Catalina Yachts is a US-based builder of fibreglass monohull sailboats that range in size from eight to 54 feet.
It was founded in 1969 by a Californian called Frank Butler and has gone on to become one of the largest American manufactures of yachts – building over 80,000 boats since it started.
Frank joined the Navy and started on his journey of different engineering roles before starting a business called Wesco Tools. Frank’s love for engineering saw him become a key supplier within the aerospace industry – often supplying designs and engineering help when he visited his customer’s factories.
To relax, Frank took up sailing and learnt to sail dinghies – and it is this decision that would change the path for the rest of his life. He decided to buy a bigger boat so that he could take all his family sailing together. His first boat was a Victory 21, but unfortunately the builder ran out of money during the build. When Frank arrived to pick up his boat on the allotted day, neither his boat nor the builder was to be found.
Frank managed to contact the builder and agreed to loan him some money to finish the build. However, the builder was unable to repay the debt and instead gave Frank the tooling to complete building the boat. Frank ended up taking over the company and renamed it Wesco Marine which later became Coronado Yachts.
Catalina Yacht – Victory 21
The Victory 21 and the Super Satellite were two of the first models to be manufactured by Coronado. In 1964, the Coronado 25 was built, and this had a unique one-piece interior – meaning it was much stronger and lighter than previous models – but also cheaper to build.
By 1969 the Coronado 27 and a 30-foot model were added to the range and the business was soon being eyed up by one of its larger competitors. In 1969 the business was acquired by Whittaker Corporation (who had recently bought Columbia Yachts) with a clause for Frank to stay with the company for at least a year.
Once the year was up, Frank decided to set out on his own again and created Catalina Yachts.
Franks new venture went from strength to strength. The first model he built was a 22-foot yacht based on a design that had been rejected by Columbia. By 1977, the Catalina factory had added three more models – the Catalina 25, the Catalina 27, and the Catalina 30. The Catalina 22 and Catalina 30 were both such successful models that they were both inducted into the Sail America American Sailboat Hall of Fame in 1995 and 2001.
By 1978 the Catalina brand had added a further model, the Catalina 38 based on moulds for a Sparkman & Stephens racing design that Frank purchased from the bankrupt Yankee Yacht Company. Frank’s design team took the moulds and redesigned the interior, giving the yacht a new “Catalina deck”, a taller mast, a shorter boom and moved the rudder.
Morgan Yachts added to the Catalina stable
In 1984, Morgan Yachts was acquired by Catalina and they introduced the Catalina Morgan 440 in 2004 and other models the Catalina M381 and the M45.
Today Catalina Yachts employs more than 700 people building boats in three locations, two in California and one in Florida. The brand has produced more than 80,000 yachts, but still operates with the same ethos that Frank set out when the business was started.
Catalina commitment to customers
His goal wasn’t to become the largest yacht builder in the USA, but very much to build boats that are good value to their customers. His philosophy has always been to not reinvent the wheel each time – which is why new models are not released on an annual basis like some other manufacturers. This obviously helps gives the range continuity and ensures that the brand is not just chasing the latest trending style within the yacht sector.
Frank has always been proud of the number of repeat Catalina customers and the brand has always been committed to maintaining high levels of customer service. In fact, the stories are legendary among Catalina owners. If a Catalina owner was to call the factory about a warranty item, then the chances were high that they would end up speaking with Frank himself.
The Catalina designs have won more than 13 Boat of the Year awards, and multiple Best Boat awards from Sail Magazine.
Catalina Yacht Models
The Catalina Yacht range is split into three key categories
- 12.5 EXPO
- 14.2 EXPO
- 22 SPORT
- 22 CAPRI
- 275 SPORT
Catalina 315 video
- 425 – Boat of the Year – Cruising World 2017
Catalina 425 video
Drag Reducing Propellers for Catalina Yachts
Darglow have supplied drag reducing props for many of the models in the Catalina yacht range. We keep an expanding database of technical information on many of our installations along with feedback from our customers.
Check our full list of Catalina Yachts we have supplied propellers to here.
Rope Cutters for Catalina Yachts
We have supplied rope cutters for various boats in the Catalina Yacht range. We keep a database of technical information on many of our installations along with feedback from our customers.
Check our full list of Catalina Yachts we have supplied rope cutters for here.
Visit the Catalina Yachts website