Catalina 42 Mkii – Boat Review and Video Tour

Catalina 42 MkII Boat Review from the Foster Journey (1)

The Catalina 42 was our first look at a sailboat over 40 feet and our first look at one of the Catalina Yachts in this size range. Previously, we explored the Beneteau 361 and the Catalina 350, but we felt their space limitations when considering them as long-term cruising sailboats. The Catalina 42 is a classic, best-selling sailboat from Catalina Yachts, but it comes in two versions: Catalina 42 and Catalina 42 MkII.

The next option was to look at a sailboat in the low 40-foot range, and Josh from Little Yacht Sales was more than willing to guide us along.

Watch this boat review video to see what you think, and we’ll share some facts about the Catalina 42 Mkii below.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which help us fund our journey at no cost to you.

Catalina 42 MkII Boat Tour and Review

About the Catalina 42 Mkii

The Catalina 42 we looked at is a the two-cabin centerline owner’s berth version. It’s 43’2″ overall in length, and 13’10” wide (beam).

Centerline Berth in the Catalina 42

The forward cabin is the “owner’s suite”. It features a pedestal berth flanked by two small settees. There are two hanging lockers and five drawers under the bed. The owner’s cabin also has private access to the forward head.


The salon and galley are both spacious and provide ample storage in lockers and shelves. The galley highlights 10 cabinets, a top and side loading icebox, and an almost 360-degree countertop with the collapsable counter extension.

The aft cabin only spans half of the boat but features a fair double-sized bed, hanging locker, and shelf space.

On the port side, just beyond the galley, there is mechanical access and plenty of utility space for additional gear, tools, washing machine, or portable freezer (such as the Engel or Dometic, Amazon paid link).

Four Versions of the Catalina 42 mkii - is this sailboat good for living aboard?
Four Versions of the Catalina 42 Mkii, Pin Me!

Pros and Cons of the Catalina 42

We’re thinking of the boat in terms of a long-term cruise and with the option to sail open oceans for weeks at a time. Yes, we know she’s designed for coastal cruising, but on the chance, we’d want to cross the Atlantic on trade winds…would she be up to the task?

We do know plenty of Catalina 42 sailboats all around the world. So that’s a good sign.

Here’s a list of our pros and cons for this sailboat.

Storage Space
Open deck space
Secure cockpit for seaways
Large salon and galley
Solid construction
Lead keel
CE Rating A, all oceans
Solid teak interior
Cockpit space for time at anchor
Capsize screening above 2.0
Limited tank storage
Pros and Cons of the Catalina 42

This Boat in Our Journey

We seem to be gravitating toward Catalina Yachts in our search for the right sailboat. Probably because they have the comfort features and build quality that matches our needs within our budget.

Other mass-produced, affordable sailboats seem to either focus on comfort at the dock or speed for weekend races. Those are certainly nice features, but our journey is about freedom and not so much bay cruising or racing.

The Catalina 42 matches many of our needs, and may be the boat for us. However, we feel the following drawbacks are keeping us from immediately saying this is the one:

  • Aft cockpit feels a little tight for long-term living.
  • Capsize screening is a little too high for us (we’re inexperienced sailor, so we need more forgiveness from a boat).

Catalina 42 vs Catalina 42 mkii

Frank Butler, the founder of Catalina Yachts, used the philosophy: as much boat as possible for the money. Both the Catalina 42, and mark 2 version fit this mantra. But what’s the difference?

First off, the Catalina 42 is the first version, the mark 1. The first version of the Catalina 42 were hulls 1-477, which finished production in 1995. The Catalina 42 Mark 2 took immediate production in 1995 all the way through the end of its production and was replaced in 2016 by the Catalina 425.

The Catalina 42 mkii introduced a few key differences from the Catalina 42:

  • Rounded Stern
  • Larger swim platform and storage on transom
  • Yanmar Engine instead of Universal
  • New Rudder Design
  • Option of a two-stateroom layout
  • Extra cockpit stowage
  • Wing-keel became more common
  • Interior layout options

Catalina 42 Design Philosophy
“The Catalina 42 is a rather simple, sturdy boat. What you get is good quality, because the structure is there. If you want to make it more elaborate, you can take it as far as you want to go…We followed in the footsteps of the designs for the 36- and 38-footers, which were very successful, then stretched this two feet to allow room for the swim platform.”
– Gerry Douglas, Chief Design Engineer

What Do You Think About This Sailboat?

As always, if you’ve read this far, thanks so much! I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions about this sailboat.

Leave a comment below.

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5 responses to “Catalina 42 Mkii – Boat Review and Video Tour”

  1. Kendra

    Such a nice boat!

    1. It is a great boat, and one of our favorites so far with just enough space. Thanks for leaving a comment!

  2. Kate

    This boat looks so much bigger than the others you’ve looked at. Good luck in shopping!

    1. Thanks, Kate. As I type this, we’re still shopping…and selling, but the sale is a story for an upcoming episode. I appreciate you leaving a comment here!

  3. […] example, the Catalina 400 and the Catalina 42 are both shorter boats overall, but they are wider and made better use of the space…at least […]

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