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Chris-Craft Catalina 30 Pilothouse

The Chris-Craft Catalina 30 Pilothouse offers superb fit and finish and numerous seating arrangements.

March 14, 2018
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Chris-Craft Catalina 30 Pilothouse
LOA: 30’6″ | Beam: 10’2″ | Draft (max): 3’1″ | Displacement (approx.): 8,700 lb. | Transom Deadrise: 21 degrees | Bridge Clearance: 9’11” | Fuel Capacity: 198 gal. | Water Capacity: 31 gal. | Max Horsepower: 700 | Available Power: Twin Mercury or Yamaha gasoline outboards | More Information: chriscraft.com Courtesy Chris-Craft

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, Chris-Craft 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.

Chris-Craft Catalina 30 Pilothouse
Comfortable seating is available from stem to stern. Courtesy Chris-Craft
Chris-Craft Catalina 30 Pilothouse
The helm is nicely appointed and protected. Courtesy Chris-Craft

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.

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Chris-Craft Catalina 30 Pilothouse
Overnighting is easy aboard the Chris-Craft Catalina 30 Pilothouse. Courtesy Chris-Craft

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.

Chris-Craft Catalina 30 Pilothouse
The cockpit features fold-down benches. Courtesy Chris-Craft

High Points
* Fully enclosed windshield protects the helm from wind and spray.
* Fold-down benches in the cockpit provide plenty of comfortable seating.
* Starboard-side dive door offers water access away from the engines.

Low Points
* Fishing aboard this boat would be a secondary pursuit.
* Fuel tank has a smaller capacity than some comparable models.

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Toughest Competitor
The Everglades 295 ($273,956 with twin 300s) is a slightly smaller pilothouse center console packed with more fishy features.

Chris-Craft Catalina 30 Pilothouse
Chris-Craft Catalina 30 Pilothouse Courtesy Chris-Craft

Price: $261,220 (base with twin Mercury 350 Verados)

Available Power: Outboard

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Chris-Craft Catalina 30 Pilothouse
Chris-Craft Catalina 30 Pilothouse Certified Test Results Boating Magazine

How We Tested
Engine: Twin 350 hp Mercury 350 Verado four-stroke outboards
Props: 15 1/4″ x 24″ 4-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.85:1
Fuel Load: 50 gal.
Water on Board: 0 gal.
Crew Weight: 380 lb.

More Information
Chris-Craft – Sarasota, Florida; 941-351-4900; chriscraft.com

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