Catalina 445 Cruising World Review

December 1, 2009

Catalina 445: A Boat That’s Ready to Romp

This Ocean Series offering takes a step in a new direction with a design that hints at performance and an interior that’s all about creature comforts. A boat review from Cruising World’s November 2009 issue by Mark Pillsbury

Cruising World - Catalina 445 ReviewBilly Black
The Catalina 445 has plenty of deck space to enjoy the ride.

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 After spending the last few seasons replacing tried-and-true models in the Catalina line, designer Gerry Douglas headed in an entirely new direction when he sat down to draw the lines for the new Catalina 445, a twin-helm, sporty-looking sailboat that will claim a place of its own in the company’s Ocean Series, between the 440 and 470.

I say sporty because the 445 is a bit narrower (with a beam of 13 feet 7 inches) than its Catalina cousins, and the cabin top has a low profile and is sleek, tapering off to meet the foredeck ahead of the Seldén slightly fractional (at 19/20ths) mast. And hull number one, the boat I test-sailed on San Francisco Bay, was fitted out with a removable bowsprit that let us power up in the uncharacteristically light-air conditions with a code zero headsail. When the wind picked up late in the afternoon, we easily furled the A sail on its flexible furler, set the 135-percent working genoa, and reached along the city’s waterfront and out toward the Golden Gate Bridge.

In breezes that ranged from single digits to the high teens, the boat moved along quite well. Like other recent Catalinas, the 445 has the sail area it needs when the waves are still ripples. With a breeze in the 10-knot range, we made about 5.5 knots over the ground and tacked through angles that hinted at the 445?s P.H.R.F. racing potential. When the breeze builds, the roller-furling main with vertical battens and the genoa can be reduced accordingly, though I found that even in the late-day gusts, the 445 stood up well to its full sail plan.

Douglas, in fact, designed his latest cruising boat with the occasional racer or performance-interested skipper in mind. The laminate schedule used to lay up the hull-solid glass to the waterline, and balsa-cored above and in the deck-was beefed up, and longitudinal aluminum stiffeners were added halfway up each side of the hull to create a structure that would be up to the demands of offshore racing-or bluewater voyaging.

Catalina is a company that listens to its customers, and Douglas says that the message he heard from owners was that most couples who want a 40-something footer don’t often need three cabins but could use more storage. Forward, the owner’s roomy stateroom features a queen-size bed-the bed’s forward end can be tilted up with an electric motor for reading-and its own head and shower.

Aft, to starboard, is a second large cabin, this one fit out with a diagonally situated double. This cabin shares its head and shower with the saloon. Both fore and aft heads connect to gravity-drain holding tanks with a combined 54 gallons of capacity. Located on opposite sides of the boat, both face inward, ensuring that there’ll be a place to go on either tack.

Aft and to port of the companionway is a smaller cabin that can be set up to meet an owner’s needs at the time: as a sleeping quarter for friends or kids or, with the berth folded up, a storage space or workshop. Access to this cabin is through a door aft of the galley and also from above, through the cockpit settee.

The L-shaped galley sports a three-burner propane stove and oven, Isotherm refrigeration, and a number of amenities that a cook will appreciate, including storage for a set of Calphalon pots, an idea that Douglas’ wife came up with to prevent rattling.

Teak laminates and solid teak trim are found throughout. In the saloon, a portside U-shaped couch surrounds a table that can be lowered to create another double berth. Opposite, chairs sit to either side of a small table that can also be lowered to form a berth or settee. Just aft is the nav station, with room for paper charts and a dedicated place to set a laptop.

Comfortable as the interior was, on the day we went sailing I spent most of my time topside, enjoying the ride. There’s ample room at the twin wheels for the helmsman to get comfortable, and visibility as far as sails and telltales are concerned is excellent. On the boat we sailed, the optional wood cockpit tabletop added a bit of flare to the easy-to-maintain fiberglass topside, and the built-in cooler beneath it will be welcomed on a hot day. All sail-control lines lead aft from the mast to winches near the companionway, as they do on all Catalinas. My one gripe is that the mainsheet leads there, too, meaning that you have to leave the wheel to trim it. That said, with an autopilot and easy-to-negotiate cockpit, the job is doable.

