SAIL's Best Boats 2017: Catalina 425

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Catalina 425

Catalina 425

Best Monohull Cruising Boat 40 to 50ft

What becomes a legend most? A re-do, at least when it’s well done. With this in mind, Gerry Douglas, Catalina Yachts’ most prolific designer, set himself a monumental task when he set out to design a successor to the renowned Catalina 42, which topped over 1,000 hulls launched over two decades. The result, the Catalina 425, is a brand-new model that fits into the builder’s 5 Series and is gaining so much interest that 20 hulls were commissioned before the press even had a chance to take hull #1 for a sail.

From stem to stern, the 425 is the direct result of much study. Douglas likes to listen to owners and do his homework by attending European boat shows and U.S. dealer meetings to learn what makes for the ideal cruiser. In the case of the 425, this means not only a three-cabin vessel with a U-shaped galley and large saloon but systems so well laid out, they’ll make an owner actually want to do maintenance.

Much attention was paid to the exterior as well. The cockpit is enormous and was moved farther aft, a feature made possible through the use of a transom that is more vertical than the rest of the models comprising the 5 Series. Twin wheels rest on two free-standing, angled Edson pedestals, and the throttle for the engine is nice and high, so the driver’s eyes can be on the dock on an approach rather than down by his or her kneecaps.

Clever details include a mainsheet that can be managed by winches on the cabintop or back at the primaries near the helms. A proprietary Strike Zone watertight bulkhead forward provides additional security in the event of a collision. And the twin backstays end just outboard of the wheels, so tall watch-standers won’t knock their heads. Best of all, even short drivers can see all the way forward and down to the bow roller. Now that’s thinking!

Only time will tell, but with its abundance of well-thought-out design features, it’s very possible the new Catalina 425 could surpass even her famous predecessor and become a legend herself. catalinayachts.com

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December 2016

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