Great choice! Your favorites are temporarily saved for this session. Sign in to save them permanently, access them on any device, and receive relevant alerts.

  • Sailboat Guide

catalina yachts wiki

  • Catalina Yachts

Founded by Frank Butler. In sheer numbers sold, Catalina Yachts is certainly the most successful builder of sailboats ever in the US, and possibly the world. Time line extract from the company’s website: July 1969-Catalina’s first model, the Catalina 22, is built in North Hollywood, CA. Company owner Frank Butler hopes to build 100 boats if all goes well. March 1970-Catalina’s second model, the Catalina 27, is introduced following the success of the Catalina 22. December 1974-Catalina’s third model, the Catalina 30, is introduced; the trend-setting design is an immediate sales success and wins its class in the Newport to Ensenada Race. February 1975-The Catalina 22 exceeds Frank Butler’s hopes to build 100 boats when hull number 5,000 is completed. August 1979-The “International Friendship Regatta” is held in Japan; 4 U.S. and 10 Japanese crews compete in Coronado 15s. February 1980-SAIL Magazine names the Catalina 22 “trailerable boat of the decade.” March 1980-The Catalina 38 is selected as the match-racing boat for Congressional Cup by the Long Beach Yacht Club; Dennis Durgan wins. September 1980-Catalina 22 hull number 10,000 is completed. C22s are being built at Catalina’s East and West Coast plants in England, Australia, and Canada. January 1982-Patrick Childress completes a 2 1/2 year, singlehanded circumnavigation in his Catalina 27. July 1982-The first Catalina 36 is completed at the Woodland Hills, Ca., plant. March 1983-Mainsheet Magazine issue no. 1 is published, quickly growing to over 100 pages and 10,000 Catalina owner subscribers. May 1984-Catalina acquires Morgan Yachts in Largo, Fl., which becomes the Morgan Division of Catalina, specializing in cruising and charter boats and building many Catalina models on the East Coast. May 1985-Catalina 27 hull number 6,000 is built in Woodland Hills, making the C-27 the largest class of keelboats in the world. October 1987-Catalina 30 hull number 5,000 is completed. Catalina 30s are being built at the East and West Coast plants, as well as in Canada and England. November 1987-Singlehanded sailor Shane St. Clair sails his Capri 18 from Oxnard, Ca., to Hawaii in 28 days. July 1988-Billy Peterson supervises the installation of the largest (70 ft.)Computerized sail-plotting and cutting machine in the U.S. at the Woodland Hills, California plant. August 1988-Coronado 15 skipper Alison Jolly becomes the first woman to skipper in the Olympics; she wins a gold medal in the women’s 470 Class. January 1989-The first Catalina 42 is built. 100 hulls are delivered in the first year, breaking U.S. production records. February 1990-Catalina 22 hull number 15,000 is delivered. March 1990-The Catalina 37 is selected for the Congressional Cup, the first time a fleet of 11 has been designed and built especially for the Congressional Cup. Chris Dickson wins. September 1990-Catalina 30 hull number 6,000 is completed, setting a new keel-boat production record. July 1991-The first Catalina 28 is built. August 1991-Catalina’s Morgan Division completes Procyon, a 65-foot test boat for new concepts in yacht design and construction for Olaf Harken and Procyon Inc. November 1992-Catalina’s Morgan Division introduces the Morgan 38, the first all-new Morgan model in a decade. December 1992-The Catalina 270 is unveiled, replacing the C-27 and wins one of Cruising World Magazine’s “Boat of the Year” awards. February 1993-The Catalina 320 is introduced at the first “Sail Expo” and is enthusiastically received by new owners. February 1994-The Catalina 400 is introduced at “Sail Expo,” the only twin-wheel boat built in the U.S.; it’s the hit of the show. February 1994-The Capri 16.5 introduced at “Sail Expo,” a beach launchable performance sailing dinghy for sailors with a wide range of ages and skills May 1994-The Catalina 250 is introduced as the first water ballast trailerable sailboat from Catalina. January 1995-Frank Butler receives SAIL’S Industry Award for Leadership for “building boats that are “straightforward, offer price for value, are solid and honest”…“With a product analogous to the Ford in the car business, Catalina Yachts has allowed vast numbers of people to experience sailing, considering both the skill level and financial wherewithal of potential sailors, that might not have been able to otherwise, thus radically changing the sport of sailing over the past 25 years.” January 1995-The Catalina 22 markII is introduced with re-designed and enlarged deck and new interior. February 1995-The Catalina 22 is named as one of five charter members to Sailboat Hall of Fame. March 1995-The Catalina 36 mark II wins one of Cruising World Magazine’s “Boat of the Year” awards. April 1995-Catalina 250 Hull number 100 is built in Woodland Hills. May 1995-Catalina 42 hull number 500 is built in Woodland Hills. February 1996-The Catalina 34 markII is introduced with re-designed and enlarged deck, transom and interior. March 1996-The Catalina 28 mark II wins one of Cruising World Magazine’s “Boat of the Year” awards. April 1996-The Catalina 380 is introduced as reflection of the priorities expressed by experienced sailing couples and families. November 1996-Catalina 400 Hull number 100 is built in Largo, Florida January 1997-The Catalina 380 wins one of Cruising World Magazine’s Mid-Size Cruising“Boat of the Year” award. January 1998-The Catalina 470 is introduced January 1999- Catalina inaugurates the Catalina Cruisers Hall of Fame to honor the Catalina owners’ who have made notable voyages aboard their boats. February 1999-The Catalina 310 is introduced and wins Cruising World Magazine’s Pocket Cruiser “Boat of the Year” award. February 2000-The Catalina 310 is selected by Sail Magazine and it’s readers as one of the Top 10 sailboats for 2000 December 2000 -Catalina 36 Hull number 2000 is built in Woodland Hills, CA. September 2001-The Catalina Capri 22 is updated and is selected by Sail Magazine and it’s readers as one of the Top 10 sailboats for 2001. May 2001 -Catalina 14.2 Hull number 5000 is built in Woodland Hills, CA January 2002-The Catalina 350 is introduced to enthusiastic reviews and results in 100 boats sold the first model year. July 2002-The Catalina Expo 12.5 and 14.2 are introduced as particularly easy to sail for both younger and older sailors. September 2002 -Catalina Capri 22 Hull number 1000 is built in Woodland Hills, CA Catalina manufacturers ID: CTY


