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Chris-Craft Catalina 29 Sun Tender

The pride of the seaside.

March 23, 2009

The guys at Chris-Craft noticed that many boaters who were buying the standard, fish-ready Catalina 29 Center Console were using it for everything but fishing, so Chris-Craft designed the Catalina 29 Sun Tender — a high-end runabout with features geared toward day cruising rather than fishing. For example, there’s a full sunpad in the bow instead of fishboxes, a U-shaped settee with a solid teak table in the cockpit instead of a rocket launcher, and a refrigerator under the companion seat instead of a livewell.

Not just another pretty face, the Catalina 29 Sun Tender can hold its own in nasty seas. Placing the helm in the center of the hull gives it good balance for seakeeping, as I found when running through choppy 3′ waves. Generous bow flare, wide reversed chines, and judicious use of the standard Lenco trim tabs kept the windshield dry, even at wide open throttle (55.6 mph). I found the sweet spot between 25 and 29 mph, where the Catalina 29 Sun Tender loped along comfortably and efficiently, despite the slop.

The door to the head incorporates an upholstered seat that forms the aft end of the bow sunpad. Remove a panel and you can sit. The head includes generous sitting headroom, ventilation, light, and a sink. Most ingenious is the Catalina 29 Sun Tender’s Bimini top. Its frame slides on tracks, enabling it to shade either the aft cockpit settee or the helm console. Y-shaped yokes fitted into receptacles in the bow and transom stow the top when not in use. Collapse the stainless-steel bows and drop it in. There’s plenty of stowage under the pads and seats for picnic supplies, safety gear, and other necessities.

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This boat has a wonderful fit and finish and is built to last. From its recessed bow anchor roller to the stern bilge pump, all systems are readily accessible for maintenance. All materials are top quality too. The Catalina 29 Sun Tender is a real head turner, and its design, build, and amenities will keep you smiling and comfortable whether anchored or running in whitecaps.

MSRP: Standard power – $170,440 Test power – $170,440 ****

Contact: 941.351.4900 www.chriscraft.com

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