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Home » Sailnet Boat Reviews » C - Boats starting with 'C' » Cal

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Cal 35
Reviews Views Date of last review
6 5780 Fri January 23, 2015
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers $13,257.50 8.3

Description: Cal 35
Keywords: Cal 35

Review Date: Tue December 5, 2000 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 


Our Cal 35 MKII was built in 1983. We purchased her 1999 and are the third owners.

We looked a several Cal 35’s prior to our purchase. The pre-MKII version has the head to the left of the companionway. The MKII version was offered with two cabin layouts on with a quarter berth and one without. I believe the quarter berth was probably also optional in the pre-MKII version though I have never seen one without it.

The primary differences between the pre-MKII version and the MKII version are the head and the number of hatches (the MKII has 2 additional hatches in the cabin roof). The head on the MKII is located on the right side between the main cabin and the V-berth and has a separate shower stall.

The MKII was also offered with 2 keels a shoal draft that draws 5’ and a full fin which draws 6’. I have the full fin. We have found the boat to be a great cruiser with good boat speed. With a 15 – 20 knot breeze we easily hit 6 knots even with the 18 year old sails. Under power the 32 hp Universal diesel moves the boat comfortably at 5.5 to 6 knots.

We have replaced have replaced some of the original gear such as the boom vang do to wear. The only significant engine repairs have been a new mounting bracket for the heat exchanger, rebuilding the raw water pump, and rewiring the glow plugs with bigger gauge wire.

I have the original owners manual and engine manual. I will be happy to talk to any prospective buyers of this model. I am equally interested in current owner information and what you have done with the boat.

I am working my way though numerous projects on the boat even though it is in good shape. The first was replacing a flexible holding tank with a rigid model and venting the siphon break through the hull. I consider this a mandatory upgrade.

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Junior Member

Registered: January 2002
Posts: 3
Review Date: Tue March 8, 2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $26,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Space, stability, construction, large separate shower
Cons: Normal age related maintenance

Caliente: UPDATED 2/2014: As of now I have had the boat (Mark II without the quarter berth) 4 full sailing seasons. I am the 3rd owner. You may have heard this about other boats, but this truly is a large 35, as it has tons of storage space, lots of tankage for fuel and fresh water, and a well laid out galley, not to mention the separate shower stall.. For 2 people this works very well. We initially weren't looking for this much boat. It's a very well built boat by any standards. For example, not many boats of this size today have a 1.25" drive shaft or the tankage capacities of this boat (88 gal.water, 33 fuel). Caliente had been upgraded in the early 90's with a Yanmar 3HM35F replacing the original Universal.. The gearbox ratio is 2.14:1. I have been able to routinely cruise at 5.7-6.0 knots burning about 0.6 gallons/hour (at ~ 2000-2200 rpm) which blows me away. She is the 5' shoal draft model and she sails sweetly with her 130% jib and Doyle Stack Pack. She doesn't really exhibit much leeway, and is fairly stiff. With a fairly tall rig (~54 ' off the water), she carries her kload well and in 15-20 off the beam she has hit over 7.5 knots... faster than her rated hull speed of 7.2. I've raced her a bit, placing mostly in the middle of the fleet, but with a strong wind (15-20), Caliente has beaten several J'30's going upwind in a heavy chop. Yeah, they were surprised!!!! and it's a very dry boat on deck, and I should mention very dry inside. She has been upgraded with 3, 30 watt Ganz Solar panels, which are very thin, walk-on types mounted on the coach roof. I carry 2 group 27 batteries at this time. I will be adding more battery power for cruising when we hit retirement in several years, and possibly a wind tubine. Maybe another battery will be added in the forward starbord v-berth locker where my holding tank was located. That battery would power a windlass at some point. I have replaced the head and all associated plumbing and I'm extremely happy with my composting "AirHead".
PROPULSION: My prop was a 17 RH 10 two blade. I found out that a 17"
Flexofold folding prop will not fit due to proximity to the leading edge of the rudder. So, I wanted to add a feathering prop at some point and I did in 2014. Definitely the feathering blade helps power though chop and a bit less prop walk in reverse. I got a great deal on a used prop on eBay.
I have improved several things since purchase; with a new RF North Jib, composting head 2014( eliminating holding tanks space and lots of plumbing), added 2 speed self-tailing winches , cutlass bearing, dripless stuffing box, Forespar davit for lifting my outboard, LED cabin lights replacing the energy eating halogens and other 12V bulbs. Future Wishes; an anchor windlass, new electronics, so I can transmit AIS from my well equipped VHF. Down the road some rewiring for the running/anchor lights will be called for. Other than normal aging, a 2'x2' soft spot on the deck, which has been professionally repaired under the port anchor cleat in 2012, I can't fault anything on this boat. The cabin has plenty of light, storage and ventilation (opening ports, beefy Bowmar hatches and and dorades), and best of all, pretty darn dry inside.
Just wanted to ad one thing.... The aluminum water tanks are located above the copper grounding system and I did have electrolytic corrosion issues and leaking from the portside water tank,. I had this repaired and prior to re-installing the tank, bought some cheap vinyl siding at Home Depot and lined the bottom for protection. I had to replace the fuel tank, as it corroded from electrolysis, as it was sitting on top of the copper grounding wire connected to the housing for the prop shaft strut. I had to cut/take the tank out in 3 pieces, then made a mock-up that would fit thru the lazarette, and only sacrificed a couple of gallons.
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Capt'n Ricko

