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Home » Sailnet Boat Reviews » C - Boats starting with 'C' » Cal
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Cal 31
Reviews Views Date of last review
6 2847 Sun April 15, 2012
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Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers $14,000.00 9.0












Description: Cal 31
Keywords: Cal 31
 


Author
cbarr
Junior Member

Registered: July 2000
Review Date: Fri January 1, 1999 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

We like the Cal 31 a lot except for its tendency to heel,
i.e. it's tender. The cabin's roomy, the engine access
is less cramped than in later-design boats. Cockpit room
is smaller than most other 30-31' boats, partly due to a
very narrow transom and partly to optimizing salon space.
Some say that the older models (360 were built '79-'86)
were better built, at the Jensen Marine facility in CA.
I'd be very glad to correspond with any Cal 31 owner.
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jlabarre
Junior Member

Registered: July 2000
Review Date: Tue March 30, 1999 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:




An ideal coastal cruiser with a great interior and lively performance. Like most Lapworth designed Cals the 31 is a sloop with a fin keel and spade rudder. She is tender, I reef at about 12-15 kt going to weather, but she is fast and weatherly. The boat has a molded keel with internal lead ballast sealed in with glass. The mast is deck stepped with a very good sized compression post carrying the load to the keel. There is a molded interior "pan" glassed into the hull before the deck was added The hull deck is joined securely with 5200 and ss bolts.

Two large cockpit seat hatches give good access to the engine space/aft storage space. The whole companionway lifts out for great access to the engine. The stern pulpit has a fold down ladder between split backstays. The cockpit has two reasonably sized drains (not big enough for serious offshore work). Many 31's have pedestal steering. I have a tiller and am quite happy with it - good 'feel', less things to break or need service, and it folds up out of the way when in port.

My engine is a FWC Universal two cylinder diesel (a 16 hp Kubota tractor engine marinized by Universal and now serviced by Westerbeke). Which is fine for light duty and will run all day on 1/3 or less gph but is pretty much useless against nasty seas or a really strong headwind particularly with my two blade folding Martec prop.

There is a nice teak interior. Headroom is about 6'1" though I can find a few places where I can stand up straight (I'm 6'3"). I have a three burner CNG gimbaled stove to port. Opposite is a full sized chart area which covers a large ice chest with two insulated hatches. Above are two fiddled shelves. This is where my VHF is - there is no good place for much electronic goodies without redesigning this shelf area. I plug in my GPS to a cigar lighter can move it around in the cockpit. The GPS mount is attached to a lead shot filled 'bean bag.' The single basin sink is on the centerline half under the bridgedeck. There is a lot of space under the bridgedeck that is well used as counter space. There is a pass-through to a built-in trash container behind the galley sink and a reasonably good sized locker for food storage under a counter hatch. This sometimes gets wet from spray from the sink so I always have a sponge handy.

There is good storage in open lockers above settee berths p&s. The table is hinged to the main bulkhead and folds in half to allow access forward when it is unshipped. The port settee makes into a double queen with length of about 6'4". Without stowing the table the seat back can be stowed between the table brace and the settee and the berth is a still good sized. The starboard settee back is piano hinged and lifts up, secured with a light line to the overhead handrail. This also makes a good sized single berth.

There is 15 gal. of fresh water under the port settee and 25 under the starboard one. 14 gal diesel on the port side and two 24ah deep discharge batteries under the starboard side. The water tanks are plastic (and have a tendency to grow algae. The original fuel tank was stainless but rusted out at the welded seam. I replaced it with a custom made aluminum tank. It is important to keep the tank from touching the hull - it should be supported on wood or rubber "stand-offs." The stowage area under the port settee also did not have a limber hole to the bilge and would collect water from deck leaks. I had a limber passage glassed into the sole to allow this area to drain and it has stayed dry every since.

My boat, Imagination, has engine/shore water heater and a pressure water system. The head is on the port side forward the main bulkhead and has a small sink and shower fitting (which I don't use). The original holding tank was a neoprene flexible tank under the v-berth which I removed when I installed an electric windlass and all chain rode. I had a piece of large PVC installed as a hawsepipe - the rode must be flaked by hand every 40' or so. I now only have a small 3 gal holding tank under the vanity it the head.

