Catalina Morgan 440: A Cruiser for Boomers
Space, comfort, and smart ergonomics make the Catalina Morgan 440 a viable alternative to terra firma-based retirement
The meticulous attention to ergonomic detail is most apparent at the companionway entry. Three wide, scalloped steps covered in nonskid extend down to the cabin sole at a gentle angle. A banister borders the steps, and handholds run forward in the saloon at well-planned intervals.
More Than a Cabin
The clear benefits of a raised deck saloon are the brightness, the visibility, and the enormous space created below the sole for machinery, tankage, and stowage. Changes in the cabin sole's level in the 440's saloon are made in small and equal increments, minimizing the tripping hazard.
To starboard is a spacious yet secure U-shaped galley. A front- and top-loading fridge/ freezer runs on AC or DC power. Large, 10-inch-deep double sinks, a three-burner stove, and plenty of counter space make this a viable work center. A garbage can is neatly molded under a flip-up companionway step.
The saloon lounge comes with an overstuffed sofa to port. The central seat folds down into a cocktail/game table, and with the flip of a lever, the outer two seats slide out to become full recliners with headrests. The dining table seats six for meals but swivels and folds down to a smaller size for cocktails. It also drops, with the help of an electric motor, to be converted into a double berth. For social occasions, a small nav station with a sliding and swiveling chair adds to the seating capacity.
The island double berth forward in the owner's cabin offers easy access from both sides, and the spring mattress will soothe aching bones. Under the berth, an enormous stowage drawer runs on ball bearings for easy opening when heavily loaded. Both a small vanity with mirror and chair and a cedar-lined hanging locker sit to port, and a private head/shower lies to starboard. The head is large and well laid out, with a polished stainless-steel sink, a medicine chest, and Corian counter tops. However, all four judges had safety concerns regarding the sharp corners of the folding glass shower doors.
The aft cabin has a split double mattress that allows lee cloths to be fitted when real sea berths are required. An escape hatch opens into the cockpit and provides good ventilation.
Access to the aft head/shower on the port side is gained either from the main saloon or the aft cabin. To starboard aft lies a work/laundry room that can be converted into a quarter berth, should the grandchildren invade.
The height of the raised deck saloon precludes the use of dorade vents, but five Lewmar Ocean Series hatches with shades and screens should provide sufficient ventilation for coastal cruising. Passagemakers may wish to fit low-profile solar ventilators.
Value and Vision
I discovered some inconsistencies in the quality of the joinery work, but overall, I found the interior to be big, bright, and well designed. A massive floorboard on gas springs lifts for unequalled access to an orderly bilge with a proper collection sump. The tankage is generous, with 176 gallons of water, 117 gallons of fuel, and 55 gallons for waste. Equally generous was the electric-power supply on the tested boat, which had a bank of two 8D deep-cycle house batteries, a separate starting battery, 115-volt/50-amp shore power and adapter, an 8-kilowatt Fischer Panda genset, and a Heart 2500 inverter.
The easily accessible 75-horsepower Yanmar auxiliary diesel drove the boat with power to spare. It handled well in tight turns and backed nimbly. Despite the light winds during our test, all judges agreed that the boat was manageable and responsive; it generally outperformed our expectations.
Ultimately, value is determined through a combination of original cost, reliability, and customer service. Catalina, like other companies in the boatbuilding industry, employs new materials and construction techniques that improve durability and reduce maintenance costs. Also, Catalina has long been considered a leader in customer service and support.
In summary, the Catalina Morgan was voted the Best Production Cruiser from 40 to 45 Feet because it's an interesting and appropriate choice for sailors looking for a roomy, comfortable, and affordable cruising boat. And especially for the more mature crowd, whose members are increasingly challenged by the physical demands of sailing, the 440 offers a host of features specifically designed to keep them sailing longer. And that's a very good thing.
BOTY judge and seasoned cruising veteran Alvah Simon is plotting his next bluewater adventure.
CATALINA MORGAN 440
LOA 44' 4" (13.51 m.)
LWL 39' 9" (12.12 m.)
Beam 14' 0" (4.27 m.)
Draft (wing/fin keel) 4' 11"/5' 4" (1.50/1.62 m.)
Sail Area (100%) 931 sq. ft. (86.5 sq. m.)
Ballast (wing/fin) 8,600/8,072 lb. (3,909/3,670 kg.)
Displacement 25,500 lb. (11,591 kg.)
Ballast/D (wing/fin) .37/.35
Water 176 gal. (667 l.)
Fuel 117 gal. (443 l.)
Mast Height 62' 4" (19.00 m.)
Engine 75-hp. Yanmar diesel
Designer Gerry Douglas/Catalina
Yachts Design Team