Marotta Yachts of Sausalito
100 Bay Street
Sausalito, California, US, 94965
Catalina SLOOP - main image

1988 Catalina Sloop

location icon Sausalito, California
Year 1988
Length 34 ft
Builder/Manufacturer Catalina

The Catalina 34, launched in 1986 and still being built, is one of Catalina's most popular boats--she is well designed and constructed, and offers the space of a typical 36-38 footer at a very affordable price. As noted on the Catalina 34 International Association website, "The Catalina 34 has established an enviable reputation as a fast, stiff, and sturdily built cruising yacht. A great performer with commodious accommodations for cruisers, the C34 is designed for coastal cruising--but that hasn't stopped several C34s from crossing oceans."

This particular never cruised or chartered example shows VERY nicely, much newer than her actual age; she's fitted with the standard rig with a wing keel. Note new dodger, very low hours on Universal diesel (only 480!) that was just serviced, bottom recently painted (February 2021), sails in very good condition, grab rails rebedded, new cabin windows, varnish just done. The current owner looked at about two dozen boats before finding this one--and best of all the he reports there are NO LEAKS at the end of the rainiest winter in over 100 years!

Also, note she's lying in a potentially transferable Sausalito Yacht Harbor slip; there's a long wait to get into the marina here so this is a material benefit if you're able to take advantage...



Year Built 1988
Category Sail
Length Overall 34'6 ft
Beam 11'9 ft
Construction Fiberglass
Hull ID CTY05591788
Keel Winged Keel
Min Draft 4'6 ft
Engines 1
Total Engine Power 25 hp
Cruising Speed 6.9 mph
Maximum Speed 8.63 mph
Fuel Tank Cap. 25 gal
Water Tank Cap. 77 gal
Ballast 5000 lb
Displacement 11,950 lb
Bridge Clearance 49'7 ft

Engine 1 Specifications

Make: Universal
Model: 25XP
Fuel: Diesel
Engine Power: 25hp
Propeller Type: 3 BladeBronze
Engine Location: Center
Year: 1988
Engine Hours: 485
Accommodations and Layout

Large V-berth forward with hanging locker and large overhead hatch (which doubles as a substantial skylight). Aft to main salon with "U"-shaped dinette to starboard which converts to double berth; straight settee opposite. Aft of dinette is "L"-shaped galley to starboard and navigation station and head opposite to port. 6'4 headroom, teak and holly cabin sole, interior very clean.

Galley and Head

Comfortable and functional "L"-shaped galley with hot and cold pressure water, twin deep stainless steel sinks, Hillerange two burner propane stove with oven, Norcold refrigerator system. Raritan electric head toilet, shower with sump.

Electronics and Navigation Equipment

Raymarine a67 chartplotter with depth sounder, Standard-Horizon VHF radio, Ritchie Powerdamp compass mounted on Edson binnacle. Bluetouth stereo amplifier.

Electrical System

110V AV / 12V DC. 30 amp shore power service, starting battery and house battery in separate banks with selector switch and Guest 10 amp battery charger.

Sails and Rigging

Single spreader aluminum keel stepped mast with 1x19 stainless steel shrouds, dacron mainsail on aluminum boom, #110 jib, #130 Genoa on Profurl roller furer, two Lewmar #46 self-tailing winches, three Lewmar #30 self-tailing, two Lewmar # 30 standard. 

Mechanical Equipment and Engine Details

Low time on well maintained Universal freshwater cooled three cylinder diesel engine. Wheel cable and quadrant steering via Edson binnacle with stainless steel destroyer wheel, easily accessed emergency tiller.

Deck and Hull

One piece white fiberglass hull, balsa cored decks with molded-in non skid and an engineered sub-sole structural system with stainless steel tie rods, molded structural hull liner and stainless steel truss at the mast step to provide additional strength. Balanced spade rudder with horizontal skeg between the rudder and keel. Stainless steel bow and stern pulpits, stainless steel stanchions with double lifelines, stainless steel swim ladder, substantial dodger with grab rails, dodger canvas and isinglass look new. Comfortable cockpit with deep lazarettes, teak folding table with drink holders. Cockpit cushions, canvas covers for mainsail, winches, brightwork etc, canvas in excellent condition. 