  • Catalina 470 Class Association
  • Catalina 310 Owners Association
  • Catalina 27-270 Association
  • Capri 22 National Association
  • Catalina 380 Association
  • Capri 14.2 National Association
  • Catalina 36 International Association
  • Catalina 22 National Association
  • Catalina 400
  • Catalina Owners
  • Catalina 34 International Association
  • Catalina 25, 250, Capri 25 International Assoc.
  • Catalina 42 Owners
  • Catalina 320 International Association

Catalina 18

  • Catalina 30 Yacht Owners Association
  • US Sabot Class Assciation

Catalina 38

  • Carpentier/Butler
  • Charles McGregor
  • Charles Morgan
  • Frank Butler
  • Frank V. Butler
  • Gerry Douglas
  • Nelson Marek
  • Robert Finch
  • Rodger Martin
  • Sparkman & Stephens
  • Ted Carpentier

67 sailboats built by Catalina Yachts

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 22

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 27

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 30

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 25

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Capri 14.2

catalina yachts wiki

Coronado 15

catalina yachts wiki

Capri Cyclone

Catalina capri 22.

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 36

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 34

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 28

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 42

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Capri 26

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 42 MK II

catalina yachts wiki

Morgan Out Island 41 Classic

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Capri 37

Catalina 37.

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Morgan 381

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 470

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 250

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 390

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 380

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 250 (Water Balllast)

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 30 MKIII

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 310

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina (Morgan) 50

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 13

Catalina 14.2.

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 28 MKII

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 375

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 350

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 400 Mk II

Catalina 16.5k.

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 30 MKII

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 320

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 385

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Morgan 44

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Aero 20

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Capri 25

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Capri 23.5

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 22 MKII

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Expo 14.2

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Capri 30

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Morgan 45

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 445

catalina yachts wiki

Independence 20

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 270

Catalina 320 mkii, catalina 16.5.

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 30 (W/Bowsprit)

Catalina 14.2k.

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Morgan 440

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 275 Sport

Catalina capri 16.5.

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 315

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 309

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 34 MKII

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Expo 12.5

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina Capri 18

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 387

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 425

catalina yachts wiki

Catalina 36 MK II

1995 Catalina 28 Mk II cover photo

  • About Sailboat Guide

©2024 Sea Time Tech, LLC

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

  • Practical Boat Owner
  • Digital edition

Practical Boat Owner cover

Catalina 22: The most successful cruising yacht ever designed

  • August 31, 2021

Built as the Jaguar 22 and Alacrity 22 in the UK this Frank Butler design has been in continuous production since 1969 with over 18,000 units sold, writes Rupert Holmes


Photo: David Harding/

When he launched this modest ballasted centreboarder in 1969 Frank Butler is reputed to have said he would consider it a success if he built 100 boats.

Six years later the 5,000th boat left his Catalina Yachts factory and the model has remained in continuous production for more than 50 years, albeit with many improvements during that time.

The Catalina 22 is by far the most popular ballasted sailing boat with accommodation ever, with total numbers thought to be over 18,000.

Article continues below…

catalina yachts wiki

Shipwrecked in a 14ft keelboat then rescued by a cargo ship

Yann Quenet is a genius from Brittany I would love to meet. He is an inventor, designer, and builder of…


Legend 356 sailboat: Big in Britain but born in the USA

Hunter Marine became a major force in boatbuilding from the 1980s through to the financial crisis of 2008, with the…

Butler also licensed the Catalina 22 design to other builders around the world, including in the UK, where it was marketed as the Alacrity 22 and Jaguar 22 and some 1,500 boats were produced for the UK and European markets.

There’s accommodation for four or five in a bright open plan layout, although the boat is too small for standing headroom. Today the Catalina 22 makes a good, inexpensive coastal cruisers.

Catalina 22 / Jaguar 22 specification

LOA: 6.55m / 21ft 6in LWL: 5.9m / 19ft 4in Beam: 2.34m / 7ft 8in Draught ( keel up): 0.6m / 2ft 0in Draught (keel down): 1.5m / 5ft 0in Displacement: 1,130kg / 2,490lb Ballast: 250kg / 550lb Current market value: £1,500-£6,500 / $2,000-$9,000

The Catalina Preservation Society

Pby catalina history, consolidated pby / catalina / canso history.

A brief PBY History by: John Clement


The plane that would become the PBY Catalina was designed by Consolidated Aircraft Corporation’s lead designer, Isaac Machlin (“Mac”) Laddon when, in 1933, the United States Navy, wary of Japan’s growing influence in the Pacific Ocean, requested competing prototype designs for a flying boat with a range of 3,000 miles and a cruising speed of 100 mph to patrol Pacific seas in search of hostile navy forces. 

