Stop dreaming, do it now.... while you can!
The Catalina 309 'Dame Edna' carries a framed letter on the bulkhead. It is a delighted response from the Dame herself, giving approval for her name to be used on the boat. And an image of the Housewife Superstar’s diamante spectacles graces her stern. She may not be a star’s mega-yacht but this Catalina is a gem in many ways and she has performed an important role in Mark Butler’s life
Mark wasn’t looking for a superyacht when he began to hunt for a larger yacht to move up from trailer-sailers and small catamarans but he knew the reputation of the US-builder and he never looked for anything else but a Catalina. Two weeks searching online and Dame Edna popped up. A day-trip to Hobart and a quick inspection was all it took. The Catalina 309 began production in 2005, replacing the enormously successful Catalina 30. The newcomer packed more into a hull that was several inches longer and with a wider stern. This translates into a seriously comfortable master cabin aft with a double berth. The fwd cabin sleeping two isn’t too shabby either and the huge bathroom has to be seen to be believed. A big bonus is the furling genoa and main, making her very simple to handle.
Dame Edna was in immaculate condition when Mark purchased her in November 2010, with very few hours on the Yanmar 20hp diesel. She could honestly have been described as “drive away, nothing more to pay” but this was to be Mark’s dream boat and he had plans for her. While all new owners rejoice in their new “baby”, Mark was motivated by an additional consideration: a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis meant that he knew time was not on his side and he had to make the most of the mobility he had now.
Very soon, the Dame was sporting a new Ampair wind generator, all new Raymarine electronics (including a chartplotter in a pod at the wheel) and upgraded batteries and battery monitoring. The smart family cruiser was a regular sight on the Channel, covering every anchorage between Recherche and Wineglass Bay.
Mark and Julie on board 'Dame Edna'
Dame Edna has many miles left in her but without Mark at the helm. He is now contemplating life with a wheelchair and while that day has not yet come, the house needs adapting. While it’s a sad prospect, Mark has no regrets that he seized the opportunity and bought a Catalina. Dame Edna has proved to be a fantastic family cruising yacht and by buying a newer boat in excellent condition, she has required very little attention. Still in impeccable condition and with upgraded equipment, she is a better boat than when Mark purchased her and he is confident that new owners will just be able to step aboard her and sail away. And his message to them? Stop dreaming, do it now … while you can.