Owner's Comments (unedited from the C34 Owner's Website)
The Catalina 34 International Owner's Association polled owners as to what advice they'd give prospective buyers; here are their responses:

Subj: Buying a C 34? See what other owners have to say!

The C34 is a very forgiving sailing boat. One can make some pretty stupid (dangerous) mistakes when sailing; the C34 almost never punishes. The C34 is beamy. I have close-hauled her in 12 ft broaching seas and the C34 sails like this is normal. When I first bought her, I was new to sailing in heavy seas/weather conditions, yet was living in an area where 10+ ft seas & 15+ kt winds was called a light day. Being old & a slow learner, I probably would have sunk a lesser vessel.

She's durable. You can sail the #*&!$ out of a C34, & with the proper maintenance and care, 12 years or 3 owners later, (whichever comes first) you'll still be able to sail the #*&!$ out of a C34. Great platform. Meaning change a few things & she's almost a pure racer. OR change a few things & she's the floating RV/tug/tow/hotel/support vehicle/house/home.

Parts are never a problem. Old or new. NEVER. Also, there's NOTHING on a C34 that can't be fixed. NOTHING. Does anyone know of a C34 that's been scuttled intentionally??

But of all these things, the greatest asset the C34 has - WITHOUT A DOUBT - is the incredible resource this community of C34 owners provides. Got a question about your boat?? Just ask the list, it'll get answered. How valuable is that? Or does everybody have a mechanic/tactician/sail master for a friend. Has anyone on this list ever "NOT" had his or her question answered??

This positive list offered here is in chronological order of importance.When I first bought a boat, the quality at the top of the list was really the most important to me. Years later, it's the asset at the bottom that would make me really think long and hard (and then justifying) buying any other boat in the whole world, lottery winner or not.

Subj: Buying a C 34? See what other owners have to say!

1. All systems, including engine, wiring, piping and hoses, are accessible. 2. Great access to engine & stuffing box. 3. Helpful, friendly owner's group willing to share knowledge and information. 4. Best boating website on the planet. 5. Sails great. 6. Best value for size/cost ratio. 7. Still in production, company still in business, all parts available. 8. Retains resale value. 9. Easy to singlehand, yet spacious for large crew and entertaining. 10. Safe and sturdy.

Subj: Buying a C 34? See what other owners have to say!

I guess for many of us the Catalina 34 sold itself. I know the first time I saw the boat, the features the deck layout and the cockpit I could only mutter how much. We tend to dwell on the few minor problems because we are all believers. If you need to be SOLD on the 34 than you probably are not looking for the features of a cruising coastal sailboat that the 34 offers.

Subj: Buying a C 34? See what other owners have to say!

A used C34 can be had for a price in the $50,000-$70,000 range depending on age and condition. Condition seems to be a little more important than age. The interior of the boat is very roomy. It doesn't feel as small as some other cruising boats.

The engine is quite excellently accessible. You can go in/out the hatch in the v-berth if you remember to unlock it when getting under way. On some boats, there is no hatch there or it is too small to climb through. It's useful if you're working on the engine and have the stairs out. I figure it would be highly useful if you have an engine or galley fire and need to get out.

The head is right next to the companionway. The boat only has one head, saving valuable space that is wasted in a lot of newer designs. [ Or... there is only one head, so when it breaks you are SOL... :)

It works well powering in reverse, e.g. for backing into a slip. It's not that hard to single-hand, at least in moderate or good conditions. Relatively little exterior teak means not much teak maintenance to do.

Subj: Buying a C 34? See what other owners have to say!

I like your positive points concept. Here is what convinced me to go with a 2000 Catalina 34 Mk II as opposed to something else I couldn't afford.

Low cabin: Gives her clean lines and allows the boom to sit lower for a better sail plan. Good visibility forward from the cockpit. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but, damn, there are some ugly, ugly fiberglass boats out there. The C34 looks low, sleek and businesslike. Still has 6'3" headroom, more in spots (I'm 6'3").

Wide decks: Easy to go forward and with good handholds. Even with all the lines led aft there is still a need to go forward, usually carrying something, for anchoring, docking or spinnaker sets. Nice big anchor locker (with electric winch). No teak to weather, crack, need finishing or otherwise spoil a weekend.

