Catalina Yachts

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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 .[1] Catalina Yachts is one of the largest boat manufacturers in the world, with over 60,000 boats manufactured to date.[2] 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.


In 1961, Catalina Yachts founder Frank Butler (b. January 17, 1928) 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.[3] Butler later gained full control of the company, renaming it Wesco Marine and later Coronado Yachts.[4] 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.[3] Butler remained with Whitaker for only one year then left due to disagreements with management.[5]

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 deck-salon style CatalinaMorgan 440 introduced in 2004. The other Morgan models, including the Catalina designed M381 and M45 center cockpit, were recently retired.

Catalina Yachts today[edit]

Gerry Douglas, vice president, chief engineer and yacht designer for Catalina Yachts.
The Catalina 310, a Gerry Douglas design that won Cruising World Magazine’s Pocket Cruiser Boat of the Year in 1999

Catalina Yachts is one of the largest boat manufacturers in the world, with over 60,000 boats manufactured to date.[2] 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.[3]

Gerry Douglas, a principal in the company, became Chief Engineer and Vice President in the late 1970s and has designed and engineered every boat in the line since that time.

Today Catalina has one production facility, in Largo, Florida, overseen by Gerry Douglas. This manufacturing facility is the former Morgan plant, and 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, CA, 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, but generally making small changes from year to year. This policy has encouraged the development of active owners' associations which promote "one design" racing, Catalina Rendezvous meetups throughout the country, and other forms of owner engagement. 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.[3]

Cruising World "Boat of the Year" winners

Catalina Models[edit]

Model name Notes PHRF handicap
Catalina 14.2 Derived from Catalina's Omega 14; introduced in 1983, Mod 2 in 1990, Mod 3 in 1996[6]
Catalina EXPO 14.2
Catalina 16.5 Introduced in 1994 as the Capri 16.5[7]
Catalina Capri 18 Introduced in 1985 as Capri 18, name changed to Catalina 18 for 2000 model. Only Catalina cabin model with full positive flotation.
Catalina 22 The first and longest running model[3] 267(FK), 270(SK), 273(WK)
Catalina 25 Introduced in 1978 222
Catalina 250 Successor to the 25, introduced in 1995 198
Catalina Capri 26 Introduced in 1990
Catalina Capri 22 Introduced in 1984
Catalina 27 Introduced in 1971 204
Catalina 270 Introduced in 1992 204
Catalina 28 Introduced in 1992, updated version MKII in 1995 192
Catalina 30 Introduced in 1972, discontinued in 2008[3] 177
Catalina 309 Introduced in 2006 to replace the Catalina 30, shares hull with C310. Unknown
Catalina 310 Introduced in 1999. 300
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, the 350mkII was introduced in 2007 and was 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 ( and the Long Beach Sailing Foundation (
Catalina 375 Introduced in 2008 as a replacement for the Catalina 36. The C375 has a broader beam by 8 inches, it is 1.33 feet shorter in length (over all) and a has longer water line 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 [8] 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. The C385 replaced the C387 and is almost a foot shorter in overall length and 9 inches wider in the beam than the C387, but has a similar weight to the C36 and C375. N/A
Catalina 387 introduced in Jan 2003 and stopped production in 2009 after 151 C387's were built. . The 387 is a modified 380, which replaced the C380 and C390 boats. The 387 is a superior cruising and performance boat, but production was stopped in 2009 due to the down turn in the economy in 2008. The C387 was eventually replaced with the C385 which was cheaper to build and was considered a new design. 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, more than 1,000 built; production 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 105
Catalina 425 Introduced in 2016, incorporates all of Catalina’s hallmark features.[9] Unknown

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Message from Frank Butler, President of Catalina Yachts". Archived from the original on 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  2. ^ a b "Join the Catalina family". Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Mitchell, Steve (January–February 2001). "Catalina Yachts: One big family". Good Old Boat magazine: Volume 4, Number 1. Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2007-04-24.
  4. ^ "The History of the Victory Fleet". Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  5. ^ Spurr, Daniel (February 2004). Heart of Glass. McGraw-Hill. pp. 244–250. ISBN 978-0-07-143546-8.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Browning, Randy (2017). "Catalina 16.5 sailboat specifications and details". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  8. ^ "History". Archived from the original on 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
  9. ^ "Luxurious Travel Sources". 2015-11-30. Archived from the original on 2015-12-08.


  • 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

External links[edit]