Welcome to Catalina 22 University where you may learn more about the Catalina 22 and the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association.


An All-Around Champion (1970s to Late 1990s)

Published in 1997 by Gene Ferguson, Editor (1997-2014)

To breathe life into a piece of plywood and some fiberglass takes imagination to say the least, but that is exactly what happened. Frank Butler embarked on a project to build a small sailboat that was easily transportable and would accommodate a family at a reasonable price. What emerged was a boat that caught the eye of everyday folks who had never considered sailing and thus it became an overnight success. The Catalina 22 helped to launch the trailer sailing market, and although many other designs have entered the market, it remains at the top of the mobile sailing boats.

Original Catalina 22 (1969-1985)

In the late 1960s, Frank Butler designed the swing keel version of the Catalina 22 and it went into production in 1969.

>> View a short video of Hull#1.

Although over 15,000 hulls have been built, the first 1000 are considered Catalina 22 Hall of Fame Boats. 

In 1973 the pop top was introduced as an option to give sailors covered standing headroom while the boat was moored. That same year, a fin-keel version was also introduced, and the wing keel followed ten years later.

In 1985 a new style was introduced. "There’s nothing pretentious about the boat, it just works," according to Catalina Yachts’ Gerry Douglas. "It could be considered the Model T or Volkswagen Beetle of the sailing world."

Catalina 22 New Design (1986-1994)

With a user-friendly cockpit, simple but workable interior, simple rigging and low upkeep, the Catalina 22 is a natural for the first-time boat buyer, or a step between a sailing dinghy and a larger cruising or racing auxiliary. What happens in many cases, however, is that when owners move up to bigger boats, they keep their 22s to pass on to other family members or to race in the extensive one-design circuit. The Catalina 22 National Sailing Association is one of the strongest in sailing, and, once involved, many sailors never leave. The Catalina 22 has defined the pocket-cruising trailer-able class. Any time two or more boats are on the same lake, sooner or later, a race will ensue. When the boats are the same model sailors can hone their racing skills and show each other how fast they are. Thus, began the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association.

>> Read MainBrace, the official news publication of the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association and first published in the Fall 1972. 

Since the boat was first sold in California, it was only natural that area would be the starting place of what is now known as the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association. Its beginnings came from founder Tom Winans who served as the National Commodore in 1971 and 1972. In 1973 the first "full-fledged" Catalina 22 National regatta was held at Long Beach, California with Sam Crabtree selected as Vice Commodore in charge of organizing the regatta. A boat that was only three years old and already competing in a National Championship Regatta with 45 boats in attendance was a large accomplishment and Tom Winans emerged as the National Champion. Since that beginning, other names have been added to the list as National Champions, including - Harvey Baker, Joe Becker, Carlos Canalizo, Gene Carapetyn, Don Carsten, Justin Chambers, Reid Collins, Terry Cobb, Bill Culp, Dick Durgin, Gene Ferguson, Mike Glover, Pete Harper, David Hayslip, Roger Kerr, Jim Linville, John Mies, Tom Page, Randy Pawlowski, Beattie Purcell, Mitchell Richardson, Bob Scott, Dennis Slaton, Hal Smith, Steve Snider, Ed Webb, Brad Wieland, Tom Winans, Jim Wilson, and Dick Woodside. 

>> Download a file to see the National Championship Regatta Winners 

>> Watch the video Catalina 22: The 1970s

The Catalina 22, designed as a family-cruiser, came equipped with a main and 110% jib. That didn’t last long as racers wanted more speed. The 150% Genoa was added to the sail inventory and the class rules were adjusted. One design racing in the Catalina 22 was off and running. In 1975 the weak point of the boat showed up drastically at the Nationals, held on Lake Ray Hubbard in Dallas, Texas. At the start of one of the races, with high winds blowing, several of the masts came down. Due to a lack of tuning to accommodate the larger 150% head sail, excessive mast pumping caused the cast aluminum spreader brackets to fail. Since the boat was originally designed to carry a 110% headsail, no thought had been given in the beginning that a larger headsail would cause undue stress on the rigging. At that time the forward-lower shrouds and aft-lowers shrouds were only 3/32" wire, not strong enough to handle the extra loads created by the 150% Genoa and high winds. This incident began the search for a tuning guide to solve this problem. The final solution was to change the wire to 1/8", the same as the uppers, and to replace the aluminum spreader brackets with stainless steel spreader brackets. Eventually a new mast extrusion was developed which gave the mast more rigidity. These changes eliminated the problem of mast pump and failure.

>> See the Locations where the Nationals have been held.