Solid rigging: Very well suited to coastal cruising and inland seas. Quality components throughout. Double lowers make it easier for two people and a crane operator to step the mast. Better equipped running rigging (in my humble opinion) than Hunters or Beneteaux of similar length and with much better sail controllability.

Conventional Interior: No wasted areas for gimmicks or special-interest features. Simple but useful. Very good ventilation and natural lighting. Not the wood cave of some designers. Excellent interior handholds in the galley and going forward through the cabin. Surprisingly lacking in some other modern designs. Very important in beamy boats.

Realistic Capacities: 1400 Marine Cranking Amps with 400 minutes of reserve in the two size 8 stock house batteries. Room for a third starting battery. 25 gallons of diesel. 59 gallons of freshwater. 18 gallons holding tank. Perfect for a couple to disappear for two weeks at a time. Not too much to get old and stale for weekend only use.

Rear head: Great for rain/spray soaked clientele and a handy place to hang foulies without involving the entire cabin.

Metal stringer and ribs: Molded into the sub sole are stainless steel tie rods and a stainless steel truss to support the mast and keel. I feel much more comfortable with the thought of metal ribs and stringers, though mostly vestigial, in the event of a grounding or collision. They add a tremendous amount of strength and spread forces out over a larger area (and therefore are better absorbed).

Good performance: Not a racer, but for a full feature cruiser she moves right nice. Good ratios when compared to boats costing twice as much, or more.

4'3" Draft: Wing keels aren't for everyone, but that much draft keeps a lot of areas open to me.

Value: Mass produced fit and finish, but she fills the needs of those of us who didn't buy 5,000 shares of Microsoft in 1982.

Subj: Buying a C 34? See what other owners have to say!

Charlie, You forgot one more... a huge cockpit !! I can actually walk around the cockpit without worrying about stepping on other people's toes.

Subj: Buying a C 34? See what other owners have to say!

Ask any dealer if he would like to have more used C34's to sell. Look at the listings, considering how many have been made, few are on the market. On any of the berths and in the cockpit, one can lean back against a bulkhead, sitting up, and can read or relax stretched out. I've chartered a lot of boats in the same size range and often the cockpit is really uncomfortable for sitting back against the bulkhead and reading while at anchor. Ditto for the v-berths.

Subj: Buying a C 34? See what other owners have to say!

We bought Air Goddess in 1994 and it was our first boat. We were comparing the C34 to a Tartan 34 and a Sabre 34 - all were the same vintage and in equally good condition. The C34 was $50K, the Tartan was $65K and the Sabre was $80K. Even to my untutored eye the Tartan and the Sabre were superior boats from the point of view of fit and finish - the question became was superior fit and finish worth all that extra money. Our brokers advice was that the C34 would be a "lot of boat for the money" and would hold its resale value at least as well as the other two.

We took his advice and find that, 6 years later, we could probably sell Air Goddess for more than we paid for it and do so very quickly if needed. I don't know how the Tartan and the Sabre have fared in the used boat market but I could not be happier with what has transpired with the Catalina. Plus we have enjoyed the ownership experience - what more could we ask???

Subj: Buying a C 34? See what other owners have to say!

Without a doubt Frank Butler (Catalina) gives you the biggest bang for your buck and has probably put more people in sailboats than any other single person. I think one of his and Gerry Douglas' triumphs has been the Catalina 34. They produced more than 1000 hulls in less than 4 years! That tells you right off that it was a hot seller and one of the first American produced sailboats with an aft head. I've had friends come aboard ours and seeing the interior exclaim, "This is cavernous." I personally have looked at many different boats and have found that to duplicate the room below in a C34 you have to look at something in the 38' and larger by other builders. Both the V-berth and aft cabin berth are larger than most. In fact, when we made fitted sheets, we had to start out with king size sheets. After 12 years of being in every nook and cranny, there is no wasted space on the C34.

The engine access is better than most other boats of its size and access to the packing gland is outstanding. Heavy rigging, a large anchor well, a cockpit that will sleep 2 six footers, the wide decking outside the shrouds allows ease of movement fore and aft, and it is easy for 1 person and a pleasure for 2 people to handle.

