Catalina 22 Used Boat Review

The Catalina 22

the most successful trailer sailer

The catalina 22 must rank as the most successful small sailboat ever made. It has been in continuous production since 1970 with over 16,000 boats produced.

catalina22mk1The boat has also been built and sold successfully in The United Kingdom as the Jaguar 22 and in Australia as the Boomaroo 22.

For the first 25 years of production, the Catalina 22 was unchanged. It was not until 1995 that a major upgrade of the design occurred. Today Catalina still builds their boats by making the most of volume buying of materials and hardware, They produce long running models with a high degree of standardization, and all the cost savings of high volume production.

The boats are built to a price, and an experienced sailor may look askance on some of the features of these boats, but many, many sailors who cut their teeth on a Catalina 22 may not have gone sailing if this boat had not existed.

You can see from the following table how many boats were produced over the years. These numbers do not include boats made in the UK and Australia.

Hull Numbers
Mark 1
1 – 13342
New Deaign
13342 – 15347
Mark 11
15348 – Current
15540 – Current

The original Mark 1 had a dinette configuration and the UK and Australian versions retained this layout. In my opinion this was not a good layout for a boat this size and it was changed to a port and starboard settee berth on the Mark 11 models. A fin keel option was available on the original boats.

The Practical Sailor Review

In June 2000 Practical Sailor magazine did a review of the Mark 1 model and were not greatly impressed with the boat. Their general criticims were that the boat was old fashioned, slow and with a poor accommodation layout. Specifically they raised the following points:

1. The iron swing keel is prone to problems due to dis-similar metals in the pivot arrangement
2. The deck joint is glued and fixed with self tapping screws instead of bolts.
3. A large number of older boats have deck delamination and core rot.
4. The side decks are narrow and Walking forward is difficult with lifelines installed
5. There is only one adult sized bunk permanently available unless the dinette is converted.
6. The gas tank stowage area is unsafe. Gas fumes can enter below.
7. A large volume of space under the cockpit is unusable.

These criticism are valid for the original Mark 1 boats.

There are many Mark 1 boats, that is those built before 1986, available on the used market at very reasonable prices and a good one would make a good starter boat for most sailors looking for a trailer sailer for a small family.

However you would need to consider the comments from Practical sailor and make sure that these problems had been addressed, especially any keel problems or delamination. There is a fiberglass encased swing keel upgrade available for the original Mark 1 boats

The New Design

The New Design version, produced from 1986 to 1995 saw 2005 boats built. The gas tank problem was solved in this redesign with the gas tank storage area improved and separated from the main cabin and only accessible via a dedicated cockpit locker. The boats also had a little more headroom.

This redesign also saw a wing keel version available, although the swing keel trailerable version was still much more popular. The fiberglass encased swing keel upgrade is also available for the New Design boats

The Mark 11

catalina22mk11AWith the introduction of the MkII in 1995, Catalina Yachts greatly improved the swing keel by encasing it in a thin layer of fiberglass. This has greatly reduced maintenance requirements for the keel. The new keel is offered on the MkII and is the only keel available on the Sport. The old, uncased keel is still available for those wishing to race in one design regattas.

The interior layout was altered for the Mark 11 with the dinette making way for a more seamanlike port and starboard settee arrangement. There ia also an extra 8 inches beam on the Mark 11 model

Access to the wasted space under the cockpit was provided in the Mark 11 via a cockpit seat hatch and a hatch accessible from below.

Associations, forums and maintenance advice

With 16,000 boats built you would expect that there would be many on-line forums and owners websites, and you would be right. This is the great strength of a popular sailboat and one of the main reasons for buying such a boat.

On the internet you will find answers to almost every maintenance problem you could encounter with a Catalina 22. You can also get original parts and spares for the boat at

Catalina Direct will also sell you off-the-shelf sails at around $550 for a mainsail and $650 for a genoa which are very reasonable prices indeed.

All in all, there are no problems with the Catalina 22 that are not well known. And there are not many problems that have not been solved by at least one the thousands of Catalina owners. And most of these solutions are on the internet – even a solution to the delaminated deck problem.

A personal thought

‘m in the market for a trailer sailer and I’m seriously considering buying a good Mark 11 in the US and shipping it to Australia. I figure with the current exchange rate and the low prices of the Catalina in the US in comparison with prices in Australia it would just about be a deal.

Let’s hear your thoughts on this boat, and sailboats in general on the forum