Catalina 275 Sport
Designer Gerry Douglas describes the new Catalina 275 Sport as the sort of boat Gen-Xers are looking for when graduating up from barebones raceboats—something that, in Douglas’s words, “will race mid-week, but comfortably cruise on the weekends.” Smaller, simpler boats are finding a significant audience these days, and the 275 (part of Catalina’s “Five” series with an increased emphasis on performance) is definitely a player.
Our test sail on the glassy waters of the Chesapeake took place in a variable breeze rarely gusting to 8 knots, but it doesn’t take much to move the Catalina 275 Sport. We slipped along at 5.5 knots sailing at a 45-degree apparent wind angle and still carried 4 knots after falling off onto a broad reach. The hull is U-shaped down to the fin keel and becomes more full aft. Although we didn’t have a chance to test it on anything other than flat water, Douglas says the shape makes the boat less likely to pound to weather in a choppy seaway.
The 275 Sport carries a single-spreader 15/16ths Seldén rig with a deck-stepped mast. Below the waterline is a standard 4ft 5in keel and spade rudder. A shallower 3ft 5in keel is also available. The mainsail has slab reefing and the self-tacking 90 percent headsail sheets to a traveler mounted athwartships on the cuddy. As we bore away, Douglas got out a Doyle APC spinnaker on a top-down furler and launched it from the boat’s retractable bowsprit. The sail couldn’t have been easier to set or control, and we glided easily downwind.
As with all Catalinas, the cockpit is well designed and in this case includes an open transom with an integrated ladder for easy access to the water. The mainsheet traveler includes a clever set of cup holders that, as Douglas puts it with a smile, can be swivelled into either racing or cruising modes.
Down below the boat is loaded with smart details that will make cruising a breeze. To starboard is a compact galley, including a sink with a manual water pump, a pull-out drawer that holds an Igloo cooler, and a one-burner butane stove. To port is an enclosed head with a Jabsco manual toilet and sink.
Forward are two 6ft 5in berths that double as seats around a drop-down table. Aft is a second berth long enough to store a stand-up paddleboard. The interior finish is white with maple trim accented with LED lighting at night. Unique zippered storage bags are mounted on tracks along the hull sides. These can be packed with clothing and necessities at home and then slide easily into place upon coming aboard.
According to Douglas, his goal with the 275 Sport was to create a cross between a J/80 and an Alerion 28—a boat that can be raced with five friends or cruised by a couple. Whether you’re trading up from a simpler boat, or down from a more complicated one, the Catalina 275 has a lot to offer, and will likely appeal to many of those looking for ease, comfort and a lot of fun afloat.
Photo courtesy of Billy Black/Catalina