One of the most popular sailboats in the country and definitely one of the more frequently seen models around the Marina is the Catalina 30.
On any given weekend, it would be nearly impossible not to see one go by at some point during the day.
The reason for the model’s success has to do with its livability, construction and affordability. These boats have long been recognized as solid mid-sized family cruisers that a middle-class salary could afford.
The Cat 30 originally debuted in 1974 and since then 6,453 have been built, making it Catalina Yacht’s second most popular boat, behind the 22-foot Day-sailer.
The Catalina 30 design hardly changed through the decades, but in recent years the longstanding popularity of the 30 waned and the company focused on producing and promoting other models in a similar size range.
And although these other designs are solid boats, it became clear to Catalina’s brass that the market missed the Catalina 30 and it should be produced again.
“We had enough people wanting us to bring the 30 back with some updated changes on it,” said Catalina Yachts national sales manager Sharon Day. “So we decided to create something totally new.”
Last weekend, the Woodland Hills company debuted the Catalina 309, which re-creates the overall feel of the classic Catalina 30 with many modern improvements.
One of the biggest selling features of the 30 had always been the ingenious use of space down below.
They have always been regarded as one of the most spacious and comfortable mid-size sailboats on the market and the 309 is even more commodious.
Along with the Cat 30’s traditional large interior, the new boat has a Selden furling main, an improved hull shape, fractional rig and a superior steering pedestal designed exclusively for the 309.
“We’ve worked with our vendors and they, too, were quite excited about bringing something new out — something a little bit more innovative — and I think we’ve made some good changes,” said Day.
The fourth hull ever built is now sitting in the lot of Catalina Yacht Anchorage on Bali Way and the sales staff is excited about the new addition.
“It’s a lot of boat for the buck,” said local salesman Cameron McIntyre. “It really fills the gap. “It’s a great boat for first-time sailors or something for people who want to move up from a smaller boat to one that has real boat systems like diesel engine, pressurized water, real marine head, etc.”
The boat also fills a price range gap for something in the Catalina stable that comes in at around $100,000.
The 309s have gone back to the roots that made the Catalina 30 so popular.
It’s a safe, roomy, comfortable boat that still has respectable performance attributes, and is relatively affordable.
“Everybody that has come to look at it has been really impressed,” said McIntyre. “People respond to the size of the cockpit, the interior layout and all the new modern amenities that it has.”