There's a lot to admire in Catalina's new 445, and it's little wonder it won both SAIL's Best Boats and Cruising World's Boat of the Year competitions at the Annapolis show last fall. What I like best is the so-called utility cabin in the aft port quarter. I have often bemoaned the current accommodations status quo, wherein aft cabins are invariably equipped with double berths, and have longed to see more useful layouts with twin over-and-under single berths that can be used by kids. Catalina's Gerry Douglas must have heard me moaning, because the 445's port aft cabin is exactly what any modern cruising boat really needs, IMHO. It truly is a Swiss army knife of a space. It can be quickly converted from a guest cabin, with either a full double berth or over-and-under singles, to a storage/utility space with a dedicated work bench. Even better, the overhead gull-wing cockpit seat hatch opens directly into the stateroom, providing super ventilation (which is very rare in aft cabins) and full access to the cabin's interior from above.
The 445 is in fact a forest of clever ideas, as I learned at Annapolis when Gerry walked me through the boat. A less than comprehensive list includes: carefully designed galley storage spaces with special bins and drawers for canned goods, bottles, and cookware; under-settee storage than can be accessed without lifting cushions; a laptop well in the nav desk, which is still large enough to hold a Chartkit; a dedicated filter locker for easy engine maintenance; a very well-designed freshwater manifold; retracting lifelines for the aft pulpit gate; an AC inverter installation designed to help heat and dry the bilge... and, oh yeah… a motorized elevating bed-head for the master double berth forward.
I haven't yet sailed a 445, but on paper it looks like it should be a sweet ride. Unlike some contemporary designers, Gerry restrains himself when it comes to adding beam to a hull, so Catalinas on the whole sail well in the first place. In the 445 he seems to have taken things up a notch. The standard Selden furling rig features an in-mast mainsail with vertical battens (a conventional slab-reefed sail is available as well), plus there's a nifty removable bowsprit that locks onto the anchor roller to help get the tack of an A-sail or Code Zero way outboard of the bow pulpit. To further promote the use of modern easy-to-handle downwind sails, the rig is 15/16ths fractional, so an A-sail on the masthead spin halyard can be easily jibed, with enough space up top to accommodate a snuffer without crowding the headsail furling gear. The sail plan is generously sized, and the hull is reasonably light, as it is cored with balsa from the waterline up.
The boat also looks good! With relatively low freeboard and svelte lines it looks quite modern, but not at all weird. This may not seem so obvious when you look at a simple profile drawing, but in person the boat is indeed very attractive.
Draft: 4'10" (shoal, standard); 6'11" (deep, optional)
Displacement (shoal/ deep): 23,500/24,300 lbs.
Ballast (shoal/deep): 7,200/8,000 lbs.
Sail area (100% foretriangle): 856 sq.ft.
Fuel/water/waste: 66/182/54 gal.
D/L ratio: 187
SA/D ratio: 16.7
Power: Yanmar 50hp diesel
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