The new Chris-Craft Catalina 34 Pilothouse puts a premium on rugged performance and beautiful lines.

The metallic mahogany-red hull on the new Chris-Craft Catalina 34 Pilothouse catches my attention right away. It appears soft, like a favorite cashmere sweater, yet is buffed to such a high sheen that the sun’s reflection, though muted, is powerful. The captain welcomes me aboard and I quickly gather my wits.

“The hull is hand sanded at the factory with not six hundred-grit sandpaper, not one-thousand-grit, but up to five-thousand-grit sandpaper,” explains Gavan Hunt, sales director for Chris-Craft located in Sarasota, Florida. “The hull sides are dyed blue to spot any imperfections. Then the team goes over the boat with lights to find any blemish and fix it, and as you can see, the hull color is matched to the engines. The five-part paint process includes three levels of clear coat that virtually eliminates any possibility of fading.”

Hey, Good-lookin’

Good looks have always been paramount at Chris-Craft. The Catalina 34 has fit the bill since her launch three years ago. However, the Pilothouse version of the Catalina 34 made her debut at the 2017 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show with a design that provides more creature comforts to match its good looks. Not to be confused with a “raised pilothouse,” Chris-Craft’s modification of the center console design allows for enhanced protection from wind and weather. “The captain and guest can stay behind the uniquely integrated windshield out of the wind and spray but still connected to the outside,” Hunt says and adds that it’s only one of the great features that make it special.

Another special touch aboard the Chris-Craft Catalina 34 Pilothouse includes a cockpit door to starboard that allows easy access to and from the docks as well as from the water via a swim ladder that deploys from a hidden compartment. “Our customers want to pull up to the dock and step out, and a door that opens to the outside pushes you away from the dock,” Hunt says. “The door opens inward, which is an uncomplicated design that works great. Our customer is a very discerning buyer, and we feel like the Catalina 34 Pilothouse elevates itself above the fray.”

Chris-Craft offers a choice of Mercury or Yamaha outboard power. The Catalina 34 Pilothouse hull design responds well to a variety of horsepower options, and configurations include twin and triple 350-horsepower and triple 300-horsepower packages. Joystick control from Mercury’s Joystick Piloting, or Yamaha’s Helm Master or Optimus 360, provide the maneuverability and ease of operation today’s owners want. In addition, the Seakeeper 3 gyro stabilizing system is soon to be available as an option.

Perfect Combo

“The Chris-Craft Catalina 34 Pilothouse rides very dry on a conventional hull,” Hunt says. “The triple three-hundred horsepower engines push it to a top speed of more than sixty miles per hour. It’s got the right amount of Carolina flare, and you don’t have to worry about stuffing your nose in the following sea. It’s safe and comfortable, exactly the boat a Chris-Craft owner would expect. We’re not looking to set any speed records, but our hull is an amazing performer with a perfect combination of speed and handling attributes.”