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.
Catalina Yachts' founder Frank Butler's initial intent was not to produce and sell boats, but rather to have one built. In 1961, Butler took over the production of his own boat when his original boat builder ran out of funds and borrowed money from Butler; the builder was not able to repay the debt. Instead he 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 Catalina Morgan 440 introduced in 2004. The other Morgan models including the Catalina designed M381 and M45 center cockpit models were recently retired.
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 became Chief Engineer and V.P in 1982 and has designed all the boats in the line since then, starting with the Catalina 36. Wesco Marine is currently held as a separate entity which provides rigging hardware to Catalina Yachts. In 1998 Gerry Douglas and Sharon Day were made partners in this privately owned company; however, Frank Butler remains active to this day.
Catalina has two production facilities; one in Largo Florida, the former home of Morgan Yachts (merged with Catalina), and one in Woodland Hills California, where the company is headquartered. Catalina's classic approach of putting the deck on before the components go in is still followed in the California factory, but 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. Most of the older designs are produced in California and the majority of the more recent offerings are produced in Florida. As a side effect, the C42 (42 foot) is less expensive in California than the smaller C400 (40 foot) due to shipping costs.
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 and other forms of camaraderie. In return Catalina makes sacrifices in the ability to compete with cutting edge styles and trends. 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 large cabin interior and storage they provide.
There seems to be a design trend developing since the early 1990's as evidenced by the C320, C350, C380 (series), C400, and C470 boats. These boats are taller and carry their beams (width) further back in the hull, than the classic Catalina designs such as the C30, an American Sailboat Hall of Fame inductee, C34 and C36. All seemed to be influenced by the M381, Catalina's first redesign of a Morgan boat, the classic Morgan 38 and its variants. The most recent designs are the Catalina Morgan 440 which seems to be addressing Hunter's deck salon competition, and the C309 which updates the aging C30; the C309 shares a hull with the C310, but has a C30 style interior and is the first prodcution Catalina model with a fractional rig.
|Model name||Notes||PHRF handicap|
|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 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||168|
|Catalina 350||Introduced in 2002||132|
|Calalina 36||Introduced in 1982 and retired in 2007||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.||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 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||102|
|Catalina 42||Introduced in 1989, adapated from a Nelson Merek racing hull||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|