When Catalina Yachts designed and built the first batch of Catalina 22 Sports in 2004, the reaction by many Catalina sailboat owners was "they took a Catalina 22 hull and added a Capri 22 deck." From a distance, the Catalina 22 Sport and the Catalina Capri 22 do look very similar. And to a potential sailboat buyer, the differences and benefits of each boat may not be clear. This article will help identify a few differences between the Sport and Capri to help the new sailboats buyer make the best decision for their needs.
Photograph above shows Catalina 22 Sport (left), Capri 22 (middle) and Capri 18 (right) arrive at dealership in Indianapolis.
CATALINA CAPRI 22
The Catalina Capri 22 has been in production since the early 1980s and underwent a major design change around 1999. This newer design is referred to as the Catalina Capri 22 MkII. The newer Catalina Capri 22 MkII is wider and heavier that the older MkI version. The older and newer Capri 22 models still have a nice modern look to it.
The Capri 22 was probably an attempt by Catalina Yachts to offer a boat, back in the 1980s, that could compete against the highly popular one-design J-22. The Capri 22 features a long cockpit, wide side-decks for going forward, and a basic cabin interior. Owners may buy a Capri 22 with a choice of two rigging options - a standard rig or tall rig. A choice of two fixed keel options is also available - a shallow draft wing keel (2.5 ft) or deeper draft fin keel (4 ft). Some older Capri 22s may also have a fin keel with a 4.5 ft draft. A swing keel is not an option with the Capri 22.
Compared to a Catalina 22, the sleeker design of the Capri 22 hull makes it a faster boat. The average Base PHRF rating for a Capri 22 is around 210-216. The average Base PHRF rating for a Catalina 22 is around 270. In the hands of experienced racing sailors, I have seen very well race-equipped Capri 22s regularly beat J22s, J24s, and other go-fast boats.
Where the Capri 22 shines in handicap-based (PHRF, Portsmouth) racing, the Capri 22 does not have a strong one-design presence. The availability of multiple types of rigs and keels has pretty much made it impossible to develop and promote Capri 22 one-design racing on a national scale.
Since the early 1980s, over 1300 Capri 22s have been built. When compared to the price of a new 2013 Catalina 22 Sport, the base price of a new 2013 Capri 22 is approximately $150 less.
The benefits of a Capri 22 are (when compared to the Catalina 22 Sport):
- Faster hull design
- Excellent performance for Club racing
- Availability of multiple rigs and keels for local conditions
- Access to Capri 22 owners group to exchange information
- Larger cockpit
CATALINA 22 SPORT
In production since 2004, the C22 Sport is basically a standard Catalina 22 hull, mast, boom, rudder and keel with a Capri 22 MkII style cockpit, cabin and deck. The Sport looks more like a Capri than a Catalina 22. The C22 Sport is actually the 4th generation Catalina 22 following in the steps of the Catalina 22 (1969-1985), Catalina 22 New Design (1986-1994), and Catalina 22 MkII (1995-2010). Since 1969, over 15,750 Catalina 22s have been built.
The C22 Sport was designed to encourage class racing with the thousands of existing Catalina 22s by making sure the Sport was built within existing Catalina 22 One-Design Rules of the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association (C22NSA). Now celebrating its 40 year anniversary, the C22NSA has over 600 members and dozens of active fleets, and has supported an annual Catalina 22 National Championship Regatta since 1973. And as you look around the C22NSA website, you will find lots of great resources for members including the Tech Manual on CD and access to the MainBrace magazine.
The C22 Sport is only available with a 550 pound retractable swing keel (20" draft up / 5ft draft down). The retractable swing keel makes the C22 Sport easy to trailer and to launch/retrieve at a ramp. A downside of the swing keel is that it does consume valuable floor space inside the cabin. A wing keel or fin keel is not an option on the C22 Sport.
Although a slower boat than the Capri 22, the Catalina 22 Sport will perform well in one-design racing and really performs well when participating in handicap (PHRF, Portsmouth) races. A properly equipped Catalina 22 Sport will out-perform a 270 Base PHRF rating. A match race between a 22 Sport and a Capri 22 Wing might also provide interesting results.
The benefits of a Catalina 22 Sport are: (when compared to the Capri 22)
- Strong owners group - Catalina 22 National Sailing Association
- Active and organized one-design racing and cruising activities
- Excellent PHRF/Portsmouth performance
- Easy to trailer, raise and lower the mast (compared to Capri 22 fin, tall rig)
- Availability of parts
CAPRI 22 AND 22 SPORT
What do the Capri 22 and 22 Sport have in common? If you look at the cabin interior photographs of the Capri 22 and 22 Sport on the Catalina Yachts website, you will probably have to do a double-take to notice any differences. You will see that the 22 Sport has a keel well in the middle of the cabin...the Capri 22 does not. Both boats have a similarly sized cabin interior and cockpit. The cockpit of the 22 Sport is actually a few inches shorter than the Capri, but longer than previous Catalina 22 models.
The decision to buy a Capri 22 or a 22 Sport may actually come down to this - which model does your local Catalina 22 dealer have in their inventory? Some dealers prefer to stock the Capri 22. Others prefer to stock the Sport 22. In either case, they are both great boats and should bring you years of sailing enjoyment.