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Why I Like Catalina Yachts

by Kent Little, Certified Professional Yacht Broker

From the earliest days of selling yachts (circa 1983), I have been selling Catalina Yachts. One of the very first brokerage sales I had was a late 70’s Catalina 25 and the fact that you can still find Catalina Yachts of this vintage still selling today is a testament to their thoughtfulness of design as well as their rugged construction.

I have personally owned 3 Catalina 30’s, 2 Catalina 320’s, 1 Catalina 36 and 1 Catalina 380. I have personally sold more Catalina 25’s, 27’s and 30’s over the past 27+ years than I can recall. I have sold or been involved in transactions as the listing agent more than a dozen times of each model from the Catalina 320’ up to the Catalina 50’ (built in the early 90’s).

In the case of the newest models when they debuted, I have been one of the few brokers who has sold multiple introductory models of the 470, the 42MKII (centerline queen forward layout), the 400, the 400MKII, the 380, the 387 the 350, the 350MKII, the 320MKII, the 310, the 309 and most recently I sold both hull #7 and #20 of the latest and greatest Catalina 445.

I might even dare to say because I was privy to some of the early design stages of a few of the models, that I had a little bit of some personal input into a few of the design features of the boats.

So to say, I’m a Catalina Expert is not an understatement as to how well I know the product line.

What I can also tell you is these boats are as well built as anything out there short of a semi custom or custom boat. Now a 1985 Catalina 30 is nowhere near as well built as a 2010 Catalina 309 just in regards to differences in fiberglass, resins, materials and design work, but there are still plenty of mid 1980s Catalina 30s floating around that are still in great shape, and they will probably last another 20 years. In fact to the intro sailor looking for that first “big” boat on an under $30K budget, I will always point them towards a mid 80s Catalina 30.

Materials and construction techniques have changed. What we were concerned with 20 years ago about how hull to deck joints were done is nearly a mute point on a new boat where by now the bolts holding the joint together are just there to till the polymer caulking glues can dry and that is what is really holding the joint together on a new boat. On most new boats you could take the bolts out and the hull to deck joint is not going to come apart.

So seriously, a new Catalina Yacht when completed is nearly a one piece boat with everything from the hull to deck joint to the bulkheads all being glued into place with interior liners the boat nearly becomes impossible to come apart. Besides Catalina’s own Hall of Fame site where by folks who have done significant offshore trips (some circumnavigating) on Catalina Yachts, I have had my owner customers who have done significant offshore voyages. One of the first hulls of the Catalina 400 I sold the owner put over 15,000 miles on her!

Add to that that the finish is top notch. The interior of a Catalina is real teak with nearly cabinet, door edge, table and fiddles being solid teak. Only the bulkheads and door facings are laminated teak wood as they are in every boat from Catalina to a Hinckley.

Catalina puts more in the boat as standard. Larger winches, mainsheet travelers, windlass, larger diesels, all add to more value. And Catalina puts more things into the boat that you don’t readily see. Things like zinc savers on the shore power systems and built in invertor chargers to run options like flat panel TVs makes the boat have more value for the money and also helps with future resale.

Then add to the fact that Catalina Yachts models are historically larger than most other manufacturers boats by several feet and you are getting even more boat for your money. The Catalina 30 is still after 6000+ built the largest 30’ ever made. The Catalina 350 and the new 355 was the size of most other builders 37’s, the new 375 is the size of most other builders 40’s and the Catalina 445 like most others 46-47’s and only a 50 footer in another brand would come close to the volume of the 470.

And one of the best features I really like is Catalina Yachts is really a family owned business and it’s run like a family business. The owner, Frank Butler, treats every person like family and he treats every boat owner no matter if they bought the boat new or used like family. I’ve personally seen him leave a dinner table to take a call from a client to discuss the keel bolts on his 1980 Catalina 27. Who offers that level or service? Frank, in his 80s, still handles nearly every warranty claim personally.

Whether you own a Catalina Yacht now and wish to sell or you're interested in buying a NEW or USED Catalina, my team and I at Little Yacht Sales welcome your calls and inquiries about any Catalina Yachts. We co-broker with every broker nationally and can represent you on any boat purchase no matter the location. Just call us first and let us do the work and research for you.

Kent Little, CPYB

1983-2011 Celebrating Over 28 Years of Professional Yacht Sales
Florida Licensed Broker Since 1993 #1815


Little Yacht Sales

Little Yacht Sales
800 Mariners Drive Pier 6/7
Waterford Harbor Marina
Kemah, TX 77565, United States
Toll-free 877-426-6740
Tel 281-334-6500
Fax (866) 748-5490
Email Us

Texas Power Yachts
2551 South Shore Blvd. (Pier 13)
South Shore Harbor Marina
League City, TX 77573, United States
Toll-free 866-456-5121
Tel 281-334-2863
Fax 866-748-5490
Email Us


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