Catalina 387

To get yourself from any Southern California harbor to Catalina Island, you're typically going to set full sail in a moderate breeze. Half a day later you'll moor in a sunny lee where you will hang out and probably socialize boat-to-boat for a few days before reaching back home to your freeway connection.That's the classic Southern California cruise weekend, and a lot of the world cruises or
Author:
Updated:
Original:

To get yourself from any Southern California harbor to Catalina Island, you're typically going to set full sail in a moderate breeze. Half a day later you'll moor in a sunny lee where you will hang out and probably socialize boat-to-boat for a few days before reaching back home to your freeway connection.

That's the classic Southern California cruise weekend, and a lot of the world cruises or daysails in much the same way. A simply rigged boat with good sailing performance and lots of accommodations hits the sweet spot, and the new Catalina 387 puts high priority on the sweet spot. All the boat's tooling is new (except for the icebox), but not because this new design takes off on a tangent. It was simply time to bring out the next, tuned-up version of "what people tell us they want, tempered by our experience of what works," as chief designer Gerry Douglas puts it.

On Deck

The cockpit is the biggest I know of in a cruiser this size. The seats are 9 feet long, and I think you could seat 14 people on them or lounge half a dozen. Living in the cockpit is the best part of "being there," and this boat is on your side. Halyards, reefing lines, outhaul, and cunningham are led to the cockpit through a sheet-stopper console on the cabintop that is identical throughout the Catalina line; learn one and you've learned them all.

There are many intelligent touches. A built-in bracket on the transom will keep the dinghy motor secure and below your line of sight. To fiddle with the dinghy or the motor, you can walk through to the swim step, where you will find two storage lockers in addition to two cockpit lockers.

Sit on the cabintop, facing out, and there's nothing poking you in the seat. Instead, the grabrail is neatly recessed, but when you need it, it's easy to find. The genoa tracks are 12 feet long, so you'll have plenty of room for adjusting the cars, and the tracks are elevated above the deck to keep them out of standing water, minimizing the risk of leaks. Mooring cleats along the rail are likewise elevated. Screws for most deck gear are tapped into metal backing plates bonded into the deck, reducing through-deck holes and the risk of leaks. For safety, items such as mainsheet turning blocks and stanchions are through-bolted.

The lifelines are solidly mounted and higher than standard, adding to the comfort zone, and the chainplates are inboard, so they're not in the way as you walk around. The deck-stepped mast is supported by single-point aft and cap shrouds and a babystay. It's a sturdy, tunable arrangement.

Accommodations

Tell me you need 6 feet, 9 inches of headroom in a 39-foot, 10-inch boat, and I'll tell you to check out the 387. And since it's open from end to end rather than chopped up for storage, the 387 feels bigger than most boats its length. There's plenty of light and air from multiple fixed and opening ports. The saloon accommodates three tables of different sizes, and there are brackets in the aft cabin to stow tabletops not in use.

High-abrasion surfaces surrounding doors and cabinetry are solid wood (others use laminates), and the mock teak-and-holly, high-density laminate sole should prove durable. Built-in shades for the windows disappear behind the grabrails when they're not needed, promoting a clean appearance, and, on a purely practical level, easy-access conduits run throughout the boat channeling its well-organized wiring and plumbing. Ball-and-socket chainplate fittings are exposed in the interior and tie into a load-bearing grid in the hull. There's four-sided access to the diesel, and you can’t do better than that.

The head has an electric toilet, standard hot-and-cold pressure water, and a separate stall shower (the original Catalina 380 was the first production boat under 40 feet to have a separate shower stall).

Opposite the head, the galley is sensible and welcoming, with top- and side-accessed refrigeration and a double sink near centerline. It's right at the bottom of the steps, so you can easily pass up the goodies when your 14 best friends show up in the cockpit.

Under Sail

I sailed the 387 on a day when a high-pressure system tricked normally choppy San Francisco Bay into behaving like the Catalina Channel, with a warm breeze in the teens and smooth water, ideal for the boat, which proved very maneuverable in our hat-overboard drill. Over the course of the afternoon I watched our speed build into the 7s as the breeze perked up to 18 knots, and the boat felt good upwind and down.

