Changes are afoot at Catalina Yachts, America’s largest sailboat builder. Longtime designer and company executive Gerry Douglas has announced that after 45 years with the company, he plans to retire in 2021.
Douglas’ work over the years includes more than 40 designs and the construction of some 60,000 boats built by Catalina in both the California and Florida manufacturing facilities.
Douglas said he will be on hand to finish several ongoing projects, and that a future management team is being assembled. Company founder and owner, Frank Butler, passed away in November.
“I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to do what I love every working day of my life,” said Douglas in a release issued by Catalina this week. “But what is most important to me are the relationships I’ve enjoyed with marine industry colleagues, as well as passionate Catalina owners throughout the world.”
The Catalina announcement continues:
“Douglas says a few of the high points of his career include his first boat designed in 1982, the Catalina 36, of which 2,305 were built.
“Most recently, the Catalina 545, now the flagship of the Catalina fleet, was the overall winner of the 2020 Industry Boat of the Year Award for Cruising World magazine.
“Bookended by those two designs, Douglas delivered the 445 and the 425. Over the course of his long career, his designs won more than 13 Boat of the Year awards, and multiple Best Boat awards from Sail Magazine.
“Gerry Douglas will always be appreciative to the late Frank Butler, founder of Catalina Yachts, for giving him the chance to pursue a long and fulfilling career in yacht design and manufacturing.
“His retirement plans include continuing his work on the Public Arts Commission, yacht club committees, cycling, sailing, racing, cruising and spending time in Florida and at his cottage on the coast of Maine.”