In 1977 one of the Catalina 22 owners at the Fort Worth Boat Club complained to the National Sailing Association that the fin keel boats were much faster than his swing keel and sent the local race results from the past two years to prove his point. Upon review of those results, the National Sailing Association officers decided that the fin keel boats had an unfair advantage and banned the fin keel from racing in nationally sanctioned regattas. Since many of the boats in Fleet 47 at the Fort Worth Boat Club were fin keels and since Fleet 47 was to host the Nationals the following year, several Catalina 22 owners were upset. Under the leadership of Cal Daughty, Fleet 47 captain and Carlos Canalizo, Fleet 30 captain, both fleets petitioned the National Board to allow the fin keel to race in a class of its own. They agreed and so in 1978 there were two fleets. Bill Culp won the swing keel division and Carlos Canalizo won the fin keel division. Fleet 47 had the race committee record times on the first five finishers of each fleet in every race in order to compare the speed of each boat. (They knew the person who sent in the results never cleaned his boat bottom.) Surprise, surprise! The swing keels had better times in every race, so the rules were changed to allow the fin keel to race heads up with the swing keel.

>> Watch the Video Catalina 22: The 1980s

Later, the spinnaker was added to the sail inventory, brought on mostly by the Texas contingent of racers, and the first Spinnaker National Championship Regatta was held in conjunction with the Genoa National Championship Regatta at Ocala, Florida in 1981. The first National Spinnaker champion was Bill Vawter from Fleet 47 at the Fort Worth Boat Club. Others who have won this honor are Jack Armistead, Rosser Bodycomb, Dick Edwards, Gene Ferguson, Buz Owens and Don White. There is not enough interest in the spinnaker to muster enough boats to participate every year, but like the Jib fleet and Silver fleet, when the participants number at least ten, the Association gives them a chance to compete.

>> View National Championship Regatta Results since 1998.

With the Mississippi river and the continental divide being the dividing line, the United States is separated into three sections. The National Championship Regatta is rotated each year, giving each part of the country an opportunity to participate close to home. The annual National Championship Regatta is the biggest event of the year and is hosted by a local fleet who bids for the honor of being the host fleet. This event is a time of reunion for old friends and an opportunity to meet and make new friends that will last a lifetime. Because of the family relationship of the boat and the people who own and sail them, it is commonplace for "go fast" information to be shared among the racers.

At the National Meeting held each year at the National Regatta, several awards are presented to recognize members for their exceptional contributions to sailing and the Catalina 22 Association other than racing in regattas. Some of the awards include – Leadership, Regional Commodore of the Year, Fleet of the Year, Cruising Family of the Year, Sandy Kennedy Spirit, Racing Family of the Year, Newest Racer, and Newsletter of the Year. As time and circumstances have dictated, new awards are added from time to time. One of those is the Betty Gay award, presented to the female skipper with the best score in the National Championship Regatta. 

>> Download the Award Winners.

As the Association grew, the need arose for cruising activities to be coordinated on a local, regional and national level. While the most visible and active members in the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association are involved in racing, many of the Association members are cruisers, who prefer non-racing, family-oriented sailing activities. In 1992, a National Cruising Captain position was created, Stephen Mabry accepted that responsibility.

>> Hang out with the Cruising Club. 


Still An All-Around Champion (Late 1990s to Current)

By Rich Fox, Editor (2014-Current)

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, production of sailboats declined, and many sailboat manufacturers closed their doors. Production of the Catalina 22 New Design model began to decline in the early 1990s, and Catalina Yachts began work on plans for a new version of the Catalina 22 that might help turn-around a declining demand. 

In 1991, the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association established the Silver Fleet for the National Championship Regatta, and this model continues to this day. A Spinnaker Fleet was added to the Nationals in 1994. The three established fleets for the National Regatta are Gold, Silver and Spinnaker. The winner of the Gold Fleet is the designated Catalina 22 National Champion.

In 1994, Joe Becker and the Windycrest Yacht Club were honored by US SAILING and received the St. Petersburg Trophy for the best run regatta - the 1993 Catalina 22 National Championship Regatta.

Catalina 22 MK-II (1995-2010)

The third generation Catalina 22, branded as the Catalina 22 MK-II, was launched by Catalina Yachts beginning with hull number 15348. The Catalina 22 MK-II featured eight more inches of beam at the deck, fiberglass encased wing keel or swing keel, a longer cabin trunk, optional slide-out galley, a tilt-up sliding cabin hatch, and more interior room and a larger cockpit. Catalina 22 MK-II #15355, a swing keel, finished 9th out of 34 boats racing in the Gold Fleet at the Nationals in Chautaugua, New York. The MK-II was discontinued in 2010 when Catalina Yachts relocated the remaining small boat production from Woodland Hills, California to Largo, Florida. 