Catalina builds its working sails in-house. The standard offering is a furling jib and a full-batten mainsail with a Dutchman flaking system. In-boom furling is an option, as is in-mast furling, as on our test boat. In-mast furling is not my cup of tea, though I admit the system was seductively easy to use and the sail actually looked pretty good. Under power, the 387 will turn within its own wake, in both directions, without throttle manipulation. We made 5.8 knots at 2,000 rpm; when we boosted her up to a more sprightly 2,500 rpm and I wandered around below, I noticed some engine noise throughout the interior.

Conclusion

The Catalina 387 is a satisfying coastal cruiser from a company that pays attention to detail. The boat's calculated balance between accommodations, performance, and price could have wide appeal.

Specifications

Price: $159,967 (approx. base, FOB Woodland Hills, CA). Price as tested: $177,179 (base, FOB San Francisco, CA) includes: full-batten Dutchman system mainsail and roller-furling headsail, bottom paint, covers for mainsail, pedestal, and table, electric windlass, refrigeration, LPG stove and oven, knotmeter/depthsounder, freight to Northern California, dealer commissioning, and prep.

Designer: Catalina Design Team

Builder:Catalina Yachts, Woodland Hills, CA; tel. 818-884-7700

Construction: The hull is built of solid hand-laid E- and S-glass and vinylester resin. The deck is cored with balsa with solid fiberglass in areas where deck fittings are mounted and through-bolted. Stringers are built of high-density foam glassed to the hull.

LOA

39'10"

LWL

32'5"

Beam

12'4"

Draft (fin/wing)

7'2"/4'10"

Displacement (fin/wing)

19,000/19,500 lbs

Ballast (fin/wing)

7,300/6,800 lbs

Sail area (100% foretriangle)

719 sq ft

Power

40-hp Yanmar

Fuel/water/waste

37/102/24 gal

Displ.-length ratio

248

Sail area-displ. ratio

16.1

Related

210913-11HRT-SKIPPER-PORTRAITS-VC-122

11th Hour Christens Two IMOCAs, Hits a Snag

This week has been a big one for the American-founded, sustainability-centric ocean racing team 11th Hour Racing. In addition to christening their two new boats, the team also took them out for a quick test ride—against some of the most intense IMOCA 60 skippers in the world. ...read more

01-LEAD-DSCF3091

Clewless in the Pacific

Squalls are well known to sailors who cruise the middle Latitudes. Eventually, you become complacent to their bluster. But squalls vary in magnitude, and while crossing from Tahiti to Oahu, our 47ft Custom Stevens sloop paid the price for carrying too much canvass as we were ...read more

Nigel

SAIL’s Nigel Calder Talks Electrical Systems at Trawlerfest Baltimore

At the upcoming Trawlerfest Baltimore, set for Sept. 29-Oct. 3, SAIL magazine regular contributor Nigel Calder will give the low down on electrical systems as part of the show’s seminar series.  The talk will be Saturday, October 2 at 9am. Electrical systems are now the number ...read more

5ae5b8ce-3113-4236-927b-f795be4ae091

Bitter End Yacht Club Announces Reopening

Four years after being decimated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Bitter End Yacht Club is set to reopen for the Winter 2022 season. Hailed as one of the best anchorages in the Caribbean and built by sailors, for sailors, this island outpost in the BVI has been a favorite with ...read more

01-LEAD-'21.05.01_Jay-&-Mira

Cruising: Bluewater Pollywogs

Bluewater sailing is 25 percent actually sailing and 75 percent learning how to live on a boat at sea, in constant motion and with no chance to get off the roller coaster. I cannot over-emphasize how difficult normal daily functions become at sea, even on nice, calm days. ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_0078

Refurbishing Shirley Rose: Part 2

If you missed the first installment, click here. Thankfully, the deck and cockpit of my decades-old Santana 27, Shirley Rose, were in pretty good shape. The balsa core, in particular, was for the most part nice and solid. Nonetheless, there was still a fair bit of work to do. ...read more

orca

Orca Encounters on the Rise

This week’s confrontation between a pod of orcas and the Nauticat 44 ketch Tuuletar which left the boat rudderless is just the latest in a string of encounters with orcas off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula. In fact, over 50 of these encounters have been reported, half of ...read more

01-LEAD-Project-complete

DIY: an Antique Nav Station

Ever since the advent of GPS, I have not found much use for the chart table on my schooner Britannia. Most of our passagemaking navigation is done on a Raymarine multifunction display on the helm pod, which is then transferred to a paper chart on the saloon table roughly every ...read more