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A few months ago, a friend, interested in buying a sailboat, asked me the 64 Zillion Dollar Question – What´s the perfect boat for me to buy? Before answering, I mentally, evaluated him and his situation and began quizzing him regarding his personal interests. I quickly concluded that he represented a substantial portion of the potential sailboat buying market: age - mid 50s, professional, hard working, married, grown kids, dog, earlier sailing experience, lives near a sailing body of water, has some disposable $$ and is searching for the next phase in life – a well deserved reward!

"So," I asked, "How will you use your ´perfect boat´ if you bought it?" "Mostly cruising," he said. "I don´t want to buy a racing boat, but I´d like one to be fast enough to make it interesting if I chose to enter a race now and then." "How about ease of handling," I asked. "Is that important to you?" "Oh totally," he quickly responded. "I want to be able to slice through a shimmering tide on cruise control and then sip my martini while relaxing back at the dock! Therefore, in-mast furling, genoa furling and good winches are all essential as well as a comfortable cockpit!"

"OK, and how about roominess on deck," I asked. "Well, for heaven sakes, Frank," he said, "I want my guests to feel free, uncluttered and non-claustrophobic aboard my ´perfect boat.´ I mean, who wants to be climbing over each other in the cockpit while we´re trying to savor the day?" Reasonable question, I thought.

"Well, what about below decks," I asked. "What should your ´perfect boat´ offer down there. "Well," he said, "Now we´re getting into dicey territory. My wife´s willing to do this sailboat thing with me, but, only if I can 100% guarantee her that our ´perfect boat´ will be loaded to the gills with creature comforts just like at home. I mean, it must have at least 2 staterooms, 2 heads, a great galley, a TV, a good sound system, lots of lights, heating, air conditioning, a microwave oven, a terrific refrigerator/freezer, a private stall shower and a vanity and, oh yes, lots of windows and port lights so we don´t feel confined down there."

"OK, well," I said, "There are probably lots of boats out there that´ll fit your requirements. How´s your wallet these days my friend - thick or thin?" "No, no, don´t get me wrong," he said. "I have some $$ saved up for this. But, I´ll only spring for it if it´s, indeed, the ´perfect boat´ for the 2 of us -don´t need to start any family feuds over this, you know! Also, I´m not a multimillionaire. So a multi-millionaire´s boat is not on my radar screen. Do you get my drift?"

"Yes, I think so," I said. "So," I asked, "If you want ´all of the above´, how big should your ´perfect boat´ be?" "I don´t know," he responded. "That´s why I´m asking for your input." "Alright," I said. "I really think that you and your wife would be happy in the 36to 45-foot range, keeping in mind that the bigger the boat, the bigger the slip, the maintenance, the insurance, the operating cost, etc. He thought for a bit and cautiously responded, "Yes, I see your point but don´t you think that a 36-foot is a bit too tight?" "Well yes, I think so, but I´m not you," I quickly responded. "OK, OK, so, if you were me (I know that you´re not me but you know me)," he asked, "What would you buy? Or, better yet, what would you recommend that I buy?"

"Well, based on my background and experience," I answered, "I recommend that you buy about a 40-foot, moderately priced sailboat with a strong track record for high quality, uncompromising comfort, great sailing characteristics, a twin wheel cockpit, twin cabins, 2 heads and all the amenities of home." I had hardly got the words out of my mouth when I realized that I was recommending my own boat - the Catalina 400 Mark II to him! "Hello, Frank," he said. "Is your boat for sale?" "No", I said. "But, I just realized that, for guys like us, the Catalina 400 is the ´perfect boat!´

This conversation was an eye opening validation of what I had purchased already! Not only was I trying to help my friend move forward with his boat buying process. But, in doing so, I realized, ever so presently, that the Catalina 400 answers all of these needs perfectly! I hope that he and his wife move forward with their sailing plans and that, one day soon, we can welcome them into our C400 world of ´perfect boats.´

I don´t know. Every time I go to the boat shows, I like what I see. But, I have yet to find the boat that makes me think twice about changing. What´s the perfect boat? Interesting question, isn´t it?

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Catalina Yachts • 21200 Victory Boulevard • Woodland Hills, California 91367 • Phone 818 884-7700
Catalina Yachts Florida • 7200 Bryan Dairy Rd • Largo, FL 33777 • Phone 727-544-6681


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