Frank Butler and Gerry Douglas have teamed up again to bring us another new Catalina. At 50 feet, this new model is definitely the queen of the fleet. The target was obviously to combine comfort with good speed.

The Catalina 50.

The Catalina 50.

The first challenge for the designer approaching a layout for a yacht this size is determining how many staterooms are needed. Catalina solved this by offering two layouts, one with two staterooms and one with three. Both layouts start the same with a large double stateroom aft to port with adjoining head. The galley to starboard is spacious and well laid out with plenty of counter space. Forward of this, the layouts vary.

The three-stateroom model sneaks in a very small stateroom right at the mast. I can't tell what Catalina is doing with the main chainplate on the starboard side, but it looks like it could require some innovative engineering. Both versions feature a large forward double stateroom with a head in the bow, including an actual bathtub and dressing area. By keeping the freeboard up and adding a small cabintrunk, the cabin soles also rise up. I am impressed by the sheer amount of exposed sole on the drawings. There is plenty of space in both of these layouts.

On deck, the 50 has a large walk-through cockpit. Coamings are extremely wide and the companionway is notched into the cabintrunk. There are three hatches over the saloon and all the cabintrunk ports open. There is a shallow swim platform cut into the steep transom.

Looking at the interior plan drawing of the hull, it appears that the max beam is unusually far aft. The hull profile shows a canoe body with little rocker and a deep forefoot. The rudder is a partially balanced spade with a small skeg supporting the lower bearing. Two keels are offered. There is the standard draft model with 6-foot 7-inch draft and also a wing keel model drawing 5 feet 7 inches. There is very little spring to the sheer, and this results in a rather plain look to the boat. It doesn't take much to put a little kink in that batten and give the sheerline some life.

The sail plan indicates double spreaders with fore and aft lowers. The backstay chainplate is off center and mounted proudly on the transom. This creates an awkward look to my eye, but it is undoubtedly a cost-driven consideration aimed at freeing up access to the boarding ladder.

There is water tankage for 411 gallons and fuel tankage for 88 gallons. The standard engine is the Yanmar 4JH2-HTE giving 75 horsepower with a 3:1 reduction gear.

This is in all ways a big Catalina. In terms of style and layout, it follows the successful formula that Catalina has used many times in the past to produce high volume models.

Boat Specifications
LOA50' 5"
LWL44' 3"
Beam14' 9"
Draft: Fin6' 7"
Draft: Wing5' 7"
Displacement36,000 lbs.
Ballast13,250 lbs.
Sail Area1,108 sq. ft.
AuxiliaryYanmar 4JH2-HTE 75 hp
Fuel100 gal.
Water400 gal.


SAILINGlogo-115This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.