Registered: March 2011
Location: SoCal
Posts: 3
Review Date: Mon April 18, 2011 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $22,500.00 | Rating: 8 


I am adding a Mack Pack, Anchorlift Windlass D1012, and replacing the refrigerator unit. Along with costs, repairs, and upgrades I should have $32 to $34,000 real money in a very fine Cal 35 - which I am taking delivery of this week.

It appears that it has a Universal Diesel 5432 which according to internet sources was made until 1982, and then replace with the Kubota inspired M40 Model. Does anyone know if they used the 1982 model Universals in the 1984 model Cal's?

Also, I can find websites with info on Cal Sailboats, but none on the '84 Cal 35 MKII - anyone?
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Junior Member

Registered: September 2006
Location: On Board
Posts: 11
Review Date: Wed December 26, 2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $30.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great boat for the money
Cons: Pounds in a chop. Can be unnerving

We purchased our 1984 CAL 35 MK II in April of 2012. We've been full time live aboard since. We've sailed her from Panama City to the Chesapeake Bay via the Gulf and outside up the East Coast. She sails well on all points but can bash a bit to weather in a chop. It can be a bit unnerving at times but if you bare off a bit, it can help considerably. There isn't much info to be had on these old girls but we find her to be a great boat for the money. Tons of room and storage. The shower has been of great use as we live on her full time. The old Universal 5432 is running like a champ and the only drawback there is the 11 + quarts of oil she uses on EACH oil change. We did the ICW down to Florida and that can get costly if you change every 75 hrs. which I do. Other than that, Cal legacy with a great layout for two people. We have the model without the Quarter berth as we wanted the big lazarette. If you have guests for any length of time it can be a pain in the ass and somewhat awkward with your guests right there in the middle of the salon. All things being equal. We love the boat. We've not done any major mods as of yet. None needed. Looking forward to taking her places.

It's all out in the open at
S/V Vacilando
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Junior Member

Registered: August 2013
Review Date: Sat August 24, 2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $4,500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Nice live aboard, very well built.
Cons: Just poorly maintained by previous owner

Well we bought our 1983 CAL 35 "Callisto" in 2011. I believe we were the 4th owners. The previous owner had passed away and his wife was anxious to sell. The boat was listed for 24K. I started to do the survey and had the $4500 down as a down payment when the surveyor found that their was substantial moisture in the deck towards the bow as well as some delamination in that area as well. I told the women I was going to walk or she could take my down payment and I would take over repairs. Which is what she did. So I got a whole lot of boat for very little money. We also got a big project.

The interior of the MKII's is my biggest gripe. They were sent out of the factory with very cheap foam and vinyl headliner which sags badly at any sign of moisture. The previous owners had already removed the headliner and left an ugly yellow paint on bare fiberglass. I will be fixing that this winter as well as the decks.

We have the 1/4 berth version which I really like. It allows for a guest to have limited privacy as well as extra storage. The lack of the large lazarrette meant I had to build a custom propane locker because the boat didn't come with one.

In terms of sailing she seems to be a pretty quick little boat for her size and age. She sails nicely on a run or reach, I can't say I've spent much time sailing to windward in her. It is a simple sail plan and has yet to exhibit much weather helm.

Our CAL has a Universal M40B which on all accounts has been an awesome engine, minus the blown damper plate I only found out about this fall! As mentioned above the thing burns about .6GPH! So awesome.

My only other comment about the CAL 35 is the lack of info about them. I have relied heavily on Ed on "Calliente", also in Boston harbor, for info and tips since there isn't much info online.

My wife and I moved aboard Callisto in October and spent a comfortable winter aboard her in Boston Harbor with the help of a Dickinson Diesel heater which I believe came with the boat.
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Junior Member

Registered: January 2015
Posts: 1
Review Date: Fri January 23, 2015 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 


unbusted67 and rickusc I hope that this info will be of help./
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