The ancillary equipment such as hoses, water pump, plumbing and light fixtures, etc. are all top of the line made by known manufacturers. That's truly important when you are looking for spare parts. The factory technical support, Parts Department and C34 International Owners' Organization are all outstanding. I don't believe any other sailboat owner can get that kind of support.

It's not a lightweight boat in that it has a plywood rather than a balsa core. That makes it a stiffer and more resilient hull. These boats maintain their value and as soon as a well maintained used C34 comes on the market it is sold. Although the model has changed over the years it is still in production attesting to its popularity.

My executor has instructions to keep me at the wheel in a grave that's 34' long, 12' wide and 52' deep.

Subj: Buying a C 34? See what other owners have to say!

Top Ten Reasons I Love My Catalina 34

10. On occasion my wife lets me steer. 9. She's thrifty on fuel [the boat, not Liz] 8. There's lot's of places for the things I buy but will probably not use in this lifetime. 7. She's easy to get onto and not fall off of. 6. Had I bought the Hunter [Well, we'll leave that to the imagination] 5. When I leave my store and say "I'm going down to 'work' on the boat" I don't really mean it. 4. I bought my last boat first. 3. She sails flawlessly, now if only I could. 2. As we age, she gets easier to work on and I get more difficult. 1. Did I mention I get to steer.

Subj: Buying a C 34? See what other owners have to say!

Here are some of the reason why we bought a Catalina 34 Mk II:

Cool looks - It looks like a sailboat with its smooth lines. No ugly bumps for a main cabin. Perfect Size - Right size for the cost for a family of 5. Mom, Dad, & the kids have enough room. Back Shower - Really cool to rinse off after diving a reef in Florida. Transom - Best way for a family to swim off the boat. Head Room - Can stand in the main cabin and not bend over. Very important after learning to sail on a 18' Cat boat that had no head room. Galley - Wife liked it being fully equipped and ready to go. Ventilation - Lots of good ventilation on the boat with the hatches open. No Teak on Deck - No extra maintenance chores to do on deck. Large Cockpit - Have yet to feel cramped in it. Walkways - Plenty of room to move on deck Ease to Sail - A husband and wife team can sail with no problems.

Ease to Maneuver - A husband and wife team can dock, back it in, with a 2 knot cross tidal current and not through the engine in reverse. Correct placement and understanding with a gentle pull moves us in now with out the strain on the throttle or shit handle. It is slow but not a strain. Ease to get to Things - Lots of room to do special things to the boat. Best Organization - C34 Org provides plenty of advise to both new and old owners. Even have an overabundance of engineers to debate the best way to do things or interpret the data :^).

Subj: Buying a C 34? See what other owners have to say!

Our first year with 1459, delivered in April '99, was very upbeat. The boat sails very well on all points and makes hull speed at about 22 degrees heel ... reefed or not. We traveled to Mackinaw City from the Detroit area, cruised out of that port to Lake Michigan and Upper channel, and back to Detroit; roughly 1200 miles all in a span of 6 weeks. Great boat ... it performed to all expectations.

Subj: Buying a C 34? See what other owners have to say!

Being in the market for a new boat and being very open minded about what to get, we looked at practically every boat at the Newport boat show. Near the end of a long day and after having looked at about 40 boats, we found no one boat turned us on. Then we looked at the Catalina's. We were tired from all the comparing. But after a quick scan of a C34, my wife and I looked at each other and smiled silently. And the boat was sold. Here was a case of truly shopping from what was available and the C34 sold itself. For us it was the perfect combination of size, space, amenities, and the price didn't detract either. Under sail the boat has lived up to the many praises I heard or read of its sailing ability, handling and overall comfort. We are most pleased with our choice.

Article on Catalina from Professional Boatbuilder magazine
For anyone who still subscribes to the misconception that there’s no market for new sailboats, a visit to Catalina’s Woodland Hills plant in the Los Angeles area would be an eye-opener. The enormous factory building, originally set up to fabricate Saturn rocket engines for the Apollo moon flight program, consistently runs at full capacity—three shifts a day. At any given time there are approximately 60 cruising sailboats ranging in length from 27’ to 42’, making their way down the assembly lines in the main production area. Add another half-dozen hulls still in the molds—bearing in mind, too, that Catalina also operates a second, sizable facility in Florida (the Morgan plant in Largo)—and it becomes absolutely obvious that folks out there somewhere are buying new sailboats in serious numbers.

