New York City's Mark Ploch and team power Cruising World's 2020 Boat of the Year - Catalina 545
Catalina Yachts has received the 2020 Boat of the Year from Cruising World Magazine for its innovative offshore sailing boat, the Catalina 545.
"We are very pleased with the recognition this boat has received" said Catalina Yachts chief designer Gerry Douglas. "We put in a huge amount of time and effort into its development and throughout we listened to what our customers wanted."
The Catalina 545 is an ocean cruising vessel that can also be raced competitively and is expected to be on the starting line of offshore events like the Newport Bermuda race and other long distance races ongoing this year.
Although Catalina Yachts has built its reputation on being a coastal cruiser, they are pleased to be able to offer an excellent offshore boat like the 545.
"My philosophy is that a 54 foot boat has to be comfortable. What we created in the Catalina 545 is the ultimate comfort in an offshore sailing boat with a great deal of attention to safety,” Douglas said. “We are pleased that among our safety features we built the impact absorbing "strike zone" at the bow in front of the forward collision watertight bulkhead. Additionally, we built our rudder post in a watertight compartment, and have included wide weather decks and 28.5 inch solid rails all the way forward among many other features."
"Mark Ploch and his team did an amazing job and built a beautiful set of laminate sails that fit absolutely perfectly with this boat when we raised the sails for the first time," Douglas said. “Mark Ploch and his team at Doyle Sails NYC also put in a huge effort to get the sails just right for this design.”
Mark Ploch and Doyle Sails have worked with Catalina Yachts as their sailmaker for many years. The collaboration began when Catalina Yachts moved to St. Petersburg where Mark Ploch himself was located at the time. Mark Ploch now runs the Doyle NYC loft.
"It has been a very good and long relationship and Doyle Sails is a great partner to work with. Mark Ploch and the Doyle team have forged a long and very congenial relationship lasting over many years,” Douglas said.
Ploch notes that Catalina owners are loyal and move up from the 31 footer to the 42 footer and ultimately the 54 footer. "People grow with their financial and physical needs and ability," said Ploch.
A lot of customers are PHRF and offshore racers, and they are looking for a competitive edge. The narrow sheeting angles design on the Catalina’s appeals to competitive sailors.
And, then they choose the sails that fit them best.
"For example, a client bought the Catalina 425 because of the self- tacking jib. He told me, "I wouldn't be able to sail if not for this boat. And I love to sail." "This is a great illustration of how Catalina and Doyle have addressed the needs of their clients.
Mark Ploch and his Doyle Sails's New York City based team together has over 300 years of sailmaking experience with sail consultants located in Connecticut, Westchester, Hudson River and Manhattan.