Flying boats were the dominant long-range aircraft of the day in that they did not require runway construction. Laddon was able to draw on Consolidated experience building two previous flying boats for the Navy.

catalina yachts wiki

Further testing resulted in design adjustments to modify the vertical tail structure and dorsal fin (See image below) to prevent the tail from becoming submerged on takeoff and to upgrade the aircraft from “Patrol” to “Patrol Bomber” status. 

catalina yachts wiki

The first flight of the modified XP3Y-1 in October, 1935, set a record for non-stop distance flight of 3,443 miles for a Class “C” seaplane  from Cristobal Harbor, Panama Canal Zone, to Alameda, California in 34 hours 45 minutes. A flight which did reveal the need for more powerful engines. After the power-plant update, the plane was re-delivered to the Navy as XPBY-1 (PB for Patrol Bomber; Y for Consolidated in accordance with the US Navy aircraft manufacturer’s designation system). [1]

Classified by Consolidated as Model 28, production models from PBY-1 to PBY-3 were incrementally upgraded to enhance performance. PBY-4, designed to continue the pattern of gradual improvement with Pratt and Whitney 1,050hp radial engines, would, over its production run from May, 1938 to June, 1939, mark a great leap forward.

In a few later production models of the PBY-4 , Plexiglass blisters which replaced the sliding hatches over the waist guns would become standard on subsequent models. They enhanced the gunners’ view of the enemy but also served as perfect observation posts for spotting enemy surface vessels. 

The PBY-5 flying boat did not have wheels but they could be rolled onto land for maintenance using beaching gear, light duty wheels and struts that had to be installed by crew members in swim suits and removed once they had been rolled into the water once again.

But, a proper landing gear was required to transform the PBY Catalina to a truly amphibious aircraft. The prototype, XPBY-5A BuNo 1245, made its debut in late 1939. [2]

A limited number of PBY-1 to PBY-4 models had been manufactured but by 1943 production of the PBY-5 for the US Navy alone exploded (flying boat, 684 built from September 1940 to July, 1943) and PBY-5A (amphibian, 802 built between October, 1941 and January, 1945). In addition, production included aircraft for the RCAF, RAF, RAAF, and Dutch MLD. 

The PBY had been manufactured by Consolidated plants in the United States at Buffalo New York, San Diego California and New Orleans . To meet the demand for the pby-5 and pby-5A, Boeing Aircraft of Canada , with a plant near Vancouver, and Canadian Vickers at St. Hubert, later Cartierville Airport near Montreal, were licensed to produce PBY’s.  Boeing’s were coded PB2B; the Vickers planes were PBV. 

The Soviet Union began receiving Catalina’s under Lend-Lease and producing their own under licence before World War II. The Soviet Aircraft were designated GST (Gidrosamolet transportnii/seaplane transport). 

The final Consolidated PBY model, PBY-6A , appeared at the end of the war, manufactured from January 10 to May, 1945. [3]

One final wrinkle in the development of the aircraft. At about the same time that the PBY-5 and PBY-5A went into production, the US Naval Aircraft Factory designed a variant known as the PBN-1 Nomad , a larger and more rugged plane with greater range and stronger wings permitting a 2,000 pound (908 kg) increase in gross takeoff weight.

138 of the 156 Nomads produced at the Naval Aircraft Factory were delivered by air to the Soviet Union. The remaining 18 were assigned to training units at NAS Whidbey Island and the Naval Air Facility in Newport, Rhode Island. Elements of the Nomad design were incorporated in the PB2B-2 and PBY-6A.

Design Features

catalina yachts wiki

A two-step hull with a streamlined upper fuselage was attached to a parasol wing on a pylon braced by one pair of struts on each side running from the side of the hull to a position just outside the engines. This design permitted views of the ocean below unobstructed by the wing.  

          PBY Drawing courtesy of Al Botting

The pylon served as the flight engineer’s post with just enough room for the engine control panel, two windows through which each engine could be checked for oil leaks, and a seat raised to leave room below for other crew members. 

Aft of the wing was a cabin with two bunks and a small galley. 

The huge wing, 104 feet in length, was both the fuel tank that gave the PBY superior range and endurance and a strong lifting surface that gave the plane a 15,000 lb./6,600 kg payload. [4]

A no nonsense continuous I-beam spar and internal bracing contributed to wing strength. The pylon put the wing-mounted engines well above spray height since water can damage propeller tips moving just below the speed of sound. 

The engines were mounted close to the fuselage to facilitate operation with one engine which increased range on long patrols but reduced the plane’s manoeuvrability on water and made it a very noisy machine to fly. [5]

A towering vertical stabilizer surface aided maneuvering on water as well as in the air. 

Floats to keep the wingtips out of the water on takeoff and landing were retractable, swinging out and upward to morph into the wingtips when the craft was airborne. 

Four bomb racks, two on the underside of each wing, could carry a total of four thousand pounds of bombs, depth charges or torpedoes.

catalina yachts wiki

Photo taken in the flight engineer’s station within the pylon shows the instrument panel and small windows, left and right, through which the engines could be checked for oil leaks.

The result was the most aerodynamic flying boat ever designed and the most-built flying boat of World War II with a production run of about 3,305. [6]

Construction was all-metal, stressed skin aluminum sheets riveted to an aluminum frame, except the ailerons and wing trailing edge which were fabric-covered to reduce the weight of the aircraft. The fabric, unbleached cotton, was hand sewn and the seams sealed with varnish to make them water tight and add rigidity. Rivets were kept in a freezer before being driven into place to make all joins especially tight when the rivets expanded in warming to room temperature.

Many aviation experts considered the PBY obsolete when the war started. 

Unobstructed view of ocean and land targets, rugged construction, long range, high payload, the PBY provided a strong military performance platform. High speed? No, but its speed was more than adequate for maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare. “Without her crew the plane is but an inanimate object, unable to move, express itself or show off her incredible characteristics. But…together with her crew they showed the world through their collective efforts the PBY’s contribution to aviation.” [7]

It’s time now to look at what the PBY and her crews were able to do. Catalina’s served in the wartime armed forces of the U.S.A., Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the Soviet Union, the Netherlands, Free France and Brazil. With the United States being neutral until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941. The first PBY’s to enter combat in World War II were flown by Britain and her allies.

