We would like you to meet Ernie and Judith from Evanston, IL., and welcome them to the Sail Place and Catalina family with the purchase of their new Catalina 355 during the Chicago Boat Show last month!

We try to cruise every summer, anywhere from 3-8 weeks, going north from Kenosha and we are chartering for a week in BVI this winter.

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Where do you live?
Evanston, IL

Where will your new Catalina 355 live?
Kenosha, WI – Southport Marina

Where will you primarily sail your new 355?
Lake Michigan and hopefully get up to Lake Huron

Any long terms cruising plans?
We try to cruise every summer, anywhere from 3-8 weeks, going north from Kenosha and we are chartering for a week in BVI this winter.

Can you expand a bit on your sailing experience? How long have you sailed? When / where did you learn?
First learned with my wife at Northwestern University aquatic center on a Flying Jr. in 1985.  Shortly thereafter took a 3 day sailing course in Sturgeon Bay and then we chartered a C&C 27 that we took out on Green Bay for 3 days.  Later we bought an O’Day Javelin 14′ which we trailered to inland lakes.  For a short time we had a Hutchins 23 on Lake Geneva but with small children that didn’t work out , and when the children were older we bought a Nonsuch 26 which we crossed Lake Michigan and sailed to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but it was too small to spend much time on.  We looked seriously, with Tim, at a new Catalina 315 but the timing was not right & didn’t have a proper double berth for my wife and I.  We bought a Beneteau 323 which we sailed up to the North Channel, over to Michigan, Green Bay, etc.

When did you first start considering buying a new boat?
I’ve been admiring the 355 for many years now. Looked at it on the docks and boat shows, but really wasn’t considering buying a new one until we sailed up to Menominee, MI last summer where I saw the new 385 in the marina. I knew I was really interested in the 355 but the important thing was my wife Judith was very encouraging about buying a new boat.

Can you expand on your experience working with SailPlace?
I enjoyed working with Bill and later with Tim.  Tim was amicable and I think fair in taking my boat in trade. Bill walked the show with me, talked to the people at Southport to make sure there was a slip for a bigger boat, over to Raymarine to discuss instruments and basically took the time to make me feel good about transitioning to the new boat. I was also offered a “starters” package; lines, anchor/rode fenders etc. but I have most of that equipment and Tim gave me the option to exchange some of the items I don’t need and use them as a credit on items I do want (upgrade the anchor for example).

I really liked my Beneteau 323, but the Catalina has a level of strength & comfort we hadn’t experienced before. Having sailed newer generation charter boats in the Caribbean, I think the Catalina is better made with hopefully less functional problems. The Catalina is more comfortable, less tender and she will sail well but take better care of us. I could mention features I like but they can also be found in Catalina’s sales literature.

Looking forward to Spring!