Catalina 310: Star-Spangled Super Sloop

Da Capo (Catalina 310) sailing on Lake Champlain
Da Capo (Catalina 310) sailing on Lake Champlain

Another recap of another Catalina 310 review. Bear with me. Trying to sort… this… out…

The article was written by David Lockwood on Friday, 1 October 1999 and appears online at if you’re interested in reading the whole review (which you should!)

Catalina’s new 310 edged upwind with surprising alacrity…

Neither too big to handle two-up or too small to put to sea, Catalina’s new 31-footer is an affordable recreational yacht that can do a bit of everything on a whim.


Fitted with an offshore capable rig the boat can be powered up or down in a short space of time

Consequently, in the 310, you can race around the cans, short-haul cruise up the coast and head out for a week with your partner in great comfort…

[The Catalina] 310 is built of solid, hand-laid fibreglass and backed by a five-year hull-structure warranty. The deck has a plywood core and is bonded and through-bolted to the hull. Both the hull and deck are reinforced by liners bonded into place. Further rigidity comes from the yacht’s interior moulded liner, chainplates that terminate at the knees and are through-bolted, and keel-stepped mast.

Below the waterline, transverse ribs provide strength and somewhere for the lead fin keel (wing keel optional) to hang.

Fitted with what Catalina terms an offshore capable rig – comprising double spreaders, with fore and aft lower shrouds, a solid vang, fully-battened mainsail, with two reefing points, and roller-furling headsail as standard – the boat can be powered up or down in a short space of time. The mast is, in fact, the same stick as a Catalina 32, but just 150mm shorter.

[The Catalina 310] can host eight for drinks, six for club races and four for dinner by the waterfront. Moreover, it can provide a couple with big-boat comforts in a package that’s easily driven and slotted into a marina berth.

On the social side, despite its modest waterline length, the 310 has a big cockpit with loads of deck space and plenty of seats. The coamings are rounded and the cabin top comfortable to rest against, with great views for those riding shotgun on the pushpit seats behind the skipper.

Underway and during tacks, the cockpit remains uncluttered thanks to the traveller and clutches being mounted on the cabin top. The yacht comes standard with wheel steering – an 81cm wheel that doesn’t crowd the cockpit – and a big-boat binnacle on which instrumentation can be mounted right where the skipper can see it… the location of the primary, two-speed self-tailing winches for the genoa make single-handed tacks a snap. These Lewmar winches are right alongside the skipper.

With the shrouds mounted inboard and nice, wide flat decks leading forward, the foredeck is never far away. Backed by high lifelines, cabin-top handrails and a greedy grade of non-skid, the foredeck contains a useful anchor locker and electric anchor winch.

At rest, a wide walk-though transom with a boarding platform, fold-down swim ladder and freshwater deck shower will come in handy during summer, as will the outdoor lunch table around which a crew of six can sit… you’ll praise the boat’s storage capacity. Among the big lockers is the portside designed to house an inflatable, with room for the outboard on a stern bracket. There is also a separate locker for the gas bottle.

The Catalina 310 feels bigger than a 31-footer.

Okay, I apologize for including [almost] everything in this review. It’s that thorough. That helpful. Hope I haven’t over-quoted. (Okay, I know I have!) But there’s too much useful information in David Lockwood’s review of the Catalina 310 to slice and dice.

With just two people, a host of features come into play… the boat can work as an open-plan living space instead of having to lock the forward bulkhead to the cabin for privacy. This way, you stand to gain most from the roominess of the main saloon, which gains from the beamy and high sides.

With headroom all-the-way, from the aft bathroom… to the master cabin in the bow, the boat feels bigger than a 31-footer. With lots of hatches and a basic white headliner, light streams inside and stops any chance of stuffiness.

For a cruising couple, the forward cabin contains the piece de-resistance – a queen-sized berth (on the centreline, so you won’t fall out at night), with an inner-spring mattress. There’s a hanging locker and drawers on slides…

There is a second cabin back aft… [and the ] table is big enough for candlelit dinners…

The Catalina 310’s 27hp Universal engine consumes just two litres of diesel per hour at cruising speed.

[The Catalina 310’s] galley comes with a forest of teak cupboards, cabinets and even a dedicated cutlery drawer. There’s a front-loading fridge, a massive 80lt of hot water on tap, a second icebox which can be used as a food-storage hold, stainless sink and a two-burner gas stove and oven, with grill.


The decor is best described as traditional American yachting, with teak bulkheads and joinery, white glass for the headliner, a teak-and-holly vinyl floor covering, cream-covered lounges and a sandy-looking granicoat finish on the benches in the galley and head.

The companionway offers plenty of elbow room as you descend below, while the stairs lift out to reveal direct access to the freshwater-cooled, three-cylinder, 27hp Universal engine.

This engine, by the way, consumes just two litres of diesel per hour at cruising speed, so it won’t cost you much to get back home if the wind fizzles.

So David Lockwood is corroborating what I continue to read everywhere. The Catalina 310 is comfortable, practice, and well built. But how does it sail?

A couple will find the 310 a cinch to sail… the yacht is said to have a balanced helm brought about by a deep, elliptical spade rudder. The view forward was reassuring and the telltales easy to see… The 135% genoa drives the boat through the tacks and provides almost as much power as the main when underway. (Source:

Sounds promising, right?