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Catalina 545

2020 June 1

Ingenuity and craftsmanship come together to give Catalina’s flagship the ability to cross oceans in comfort

The spacious saloon has flexible seating.

Down below

The first clue that attention to detail was first and foremost was the dumbwaiter. Yes, a dumbwaiter, which brings food and drinks from the galley up to the cockpit, eliminating the need to navigate the companionway with an armful of libations. 

The galley is located on the port side a step down from the saloon’s cabin sole. The in-line galley has loads of counter space and storage, with a double sink inboard and a three-burner stove and oven outboard. A front-loading freezer, and top-loading and front-loading refrigerators provide plenty of room for weeks of provisions. There are options for an icemaker, dishwasher and wine chiller. 

Finished in teak and maple, the saloon is bright thanks to oversized portlights in the hull and a bank of overhead hatches.

“We wanted to create a warm and inviting space with a traditional American feel to the interior,” Douglas said.

The spacious galley features a dumbwaiter that takes food and drink up to the cockpit. The folding table has seating for eight.

The saloon is spacious. An L-shaped dinette with folding table and seating for eight is to port and an opposing L-shape settee to starboard. The full-size navigation station has plenty of room for charts and equipment and houses the pop-up television.

The forward master stateroom with an en suite head and shower is available in four configurations. You can have a seating area with settee, a office space with desk, a dressing room with washer and dryer or a optional fourth cabin with upper and lower berths. The space features cedar-lined lockers with louvered doors for good ventilation.

“We wanted to create an oasis for the owners, giving them a place to get away from the noise in the main cabin,” Douglas said. “A lot of our owners cruise with families, sometimes with grandchildren, and they want to be able to have two living spaces.”

To that end, Catalina installed a soundproof, carbon-cored bulkhead that also supports the deck-stepped mast between the saloon and forward cabin. The engineering went even further to have three-zone overhead heating and cooling with insulated ductwork. 

A second head with shower and two aft cabins complete the living space. The port side double is accessed through the galley while the starboard side cabin features a berth that converts from a double to twin berths at the push of a button.

Under sail

It was easy to spot the 545 as I walked out the docks at the Miami Boat Show in February—it was the only boat left. I met up with delivery skipper Rick Meyer, who was loading the boat for the trip back to St. Petersburg. We got underway, and exiting the maze of pilings was simple with the boat’s electric bow thrusters enabling the boat to make 90-degree turns. Powering past the Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key out past the Rickenbacker Causeway, the 110-horsepower turbo Yanmar engine had plenty of punch.

Catalina has taken shorthand sailing to the next level. From the helm, with the push of a button, we set the main. It unfurled from the triple-spreader Selden rig, and with another push of a button, we set the self-tacking jib and were sailing in minutes. 

The in-mast furling mainsail is set at the touch of a button located at the helm.

The wind was fluky as we sailed past downtown Miami, heading to Government Cut, the gateway to the Atlantic. The boat tacked easily, and it handled the erratic gusts filtering from between the buildings with aplomb. Catalina’s often have conservative sailplans, but the 545’s 1,300-square-foot sail area kept the boat moving along at 5 knots in the 5-knot breeze. Although the schedule didn’t allow for a test sail on the ocean, it was easy to see that this new flagship was meant for bluewater sailing.

The new Catalina 545 may have been designed with Catalina owners in mind, but its robust construction, clever interior layout and shorthanded sailability is sure to make new fans of those cruisers looking to sail over the horizon in comfort and safety.

LOA 56’2”; LWL 50’6”; Beam 15’6”; Draft 6’6”; Displ. 42,500 lb.; Ballast 13,600 lb.; Sail area 1,317 sq. ft.; Water 201 Gal.; Fuel 147 gal.

Sail away price:


Catalina Yachts 

7200 Bryan Dairy Rd. 

Largo, FL 33777 






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