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  #1   IP: 38.27.109.137
Old 11-19-2020, 08:14 AM
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Catalina Yachts

Catalina Yachts Announces Loss of CEO Frank W. Butler
Woodland Hills, CA – November 15, 2020 – Catalina Yachts today issued the following statement:
It is with great sadness that we announce that Frank Willis Butler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Catalina Yachts, passed away November 15, 2020 in Westlake Village, CA, due to unexpected complications from a recent illness. We extend our most heartfelt condolences and sympathy to Frank's family. Our thoughts are with them at this most difficult time.
A sailing icon and industry “kingspoke”, Frank Butler has introduced hundreds of thousands of people to sailing during his lifetime. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Frank have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Frank leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Catalina Yachts.
***
Born in California in 1928, Frank’s line of popular sailboats put more than 85,000 Catalinas on the water throughout the yachting world. His boatbuilding career began in 1962, when he contracted with a Southern California builder for a 21’ daysailer. The builder was unable to finish the boat, and gave Butler the tooling. He completed building the boat himself, found he enjoyed the process, and agreed to take over the company.
A few years later he founded Catalina Yachts, which has grown to become the largest builder of fiberglass production sailboats in the United States, a position it holds to this day.
A key to Butler’s success in the sailboat industry was his attention to Catalina customers. Handling warranty issues himself, owners were nearly always surprised and reassured to get a personal call from Frank to discuss their concerns.
Butler was inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2013. In recognition of his support of the Congressional Cup, a world match racing event, Long Beach Yacht Club awarded him the Crimson Blazer. He was also a founder and lifelong member of the Westlake Yacht Club in Westlake, CA.
Following his graduation from Glendale High School, he served in the US Navy. He met his wife, Jean, at a school dance; they recently celebrated their 71st anniversary.
Frank is survived by Jean, their four daughters, Deborah Reese, Mary Linn, Nancy Bear, and Karen Butler; three sons, David, Robert and Steve; 20 grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren.
Awakening the joy of sailing for so many people in past generations, Frank Butler’s sailing legacy will certainly continue well into in future generations.
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  #2   IP: 104.174.83.118
Old 11-20-2020, 11:18 AM
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Frank Butler shook a fledgling sailboat industry at its foundation with his innovations and business model and time has proven the success of his strategy.

In the late 1960's/early 1970's, large conglomerates took notice of the rapidly growing fiberglass boat building industry and bought in. Companies like Whittaker Corp., Bangor Punta and Fuqua Industries were early players and they tried to force their business model onto the industry with modest early performance but ultimate failure. Frank Butler sold his company, Coronado Yachts, to Whittaker in the late 1960's and within a very short time they parted ways because of management differences. That is when Catalina Yachts was created.

Catalina has always been run lean with only 3 people at the helm unlike the overstuffed board rooms of the conglomerate owned companies. And as the saying goes, the rest is rock 'n roll history.

Disclosure: Of the 4 sailboat companies I worked for, three of them were owned by the conglomerates named above although Fuqua had just sold Islander to Mission Marine Associates by the time I arrived.
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prior boats 1987 Westsail 32, 1970 Catalina 22
Had my hands in a few others
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  #3   IP: 32.211.28.40
Old 11-20-2020, 08:14 PM
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Frank made a lot of folks happy with his boats.
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Schober View Post
Frank made a lot of folks happy with his boats.
I owned 2 of them, no complaints. They are honest boats for the money.
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1977 Catalina 30
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prior boats 1987 Westsail 32, 1970 Catalina 22
Had my hands in a few others
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Old 11-21-2020, 12:17 AM
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I know this is an A-4 forum, and y'all know I have one in mine. I posted the same picture out on a Facebook group mentioning Frank's passing, and I said there, as I will say here:
"Thank you...I am still sailing the crap out of my C-30...RIP, Frank."
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"Twice Around" - '77 Catalina 30, #511 with original A-4 & MMI manifold.
She is even happier with fresh paint on the topsides!

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Old 11-23-2020, 11:33 AM
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I found this slip in the binder full of stuff the previous owner had left for me. Pretty much says it all.
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Old 11-23-2020, 05:04 PM
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I'd like to join Shawn and others and say 'Thank you'. It amazes me how someone could leap into a completely different field and be so prolific and successful. My Catalina 30 was made in 1976. Great design and vision. It is a joy to sail that I share with many friends who come to sail with me. Hopefully we can continue to spread good vibes that Frank has planted years ago. RIP, Frank.

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