Catalina 25 Used Sailboat Review

Used Sailboat Review
The Catalina 25

catalina 25

Over 5000 Catalina 25’s were produced by Catalina Yachts between 1976 and 1990. Initially the boat was a straight forward swing keel trailer-sailer, but later versions could be described as fairly sophisticated pocket cruisers for sheltered and close inshore waters.

Catalina 25’s were sold as reasonably well designed, reasonably well built yachts at a reasonable price and backed up with good customer service from the builder and agents. There is still good backup service and spare parts supply available.

The boat was offered in several rig and keel designs over the years. You can find swing keels, cast iron and lead fixed keels, wing keels and standard or tall rigs – and in any combination. However, the standard rig, swing keel, trailerable version was the most popular.


Length overall is 25’ 0”, LWL is 22’ 2”, beam is 8’ 0”, draft for the swing keel version is 2’ 8” board up and 5’ 0” board down and the fixed keel draft is 4’ 0”. Sail area is 270 sq.ft. for the standard rig and 295 sq.ft. for the tall rig.

The boat is not a racing or offshore machine, but sails reasonably well. It needs to be reefed at anything above 15 knots. Naturally the fixed lead keel model with the tall rig is the best performer, but needs to be reefed earlier. The swing keel does not provide a lot of lift and the lifting cable produces drag, but with sails properly set the boat tracks well and is easily maneuvered.

cat 25-2An outboard engine was standard on all but the latest models. A 9 hp long shaft is probably the best choice, especially if it will charge your batteries. A 6hp long shaft is adequate for protected waters.

There were two interiors available as shown in the illustration and a “pop-top” was available as an optional extra up until 1987, after which it became a standard feature. There is a lot of room below for a boat this size and the “pop-top”, if fitted, gives 6’4” headroom and plenty of ventilation.

a video tour


A fully loaded boat and trailer can weigh over 6000lbs and you won’t pull it with a standard car, you’ll need a big pickup at least. Many owners trailer the fin keel versions, but you’ll need a specially fitted trailer to launch one of these. Also check the trailer weight ranking on the decal before you buy – the trailer must be designed to carry the total weight of the rig, i.e. more than 6000lbs.

You should look on the owner forums (and Youtube) for mast lowering systems, as the builder gave no directions on how to do it.

some common problems

  • Hull blistering was a fairly common problem. Most would have been repaired by now, but check
  • Chipped and cracked gel coat. Check that there is no delamination around the cracks.
  • The original keel lifting winch tended to corrode and may need replacing
  • The swing keel tends to move sideways in the keel trunk, causing a thumping noise at anchor. Catalina provides a nylon washer kit to fix this problem.
  • There is a retro fit available to repair the connection of the lifting cable to the swing keel. Check this has been fitted
  • Early models had closed turnbuckles on the rigging which were prone to corrosion. These should be replaced with open turnbuckles.
  • Check for corroded screws and bolts on deck fittings.
  • Rudder connections (gudgeons and pintles) are prone to failure. Check the forums for some tips on fixing this problem.

websites and forums

catalina yachts
New England catalina association
Catalina 25 International association
Upgrading and repair tips
Catalina 25 resources
Some owner reports