I have a 1979 Cal 31' that I've owned for about a year now. I bought her in Santa Cruz and sailed her south to Long Beach during the Coastal Cup this past June. We wound up stuck in 20-30 knts for about two days from Big Sur to Pt. Conception with 12ft seas at 9 sec. Not Fun; but with a double reef in the main and the 73% jib up she did quite well on the downwind run. (The transom does make steering a bit squirrely with an aft quart sea and larger foresails flying.)
There was only two of us; myself and girlfriend so we stayed close and dropped anchor each night to sleep. This caused the trip to drag out for six days. We both have a proficient level of experience and I planned for just such a contingency even though the forecast was 5-10 knts for coastal waters. Even still the experience isn’t one I’d seek out again. While the boat handled it well, I wouldn’t want to take her through anything much worse.
That being said she is a fantastic vessel. That handles her function (as stated earlier; to race on Wednesday night and cruise with the fam. on weekends) with ease and comfort. She has been serving duty as a weekend channel islands diving platform quite well.