That “somewhere” for Catalina is primarily in North America, although the company also has a growing volume of sales throughout Europe and the Pacific Rim. Southern California—particularly San Diego and Los Angeles—represents Catalina’s traditional home market and still generates a substantial share of total sales. Although this firm does not disclose its sale figures, Catalina is generally considered to be the country’s largest sailboat manufacturer.

Catalina Yachts has remained under the close control of its founder, Frank Butler, for nearly a quarter century—no restructuring, no public stock issues. This fact alone makes the company a relative rarity in the boatbuilding industry, especially the notoriously volatile sailing sector.

“A small company with lots of employees,” is how Gerry Douglas, vice president and chief engineer at Catalina, sums up the overall structure of the firm. In effect, just three people—Butler, Douglas, and sales manager Sharon Day—“run” Catalina, whose work force averages around 350 people. Douglas and Day have teamed with Butler for over20 years and continue to play critical roles in the company’s development.

For such a lean management style to function successfully, Catlina’s officers must spend a great deal of time on the shop floor. Company meetings are held periodically to discuss policy, but informal conferences with key employees are day-to-day events. “The input of the people who are hands-on is always the most valuable,” Douglas explins, “and by and large, ours is a pretty free exchange.”

Historically, privately owned boatbuilding companies have tended to stay in business longer than those controlled by distant boards of directors. Clearly an intimate knowledge of boating, boatbuilding, and the many idiosyncrasies of the marine industry are prerequisites for success in this field. All the same, few privately owned production firms have managed to keep their doors open as long as Catalina, and even fewer have garnered anything approaching the market share that Catalina currently enjoys. But, there’s more to the Catalina story than micro-management and private ownership.

The Production Line

Catalina offers few surprises in its construction techniques. The typical boat begins in conventional female molds with an isophthalic gelcoat and skin coat. Decks are generally cored with balsa and plywood, while hulls consist of a single-skin lamination of conventional roving and mat. More and more, however, knitted biaxials are being used for reducing panel weights and for local reinforcement, particularly in the performance-oriented Capri models as well as the Catalina “contemporary” series (C-250, C-270, C-320, and C-400).

A molded hull liner, or pan, defines the interior layout and helps stiffen the hull; a comparable overhead liner finishes the underside of the deck molding. In may models, the hull liner incorporates aluminum angles in way of the chainplates, and these, as well as the sprayed urethane icebox insulation, are installed before the liner is secured to the hull.

Liners are bonded into place while the respective hull and deck parts are still in the mold, by using a large number of metal weights strategically positioned to provide suitable clamping pressure. Vacuum-bagging is inappropriate for this application because substantial clamping forces are needed in contact areas, but none where the parts are separated by air spaces.

Meeting Southern California’s stringent air quality standards—currently the nation’s toughest—has created special challenges for the laminating department at Catalina. Styrene-suppressed resins are now the norm, requiring extra care to ensure reliable secondary bonds. Dibasic ester (DBE) has been substituted for acetone as the primary cleaning solvent, and 160’-tall high-velocity exhaust stacks propel fumes to an altitude of around 500’ to better disperse residual odors. In addition, although the plant as a whole runs 24 hours per day, gelcoat spraying and laminating are restricted to night hours. This is primarily an exercise in good neighbor relations—averting complaints from office workers in adjoining buildings—since volatile organics are held within legal limits.

At Catalina, hulls and decks link up quite early in the production sequence, often before engines, systems, and most wooden components have been installed. A corollary of this approach is that interior components must be designed to fit through the companionway. Not surprisingly, the companionway on most models is unusually large, a popular feature among owners in the mild California climate.