In 1996, the new Catalina 22 Technical Manual was offered to C22NSA members in print-only format with over 300 pages of content. The current version was published in 1996 by Dale Mack. Since then, three updates were added in 2014, 2017 and 2019 with over 700 pages of available content in PDF format. The Catalina 22 Technical Manual is a must-have for anybody new to Catalina 22 ownership. Membership in the C22NSA is required to purchase the Technical Manual

>> Learn more about the Technical Manual. 

>> Download the Technical Article Guide. 

A year later, Dale Mack built the first "Catalina 22 Enthusiastic" website, putting the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association on the world wide web. Also in 1997, Gene Ferguson's article, "Catalina 22 - An All-Around Champion" was published in Mainsheet magazine. 

>> Watch the video Catalina 22: The 1990s

In a bold move, the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association Board of Director decided to pull the MainBrace out of Mainsheet and publish the MainBrace as a stand-alone printed newsletter on a bi-monthly schedule that was mailed to the membership. This decision allowed the Association to get news and event announcements out to the membership in a timely manner as the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association was assigned fewer pages in Mainsheet as other Catalina classes were being established and demanded space in Mainsheet. Commodore Gene Ferguson became Editor of MainBrace and made sure it was published in a professional manner and distributed on a consistent delivery schedule. 

In the late 1990s, a new wave of interest in Catalina 22 cruising was about to take-off in the Catalina 22 sailing community as Bob and Trish Endicott along with Mickey and Dee LaGarde set sail on the June Moon Cruise along the northern gulf coast of Florida...sailing from Fort Walton Beach to Alabama and back. This trip in June 1998 established the foundation for the infamous Northern Gulf Coast Cruise...a tradition that continues to this day.

>> Download the Stories of the Northern Gulf Coast Cruise - 1998 to 2017

As a matter of fact, participating in a week-long Catalina 22 cruise became even more popular throughout the United States. Many Catalina 22 sailors took the time to write articles about their Catalina 22 sailing adventures and published them in MainBrace for others to enjoy. 

>> Watch the video Catalina 22: The 2000s

At the 2001 National Meeting, the Catalina 22 racing community expressed an interest in asking Catalina Yachts if they could develop a new Catalina 22 model that better reflected the weight and dimensions of the original Catalina 22. Commodore Pam Slaton and Chief Measurer Dale McCaffity took the feedback to Frank Butler of Catalina Yachts. In June 2004, Catalina Yachts launched the Catalina 22 Sport beginning with hull number 15540. 

Catalina 22 Sport (2004 - current)

In 2006, the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association worked with Jim Holder of Mainsheet to have Representation in the quarterly Mainsheet magazine publication. Today, the Mainsheet magazine is available to members of the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association for an additional fee. 

In response to declining membership and increasing costs to publish and mail the MainBrace magazine, in 2011, the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association stopped printing of MainBrace and all future editions would be published and available on the Association's website in PDF format. Since its inception in the Fall 1972, over 225 editions of the MainBrace have been published. Members of the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association can also view the last two years of MainBrace and have the option to purchase back issues available on DVD. 

>> Watch the video Catalina 22: The 2010s

Beginning around 2012, Ted McGee took on a major work effort to redesign the Association's website to make it a much more vibrant and an easily accessible source of information for the Catalina 22 sailing community. In 2014, Gene Ferguson retired as Editor and Rich Fox is currently serving as Class Editor and Webmaster. During the past few years, attention has been placed on building-up Catalina 22 resources, content and publications on the Association's website. Today, there is lots of good information available.

A variety of publications are available including MainBrace, History Book, Buyer's Guide, Destinations*, Parts Catalog*, Owner's Manual*, Trim Guides*, Tuning Guides*, and Racing Tips. Access to many of these publications noted with an asterisk requires C22NSA membership and are accessible by using the log-in icon on the top main menu bar. 

In addition, the following resources are available to members of the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association and require an additional purchase:

  • Catalina 22 Technical Manual
  • Mainsheet Magazine 
  • MainBrace DVDs

In 2019, the Catalina 22 National Sailing Association celebrated 50 years of Catalina 22 production at the National Championship Regatta on Fort Heffner Lake, Oklahoma. C22NSA Vice Commodore Duncan McBride lead the effort, and everybody enjoyed a fun week of Catalina 22 sailing fun and camaraderie.

The story continues.


If you are not a member, you may Join. Members may view FAQs (Get Help).


Did you know?

  • The first MainBrace was published in Third Quarter 1972. The name MainBrace comes from the nautical expression "splice the main brace" which freely translated means "let's have a celebration, the hard work is done!"
  • The Catalina 22 National Sailing Association was officially formed the weekend of August I9-20, 1972, near Channel Islands Harbor, California. 
  • Per Catalina Yachts, the pop-top on the Catalina 22 was built at a ratio of approximately 3 to 2 (for every two boats built without a pop-top, three boats were built with a pop-top)