Join Date: May 2002
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Re: Catalina 22 - How well do they sail?
They sail pretty good. The fin keel version sails better than the swing keel version, except for dead downwind. The fin will point higher and make less leeway. Not nearly as easy to trailer, but you can't have everything. Keep in mind that the boat really can't be sailed in winds much above 15 knots or so. Its been a few years since I've sailed on one, but I recall that even with a reef in the main, the boat will become overpowered and round up in winds like that. That being said, they handle as well if not better than most of their competition. They are the single most successful production sailboat ever made (in terms of numbers built), so Catalina must have done something very right. Lots available on the market, so you can afford to shop around and find one in good condition with a trailer. Even if you never use the trailer, it will make it easier for you to sell the boat later. Active owner's association, and good support from Catalina.
Your friend should also check out the Oday line of trailer sailers that was Catalina's main competition back in the 70's and 80's. The Oday 22, 222 and 23 are all comparable in quality and value to their Catalina counterparts. I think that the Odays were superior designs. The centerboards on the Odays just better: no cranks or cables needed, just a single pendent line into the cockpit. No need to crank the swing keel fully up or down to know where it is; you can just see from the Oday's pendent line how far down your board is deployed. And on the Odays, the ballast is encapsulated in a fixed stub keel, not hanging off the boat on the swing centerboard like the Catalina. The Oday ballast is protected and will never rattle, swing or break off. And the biggest advantage from the Admiral's point of view: the head on the Oday is behind a real door in the cabin, not out in the open like on the Catalina. Never underestimate the value placed on this feature by the ladies. When we owned our Catalina 22, my wife hated that you had to close up the hatchboards to use the head.
That being said, the things I would look for in a C22 swing keel version (in my order of importance): sound hull without blisters (never a big problem with the C22, but some years were worse than others), a deck without delamination (check around the mast step, the forward hatch and the chainplates), a reliable outboard, a smoothly functioning swing keel (including the crank mechanism), good sails, roadworthy trailer.
You can't go wrong with a C22 in good shape.