Catalina 30/309

Designed around 1974, the traditionally styled Catalina 30 remains extremely popular with cruisers, due to its wide and deep hull creating exceptional volume above and below decks and for its stability under sail. It was offered in standard and tall rig configurations, each with a bowsprit option. Shoal, wing and deep fin keels were offered for varying performance. It offers more space than a typical 34′ boat. There are seven full adult berths, 6′ 4″ headroom and large storage areas under the settees, v-berth, q-berth and in the three cockpit lockers.

There is a large anchor locker in the forepeak. With a huge companionway hatch and large forward hatch, the boat is well ventilated and bright inside. Over the years, many changes were made to fabrics, decorative materials, trim, colors and fashion, and the boat has remained remarkably appealing. The hull Catalina 30 deckhouse, windows and sheer line still define the entire Catalina family of boats.

Heeled in Blue

The original or Mark I model was built from 1975 to 1986 and features the straight cockpit designed for tiller steering and end-boom main sheeting. This model has been widely modified and updated by the owners and improved by the factory with a skeg, a balanced rudder, mid-boom (cabin-top) main sheeting. and pedestal/ wheel steering. It typically had wire-rope external halyards lead to mast winches. The early Yanmar, Universal 5411 and Atomic-4 engines were phased out in favor of the 3-cylinder Universal M-25 diesels during the middle 80s. Design deficiencies with the chain plates (bulkheads) and rudder were eliminated in the late 1970’s production models. Upgrade kits for most of these changes are available from the factory.

The updated Mark II was built from Sept 1986 until 1993 and featured a T-shaped cockpit mold with wide flat coamings and oriented totally to pedestal steering. Halyards were moved inside the mast and lead back to the cockpit. The M-25 became the only engine option in Oct 1988. During this production period, the original SeaWard blocks and Nicro mainsheet gear were replaced by Garhauer equipment. The curved traveler was flattened using more Garhauer equipment. More optional equipment became standard and more opening ports were added, included in the midship hull. The new wing keel option was introduced in Nov 1986. It became standard on the newer Mark III.

The Mark III was introduced in 1994. The broader Mark III stern has a walk-thru transom with boarding/swim platform which takes advantage of the original split backstay. The cockpit is now even more comfortable than ever with wider coamings for outboard seating and new observation seats built into the stern rail. Low maintenance materials have been used extensively to give you more time to enjoy your C-30. New stainless steel traveler supports improve visibility and reduce friction on halyards. The galley has been made even larger with new custom countertop surfaces, more cupboards and drawers, and a dish and cup storage rack. The varnished interior teak cabin surfaces are accented by polished brass light fixtures. Natural light has been increased through the addition of 3 fixed ports in the hull.

Catalina MARK III shares the under body and rig of earlier Catalina 30’s and is eligible to participate in Catalina 30 One Design events and Class Association activities. Mechanical and electrical components remain essentially the same throughout the entire production run. An electrical cable upgrade (cockpit to engine) eliminates some low voltage and charging problems in all three models. Universal, PAR, Seaward (Hillerange), EDSON, and LEWMAR brands are used almost exclusively. Hood and Scheafer furling gear has been standard. Since 1990, Garhauer Marine, has supplied all of the topside rigging and running gear.

Now out of production, last produced at about a dozen per year, the venerable C30 is now the oldest model in the Catalina Yachts family, having the longest production life of over 25 years and nearly 6500 hulls. (A redesigned C22 has been produced since 1995). A MARK IV change was planned in 1997, but was developed as an entirely new boat, the C310 which appeared at the Atlantic City Sail Expo in Feb 1999. The Catalina 30 was inducted into the Sail America Hall of Fame in 2001.

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.


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 original 5′ 3″ deep keel is still preferred for all-around performance where water depth is no problem. The early 4′ 5″ shoal keel has been replaced by the modern 3′ 10″ deep wing keel. According to the factory, all hulls share the same dimensions and overall weight.

The rigging configurations are the original standard rig (STD), the standard with a bowsprit, a tall rig and the tall mast rig with a bowsprit (TRBS). The bowsprits add about 32 inches to the “J” measurement of the sail plan and the tall mast adds 24 inches to the “I” of the sail plan. The tall mast also has a boom or “E” measurement that is 6 inches longer. The standard boat without the bowsprit is popular along the Pacific coast while the predominant tall rig with bowsprit is the choice in every other sailing area.


The Catalina 30 is widely raced in several large west coast one-design fleets. Otherwise it is a favorite club racer/cruiser in PHRF fleets across the country. The C30 one-design class rules closely follow the PHRF guidelines to lower the costs of competition.

Catalina 30 - Downwind

The PHRF ratings split between the standard (STD) and tall rig (TRBS) is usually 18-24 seconds per mile. This wide difference is not supported by most C30 sailors (who know better) and the national one-design rules keep them in separate racing classes. The boat is an excellent performer in flatter water and ocean swells. The sail plan is powerful but the broad hull entry doesn’t slice through choppy or tossed seas as well as some of its contemporaries. The masthead genoas are large, and the main has a moderately tall aspect. That popular 1970’s design theme calls for a spinnaker for off-wind sailing.