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.
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.
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.
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.