There's a perverse sort of pleasure in being the first person to get blood and guts all over a prototype boat. The more pristine and beautiful the boat, the greater the pleasure. And when the five-pound Spanish mackerel came in over the gunwale of Chris-Craft's new Catalina 29 and began puking half-digested sardines and throwing blood across the deck with every shake of its head, pure ecstasy hung in the air. Then I slid it into one of the two 6'-long, integrated, insulated, macerated fishboxes, and the boat was virginal no more. Pristine and beautiful? When it comes to looks, the Catalina 29 scores an 11.
We don't need to waste more space yakking about how pretty this boat is. Unless you're blind or dead, the pictures on these pages prove the point. What the pictures don't show is that the construction of this boat is just as beautiful as its lines. The liner and stringers are a molded grid, affixed to the hull with Weld-On adhesive before being foamed in place. Hatches are all infused for a perfect finish inside and out and ideal resin-to-fiberglass ratios; upholstery features dual-density foam and super-thick 35-ounce vinyl; teak decking is solid wood epoxied in place; and the 22-mil gel coat is backed with a vinylester barrier coat. Did I mention that every screwhead on the boat lines up with the next one? That the T-top supports run down through the console instead of hitting the deck next to it, so you don't ever stub a toe or have to (gasp!) look at the unsightly beasts? Of course the visible pipework is powder-coated, but so are the pipes that you can't see. Want to get a glimpse? Pop up the forward section of the console to access the head, and you can see the bottoms of the supports. Yup, they're powder-coated.
Now match up the cutting-edge construction techniques with the design: The bow has gobs of flare and the outer strakes are turned down at a 7-degree angle to redirect spray-only twice during our entire day of fishing and 20-plus miles of cruising did I feel salt spray. The inner strakes are turned down at a 5-degree angle to provide lift, and the 54-degree entry tapers back through the variable-degree deadrise to a 21-degree transom deadrise. Taken as a whole, the boat runs every bit as good as it looks. And the ride was rattle- and vibration-free through a 2' chop, no matter which angle we attacked the seas from. In fact, the only thing I heard other than water and engine noise was the sound of the rigs smacking against our fishing rods as we charged through the waves.