Eight Bells: Frank Butler

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Catalina Yachts has announced the passing of their founder and CEO Frank Butler. Butler was a sailing icon credited with introducing hundreds of thousands of people to sailing during his lifetime, with over 85,000 Catalinas on the water throughout the yachting world. His boatbuilding career began in 1962, when he contracted with a Southern California builder for a 21’ daysailer. The builder was unable to finish the boat, and Butler took over the project. He completed it himself, found he enjoyed the process and agreed to take over the company.

A few years later he founded Catalina Yachts, which has grown to become the largest builder of fiberglass production sailboats in the United States. Butler was known for his attention to Catalina customers and much of his success can be attributed to this personalized effort. Handling warranty issues himself, owners were often surprised and reassured to get a personal call from Frank to discuss their concerns.

Butler was inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2013. In recognition of his support of the Congressional Cup, a world match racing event, Long Beach Yacht Club awarded him the Crimson Blazer. He was also a founder and lifelong member of the Westlake Yacht Club in Westlake, CA.

November 2021

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