The Catalina 38 is an American sailboat that was designed by Sparkman & Stephens as a racer-cruiser and first built in 1978.[1][2][3]

Catalina 38
DesignerSparkman & Stephens
LocationUnited States
No. built365
Builder(s)Catalina Yachts
NameCatalina 38
Boat weight15,900 lb (7,212 kg)
Draft6.80 ft (2.07 m)
LOA39.08 ft (11.91 m)
LWL30.25 ft (9.22 m)
Beam11.83 ft (3.61 m)
Engine typeUniversal Atomic 4 25 hp (19 kW) gasoline engine
Hull appendages
Keel/board typefin keel
Ballast6,850 lb (3,107 kg)
Rudder(s)internally-mounted spade-type rudder
Rig typeBermuda rig
I foretriangle height49.80 ft (15.18 m)
J foretriangle base15.50 ft (4.72 m)
P mainsail luff44.00 ft (13.41 m)
E mainsail foot11.50 ft (3.51 m)
SailplanMasthead sloop
Mainsail area253.00 sq ft (23.504 m2)
Jib/genoa area385.95 sq ft (35.856 m2)
Total sail area638.95 sq ft (59.360 m2)

The Catalina 38 is a development of the Yankee 38.[1][4]


The design was built by Catalina Yachts in the United States. The company built 365 examples between 1978 and 1990, but it is now out of production.[3][5]


The boat was originally designed as Sparkman & Stephens design #2094-C2 for Yankee Yachts and produced as the Yankee 38, but that company only produced 30 examples between 1972 and 1975, before going out of business. Frank V. Butler purchased the molds and modified the design for production by his company, Catalina Yachts. The changes Butler incorporated included a new deck and cabin roof design, a taller rig and a balanced spade rudder, replacing the original skeg-mounted rudder.[1][6]

The Catalina 38 is a recreational keelboat, built predominantly of fiberglass, with wood trim. It has a masthead sloop rig with aluminum spars, a raked stem, a raised counter reverse transom, an internally mounted spade-type rudder controlled by a wheel and a fixed fin standard draft or shoal draft keel. It displaces 15,900 lb (7,212 kg) and carries 6,850 lb (3,107 kg) of ballast.[1][3]

The boat has a draft of 6.80 ft (2.07 m) with the standard keel and 4.90 ft (1.49 m) with the optional shoal draft keel.[1]

The boat is fitted with a Universal Atomic 4 25 hp (19 kW) gasoline engine for docking and maneuvering. The fuel tank holds 25 U.S. gallons (95 L; 21 imp gal) and the fresh water tank has a capacity of 55 U.S. gallons (210 L; 46 imp gal).[1]

The design has sleeping accommodation for five or six people. There is a bow cabin with a "V"-berth, two settee berths in the main cabin, including a "U"-shaped dinette settee and an optional quarter berth aft on the starboard side. The galley is "U"-shaped and is on the port side, at the foot of the companionway steps. It includes a two-burner stove, an icebox and a double sink, with a pressurized water supply. The navigation station is to starboard, opposite the galley. The head is forward on the port side and features a shower, with a teak grating. The cabin features oiled teak trim.[3]

Ventilation is provided by a main cabin skylight and a bow cabin hatch.[3]

There is an anchor locker in the forepeak. The halyards are hoisted by two winches on the cabin roof. There is a mainsheet traveler also mounted on the cabin roof. The genoa has sheet tracks on the bulwarks and primary winches in the cockpit.[3]

The design has a PHRF Portsmouth Yardstick racing average handicap of 116.[3]

Operational historyEdit

In a 1994 review Richard Sherwood wrote, "the Catalina [38] is available with either a standard or a shoal-draft keel. Entry is fine and rig tall, which should assist in going to weather. Maximum beam is amidships."[3]

Michael Robertson, writing for Cruising World, in a 2014 review noted, "with its pedigree, it's no surprise that owners report the Catalina 38 sails to windward like it's on rails and also sails beautifully in light air. That superior upwind performance comes with a draft that approaches 7 feet, a limiting factor for some cruising sailors."[7]

See alsoEdit

Related development

Similar sailboats


  1. ^ a b c d e f McArthur, Bruce (2020). "Catalina 38 sailboat". Archived from the original on 30 June 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  2. ^ McArthur, Bruce (2020). "Sparkman & Stephens". Archived from the original on 31 March 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Sherwood, Richard M.: A Field Guide to Sailboats of North America, Second Edition, pages 322-323. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994. ISBN 0-395-65239-1
  4. ^ McArthur, Bruce (2020). "Yankee 38 sailboat". Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  5. ^ McArthur, Bruce (2020). "Catalina Yachts". Archived from the original on 3 June 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  6. ^ McArthur, Bruce (2020). "Frank V. Butler". Archived from the original on 30 June 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  7. ^ Robertson, Michael (16 March 2020). "Classic Plastic: Catalina 38". Cruising World. Archived from the original on 10 July 2017. Retrieved 15 March 2020.