I have an electric pump on a electronic switch (expensive, but far better than float switches) in the nice deep bilge. The bilge will hold at least 10 gal before wetting the sole (if level). The original manual bilge pump could only be use if a cockpit hatch was open - bad installation. I replaced it with a high capacity pump I can use while at the helm.

The v-berth forward has a good sized molded sail bin under the port side. A rectangular removable section of the v-berth to starboard fits on molded stops and can be used as a seat for dressing. The doors are designed so that the hanging locker door opposite the head can be swung 90 deg to close off the main salon and the folding door to the head can also be used to close off the v-berth - nice.

I added a roller reefing genoa using Hood LD 810 furling gear. I like the continuous line system for its control but you need to find a rigger who can do a good line splice to make up the loop. My first one failed after only two years. I also had another reef (now two) added to the main and converted it to full battens. The main is sheeted to a traveler on the bridgedeck but later boats (or perhaps it was an option) have the traveler on the coachroof.

I usually tow my dingy (a 7'10" AquaPro aluminum RIB) but there is enough room on the deckhouse to stow it behind the vang and still use the companionway. This, and when I take my bicycle down below, are the only times I appreciate the large companionway hatch which is too large and has too open an angle to be safe offshore in really bad weather. The hatchboards only have to be lifted about 1" to fall out of the slots. The mainsheet gear prevent a dodger from extending very far aft but the weather here in SoCal doesn't make a dodger an absolute necessity - I actively sail year round without one. I would sure want on if I were in San Francisco or further north and would probably rerig the mainsheet gear if I had one installed.

I sail Imagination alone 95% of the time though I have had as many as 5 adults and three kids for an overnight! The Cal 31 is ideal for the kind of single-handed coastal sailing I do here in SoCal. I basically live aboard her on weekends - leaving from work Friday and returning to work from the boat on Monday mornings - and I can't imagine life without her.








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Review Date: Mon January 27, 2003 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

Cal's are known as performance cruisers. Fast but comfortable.They are also known for spacious interiors. The Cal 31 is well laid out for single-handing with all winches & controls at the helm. This boat has many cruising upgrades to permit 6-8 week out-island cruises.
Practical Sailor says the Cal 31 handles like a 35 footer. After 7 good years of cruises, I agree.

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CalCaptain32
Junior Member

Registered: August 2003
Review Date: Mon August 11, 2003 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
Pros:
Cons:

we've owned "Spirit Horse"
our 1982 Cal 31 since '98
Often hear this model is tender. Not true '82 and later they took 3' off the mast, in '82.
No quarter berth so you have large lazarette's on both sides. Largest V berth on the water 6'6" x 6'6"
Cockpit is just right 4 or so offshore. (move the traveler to cabin top from bridge deck). Sails to her PHRF rating and beyond. Ony design flaw is the metal crossbeam under floor in bilge area= not stainless.
Large hatches provide excellant ventalation. Real closet is a treat on boat of this size.
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Mark S.
Junior Member

Registered: July 2011
Location: San Clemente,CA
Posts: 21
Review Date: Mon March 5, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $14,000.00 | Rating: 0 

 
Pros: Heavy for it's class construction, great feel at the helm
Cons: A bit tender.

Great feel at the helm. More tender than 1980 vintage Catalina 30's, but a comfortable (although more tippy) ride through the chop at 15-20 knts. off Point Loma, San Diego. Comfortable with a reef and flatter, less dramatic ride there.
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Mark S.
Junior Member

Registered: July 2011
Location: San Clemente,CA
Posts: 21
Review Date: Sun April 15, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $14,000.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Hull, no blisters, great handling, very easy single handling durability, reputation
Cons: no aft cabin, a bit tight to walk around on the deck, cockpit is not large

Great boat at $14,000.00, which is basically $1000.00 more than the previous owners paid in 2008 just for the new engine, Then, they only put 18 hours on the brand new engine.
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