PBY Catalina’s in the Royal Air Force  

In 1939, the Royal Air Force (RAF), ordered a single example of a commercial model of the PBY-4 flying boat for an evaluation which was still in progress when war was declared and a decision was made to order the aircraft in large numbers for military service. The first of about 700 Consolidated flying boats entered service in early 1941 with 209 and 240 Squadrons of Coastal Command. Many of the later aircraft were diverted to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

The RAF favoured flying boats for their longer range but did have to accept twelve PBY-5A aircraft (designated Catalina IIIA) under Lend-Lease. True to its tradition of shunning alphanumeric designations, the RAF named their PBY’s Catalina’s, a name adopted by the US Navy in October, 1941. Consolidated president Reuben Fleet may have suggested the name “Catalina”, to the RAF as this was the name of an island off the coast of California not too far from the Consolidated plant. 

The Catalina’s Hollywood moment occurred on 26 May 1941 when an RAF flying boat based in Northern Ireland and co-piloted by Ensign Leonard B. Smith of the US Navy, spotted the German battleship Bismarck as it attempted to reach occupied France for repair, thus initiating the process that would see the destruction of Germany’s largest battleship. [8] Ensign Smith’s involvement was kept secret because of the official neutrality of the United States. [9]

On 17 July 1944 RAF officer John Cruickshank, piloting a Mk IV PBY Catalina JV928 from the Shetland islands, came under heavy anti-aircraft fire from German Submarine U-361. Seriously wounded, Cruickshank pressed home the attack and sank U-361 on his second pass. He was awarded the Victoria Cross and is the last living recipient to have been awarded the VC during the Second World War.

PBY Catalina’s and Canso’s in the Royal Canadian Air Force

The first PBY aircraft taken on strength by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) by No. 116 Squadron at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia on 28 June 1941,were nine Catalina Mark I flying boats diverted from an RAF contract to fulfill a request from the AOC (Air Officer Commanding) A/C (Air Commodore) A.E. Godfrey. [10]

Some flying boats were stationed on Canada’s east and west coasts for maritime patrol and convoy escort but, unlike the RAF, the RCAF favoured the amphibian PBY-5A for their Canadian squadrons since using straight flying boats was impractical during Canadian winters. 

In December, 1941, the decision was made to rename PBY-5A aircraft built in Canada for the RCAF because specifications for their Canadian built models were different from British and American versions.

catalina yachts wiki

Canadian Government PBY-5 and PBY-5A naming edict

The name, “CANSO,” was chosen for the Strait of Canso located in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada dividing the Nova Scotia peninsula from Cape Breton Island. The RCAF’s non-amphibious aircraft were to be named “Canso” while the amphibians were known as “Canso As”. The Catalina’s loaned from the RAF retained their original British name. [11]

The figures reported in the next paragraph indicate that no “CANSO” flying boats meeting RCAF specifications, were built. The number of Catalina’s and Canso’s taken on strength by the RCAF in WW II were 30 ex RAF Catalina flying boats and 208 Canso A amphibians. [12]

The two RCAF overseas squadrons, 422 and 413, flew Catalina’s supplied by the RAF. No. 422 (GR/General Reconnaissance) Squadron , based at Lough Erne , Northern Ireland on 2 April 1942, ferried key personnel and equipment to northern Russia. In transit they patrolled the route of Russian convoys watching for submarines and surface raiders operating off the coast of Norway. 

By March, 1942, Japan seemed to be on an inexorable march to supremacy in the Western Pacific and the South China Sea. Since the destruction of Pearl Harbour by a Japanese aircraft carrier fleet on December 7, 1941, Japan had overrun Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, and Burma. A carrier-launched air raid destroyed the northern Australian port city of Darwin. Next up, the Indian Ocean where defeat of the British Eastern Fleet would have had disastrous consequences for the allied forces confronting the Axis powers.

“The most dangerous moment of the war, and the one which caused me the greatest alarm, was when the Japanese fleet was heading for Ceylon and the naval base there. The capture of Ceylon, the consequent control of the Indian Ocean, and the possibility at the same time of a German conquest of Egypt would have closed the ring and the future would have been black”

Prime Minister Winston Churchill

The British fleet based in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) was a mix of modern and older vessels cobbled together in haste and put under the command of Admiral Sir James Somerville who realized his only option against a superior force was to adopt a defensive stance which involved keeping his ships out of port except for refueling and taking on food and water.

His plan was to concentrate his fleet outside the range of Japanese reconnaissance aircraft during daylight and close in at night. The British could use their radar-equipped Albacores to slow the Japanese fleet enough for their battleships to engage in the dark. Stay out of range they did but the British fleet never launched an offensive against the Japanese fleet.  The fleets never met. 

The Japanese expectation was for complete surprise which would find Royal Navy ships confined to harbour as had happened at Pearl Harbour and Darwin. Somerville’s overarching challenge was to locate his adversaries to eliminate the element of surprise. 

Cue the Catalina’s.

The RCAF’s second overseas squadron equipped with Catalina flying boats, No. 413 (GR) Squadron , was formed and stationed in Scotland before being sent to Ceylon in late March, 1942, to supplement RAF Catalina’s on the island. 

Voices from the Past

On 4 April, 413 Squadron leader Leonard Birchall took off in Catalina QL-A on a reconnaissance patrol of the sea south of Ceylon. At about 4pm, after 10 hours in the air, Birchall sighted a smudge on the southern horizon. Investigating from a height of 2000 feet, he saw the Japanese fleet formation including carriers, battleships, escorts and supply ships. 