Unlike many other builders in the production sailboat field, Catalina favors the shoe-box type hull-to-deck joint for a majority of models up to 42’ in length and, despite occasional criticism from competitors, reports excellent long-term success with it. A strip of plywood sandwiched between the upper margins of the hull molding and hull liner serves as a sheer clamp to stiffen the joint area and to “hold” fastenings. The vertical overlap area is bonded with polyester putty and mechanically fastened using a combination of through-bolts and self-tapping screws. The largest boats in the product line have a more conventional horizontal flange joint, through-bolted and sealed with polysulfide.

Keels are external lead/antimony castings, held in place by embedded stainless bolts. Spade rudders with mechanical wheel sterring are common to almost all Catalinas; most of the Capri models have tillers.

In-House Subcontracting

Modern cruising sailboats incorporate all the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems found in aboard comparable power boats, and quite a bit more besides. Consequently, the glass parts make p a significantly smaller proportion of the total package in terms of both labor and cost. In addition to woodworking and upholstery (routinely handled in-house by many production boatuilders), Catalina performs the majority of its keel casting, sparmaking, rigging, shipping cradle fabrication. Metalwork, sailmaking, and canvaswork. Complex manufactured components such as engines, winches, and pumps are obtained from vendors, but in product areas where major new capital investment is not involved, there’s often money to be saved by making these items in-house rather than “outsourcing” them. Besides, Gerry Douglas cites the benefits of assured supply lines and reports that when purchasing “from the outside,” Catalina routinely cultivates several alternative sources for each key item.

The company’s model sail loft builds primarily “plain vanilla” Dacron mains and jibs—the working sails needed to get out on the bay. In fact, the great majority of Catalina buyers are daysailors and coastal cruisers who use these sails as the backbone of their inventories. Even those with racing aspirations generally appreciate the factory sails for cruising and casual use. Similarly, the Catalina spar shop fabricates straightforward masthead rigs with swaged-terminal 1X19 wires. The more sophisticated, tapered masts seen on certain models, though, are purchased from outside sources.

Stainless steel pulpits, stanchions, and other deck fittings are fabricated at a separate but nearby facility. Dealers have been especially appreciative of the robust stainless frames supplied with Catalina’s factory-built dodgers, because they’re visibly superior to the lightweight aluminum frames prospective customers are accustomed to seeing. In this case, in-house sub-contracting provides a built-in sales advantage at minimal added cost.

Although most production builders cut their own plywood components and teak trim, Catalina has taken its woodworking a step further. In addition to a substantial woodshop in the factory itself, there’s a 30,000-sq-ft facility nearby where stock is processed and subassemblies prepared. Again, this provides opportunities for product differentiation. For example, cabin soles are plywood-based, but are faced with teak and holly approximately 1/8” thick. A salesman can readily point out the aesthetic and practical advantages of this construction, which contrasts well with the thin veneer floors used by many competitors.

Product Development

According to Douglas, whose multiple roles at Catalina include that of head designer, “It’s absolutely vital to build what the customer wants and not what you as an industry insider might want.” He points out that dramatic, leading-edge technology attracts media attention, but the average family sailor has a much more conservative perspective.

The starting point for each new design is a “wish-list notebook” in which Douglas records suggestions from boat owners. Butler, Day, and Douglas all spend a good deal of time attending owners’ meetings, and boat shows. Douglas calls it “anecdotal market research,” and despite the informality, it has obviously worked extremely well for Catalina. As a result of such input, the C-320, for example, features a cockpit locker large enough to accommodate bicycles.

As mentioned earlier, most Catalina boats have “old-fashioned” masthead rigs (rather than fractional rigs), because the masthead configuration allows a generous sail area with a low center of effort. The company’s design team believes this combination ensures respectable performance in key light-air markets such as Southern California, without making the boat too tender for an inexperienced sailor to enjoy on a breezy day.

With regard to styling, most Catalina products might be described as modern but staid: that is, they look the way the average sailor today expects a sailboat to look. Critics may say the designs are bland and unimaginative, but as Douglas notes, “It’s important that the boat should not seem silly in a couple of years.” Catalina’s so-called contemporary models incorporate such Eurostyle elements as wide sterns, enclosed aft cabins, and head compartments positioned amidships. Nevertheless, in terms of execution, these details are rather understated, a distinct contrast with many, perhaps a majority of Catalina’s competitors.

