Catalina 30

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The Catalina 30 is a twenty nine foot 11 inch long fiberglass sailboat first produced in 1974 by the Catalina Yachts Company in California. It is a sloop-rigged boat with a fixed lead keel. It has a beam of 10'10", and a draft of five feet, three inches. The Catalina 30 has been through three revisions:

1979 Catalina Mark I
  • Mark I - Produced from 1975 to 1986
  • Mark II - Produced from September 1986 until 1993
  • Mark III - Produced from 1993 to 2006 (replaced by the C309).

All three revisions refer largely to revisions of the cockpit, rather than the hull itself, which besides modernizing the keel, the wetted area of the boat did not change. There are three types of keels; the original 5' 3" deep keel is still preferred for all-around performance where water depth is no problem. The early 4' 4" shoal keel has been replaced by the modern 3' 10" deep wing keel.

The Catalina 30 was the largest and longest continuous production keel boat in the world, with over 6,500 hulls produced. In 2001 it was inducted to the American Sailboat Hall of Fame.


The Catalina 30 has various configurations which affect overall performance. Early hulls were equipped with a tiller only, and with the main sheet traveller located at the aft end of the cockpit. Eventually all boats were delivered with wheel steering and the main sheet located over the companionway hatch.

The Catalina 30 is available with two mast lengths, the Standard Rig and the Tall Rig. It is also available with and without a bow sprit.

The Catalina 30 also had various engine configurations. Early models had a standard Atomic 4 gasoline engine, followed by the Universal 5411 diesel. Later, the M-15 and M-25 diesels became standard.

Catalina Smile

This refers to a problem exhibited by all the Catalinas built prior to mid-1988. With time a separation occurs between the keel and the keel stub, usually at the leading edge of the joint. The defect was attributed to the use of a wooden insert in the bilge between the top layer of fiberglass and the keel stub proper. The keel bolts pass through this insert, and it's thought that compression of the insert allows the keel to pull away from the stub, leading the to separation.

A yearly treatment is performed by cleaning out the keel gap and caulking it. For a more permanent fix, the top layer of fibreglass is removed from the bilge the wood insert is removed. The bilge should be built back up using epoxy fibreglass. The keel bolts should be cleaned, recaulked, and retorqued with new washers and nuts. The keel joint itself should be ground out, covered with epoxy and fiberglass cloth, and refaired.[1] The smile is not critical assuming the keel bolts are well preserved, and several affected boats are still in use today.

The smile can also be exacerbated by improper support of the keel when the boat is out of the water... particularly during long storage periods.

Compression Post Damage

This refers to a problem common to many Catalina 30's. The Catalina 30 has a deck stepped mast, which means that there is a compression post inside the salon that transfers the weight of the mast from the deck to the cabin sole. Underneath the sole is a wooden block encased in fiberglass. This block transfers the weight of the compression post and mast to the keel. Due to the wet conditions of the bilge area under the cabin sole (from both the propeller shaft stuffing box and the shower drain) the wooden block eventually rots and the weight of the mast will cause deformation and cracking in the deck. It will also cause deformation in the bulkheads and doors common to the head.

To remedy this fix, most owners replace the block under the sole with a metal block or I-beam to support the weight. Still other owners have simply replaced the wood with another hardwood that has been saturated in epoxy. In both cases, the block is replaced after the mast has been removed to relieve the pressure from the compression post.


External links

Other classes of keelboat