested in because of the hit you take in sail area and performance. We liked the Hunter 31, and the price point and spec list was to our liking, but felt that the Beneteau 323 was a little more performance oriented, and we liked the cabin design and the size of the cockpit better. So in March we bought the Beneteau 323, and to date have been very happy with it. Again, like others have mentioned, there were small differences between these boats not large ones, and I think we would have been happy with either. The Beneteau 323 seemed to fit our requirements to a greater extent. We are considering having a light racing schedule, and it appeared to be the fastest of the three boats. Particularly in light and moderate winds.


Jan 30, 2008
Hunter 33 -
2008 hunter 33

we bought at a boat show in 2007, a hunter 33, took delivery in july of 07... it is a vacation home because we can't afford the vacation home we want... convience is the most imporant thing for us, we don't race, we cruise... we have in mast furling and upgraded to the sail with the verticals battens, which also gives us more sq footage and better performance... we have spent plenty of time on her and the cabin layout is the best we have found for a boat that size... the price was better than all the other productioon boats and hunter is really backing their product, they want to keep their customers happy... the performance of the new hulls is impressive...she points really well and is very responsive... the galley is very nice and functions very well... the corian counter tops are a bit over the top but also nice... buying at the boat show gave us some upgrades that are really nice to have: MARINER PACKAGE • Engine Upgrade to 29 HP • Helm Sheeting Package for Jib w/Winches and Tracks • In-Mast Furling System w/Rigid Vang • Lewmar® Folding Steering Wheel • Raymarine® ST-60 Speed and Depth Upgrade • Refrigerator • Stereo, AM/FM w/CD Player • Traveler, Arch Mounted for Mainsheet this may have changed since then... this is a production boat so be aware of that... there was a screw that had penatrated the head pick up plumbing so when the ball valve was open there was an excessive amount of water in the bildge... you will want a cruising spinnaker, she doesn't run well...we don't have one yet... you will want the cockpit cusions, get them from the dealer, they are worth every penny... di recomend getting bimini and/or dodger... over all she is a very comfortable boat that sails well and we are quite pleased with her... our dealer is selling the larger boats but i think that all marine businesses are slowing... i would negotiate with any dealer for upgrades... if you have any specific questions, feel free to e-mail us directly... good luck on your search...let su know what you finally get... J&R
Jun 4, 2004
Catalina 310 LaSalle, MI
Catalina C-310!

Yes, they can still be ordered from any Catalina dealer. According to Catalina, they are only making these boats on demand. We checked out the Hunter 33, Beneteau 323(?), and C-310. All the boats are great values for the money, however the 310 has a forward stateroom with an innerspring mattress, 3 cylinder diesel, VERY nice deck hardware, fridge, etc. The C-309 has a similar hull style (being that they use the 310 hull) and the LOA is 31+ feet, however the tanks are smaller, the deck hardware is minimal compared to the 310. In mast furling, however, is standard on the 309. Anyway, I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions. Check out the archives from Sail, or Cruising World for more information on these boats. Good luck and have fun!
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