Turning north under full power, it was already too late for the Catalina and its crew. The Catalina’s radio operator managed to get off a sighting report. But before he could finish his regulation two repeats, cannon shells from Japanese fighters began to rip through the air-frame – demolishing the radio.   The fight lasted just seven minutes. Some 350 miles from land, with dusk settling in, Birchall was forced to put his Catalina down in the ocean.  The single transmission was, fortunately, enough. It was received – though somewhat garbled – and rapidly shared among Ceylon’s defenders.

“We were saved from this disaster by an airman on reconnaissance who spotted the Japanese fleet and, though shot down, was able to get a message through to Ceylon which allowed the defending forces there to prepare for the approaching assault; otherwise they would have been taken by surprise.”

Sir Winston Churchill

catalina yachts wiki

Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron Leader Leonard Joseph Birchall, the “Saviour of Ceylon”

Among RCAF squadrons flying Canso A aircraft, No. 162 (BR) Squadron was the most successful anti-submarine squadron during the second world war with five U-boats destroyed, one shared sinking and one U-boat damaged. This was due to the skill and courage of the crews but also to location.

Formed at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, on 19 May 1942, it was seconded to RAF Coastal Command in January, 1944, and stationed first at RAF Reykjavik, Iceland, relatively close to U-boat routes from Norway into the North Atlantic. In May, 1944,162 was moved to Wick on the northeast coast of Scotland to intercept enemy submarines leaving Norwegian ports just before and then after the Normandy invasion.

The North Sea between Britain and Norway is an even smaller body of water than that east of Iceland and this, along with German urgency to dispatch U-boats to the English Channel following D-Day on 6 June 1944, probably accounted for the frequency at which U-boats were spotted and attacked by 162 Squadron. [14] Flying from Reykjavik:

F/O C.C. Cunningham and crew attacked a U-boat but could only claim it as damaged.

April 17, F/O T.C. Cooke and crew scored the squadron’s first kill when they sank U-342.

Sorties launched from Wick:  

June 3, F/L R.E. McBride and crew sank U-447

June 11, F/O L. Sherman and crew sank U-980

June 13, W/C Chapman and crew sank U-715. Also on this day, F/O Sherman sighted and attacked a U-boat but was shot down.

June 24, F/L D.A. Hornell and crew sank U-1225

June 30, F/L McBride attacked U-478 but the depth charges failed to release. An RAF Liberator was called in and sank the sub.

F/L D. A. Hornell’s attack on 24 June 1944, earned him the Victoria Cross, awarded posthumously. On sea patrol in the North Atlantic  Hornell’s aircraft was fired on and badly damaged by U-1125. Nevertheless, he and his crew succeeded in sinking the submarine. Hornell then managed to bring his burning aircraft down on the heavy swell. There was only one serviceable dinghy which could not hold all the crew so they took turns in the cold water.By the time the survivors were rescued 21 hours later, Hornell was blinded and weak from exposure and cold. He died shortly after being picked up. Hornell was laid to rest in  Lerwick  Cemetery, Shetland Islands. [15]

Author’s note:

A writer faces a difficult decision in choosing to feature individual achievements such as those of John Cruickshank, Leonard Birchall and David Hornell. World War II military personnel served their countries well and many, many people were called upon to do extraordinarily courageous things. Deep gratitude is owed to all veterans of that horrific conflict.

John Clement

And finally, the Canso A history you will not find anywhere else. The writer’s father flew Canso’s with the RCAF from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and Torbay, Newfoundland. 

Initially posted to 160 Squadron as a 2 nd officer/co-pilot, he was selected for training to qualify as a first officer/captain and was posted to # 3 Operational Training Unit, Patricia Bay, where he flew RCAF 11024 now restored to airworthiness by volunteers of The Catalina Preservation Society  and renamed “Shady Lady.”

Training included night landings on the water. The only guide was a line of light buoys anchored in the bay with the other end tied to a boat. The boat’s role was to keep the line taut, directed into the wind. At night, the water was black and the shore was black. With no visual reference other than the string of lights, the pilot had to land on instruments, the artificial horizon and the altimeter.

To prevent the pilot being distracted from the instruments by glancing out the window, at a certain point in the approach the pilot’s seat was lowered so he couldn’t see outside. Training completed, he returned to 160 Squadron as a captain.

No. 160 Squadron Canso’s flying over the Atlantic carried homing pigeons . If an aircraft went down without being able to radio its position, the position could be written on a slip of paper which was to be attached to the bird’s leg and the pigeon released to fly back to the airfield. On every flight the pigeon master sent along the designated emergency pigeon plus a pigeon or two in training. The pigeon cadets were to be released when the plane was a certain distance from the airfield. The pigeons, kept in cages on a shelf in the galley, were not to be fed. The crew fed them bits of toast.

A way had to be found to release the pigeons so they wouldn’t be injured or killed by the back draft from the propellers. The solution was to put the bird in a brown paper shopping bag with the top loosely tucked in. The pigeon, in the paper bag, was put out one of the waist gunners’ blister windows and thrown down to keep it away from the plane’s propeller back-wash and the tail structure. The bag tumbled in the wind until it opened and the bird found its way out and began its flight back to the airfield. [16]

PBYs in the United States Navy and the United States Army Air Force

On December 27, 1941, America’s first offensive airstrike of the Pacific War turned out to be a textbook example of how not to use the PBY Catalina in combat. Six PBY’s took off from Ambon Island in the Dutch East Indies to bomb a Japanese base at Jolo in the southwest Philippines. The Catalina’s were the only aircraft with the range to make the 1,600 mile round trip. Four of the six were shot down and in his post-action report one of the surviving pilots wrote,

“It is impossible to outrun fighters with a PBY-4. Under no circumstances should PBY’s be allowed to come in contact with enemy fighters unless protected by fighter convoy.”