The 445 is powered by a 54-horsepower Yanmar and a conventional shaft and prop. Leaving the dock and while under way, the boat responded quickly under power, and noise levels below seemed within reason. Engine access is excellent, thanks to an engine box that can be moved out of the way, and I liked they way the filters were grouped together in a small closet.

The 445 comes with either a fin or a wing keel, both made of lead, which isn’t always the norm on a price-conscious production boat. Fitted out in the fashion of hull number one, the new 445 carries a price tag of about $315,000; the base price is about $30,000 less for a boat delivered to the East Coast.

Because our test sail doubled as a photo shoot for the just-launched boat, I got to spend a lot more time sailing the 445 than I normally would. I found lots of comfortable places to while away the afternoon and appreciated the boat’s ability to handle changing conditions of wind and sea state. Simply put, as a sometimes racer or an all-the-time cruiser, the new boat from Catalina is one that you’ll enjoy spending time aboard. And that’s the whole idea, isn’t it?

Catalina 445 Review

New 5 Series Brands Next Generation of Catalina Sailing Yachts

LARGO, FL (March 13, 2012) – Catalina’s new designs, coined the Catalina 5 Series, is the new generation of Catalinas, a deliberate move to brand the line to a higher level of performance, finish, engineering achievement and sophistication. There are currently four models in the Catalina 5 Series, the Catalina 445, 385, 355 and 315 – cruising yachts that are designed and built in the United States with custom features not found on many of the world’s sailboats. The move created mass appeal in the global sailing marketplace.

“When the first two yachts in the 5 Series, the 445 and 355 won awards, we knew that we had designed not just two new models in the line, but a whole new line of yachts with award-winning features that represent Catalina’s next generation of fresh, contemporary yachts,” reported Gerry Douglas, vice-president and chief designer for Catalina.

In the new 5 Series, there is a bold emphasis on strength; a five-part construction with a dedicated structural grid insures ruggedly-built boats that stand up to the test of time. Design features unique to Catalinas are a watertight StrikeZone™ collision bulkhead forward; DeepDefense™ rudder system for failsafe steering, and a T-Beam MastStep™ structure, with all the benefits of a deck-stepped mast and the strength of a keel-stepped mast. The SecureSocket™ mast support/chainplate system facilitates perfect load resolution and watertight integrity. Knitted fabrics create a stronger laminate without additional weight. Catalina’s trademark lead keels absorb impact for safety and require less maintenance than other materials.

“When we bought our boat, we found that we got more boat for the money than any of the other manufacturers we looked at,” reported Alan Valliere of Coventry, Rhode Island, who, along with his wife, Glenda Aronhalt, bought a 5 Series boat, the Catalina 385. “The more we looked, the more we liked it. Solidly built, smartly designed and functional, but with the rich, traditional style. Every time we looked at it, we found one more little detail that we thought made sense, from the deck layout, storage areas, mechanical and electrical systems and layout, to the large roomy cockpit, big enough for me to sleep in during overnight sails. We were impressed with how solid and strong the boat feels when walking around, as well as details like the metal doorframes and solid wood interior,” he said.

On deck, low profile cabin designs have a sleek appearance and low windage, and a durable diamond non-skid pattern adds the element of safety. Ergonomically correct cockpits are optimized for efficiency, with great visibility from the helm. Internal flange hull-to-deck joints are capped with slotted toe rails, and wide deck designs allow effortless movement forward. Oversized travelers and winches ease sail handling in all conditions.

All Catalinas larger than 30 feet are built to robust standards—rated CE category A Ocean, NMMA Yacht Certified, and follow all applicable American Boat and Yacht Council Standards.

Catalina’s philosophy is straightforward: Design boats that stand up to real world conditions and sail well. They must be comfortable above and below, easy to maintain and hold their value. A commitment to owner satisfaction has enhanced customer confidence and loyalty, so that Catalina has become one of the most prominent builders of sailboats in the United States and the world.

Since 1969, the Catalina Yachts team dedicated themselves to building boats using traditional craftsmanship in modern manufacturing facilities using state-of-the-art technology. With a history of boat building now spanning nearly five decades, Catalina has manufactured some 75,000 vessels. Until 1984, everything was done in Woodland Hills, California when they acquired Morgan Yachts in Largo, Florida.

Every Catalina model is built in Florida now, a consolidation that’s been in the works for some time. In fact, all new Catalinas designed and built in the past ten years were built in Florida. Have a read of our “About” page and “Construction” page for more information on this award winning brand.