Boating - - CONTENTS -

When Chris-Craft first in­tro­duced its Catalina line, it proved ahead of the trend of con­vert­ing cen­ter con­soles from util­i­tar­ian fish­ing ma­chines into lux­u­ri­ous and sea­wor­thy day­boats. By pro­tect­ing the helm con­sole be­hind a fully en­closed glass wind­shield it calls a pi­lot­house, ChrisCraft fur­thers the cen­ter con­sole evo­lu­tion.

Chris-Craft is cer­tainly not the first builder to do this — Ever­glades Boats im­me­di­ately springs to mind — but it did an ex­cel­lent job of in­cor­po­rat­ing the wind­shield and hard­top into the Catalina’s over­all de­sign so that the whole boat main­tains a dis­tinc­tive style. You know the look — a rising sheer line, aft tum­ble­home, richly col­ored hull sides with a boot stripe, and as much teak as your bud­get can stand. The 30 Pi­lot­house turns heads, and its qual­ity con­struc­tion en­sures it will do so for years to come.

Hav­ing tested the boat in Florida, the first thing I ap­pre­ci­ated about the Pi­lot­house helm was the air con­di­tion­ing that man­u­fac­tured a cool breeze as I idled the boat out of the ma­rina, a task made eas­ier with the Mer­cury joy­stick con­trol. The in­set mul­ti­func­tion dis­plays at the helm proved easy to read and, from a stand­ing po­si­tion, I en­joyed good vis­i­bil­ity through the tem­pered glass. While the 21-de­gree tran­som dead­rise isn’t as sharp as the de­signs on com­pa­ra­ble cen­ter con­sole hulls I’ve tested, the 30 Pi­lot­house proved sea­wor­thy in han­dling a tight bay chop, as well as sev­eral man­u­fac­tured rollers. With the op­tional twin Mer­cury 350 Ver­a­dos, I pushed this boat to a 56 mph top-end speed. At a 30 mph cruis­ing speed, the boat han­dled lock-to-lock turns with aplomb. Thanks to Mer­cury’s Ac­tive Trim, the boat al­ways kept an ex­cel­lent at­ti­tude.

Chris-Craft rates the boat for a crew of 12, and ev­ery one of them will en­joy a com­fort­able seat thanks to the fold­out benches in the main cock­pit, the sun lounge in front of the con­sole, and the wrap­around cush­ioned bow seat­ing. A teak ta­ble de­ploys be­hind the lean­ing post for en­ter­tain­ment pur­poses. —Pete McDon­ald

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