The Chris-Craft Catalina 30 Pilot­house is for fam­i­lies as well as an­glers.

Yachting - - CONTENTS - By Michael Ver­don

Chris-Craft’s Catalina 30 Pilot­house is all about de­tails: The hard­top’s shape fol­lows her hull form and in­te­rior bow de­sign.

Chris-craft’s Catalina 30 Pilot­house is a mix of two boat types: rugged cen­ter con­sole and high-end day cruiser. I ran the 30 in Sara­sota, Florida, with com­pany Chair­man Stephen Julius and Pres­i­dent Steve Heese, who ex­plained the de­sign process be­hind the many small de­tails that make this ChrisCraft’s con­cept un­usu­ally thought­ful. The hard­top, for in­stance, matches both the soft curves of the Catalina’s hull and the in­te­rior de­sign of the bow. (From over­head, the hard­top looks like it could fit nicely into the fore­deck space, like a jig­saw piece.)

The beefy, black-framed wind­shield is also aes­thet­i­cally dy­namic and pro­vides a cli­mate-con­trolled pocket for all types of weather. Dur­ing our sprint around Sara­sota Bay, the helm proved the place to be. The sum­mer Florida sun

was beat­ing down, but air-con­di­tion­ing vents kept the area as cool as if we’d been in­side. The space looked smart too, with match­ing helm and com­pan­ion seats hand-stitched in di­a­mond pat­terns with the Chris-Craft logo, as well as two 12-inch Garmin touch­screen dis­plays, a stain­less-steel wheel, throt­tles and Mer­cury’s joy­stick steer­ing con­trol.

The Catalina tracked true through the port­side-thump­ing chop thanks to the Mer­cury Ac­tive Trim and Lenco trim tabs, and han­dled sharp turns without fal­ter­ing. This boat can ven­ture off­shore for fish­ing and div­ing, and get back home fast. Own­ers can choose among three out­board op­tions: stan­dard 300 hp Mer­cury Ver­a­dos or 300 hp Yama­has, or (like our test boat) op­tional 350 hp Ver­a­dos that de­liver a top speed of 49 knots.

The tough-guy per­for­mance gives way to a softer, more sen­si­tive side in the


The area abaft the helm is de­signed for groups, with fold-down seats and a teak ta­ble. The cock­pit is also built for fish­ing, with an op­tional livewell un­der the helm seat and rocket launch­ers in­te­grated into the tran­som. The star­board-side door should make bring­ing the big ones into the cock­pit that much eas­ier. 30’s de­tails. The Her­itage Trim pack­age adds teak ac­cents to the gun­wales and fore­deck. In the cock­pit, a pull-up teak ta­ble with fold­out seats forms an al­fresco din­ing area. With the push of a but­ton, a mo­tor­ized SureShade emerges from the af­ter sec­tion of the hard­top.

The 30’s cabin is not the util­i­tar­ian cuddy found aboard a lot of boats in this size range. It has a ce­ramic sink and modern faucet, a berth (with elec­tric toi­let un­der­neath) and a hang­ing locker. Wood doors and trim add a sense of el­e­gance.

Re­fine­ments in the fore­deck in­clude two lounge seats with a drop-down drink holder. Julius and Heese “tested” these lounges with their feet up dur­ing the run back to the dock, strate­giz­ing about mod­i­fi­ca­tions they plan to make on fu­ture Chris-Craft mod­els.

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