When Catalina’s in-house designer, Gerry Douglas, sat down to create his company’s latest offering, considering potential owners, he knew precisely who he was aiming for and what he hoped to deliver them.
“This is a weekender, daysailer and club racer designed to be a fun and affordable first boat for a ‘Gen X’ sailor or a young family, or a comfortable, stylish and easy-to-sail boat for experienced sailors retiring from a bigger boat,” he wrote.
In the opinion of our judging panel, Douglas took aim at that rather broad target and then struck the bull’s-eye. And they rewarded him by naming the Catalina 275 Sport the Best Pocket Cruiser for 2014.
“This is a builder that has a lot of experience, listens to its customers very carefully, does a great job analyzing their perceived needs, and then goes the extra mile to address those requirements,” said Ed Sherman.
“We sailed this boat in light air, but had zero trouble getting it to track perfectly,” he added. “It’s a fine weekender. The cockpit is uncluttered. The model we sailed had an enclosed head, an inboard diesel and a nice little galley. There were bags for luggage that doubled as seat backs inside the cabin, which were very clever. And it had a beautiful set of sails. It’s a complete package.”
“The interior design is sort of like the Honda Element,” said Mark Schrader. “It was designed so you could put any amount of stuff you wanted to in there, like surfboards and paddleboards, and when you were all done you could just hose it out if you wanted to. I thought that was just terrific.
“I think targeting the downsizing demographic is smart,” he added. “I could see an older sailor moving down and being very comfortable. But I can also see younger sailors really getting into this boat. If you had young kids and wanted to take them out for a weekend, they’ve got room to play but on a nice, safe platform.”
“Unlike some of the other boats, Gerry based his design on how people actually behave,” concluded Tim Murphy, “instead of creating a product that demands people to behave differently.”
View more photos of the Catalina 275 Sport here