Catalina builds hull, substructural grid, pan, and liner; there’s a gap between the hull and the liner while the hull is in the mold. The full liner extends from the rail down, and the furniture is nonstructural. The company consistently installs neat wiring and plumbing in its boats, and the 320-2 is no exception. The three-cylinder Yanmar diesel engine lives in a nicely insulated space and turns a standard drive shaft installed with a dripless packing box.
Instead of building its own spars, Catalina has switched to Seldn spars for the Mark 2. There are no chainplates. Instead, the shrouds lead to ball-and-socket joints connected to tie rods in the hull.
Deck and cockpit
This new 320 has an even wider cockpit and a nicely designed fiberglass table that will give you a place to brace your feet in rough conditions. In fact, removing the table may make the cockpit dangerous for short sailors. There’s space for an inflatable dinghy and a small outboard motor in the sail locker. The lazaret is quite large, and its opening provides access to the steering quadrant and the optional air-conditioning unit. As an evolved design, the 320 has a number of thoughtful details, including line-tail bags and traveler and the control lines into the deck. While sitting on the helm seat to steer is comfortable, standing in the narrow space between the seat and the wheel soon becomes uncomfortable.
The cabin sole is made of a synthetic laminate that looks like wood but carries an exceptionally good antiskid surface. A one piece headliner runs the entire length of the boat. The solid-teak doors and trim glow in a beautiful varnish finish.
Catalina increased the V-berth length to 75 inches by slightly reducing the size of the anchor locker. As part of the redesign, a hanging locker was added in the forward cabin. The aft cabin has a large transverse berth. The new deck allows for more overhead clearance in the head compartment.
The galley sports a big double sink, a handy dry-food locker, and a clever system for holding dishes with pins that Catalina calls “Clouds.” The countertop is Corian. The interior grabrail layout could use improvement. The handholds in the saloon are too far outboard for some sailors, and only one side of the companionway has a rail. Over all, living spaces on the 320-2 are inviting, comfortable, and bright. The thoughtful choices of materials should make it easy to keep the boat that way.
We had 3-to-5-knot zephyrs for the test sail, and the 320-2 moved and tacked easily in the flat conditions. There’s an active national organization and widespread one-design racing for the Catalina 320, so owners exchange information about their boats freely.
The 320-2 will turn in its own length when the skipper needs to dodge crab pots or pick up a mooring. It stops and backs positively, with the normal slight kick to port in reverse. There are no surprises or quirks, so close-quarters handling should be gracious. The 80-dBA sound level at cruising speed is a bit high, and the noise may tire the crew on a long day of motoring through calms. The engine drives the boat to its 7-knot hull speed easily, but racers will want to swap the standard prop for a folding or feathering model to improve sailing performance.
The Catalina 320-2 is a refined evolution of a boat that is already popular for its good sailing qualities, attractive lines, and good company support. These changes should lengthen its production life by many years.
|Year, Make & Model||2008 Catalina 320|
|Registration/Documentation||MC 9987 SZ|
|Engine||Yanmar 3YM30 21hp|
|Max Cruising Speed||7.0 knots|
|Fuel Capacity||19 gallons|
|Fuel Consumption||.1/2 gal—3/4 gallon per hour|
|Emergency Start||turn battery isolator switch to the reserve battery (either 1 or 2)|
|Genset Raw Water Intake||N/A|
|Genset Fuel Consumption||N/A|
|Speed and Depth||yes|
|Wind Speed / Direction||yes|
|GPS chartplotter||handheld GPS|
|MP3 / Ipod Auxilliary Jack||yes|
|Battery Isolation||batteries must be islated manually by choosing either battery 1 or 2. Leaving in the “both” or “combined” position will run down both batteries and you will not have an emergency start batery|
|Maximum Sleeping Capacity||6|
|Converting Salon Table||Yes|
|Converting Table Comments||loosen wheel, apply equal pressure on table sides and it will slide down|
|Bedding & Linens||Optional|
|Air Conditioner / Heater||dockside heat only via portable, plug-in space heater|
|Air Conditioner Main Breaker||n/a|
|Air Conditioner Control Panel(s)||n/a|
|Galley & Head|
|12 volt Fridge or Icebox?||Fridge/Freezer|
|Heads / Showers||1 head, 2 showers (including transom shower)|
|Heads – manual pump or electric||manual|
|Holding Tank Capacity||22 gallons|
|Fresh Water Capacity||51 gallons|
|Number of Freshwater tanks||2|
|Deck & Gear|