hi. I recently purchased a 1971 cal 27. it's a fixer upper but solid. I have been researching my butt off and, while checking the boat reviews, I noted something that I would suggest needs attention. there are 3 distinct 27 'boats that cal made; the cal 27, 2-27, and 3-27 ( also called the cal 27 mark3 ). these aren't updates of earlier designs but entirely different boats. that's not including the 27t2, which is a variation of the first cal 27.
most of the reviews do not state which of these boats is being reviewed and only someone who knows the particulars of the boats would be able to pick out the difference. for instance, if the review mentions the pop top, you know it's the cal 27, and if the review states the boat has plenty of head room, you know it must be one of the other cal 27s. the original 27, with the pop top does not have standing head room if the top isn't popped.
the various cal 27s differ in sail area, displacement, ballast, lengths, interiors, etc.
anyhow, I think this might be confusing for someone who hasn't done their research and doesn't know the differences, which can be big. here is an excerpt from another site, for reference:
Actually, there have been three different 27 foot Cal yachts, all designed by Bill Lapworth. All three of these 27 footers were separate and distinct hull designs, not modifications. Add this to the fact that there have been several variations of each design. I will do my part to kill the confusion about the many models of Cal Yachts.
The first 27 designed in 1969, launched in 1970 (Practical Sailor Dec 1995), was built in Costa Mesa and was the smallest of the three. Choice of outboard or inboard power with a 9 foot beam and a convertable pop-top that helped make up for the fact that the boat didn't have much standing headroom. This original 27 displaced only 5400 pounds but was very quick and well built. The main problem with this 27 was the lack of headroom. The T2 was a variation of this first design. I think the T2 was a racing version of the original 27. I know for sure that the T2 does well, to this day, in sail races throughout our country. The Catalina 27 was introduced in 1971. It bacame a major competitor to Cal. I think that the introduction of the Catalina 27 forced developmemt of the largest 27 foot Cal, the second 27 footer, Cal 2-27.
Next came the Cal 2-27, designed in 1973, launched in 1974 (Practical Sailor Dec 1995), which displaced a whopping 6700 pounds. Click here for a full webpage on the Cal 2-27, with full screen photos of my Cal "imp". Catalina Yachts (Cal's neighbor manufacturer and chief competitor) had introduced their Catalina 27 in late 1971. This 27 offered more interior room than the first Cal 27 so this new 2-27 design had full standing headroom, a 9 foot 3 inch beam, a marine head, a decent galley with an icebox and an alcohol cookstove. The 2-27 was to be the largest Cal 27 ever designed. Most of the new 2-27s had some sort of inboard engine. Some used Atomic 4s, some used Volvo Penta 2 cylinder, 4 cycle gas inboards, some used Farymann diesels and yes, a few were still built with outboard engines.
The last Cal 27 that was designed was the Mark III or sometimes called the 3-27. The name was later changed to simply "Cal 27". This all new 27 foot Cal was designed in 1982, launched in 1983. The 27 Mark III remained in production through 1985.(Practical Sailor Dec 1995) Click here to go to the specs and a photo gallery of the Cal 27 Mark III "Liberty", owned by Mr. Doug McCance. Mr. McCance has donated much data to this webpage. The Mark III was lighter than the 2-27 and a bit narrower with a longer waterline. She had a deeper fin keel and less sail area. The Mark III was, no doubt, the quickest of the three 27s.