Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Here is my take on the Catalina 22. During the oil crisises of the 1970's a lot of people who would have bought small, trailerable power boats bought small trailerable sail boats. I worked for a company selling small trailerables. My job consisted of commissioning and repairing these small trailerables of this era. I also went out on their first sail with new buyers to walk through rigging procedures, first sails which were a mix of sailtrial and instruction on the use of these boats. On my own, I sometimes also taught some of these new buyers to sail their new pride and joy outside of my regular job.
The sheer profusion of new trailerables hitting the market was overwelming, and each attempted to incorporate more features for less money than the next. What was not included in these features was reasonable build quality or safe sailing capabilities. For the most part the small trailerable boats of this era were very poorly built and pretty dangerous to sail if you were caught in building conditions. Simple safety features like reefing or a keel lock down were almost unheard of in the stock boats.
The Catalina 22 was introduced in that period. Compared to most of the trailerables of that era, it had a little better build quality, a reasonable layout, some nicely thought through details, and sailed pretty well, well enough that they could be raced either under handicap or one-design, a real rarety for a trailerable of that era, with the Morgan 22 and San Juan 21 being the only other exceptions that I can think of. There were also some higher quality little boats like the Ranger 23 or Oday 22 and 23, but these were mostly keel boats and not easily trailerable.
Beyond that, the purchase price was extremely competitive, certainly not the cheapest, but close.
Boats like the Venture 21 and the Catalina 22 were pretty much everywhere in those days and the sheer production volumes allowed the Catalinas and the Ventures to eventually come down in price a little making them even more competative as other builders began to raise their prices as resin got more expensive.
Unlike the Ventures, which were just plain junk, the Catalina was a decent little boat so that dispite its faults, it retained its popularity after the rush to trailerables began to slow. Today you still find a fair number of Catalina 22's of this era in use. For example you see very few of the Coastal Recreation boats or the Aquarius, Clippers, Reinells and so on still out there.
So whatever their faults, they were better than most of that era, and more common that most, they got a lot of folks into sailing, and ultimately probably are remembered more fondly than perhaps they should be but that's how memory is.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay
Last edited by Jeff_H; 08-23-2010 at 08:00 AM.