An observation from a PBY Pilot

It was no secret that the PBY’s cruise speed was 125 miles per hour. Perhaps the desire to retaliate after Pearl Harbour clouded the judgment of the commanding officer but after that inauspicious start the PBY distinguished itself in the Pacific as it had done in other theaters of war.

During the Guadalcanal Campaign PBY’s painted matte black were so effective in carrying out night bombing, torpedoing and strafing missions that they became a standard part of the US Navy’s battle plan. The fourteen Black Cat squadrons flying slowly at night, dipping to ship mast height, sank or damaged thousands of tons of Japanese shipping as well as bombing and strafing land based Japanese installations.

Particularly in the Pacific, air-sea rescue PBY’s, flown by the United States Army Air Force and nicknamed “Dumbos” from the original Walt Disney movie that was released during the war, retrieved thousands of downed pilots and shipwrecked seamen. The bunks proved especially valuable on search and rescue missions.  

catalina yachts wiki

The use of Catalina bunks in a rescue situation.

PBY’s and their crews were very effective in attacking enemy forces directly but their greatest contribution to the war effort was arguably as lookouts.

“…the same phrases reappear in accounts of nearly every WWII naval battle, Atlantic and Pacific: “A PBY spotted the carrier…While Catalina’s shadowed the fleet through the night…As the PBY followed the phosphorescent wakes …When the fog suddenly lifted, the PBY saw the picket destroyers…” [17]

The most significant American PBY discovery of enemy intent: the sighting of the Japanese fleet racing toward Midway.

  PBYs in the Royal Australian Air Force

In Australia, “It is often said that the Consolidated PBY Catalina’s were to Australia what the Supermarine Spitfire was to Britain.” [18]

With a Japanese invasion a very real threat early in the war, RAAF Catalina coastal patrols and missions into the Solomon’s were crucial, and when the Allies soon went on the offensive, Aussie Cats ranged as far as the coast of China, mine-laying and night-bombing. It’s said that when the RAAF Catalina crews ran out of bombs, they threw out beer bottles with razor blades inserted in the necks. The bottles whistled as they fell in the dark, which was designed to frighten the Japanese. [19]

From June 1943 to July 1945, Qantas operated flights from Perth to Ceylon, duration up to more than 32 hours, dubbed the “flight of the double sunrise.” These flights carried a maximum of 3 passengers; it was clear that PBY’s were not in a position to be part of the long distance passenger flights that developed in post-war years.

  PBYs in the Royal New Zealand Air Force

Fifty-six Catalina’s were operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force between 1943 and 1953 at an Operational Training Unit in New Zealand and with operational squadrons at various points throughout the Pacific in anti-submarine warfare, shipping escort, air-sea rescue and transport roles. They continued to be operated after World War II because they filled a vital role in South Pacific communications. [20]

Like New Zealand, many countries continued to use PBY’s in their Air Forces for non-combat roles such as air/sea rescue and transportation. The last Catalina in U.S. service was a PBY-6A retired from use on 3 January 1957. [21]

The last Canso in the RCAF, 11089, was retired from service at Downsview on 08 April 1962 and went into civilian service as CF-PQO after being struck off charge on 29 November 1962 [22]

PBYs in Soviet Union Forces

“The Catalina in the Soviet Union was used to carry out a wide range of tasks, from search and rescue operations to anti-submarine missions and everything in between.” [23]

PBYs in the Brazilian Air Force

The Brazilian Air Force flew Catalina’s in naval air patrol missions against German submarines starting in 1943 and also air mail deliveries. In 1943, German submarine U-199 was sunk off the Brazilian coast by a coordinated Brazilian and American aircraft attack. The Brazilians continued to operate military Catalina’s on humanitarian supply flights to outlying settlements in the Amazon area until 1982.

Civilian Roles

Very few PBY-5 flying boats outlasted the war but amphibious PBY-5A models have flown to the present day. In civil aviation the crew dropped to two with the relocation of the engineers engine control panel from the pylon to the cockpit.

Many PBY’s that survived to post war went on to serve on African Safari’s and Canadian fishing charters.

Some surplus PBY’s were converted to flying yachts for the wealthy. Jacques-Yves Cousteau used a PBY-6A to support his diving expeditions.

The Catalina Preservation Society monitors PBY restoration projects around the world. Out of a total production of about 3,305 there are about fifteen airworthy PBY-5A in the world today (2021).

Now that may not seem like a lot until one considers that of the more than 18,000 World War II B-24 Liberator bombers produced by Consolidated and its licensees, only 3 are airworthy today.

PBY’s are still flying because they have not outlived their usefulness, particularly as water bombers. The Catalina Preservation Society “Shady Lady” being a case in point.

Not bad for an airplane deemed obsolete in 1939

Post Script:

The photo below is of the writer’s father, F/L George Clement, and the crew of an RCAF Canso A. F/L Clement is at the far left of the back row. The pigeons were confined to their coop when the photo was taken.

catalina yachts wiki


Sue McTaggart’s proofreading and editing of an early draft improved my writing.  Bob Dyck corrected a comment on Canso handling characteristics that I’d taken from an online site thus preventing me from exposing my absolute ignorance of what it’s like to fly the aircraft. David Legg’s comments proved invaluable in correcting errors in online sources that I’d consulted and adding information that I’d missed, especially the distinction between Canso and Canso A aircraft in the RCAF. The warm receptions of snippets of my father’s story by Sue McTaggart, Derwyn Ross and Ian Scanlon were reassuring. Derwyn initiated the whole process when he asked for a volunteer to take on the task of rewriting the History section of The Catalina Preservation Society’s web site. His comments on the first draft helped me to clarify themes and emphasis that guided me to focus on the story of the aircraft brought to life by the crews who flew her. My heartfelt thanks to you all.

