Catalina 425 Review (Preliminary)

At the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis this past October, Catalina Yachts staffers mentioned a new project, the Catalina 425, which would return Catalina to the three stateroom sailboat market.  On November 2, Catalina issued a press release announcing the Catalina 425 will be available in the spring of 2016.  The boat’s interior arrangement comes with three staterooms.

The Catalina 425 is a very attractive design, styled with modern lines yet remaining conservative in Catalina’s fashion.  The 425 has high topsides with little flare and large fixed rectangular portlights, a nearly plumb stem (purportedly raked aft only enough to keep anchors clear), a broader stern, and a clean deck profile.  The sheer line of the deck and flare of the topsides should make for a relatively dry ride.  Many sailors will appreciate that the hull has no chine as has been fashionable in sailboat design lately.

Although Catalina is calling the 425 one of their 5 Series boats, the 425’s topside and deck styling and port configuration are dramatically new and different.  The Catalina 425’s design may signal a welcome change in direction for Catalina’s 5 Series design aesthetics.

Below Deck

The Catalina 425 includes a substantial systems area between the aft staterooms, extending from the companionway nearly to the stern.  In addition to providing excellent engine and systems access, this space will provide more sound privacy for aft stateroom residents than is found in most modern production boats that have only a thin partition between aft staterooms.  Presuming Catalina continues to use traditional materials below decks on the 425 as they do with their other boats, these substantial materials will further add to aft stateroom privacy.

Catalina 425 Interior Layout
Catalina 425 Interior Layout

On Deck

The Catalina 425 deck is incredibly clean.  Side decks are unobstructed by shrouds, genoa tracks, or anything else.  The foredeck is a perfectly sized space for working with a foresail.  The Catalina 425 has a large hatch in the stern, which can be used like an inflatable dinghy garage.  There is a retractable swim platform.

The starboard cockpit bench converts to a double berth.  In the port cockpit bench is a “gull-wing” hatch that opens to the port aft stateroom, enabling this space to be easily used for a lazarette.

Hull and Keel

The Catalina 425 is designed with Catalina’s Strike Zone, a watertight crash locker, or collision bulkhead, in the bow.  Crash lockers are crucial safety features that are obvious but rarely included in production boats.  They are not expensive to produce and only take up the least valuable and infrequently used space below decks.  All cruising sailboats should have crash lockers in the bow, and if not provided by the manufacturer, should be retrofitted.

The Catalina 425 has a lead keel, which better absorbs the impact of grounding than less expensive keel metals found in most production sailboats.  The 425 also has an extensive  load bearing grid work in the bottom of the hull, which in addition to preventing hull flex, distributes keel loading and impact forces in the event of grounding.  A shoal draft keel and rudder will be offered.

Being a 5 Series boat, the Catalina 425 hull is laid up with Catalinas 5 Series system.

Rigging

Catalina 425 Hull, Keel, and Rigging Profile
Catalina 425 Hull, Keel, and Rigging Profile

The Catalina 425 has a deck-stepped mast that is well-supported by Catalina’s T-Beam MastStep, which effectively transfers the mast load to the keel.  The backstay is split, which of course eases boarding from the stern, and the spreaders are swept back.  Unlike older Catalina’s the 425 is a fractional rig.  Shrouds are inboard, mounted to the deck at the edge of the cabin house.

The mainsail is roached with vertically oriented battens.  The standard 100% jib is self-tacking on a traveler track mounted on the cabin house.  Genoa tracks are set farther aft, inboard along the base of the cabin house.  The genoa is tacked to the forward end of the anchor roller bow sprit.  The inboard shrouds and sheeting should allow the Catalina 425 to point well to windward.

Resources

Catalina 425 Press Release

Catalina 425 Brochure

Catalina 425 Sailing, Perspective View

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News from the Annapolis Sailboat Show 2015

More specifically, this is some news from the VIP day on Thursday, October 8, 2015.

Jeanneau 54 Foredeck Lounge
Jeanneau 54 Foredeck Lounge

Catalina Yachts says they are re-introducing a three stateroom option on their upcoming 425.  Catalina has not offered a three stateroom boat since the Catalina 42, although in the interim some buyers of new Catalina yachts have converted the “flex space” beneath the port cockpit seat into a third stateroom.

Jeanneau 64 Topside Deadlights
Jeanneau 64 Topside Deadlights and Cockpit Arch

Neel Trimarans brought a new 45 Custom Line, which had a new “owner’s layout”.  In this version, the starboard stateroom is converted into a very large head.  The port stateroom is larger because it does not have an ensuite head as in the original layout.

The French production builders drew much attention with their slew of new models and, as usual, excellent location at a central dock junction.

Jeanneau 64 Dinghy Garage and Swim Platform
Jeanneau 64 Dinghy Garage and Swim Platform

This year, Jeanneau refreshed nearly their entire line of Sun Odyssey boats.  Jeanneau displayed the new Sun Odysseys 389 and 519, Jeanneau Yachts new 54, new 64, and existing 57, which had some interior updates. Jeanneau also brought their existing Sun Odysseys 349, 439, and 44DS.

Jeanneau’s new boats are an evolution of the line being very similar to the boats each one replaces.  Jeanneau more or less added a foot to each of the existing boats, made the hull chine more distinct, and removed retractable keels as an option on the smaller boats.  However, the 519 has a centerline backstay, which is new compared to the split backstay like on Jeanneau’s other boats.

Lagoon 620 Spiral Companionway
Lagoon 620 Spiral Companionway To Bridge Deck

The Jeanneau 64 on display had a fiberglass cockpit arch.  Although this caused me to avoid the 64, I did learn that the arch is thankfully only an option.  While the 64’s topside port lights look garish in Jeanneau’s stock media photos, they look okay in person.

Lagoon brought their existing 620, which was available for viewing by appointment.  Appointments were not exclusive.  The boat is every bit as enormous as it appears in Lagoon’s stock media.  Lounging spaces are everywhere.  Ascending and descending the spiral companionway was not bad as anticipated.  The companionway space is tight with surrounding handholds on both sides.

Maverick 440 Catamaran
Maverick 440 Catamaran

Maverick Yachts introduced their new Maverick 440 catamaran, which looks like something from a James Bond movie.  The overall impression is an attractive modern look.

Fusion Catamarans had one of their kit boats on display.

Garcia brought their semi-custom 45i.  Not only is its aluminum hull impressive, but systems design is excellent, as well as fit and finish.

Southerly was notably absent.  They usually sail one of their customer’s boats from the other side of the pond.  The folks they have on board are always very knowledgeable and friendly.  Their boats are also unique in many ways, especially in that all models are blue water capable and have retractable swing keels.

Antares 45i Systems Room
Garcia/Allures 45i Systems Room

I hope that Southerly was not present because they couldn’t line up a customer’s boat for the event, were concerned about the weather during the crossing, had no new models to show off, or suspected that the French production builders would dominate attention with their slew of new models out this year (more on that in a moment).  I hope that Southerly is not withdrawing from the North American market due to limited demand.

Check back later for extensive photo galleries of the Jeanneau boats.

***UPDATE***

See the Jeanneau 57 photos here.

See the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 44DS photos here.

See the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 photos here.

Pusser's Painkiller #4
Gratuitous Pusser’s Painkiller Photo