Designed by Phillip Rhodes back in 1960, the Rhodes 22 is a trailerable cruiser for a couple that wants the amenities of a larger boat without putting up with the hassles and expenses of a larger boat. It's clearly not a racing boat. It's also not a "shoehorn special," whose claim to fame is how many persons it can sleep. And it's not an inexpensive boat for its size. The Rhodes 22, from its inception, has been a purpose-built boat. And, with a history of detail improvements and some innovative thinking, it meets that purpose quite well.
Introduced as a prototype at Key West Race Week barely three years ago, the Melges 24 has already created the same sensation in the small boat performance world as the J/24 when it was first introduced. We're not suggesting that we should commence composing the epitaph for the J/boat, especially since hull number 5,500 was launched recently and sales are still strong, but we are preparing ourselves for a high noon, main street shoot-out between the aging sharpshooter and the young gun as they wrangle for ownership of the small-boat race market.
The Catalina 27 has been in production since 1971, and well over 6,000 of them have been built. This is undoubtedly the largest production run of any 27' sailboat in US history, and probably the biggest anywhere. The flip side of the coin is that Catalinas are known as cheaply built boats, with lots of corners cut in places they shouldn't be cut.
With the introduction of the Santana 2023, one of the newer water-ballasted trailerables, the W.D. Schock Corp. in Southern California offered entry-level sailors the same types of mix-and-match options available at an automobile showroom. The A model is your basic family sloop with a contemporary, low-profile cabin. The 2023 C (cruise) has a longer trunk cabin with more amenities below. The 2023 R (race) is optimized for performance with a sprit for flying asymmetrical spinnakers, though you can add a tall mast to either the A or C model. The R model has the same cabin top as the A model, which we think is more attractive, but has less headroom below, of course.
The Catalina 250 is one of a group of relatively lightweight, shallow-draft trailerable cruising boats that appeared in the mid-1990s, utilizing water ballast to provide stability. These boats notably the C-250, the Hunter 26, and the MacGregor 26 all are of very modern design, are relatively inexpensive, and feature workmanship and materials of generally serviceable but by no means superior quality. Their sailing qualities and accommodation plans make them suitable for daysailing and casual overnighting, rather than for serious cruising.
According to the BUC Research Used Boat Price Guide, Chrysler first offered recreational boats in 1957, building three aluminum runabouts and cruisers from 16' to 21'. Its first fiberglass boat was the Caribbean 19' cruiser in 1958. The Buccaneer was the first sailboat in the Chrysler line, introduced in 1971. The Chrysler 22 appeared in 1975. Just when Chrysler stopped building it is uncertain, but according to BUC, 1979 was the last year; we have not received information from readers owning boats built later than that, so perhaps '79 was indeed the finale.
The MacGregor 26 is not your usual boat. We first reviewed Roger MacGregor's water-ballasted trailer sailer in 1987, and while we think our conclusions about construction and performance are still valid, we've received many letters from MacGregor owners saying our criticisms--especially our reservations about centerline water ballast--are at worst unfair, at best suffering from a lack of perspective.
Our story begins in 1970, with the introduction of the Cal 29. Looking for something similar but a bit smaller, the company asked designer Bill Lapworth for a 27-footer, which at first was the Cal 27, a fin keel, spade rudder design with a convertible pop top; another incarnation of this basic hull was the T/2. But the concept of the 29 found its full expression in the Cal 2-27, which began production in 1975 and continued to 1977, after which it was again modified and called simply the Cal 27...again. Production of it ceased in 1986.