Catalina Yachts, in the present times, is one of the leading sailboats manufacturers in the U.S. To date, they have more than 60,000 boats manufactured, making them one of the largest manufacturers in the entire world. Since it came into existence in 1969, founder Frank Butler has built the company up with sheer dedication. And all of it started when someone else ran out of funds to build a boat.
In 1961, after failing to build up a boat for Frank due to insufficient funds, the builder handed all the material to Frank as a compensation. Frank eventually took over his company and renamed it to Wesco Marine, which soon enough turned in to Coronado Yachts. The Coronado 25 was the first boat ever to have a one-piece interior, which made it stronger, lighter, and less expensive than other boats. This was followed by the Coronado 27 and Coronado 30. After a few successful productions, Butler sold Coronado Yachts to Whittaker Corporation and parted ways after a year of partnership. This was in 1969, after which Butler built the Catalina 22, a 22-foot design model, under Catalina Yacht, which was its first model ever.
Frank moved the company from North Hollywood to Woodland Hills in 1974. This move turned out to be a game-changer, boosting up the sales for Catalina Yachts and creating a solid customer base. By then the Catalina 22 had become so popular that it received the title of “trailerable boat of the decade” by SAIL magazine. It was after that when the Catalina Mainsheet Magazine was first published, which quickly gained over 10,000 subscribers who were also proud owners of Catalina boats. The company kept expanding, acquiring Morgan Yachts in 1984 in Largo, Florida. This became the Morgan division of the company, which, along with other models, specializes in charter and cruising boats. Between 1991 and 1992, Catalina made significant advancements under Morgan’s name with the Procyon and Morgan 38. The Procyon was designed as a test boat for Olaf Harken and Procyon Inc., And the Morgan 38 was the first Catalina sailboat under Morgan’s name in a decade. With a location like Largo, Florida, Catalina Yachts was bound to skyrocket itself in terms of manufacturing and sales.
Today, Catalina Yachts manufactures everything from entry-level boats to full-sized yachts. The growth of the Largo plant has been such that all the Catalina sailboats are now manufactured there. At 275,000 square feet, it is one of the largest sailboat manufacturing plants in the entire U.S. It includes 8 buildings, spanning about 26.5 acres of land. Since approximately 70 percent of Catalina’s clients live east of the Rocky Mountains, having the plant on the east coast gives Catalina and advantage of serving both domestic and European customers, without them having to shelve out dollars on shipping and transportation charges.
Catalina sailboats are liked all over the country, and even worldwide, because of their design and efficiency. They are robust and are built to last. Being some of the best performing sailboats, the surprisingly require less maintenance, which is a big save for the owners. On top of that, they have a great resale value. Because of this, even used Catalina sailboats are always on demand.
Catalina Yachts, in its entire existence, has disrupted the sailboat market over and over again, and many of its models have won some major recognition.
The Catalina 22 is one of the best sailboats out there. It was built in 1969. Categorized as a small keelboat, it was built out of fiberglass and had a teakwood rim. It also had a self-bailing cockpit, which had under-seat cabinets and a transom-hung rudder, which was controlled by a tiller and a fixed fin keel. By the year 1980, it had sold 10,000 units, which increased up to 15,000 by 1990. This was for the original model before it was re-designed, and various new models were introduced. In 1995, the Catalina 22 Mark II was introduced. This model had a larger deck than the previous one and an upgraded interior. In the same year, it was named in the list of top five charter members to the Sailboat Hall of Fame. And in 2004, Catalina 22 Sport was introduced, which was explicitly built for one-design racing.
The Catalina 27 was the second model of Catalina Yachts which came into the market after the massive success of the Catalina 22. The C-27 was just as well-received as the 22. It was recognized as the largest class of keelboats worldwide. Eventually, it was replaced by a newer model, the Catalina 270, which instantaneously received the title of “Boat of The Year” by Cruising World magazine. Followed by this, the Catalina 30 was built, which in ten years sold a whopping 5000 units. They were being built in England and Canada as well.
In April 1996, Catalina introduced the 380 models. It was the result of requests made to the company by a lot of families and couples as well, who liked to sail. This 38-foot design was very well equipped. The fiberglass seats in the air-conditioned cockpit made a comfortable seating, with a table at the center. It also had refrigeration and freshwater facility. The 380 was received exceptionally well by the people, and just a year after its launch, it was recognized with the “Boat of The Year” award by Cruising World Magazine.
One of the recent models produced by Catalina was the 425, which was introduced in 2016. It was launched at the United States Sailboat Show in Annapolis, MD. The 1989 Catalina 42 saw a great success back in the day. Because of it, the demands for 42-foot cruising yachts increased tremendously, which gave birth to the new 425. It holds twin helms on the deck, and the main and jib sheets are lead up to the helm to ensure efficiency during short-handed sailing. It also has a starboard and convertible port aft cabins, which can easily be converted into storage cabinets. With a lot more features packed in, the 425 won the “Boat of The Year” award by Cruising World and the “Best Boat” award by SAIL magazine.
The latest in the line of production is the Catalina 545. This model was freshly introduced in October 2019, only a little over 6 months ago, and has already received the “Boat of The Year” award by Cruising World Magazine and the “Best Boat” award by SAIL magazine. Catalina Yachts has shown tremendous growth over the years. And even today, it continues to be a leader in the sailboat industry.