Sailing Magazine : The Beauty of Sail

 
BOATS Perry on Design

Catalina 375

July 2008

Family cruiser

Here’s the latest from my friends at Catalina. The new 375 will take the place of the Catalina 36. Starting 25 years ago, Catalina has built 2,305 36s, so we can consider that project a success by any criteria. To research the new 375, Catalina’s head designer Gerry Douglas put together a group that included Catalina 36 owners. The idea being to isolate the design elements that made the 36 successful and make the new boat everything the 36 was and more.

The hull form shows a fine entry coupled with plenty of beam aft. The L/B is 2.87, which indicates a beamy boat, but relatively speaking the 375 is slightly less beamy than the rest of the Catalina series. The research group determined that the freeboard of the boat should be similar to that of the 36, giving the new boat more classic proportions and avoiding the exaggerated high freeboard of many of today’s current production models. The ends are short but not snubbed off and there is enough rake to the bow to keep the anchor away from the stem. You can choose from two drafts. There is a fin keel that draws 6 feet, 10 inches, and a shoal-draft, winged keel that draws 4 feet, 8 inches. I find it very interesting that the deep-draft model draws this much. Draft works if you want a stiff boat that goes to weather, and the “standard” drafts of today probably average a foot deeper than standard drafts from 15 years ago. The spade rudder is large with about 12-percent balance area forward of the stock.

The standard rig includes an in-mast furling mainsail with vertical battens. The mast is stepped well forward in the 375 and this should result in a boat with a forgiving helm that allows you to sail overpowered without having to fight the wheel. However, with in-mast furling there is no reason to be overpowered. The SA/D is 17.14. This is enough to move you in the light stuff but not enough to scare you in 20 knots. Note that the headstay does not go to the masthead. People like to call this a 15/16ths rig. I think those fractional labels are silly but it is descriptive. Note also that Catalina is staying with inline spreaders and fore and aft lowers.

There are two layouts available. You can choose your main cabin layout but the rest of the boat stays the same. There is a lot of wide-open cabin sole in this boat and that was one of the features that the old 36 owners loved. So to get more cabin sole you push the settees as far outboard as possible. What you lose when you do this is locker volume above and outboard of the settees. A big expanse of cabin sole is attractive, but lockers, while not sexy, work. When was the last time you were on a boat with too many lockers? The head is large and features a generously sized shower stall.

The large cockpit of the 375 is pushed as far aft as possible and the line between what is cockpit and what is transom is not so distinct. The cockpit opens to the swim step. The cockpit seats are very long and this will be a great place for a nap if the seats are wide enough. To my eye they look narrow. I favor really deep cockpit seats. Note the princess seats built into the stern pulpit.

We can check back with Gerry in 25 years to see if the new 375 matches the sales of the old 36.

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Lockers
written by Bill Ferguson , December 26, 2011

I find these boats too large inside with much too little locker space.
Catalina says folks don't store things on their boats, but I like room for spare tools and engine parts, life jackets, flares, food, bedding, change of clothes, etc.

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The author of this article is Robert H. Perry.

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