The abundance of used boats is widely regarded as a major stumbling block for the sailboat industry, but in some respects Catalina has found ways to turn the situation to its advantage. By producing durable boats, providing good product support, and promoting class activities such as one-design racing, the company has cultivated customer loyalty and enhanced used-boat resale values. The narrowed gap between new product and used craft encourages, to some extent, the sale of new Catalinas. More important, depreciation lower than the industry average is frequently cited by owners as an important influencing factor in their buying decisions. Some have “bought up through the ranks” and are now on their third or fourth Catalina.

In harmony with the principle of long-term product support, four “classic” Catalina models have received makeovers during the past three years. In each case, displacement, rig, and immersed hull form were left untouched, so the new boats could join existing fleets for casual one-design racing. On the other hand, the decks and cabintops were retooled for a cleaner, more modern look; and the topsides toward the stern were flared considerably to provide extra interior volume for a contemporary aft-cabin layout. Cockpits were reconfigured to provide more space, improved seating comfort, and through-transom boarding.

The first model to receive this treatment was the C-30, a boat which has now sold over 6,500 units. Encouraged by the revitalization sales of the C-30, Catalina subsequently modernized the C-36 for ’94, and the C-28 and C-42 in ’95. In each case, by extending the market life of a popular model, the builder has profited, partly through sales, but also indirectly by preserving the resale value of existing boats.

Although Catalina is in compliance with California’s air-quality regulations, Douglas is concerned that anti-pollution standards are a moving target. In his view, good past performance by area manufacturers and fabricators is encouraging even more rigorous regulations for the future. Last year the Woodland Hills plant discontinued offering factory-applied antifouling paint in an effort to further reduce VOCs.

The Florida plant, of course, operates in another jurisdiction, and might conceivably represent a form of manufacturing insurance in the environmental arena. Although Douglas denies this part of Catalina’s business plan, he remarks that “it’s better to have two of something.”

In broad terms, there are two distinctly different ways to approach the challenge of selling sailboats in the 90’s. The tack usually taken is to develop new, exciting designs that are different enough (and presumably superior) so that they will not compete directly with all those used boats.

Catalina takes the opposite tack. The company philosophy stresses continuity and constant, but gradual, product improvement. Existing models are rarely, and rather reluctantly, discontinued; even then, the company makes an effort to maintain support of these models by providing replacement parts and giving strong encouragement to class associations. This strategy works for Catalina thanks to long-fostered brand loyalty, along with an ability to manufacture dependable boats very economically, so the cost premium associated with buying new does not become too great an impediment to sales.

Although conservative alongshore sailors are its bread-and-butter buyers, Catalina enjoys the resources to explore market opportunities in other branches of the sport. One recent addition to the line, for example, is the C-250, a water-ballasted trailerable. Another, currently undergoing development and slated for introduction this summer, is the Capri 24, a high-performance sports boat with an asymmetrical spinnaker set from a retractable bowsprit. In each case, Catalina is moving fairly cautiously into a market area where other manufacturers have demonstrated that sales potential exists.

Since its beginnings in 1972, Catalina has grown from a small boatbuilder serving the local Southern California market to major manufacturer with worldwide dealings. Product exports have increased rapidly in the ‘90s thanks to strong foreign currencies and a growing reputation for good value. With dealerships in the United Kingdom, continental Europe, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and Puerto Rico generating sales, Catalina’s prospects for further penetration of overseas markets look bright.

By cultivating customer loyalty, mainstream appeal, and a moderately priced product that ages gracefully, Catalina Yachts has not merely survived, but succeeded. It’s no surprise therefore, that Douglas is upbeat about the future of recreational sailing. As he puts it, “We’re always guardedly optimistic. We hope for the best, but we’re not naïve enough to depend on it.” Homespun philosophy, perhaps, but a sentiment the marine industry as whole can take to heart.

Source: Sven Donaldson, Professional Boatbuilder, June/July 1995.

The Company offers the details of this vessel in good faith but cannot guarantee or warrant the accuracy of this information nor warrant the condition of the vessel. A buyer should instruct his agents, or his surveyors, to investigate such details as the buyer desires validated. This vessel is offered subject to prior sale, price change, or withdrawal without notice.