Catalina Yachts is a U.S.-based builder of fiberglass monohull sloop-rigged sailboats ranging in sizes from eight to 47 feet in length. It was founded in 1969 in Hollywood, California by Frank Butler .
In 1961, Catalina Yachts founder Frank Butler took over the production of his own boat when his original boat builder ran out of funds and borrowed money from Butler; unable to repay the debt, the builder instead gave Butler the tooling to continue building the boat. Butler later gained full control of the company, renaming it Wesco Marine and later Coronado Yachts. Many Early Coronado 25 yachts have the Wesco Marine nameplate on the transom.
Among the first models built by Coronado were the Victory 21 and the Super Satellite. In 1964, the Coronado '25 was produced, becoming the first boat with a one piece interior, making the boat stronger, lighter, and less expensive than previous models. By 1969 the Coronado 27 and 30 foot models were being produced. In 1969 Butler sold Coronado to the Whittaker Corporation which had already acquired Columbia Yachts; Whittaker continued the Coronado line until 1974 producing the Coronado 34 with the center cockpit models 35 and 41. Butler remained with Whitaker for only one year then left due to disagreements with management.
The first model built by Catalina Yachts was a 22 foot design previously rejected by Columbia. By 1977 Butler had designed and produced three more models: the Catalina 25, Catalina 27, and the Catalina 30. In 1978 Catalina developed the Catalina 38 based on molds for a Sparkman & Stephens racing design purchased from the bankrupt Yankee Yacht Company. Butler redesigned the interior and gave it a "Catalina deck", taller mast, shorter boom, and moved the rudder.
In 1984 Catalina acquired Morgan Yachts and continues to use the brand name for the new deck-salon style CatalinaMorgan 440 introduced in 2004. The other Morgan models including the Catalina designed M381 and M45 center cockpit models were recently retired.
Catalina Yachts Today
Catalina Yachts is one of the largest boat manufacturers in the world, with over 60,000 boats manufactured to date. Though Catalina produces boats from as small as eight feet under their Capri nameplate, the company is best known for its production of mid-sized cruisers. The ocean going Catalina 50 was their largest design, but has been discontinued and replaced by the 470. Most original models are still in production albeit with substantial modifications, and there are examples of every Catalina model still in use.
Gerry Douglas, a principal in the company, became Chief Engineer and V.P in the late 1970s and has designed every boat in the line since then, starting with the Catalina 36. His most recent designs include the 445, the 385, 355, and the 315, all under the banner of the "5 Series." The 5 Series moves the brand to a higher level of performance, finish and engineering. Every model in the series has an emphasis on strength: a five-part structural construction insures a boat that stands up to time and environment; a watertight StrikeZone collision bulkhead is forward; a DeepDefense rudder system for fail-safe steering, and the T-Beam MastStep system, with the benefits of a deck-stepped mast and strength of a keel-stepped mast. The SecureSocket mast support/chain plate system facilitates load resolution and watertight integrity. Knitted fabrics create a stronger laminate without additional weight. Catalina’s lead keels absorb impact for safety, and require less maintenance than other materials. All Catalina yachts larger than 30 feet are built to CE category A standards, are NMMA Yacht Certified, and follow all applicable American Boat and Yacht Council safety standards.
Douglas, in a 2012 Cruising World review of the Catalina 315, admitted that during the early years, Catalina’s corporate philosophy was to be the “price leader” in the new sailboat marketplace. With the 2009 introduction of the 5 Series, the company has made a conscious effort to maintain good value while also loosening the purse strings a bit to provide a level of standards and features that some might not expect from the brand. Douglas cited bigger engines, larger battery banks, generous electrical panels, increased tankage, and all-teak interiors—in a package that’s better built, more comfortable, and performs better—as examples of what Catalina is trying to achieve.
In all, Gerry Douglas' designs have won 13 marine industry "Boat of the Year" awards. Most recently, the Catalina 275 Sport won the 2014 Cruising World Boat of the Year Award for "Best Pocket Cruiser" and Sailing World Boat of the Year Award for "Best Recreational Racer." It is only the third boat in the 27-year history of Boat of the Year awards to win both prizes.
Gerry Douglas has been a partner in this privately owned company since 1998. He has served as chairman of the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC), is a member of the Industrial Designers Society of America, and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. Gerry Douglas is a graduate of Parsons School of Design, where he studied industrial design. He actively sails his own boats and pursues other sailing and volunteer activities.
Today Catalina has one production facility, in Largo, Florida, the former home of Morgan Yachts. The Morgan manufacturing facility was bought by Catalina in 1984. Catalina's classic approach of putting the deck on before the components go in was the rule in the old Woodland Hills, California, production factory, which closed in 2009 when the move to Florida was completed. In Florida, the components go in before the deck goes on. In some cases, large assemblies such as the head (bathroom) are pre-assembled and craned into the hull. This may be a vestige of the Morgan production culture. However in any case the philosophy remains that every bolt-on part must fit through the hatches for maintenance—even the engine.
