John page williams
The following review was written by John Page Williams, Editor-at-large, Chesapeake Bay Magazine. John, senior naturalist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, has been a regular contributor to Chesapeake Bay Magazine for 30 years, specializing in environmental issues, nature, wildlife, fishing and boats. He has been testing new and used boats for the magazine's Time-Tested and New Boat News departments since 1998.

MARCH 2012
 
   
Length overall  31' 11"
Beam  11' 7"
Draft 6' 3" (fin keel)
4' 4" (wing keel)                
Engine Yanmar 3Y30
Water 35 gal          
Fuel 27 gal        
Sail Area 100% Fore-triangle, 506 sq ft 135% Genoa, 589 sq ft

The newest and smallest boat yet in the 5 Series from Catalina Yachts is the 315. But she still carries the big-boat features of her award-winning larger sisters, the 445 and 335. Always attentive to ideas and suggestions from Catalina owners, the company's design team laid out the cockpit for efficiency and visibility from the helm, with clear sight lines to instrument pods from both port and starboard. The 315 is available with a fin keel (6-foot-3-inch draft), but most Chesapeake sailors will opt for the optional wing keel (4-foot-4-inch draft). Sail area with a 135 percent genoa is 589 square feet. A low-profile cabin reduces windage, while the wide deck allows safe movement forward. An oversized traveler and winches ease sail handling from the cockpit in all conditions.

Below, Catalina has built in both aft and forward cabins, along with a propane-fired galley, a navigator's desk with laptop bin, a full head with shower enclosure, a dinette with teak table, and plentiful storage. The navigation panel has additional circuits for added options, plus a built-in amp meter to monitor electrical usage.

Like the other 5 Series boats, the 315's five-part structural system includes the hull, structural stringer grid, hull liner, deck, and deck liner, all chemically-bonded into one unit. Other 5 Series structural features include a watertight StrikeZone collision bulkhead forward, a DeepDefense rudder system for fail safe steering, and Catalina's T-Beam MastStep system, with the benefits of a deck-stepped mast and strength of a keel-stepped mast. Base price for the Catalina 315 is $116,495. Catalina Yachts, Largo, Fla., 727-544-6681; www.catalinayachts.com.