9 Top Sailboats for 2013
The 2013 Boat of the Year awards represent a wide spectrum of winning designs. Meet this year's nine winners! Boat of the Year from our January 2013 issue.
Best Inshore Cruiser
+ Truly expansive accommodations and interior for a 31-footer, with a forward cabin that rivals the staterooms in some of the larger boats in the 40-foot range.
+ Outstanding value for the money: With a sailaway price tag of $145K, the Catalina 315 was the least expensive entry of the Inshore Cruiser contestants.
+ Tremendous attention to seemingly small items: real mattresses in the cabins, generous lifelines and cockpit benches, excellent engine access, and on and on.
Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that are noteworthy and memorable, and for BOTY judge Tim Murphy, that was certainly the case with many of the features on the Catalina 315, CW’s Best Inshore Cruiser for 2013. Take the boat’s forward stateroom.
“I think you’d consider this the prime cabin in the boat, and it’s better than the main cabin in many of the 40- and 44-footers that we’ve seen,” he said. “It’s a cabin in which two people can not only lie down comfortably but also sit up and read, with good light and with their backs against a solid bulkhead. That doesn’t happen in a shocking number of boats that are 10 or 15 feet bigger than this one. Then consider the full-on galley and the standing headroom throughout, and you realize this is a boat that’s really got all the comforts of home in a neat package.”
Judge Ed Sherman concurred: “The Catalina rose to the top of its class because of the creature comforts, and not just down below but also on deck and in the cockpit. This is just a great boat for a young couple, even one with a couple of kids. The quality of the systems installs is right there. It sailed pretty well. It’s just a good little coastal cruiser that has a lot going for it.”
“I’ll say this flat out—I admire Catalina designer Gerry Douglas because he has an approach that’s not just profit driven,” added Alvah Simon. “He has a sincere relationship with his customers, he takes a lot of pride in his boats, and I think he and his team just deliver a lot of bang for the buck.”
In many ways, the Catalina was a throwback to traditional values and conservative themes. There’s one helm station on the boat, not two. Douglas opted for a conventional shaft and strut for the auxiliary, rather than a saildrive, because he feels the setup is more reliable and less prone to potential warranty issues. “He wants to make sure any problems are minimized,” said Sherman. By taking care of those little things, Catalina maxed out a winner.