With a few exceptions, Catalina has focused on long term models making small changes from year to year; this has encouraged the development of owners' associations which promote "one design" racing, Catalina Rendezvous meetups throughout the country, and other forms of camaraderie. All of the larger cruising class boats, 27 feet and larger, have fixed keels with lead ballast. A notable feature of most Catalina boats is their large cabin interiors and storage they provide.
Cruising World "Boat of the Year" winners
2014 – Catalina 275
2013 – Catalina 315
2012 – Catalina 385
2011 – Catalina 355
2010 – Catalina 455
2009 – Catalina 375
2007 – Catalina 309
2004 – Catalina 440
2001 – Catalina 390
1999 – Catalina 310
1997 – Catalina 380
1996 – Catalina 28 Mark II
1995 – Catalina 36 Mark II
1992 – Catalina 270
|Model name||Notes||PHRF handicap|
|Catalina EXPO 14.2|
|Catalina 22||The first and longest running model||267(FK), 270(SK), 273(WK)|
|Catalina 25||Introduced in 1976||222|
|Catalina 250||Successor to the 25, introduced in 1994||198|
|Catalina Capri 26||Introduced in 1990|
|Catalina 27||Introduced in 1970||204|
|Catalina 270||Introduced in 1992||204|
|Catalina 30||Introduced in 1974, discontinued in 2006||177|
|Catalina 309||Introduced in 2006 to replace the Catalina 30, shares hull with C310.||Unknown|
|Catalina 310||Introduced in 1999 Discontinued in 2010.||168|
|Catalina 315||Introduced in 2012|
|Catalina 320||Introduced in 1993, 1,175 hulls, discontinued 2012.||156|
|Catalina 34||Introduced in 1986, 1,800 hulls, discontinued late 2008, available by special order||147|
|Catalina 350||Introduced in 2002, discontinued in 2009. Replaced by the 355||132|
|Catalina 355||Introduced in 2011||N/A|
|Catalina 36||Introduced in 1982, 2305 hulls, final hull completed in Nov of 2006. Replaced by the 375||141|
|Catalina 37||Limited production racing boat, specifically designed to replace the C38 in the Congressional Cup hosted by LBYC (LBYC.org) and the Long Beach Sailing Foundation (LBYCSF.org)|
|Catalina 375||Introduced in 2008 as a replacement for the Catalina 36, but has a longer waterline and a broader beam than the Catalina 387. It is heavier than the Catalina 36, but lighter than the Catalina 387. Discontinued in 2012.||84|
|Catalina 38||Introduced in 1977, modified from a Sparkman & Stephens race design ||117|
|Morgan 381||Introduced in 1993, the first Morgan design after Catalina bought Morgan||126|
|Catalina 380||Introduced in 1996, is a Morgan 381 modified to a rear cockpit - no similarity to the C38||120|
|Catalina 385||Introduced in 2012, though the C387 is still offered. The C385 is longer than the C387, but has a similar weight to the C36 and C375.||N/A|
|Catalina 387||is a modified 380, which replaced the C380 and C390 boats||120|
|Catalina 390||Identical to the C380, but the rear stateroom was divided into two small cabins (same hull, deck, & rig)||120|
|Catalina 400||Introduced in 1995 Discontinued in 2012.||102|
|Catalina 42||Introduced in 1989, adapted from a Nelson Merek racing hull. Discontinued in 2011.||102|
|Catalina Morgan 440||Introduced in 2004, is a radical departure from previous Catalina designs.||Unknown|
|Morgan 45||Discontinued in 2004||168|
|Catalina 470||Introduced in 1998||90|
|Catalina 50||Discontinued in 2004||Unknown|
|Catalina 445||Introduced in 2009; the first of the 5 Series|
- "A Message from Frank Butler, President of Catalina Yachts". catalinayachts.com. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
- Mitchell, Steve (January–February 2001). "Catalina Yachts: One big family". Good Old Boat magazine: Volume 4, Number 1. Retrieved 2007-04-24.
- "The History of the Victory Fleet". mbyc.org. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- Spurr, Daniel (February 2004). Heart of Glass. McGraw-Hill. pp. 244–250. ISBN 978-0-07-143546-8.
- "Join the Catalina family". ays.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- "History". catalina38.org. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- Evolving the Revolution, by Kimball Livingston, Sail Magazine, August 2004 pages 54 – 57
- Catalina Yachts: One big family, by Steve Mitchell, Good Old Boat magazine: Volume 4, Number 1, January/February 2001.
- Heart of GLASS, Fiberglass Boats and The Men Who Made Them, by Daniel Spurr, McGraw Hill, 2000 pages 244–250
- Catalina Keeps 'Em Coming Boat Us Weekly, September 2008, by Jill Culora
- Catalina Timeline
- Catalina Yachts Site
- Sail Magazine Article
- Catalina 30 Hall of Fame
- Catalina 320 International Association
- Catalina 34 International Association
- Catalina 36 International Association
- Catalina 42 International Association, now over 1000 hulls
- Capri/Catalina 14 National Association