John Clement, December, 2021.

[1] Creed, Roscoe, PBY -The Catalina Flying Boat, Naval Institute Press, 1985.

[2] Click on “File.” “Navy’s new ‘mystery’ plane…”

[3] For a video tour of a PBY-6A, go to

[4] The wing was the first “wet” wing on a production airplane, containing the fuel without bladders thus reducing weight by half a pound per gallon of fuel.

[5] As years go by, many Canso pilots report degenerative hearing loss with captains affected in their left ears and first officers in their right.

[6] Calculated by David Legg of The Catalina Society of the United Kingdom. [7] Derwyn Ross, The Catalina Preservation Society.

[8] For a complete account of The Bismarck, go to

[9] Smith was one of nine American officers assigned to the RAF as special observers. Smith was the first American to participate in a World War II naval victory [2]  and is sometimes considered the first American to be directly involved in World War II for his actions.

[10] A. E. Godfrey was a remarkable Royal Canadian Air Force officer. On Sept. 22,1943, then Air Vice Marshall Godfrey became the most senior Canadian officer to fire directly on the enemy during World War II. For the full story go to

[11] RCAF document dated December 22, 1941 generously shared by David Legg, Editor: The Catalina News, The Catalina Society.

[12] David Legg, The Catalina Society,

[13] RAF pilot Flight Lieutenant Graham, sent to followup on Birchall’s sighting, also found the fleet. His plane, Catalina Z2144, was shot down. No survivors.

[14] Finding a U-boat was not a totally random process. Once every 24 hours, each U-boat had to extend its radio antenna above water to signal its position to Admiral Karl Dönitz, the commander of the U-boat fleet. Using shore-based receivers and triangulation the allies could track the U-boat radio signals as they left their Norwegian ports.

[15] For more, go to

[16] For a list of all RCAF Canso and Catalina squadrons during World War II, go to






[22] David Legg, The Catalina Society,


Photograph Credits

A – RCAF 11024  A deep gratitude to Professional Aviation Photographer Heath Moffatt for allowing TCPS use of this image

B – xp3y-1

PBY Variants:


XPY-1 Admiral The Consolidated XPY-1 Admiral, was a modern design for the day, and,  the beginning of flying Boat designs that would eventually lead to the PBY, arguably the most successful fly boat ever built.

initial flight 4-10-35 Norfolk

Mk I – RAF Coastal Command Designation of the PBY-5 model series.

PBY-5 – PBY-5A Canso – Canadian designation from December 1941 of the PBY model series as produced by Canadian Vickers in Cartierville Quebec and Boeing of Canada in Vancouver BC.


International Catalina 30/309 Association

Home of the Catalina 30 and 309 Community

About IC30A

The International Catalina 30 Association (IC30A) is a non-profit volunteer owner organization established in 1974 as a community for anyone interested in owning, maintaining, cruising, racing, or simply adoring the one-design Catalina 30 masthead sloop designed by Frank Butler and manufactured by Catalina Yachts of Woodland Hills, CA. Catalina Yachts has introduced the Catalina 309 in 2005 as an update to the original C30 and since then we expanded our our community to include its enthusiasts. Our leadership team represents many decades of Catalina 30 ownership and joy!

The association is dedicated to quality boating and lifetime enjoyment for its members and to maintaining value through one-design standards and specifications for the Catalina 30 and 309 yachts. The membership activities are predominately cruising, and we are technically minded and maintenance oriented.

The association promotes safe boating, seamanship, good fellowship, enjoyment and enhancement of the Catalina 30 yacht through cruising, racing and social events on local, regional, national and international levels. We sanction regional, inshore and offshore racing of the C30/C309 in one-design and handicap regattas.

The IC30A is the largest world-wide yacht owners association with over 44 regional fleets and members throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia.


  1. Catalina 355

    catalina yachts wiki

  2. Catalina Yachts

    catalina yachts wiki

  3. Catalina 425

    catalina yachts wiki

  4. Catalina 22 MkII fin keel (Catalina Yachts) sailboat specifications and

    catalina yachts wiki

  5. Catalina 470 fin keel (Catalina Yachts) sailboat specifications and

    catalina yachts wiki

  6. Catalina Yachts

    catalina yachts wiki


  1. Catalina Yachts

    Catalina 27 racing on San Francisco Bay.. Catalina Yachts is a U.S.-based builder of fiberglass monohull sloop-rigged sailboats ranging in sizes from eight to 54 feet in length. It was founded in 1969 in Hollywood, California by Frank Butler. Catalina Yachts is one of the largest boat manufacturers in the world, with over 80,000 boats manufactured to date. ...

  2. History

    July 1969 Catalina´s first model, the Catalina 22, is built in North Hollywood, CA.Company owner Frank Butler hopes to build 100 boats if all goes well. March 1970 Catalina´s second model, the Catalina 27, is introduced following the success of the Catalina 22.. December 1974 Catalina´s third model, the Catalina 30, is introduced; the trend-setting design is an immediate sales success and ...

  3. Catalina Yachts

    FORGING AHEAD. From the past 50 years, and to the next 50, Catalina is devoted to providing owners and dealers with quality and value that has made Catalina America's largest sailboat builder. Frank Butler's vision and philosophy carries forward with Sharon Day, who worked alongside Frank for 48 years, at the helm of a veteran leadership team.

  4. Catalina Yachts

    Founded by Frank Butler. In sheer numbers sold, Catalina Yachts is certainly the most successful builder of sailboats ever in the US, and possibly the world. Time line extract from the company's website: July 1969-Catalina's first model, the Catalina 22, is built in North Hollywood, CA. Company owner Frank Butler hopes to build 100 boats if all goes well. March 1970-Catalina's second ...

