It seems that today's skipper doesn't feel in command of a real
sailing vessel unless it has a wheel to stand behind. So of course, pedestal
steering is standard on the Catalina 30. The fiberglass shell over the
foam-cored rudder blade is fairly fragile at the joint where the two halves
meet. And if the rubber hose section that cushions the quadrant stop
compresses from the wheel being put hard over a lot, the top leading edge of
the rudder shell can fracture against the skeg.
A lot of folks are convinced that they can't leave the cockpit to handle
sails. So of course, the Catalina 30 is now standard with the halyards led
aft on the cabin top. There is little logic to leading the halyards aft to
where the dodger keeps you from cranking the winch handle, but I'm not going
to swim against the popular, city-based stream on that issue here.
The mast is a big section that rests on the cabin top. The compression
loads are taken by a teak post seated on the hull pan. There is a glassed-in
plywood web frame under the pan to carry the loading on down to the hull
bottom. The main chain plates are bolted through the bulkheads, with the
forward lowers in a partial bulkhead, and the aft lowers through an aluminum
channel under the deck head. Under normal weekend use, there is little
problem with this arrangement.
The engine sits under the galley counter and the "L" of the dinette
settee, where there is good access to 3 sides and the top. Access to the
shaft packing gland under a lift section of the galley sole is exceptionally
good. Most of the boats were fitted with a Universal diesel, which has gone
from a 12 horsepower, 2-cylinder model to the 3-cylinder, 22-horsepower
engine. That progression was obviously made because the smaller engines
weren't enough in headwinds and current.
The bolt-on equipment such as pumps, tanks, stove, water closet, sinks,
hatches, winches, blocks, and cleats, are all good, name-brands.
The Catalina 30 was not intended to be abused for long periods of time
either in heavy seas or hard aground. And it doesn't pretend to be a race
boat. Aside from a greater than average number of air-entrapment voids in
the deck, the boat doesn't seem to suffer from any deficiencies that aren't
also seen on most other boats. The Catalina is the norm for blistering,
water penetration in the rudder, deck leaks, and cracked rigging swages.
Nothing especially alarming or unusual. Just about average.