  5. Catalina Yachts

    February 1995-The Catalina 22 is named as one of five charter members to Sailboat Hall of Fame. March 1995-The Catalina 36 mark II wins one of Cruising World Magazine's "Boat of the Year" awards. April 1995-Catalina 250 Hull number 100 is built in Woodland Hills. May 1995-Catalina 42 hull number 500 is built in Woodland Hills.

  6. Catalina 30

    Catalina 30 Mark II. This model was built between 1986-1991 and was designed by Gerry Douglas. Improvements include a T-shaped cockpit and a new deck and liner design. It has a length overall of 29.92 ft (9.1 m), a waterline length of 25.00 ft (7.6 m), displaces 10,200 lb (4,627 kg) and carries 4,200 lb (1,905 kg) of lead ballast.

  7. Catalina 25

    Catalina 25 with jib roller furled. The Catalina 25 is a small recreational keelboat built predominantly of fiberglass with wood for structural support and trim. It has a masthead sloop rig, a transom-hung rudder, and a fixed fin keel, fixed winged keel, or swing keel. [3] [4]

  8. Catalina 42: Still Beloved, a Quarter-Century Later

    Gerry Douglas of Catalina Yachts. Buyers couldn't get enough of the boat's handling characteristics; some 700 of the Catalina 42s had been sold by 2002, with hundreds more yet to find owners in the years beyond. Boaters also loved that she was the first American-built sailing yacht in her size range to come with a three-stateroom layout ...

  9. Catalina 22: The most successful cruising yacht ever designed

    Six years later the 5,000th boat left his Catalina Yachts factory and the model has remained in continuous production for more than 50 years, albeit with many improvements during that time. The Catalina 22 is by far the most popular ballasted sailing boat with accommodation ever, with total numbers thought to be over 18,000.

  10. Catalina 22 Sport

    Catalina 22 Sport. In response to Catalina 22 owners' requests for a production boat that more accurately reflects the original dimensions and weight of this popular one design boat, Catalina Yachts is now building the Catalina 22 Sport. Catalina Yachts aims to encourage more family racing with the thousands of first generation 22s by ...

  11. Catalina 27

    The Catalina 27 is an American sailboat designed by Frank V. Butler and Robert Finch. The design became one of the most popular sailing keelboats of all time and was built from 1971 to 1991.

  12. Catalina Yachts for sale

    There are presently 433 yachts for sale on YachtWorld for Catalina. This assortment encompasses 95 brand-new vessels and 338 pre-owned yachts, all of which are listed by knowledgeable yacht brokers predominantly in United States, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom and Spain. Models currently listed on YachtWorld span in size and length from 14 feet ...

  13. The Original Sailing Mini-Van

    The Catalina 30 has enjoyed a production run like no other design of its size. In 25 years, over 7,000 of them have been built. Aggressive cost-control manufacturing and that high volume combined to make Catalina Yachts one of the builders who survived successive lows to become one of the dominant few in the sailboat market.

  14. Catalina 30 Review

    Size-for-size and feature-for-feature the Catalina 30 is tough to beat. Selection is plentiful, and prices range from the mid-teens to the mid-seventies. Jack Hornor is an Annapolis-based marine surveyor and naval architect. He can be reached at 410-451-8133 or [email protected].

  15. Catalina 36

    Catalina Yachts: Role: Cruiser: Name: Catalina 36 Mark II: Boat; Displacement: 15,000 lb (6,804 kg) Draft: 5.83 ft (1.78 m) Hull; Type: Monohull: Construction: Fiberglass: LOA: ... The Catalina 36 is a family of American sailboats that was designed by Frank Butler and Gerry Douglas for cruising and first built in 1982. A Mark II version was ...

  16. Catalina 30/309

    The last Catalina 30 was #6454 5/15/08 - Sold to Catalina Yacht Anchorage out of Channel Islands. Catalina introduced the C309 as the follow-on design for the C30 marketing concept. RIGGING. During its long production run, the C30 was built in four rigging configurations and three major models or styles. There are three types of keels; the ...

  17. PDF The Catalina 387 represents a high point in the evolution of the modern

    The Catalina 387 is a beautifully proportioned modern cruising yacht, graced with the functional details, amenities and equipment that mean the most to the knowledgeable and experienced cruising sailor. A bigger, more functional cockpit design. The large cockpit, with Edson Diamond Series pedestal, fitted with a custom fiberglass

  18. PBY Catalina History

    The plane that would become the PBY Catalina was designed by Consolidated Aircraft Corporation's lead designer, Isaac Machlin ("Mac") Laddon when, in 1933, the United States Navy, wary of Japan's growing influence in the Pacific Ocean, requested competing prototype designs for a flying boat with a range of 3,000 miles and a cruising ...

  19. CATALINA 42

    Notes. The CATALINA 42 is an adaptation of an earlier racing hull designed by Nelson/Marek with a new deck and coachroof, interior and rig. A MK II versions was introduced in 1995 (hull #480). It is thought that more than 1000 CATALINA 42's (including MKII) have been built, making it one of the most popular sailboats in this size range ever!

  20. About IC30A

    About IC30A. The International Catalina 30 Association (IC30A) is a non-profit volunteer owner organization established in 1974 as a community for anyone interested in owning, maintaining, cruising, racing, or simply adoring the one-design Catalina 30 masthead sloop designed by Frank Butler and manufactured by Catalina Yachts of Woodland Hills ...

  21. CATALINA 34

    S# first appeared (that we know of) in TellTales, April 1988, "On a Scale of One to Ten" by A.P. Brooks . The equation incorporates SA/Disp (100% fore triangle) and Disp/length ratios to create a guide to probable boat performance vs. other boats of comparable size. For boats of the same length, generally the higher the S#, the lower the PHRF.