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  #1  
Old 07-15-2006
Anthony C
 
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Question Buying a Cal 40

I've been cruising all my life, and racing (crew) on smaller T-birds for the past few years, but haven't done much blue-water sailing. I've always wanted to venture further afield, but I guess I've never persued it hard enough to make that happen. Now is the time.

I can afford to buy a boat (not anything fancy - budget is about 40-50k), but I'm going to leave the USA in about a year. So, I want one that I can sail to Australia. I figure if I study hard (courses in offshore sailing, navigation, diesel mechanics etc) and get as much experience in as possible on some longer races here, I could do the Trans-pac next year with the help of some experienced hands/skipper. From there I could sail the boat back to Australia with my girlfriend (wiser for the first leg ).

I need to buy a boat that is capable of doing this kind of haul without fearing it may not make it. Ideally I want to cruise around Australia afterward with my parents, whilst they're still young enough to do it. After talking with some folks here in the Pacific NW, the Cal 40 seems to be great value for the money and its versatile enough to race and cruise.

Initial research says that there's some issues with bulkhead tabbing and integrity. Also deck-hull joints are worth looking at. Can anyone help me find out what kind of things I should be looking for/wary of in a Cal 40?

Naturally, with a boat made in 1966 there are bound to be some issues. But is it really just a bad idea to buy a boat this old?

What preparations would you recommend for the journey?
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  #2  
Old 07-16-2006
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A well-maintained Cal 40 is an excellent boat.... There are several good articles on the Cal 40s, which are among the more successful ocean racing designs out there. I would definitely order the Practical Sailor Boat Buying Guide, as it has a lot of great information in it about most of the boats you'll be looking at....
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  #3  
Old 07-16-2006
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Different Cal 's were built for cruising

I have a 1988 Cal 33 ( Hunt Designed )and completed a 2 year voyage down the Caribbean Island chain to Trinidad. Great trip and the boat preformed well. I met other Cals out and found some ( Lapworth design )were built with different size tanks and layouts for cruising. That is a very important cruising consideration!
The Hunt designed boats ( only 33 and 39 footers were produced)have a more modern design and safety aspects holding to ABYC and USCG standards in electrical,plumbing, engine and fuel systems. Decks are convoluted rather than "Flat Decks". Easier to traverse when heeled over. Tall sailplans with double spreaders, in boom reefing and all lines led aft. Also importantly is a correctly size engine hp to LWL. The Cal 39 ( Hunt designed)has a 40hp engine compared to a 30hp ( Cal 40). Useful in trying to leave anchorages in heavy weather or swells. The Cal 39 is a foot beamer. When living aboard full time that foot does help a lot. To find out more about Cal's check out Websites: http://pages.sssnet.com/go2erie/qa2.htm http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Cal_Boats/ and http://www.calyachts.org
Sadly our trip is over and Fairwinds is up for Sale. My first and only boat. She preformed well on our 8000 mile trip from Detroit to the Caribbean and always amazed me with how well thought out the design was.
Now in North Carolina clcjr54@hotmail.com The picture I attached shows the stern rail seats that I added, to
make the cockpit more roomier. I altered the swim ladder to deploy the heavy 8hp motor onto the RIB.
We have 525 amp battery banks so I didn't have solar panels but did design the bimini for them.
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Last edited by chuck711; 07-16-2006 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 07-16-2006
Anthony C
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck711
...found some ( Lapworth design )were built with different size tanks and layouts for cruising... Also importantly is a correctly size engine hp to LWL. The Cal 39 ( Hunt designed)has a 40hp engine compared to a 30hp ( Cal 40). Useful in trying to leave anchorages in heavy weather or swells. The Cal 39 is a foot beamer. When living aboard full time that foot does help a lot.
Thanks for these tips, they're very helpful. I had suspected that the tanks on some of the Cal 40s I'd been looking at were on the smaller side for extended cruising at 44 gallons.

I didn't know that 30hp is not ideal for a 40 footer. That's good to know and consider.

One of the things I do like about these boats is that there are more than just quarter berths for proper sea berths, which is something that boats set up for cruising alone don't seem to have. If doing a passage with a larger compliment of crew, we'll need those pilot berths.
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Old 07-17-2006
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Tanks etc

I would post a message on http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Cal_Boats/ . It has an active group. You might find out if Cal 40's have crusing layouts with larger tanks. Also you might find a boat for sale there. In St. Augustine I met a cruising Cal 35 he had 100 gallon diesel tanks and 200 gallon water tanks.

We had 50 gallon water tanks on our Cal 33 and that was fine. However the areas we cruised always had water available within a few days. However for your trip to Australia 44 gallon tanks wouldn't cut it. Then I guess you could get a watermaker.

I noticed a Cal 39 ( Hunt design) priced at 59K ,just a bit over your budget. The price surprised me. a boat half the age of age Cal 40 but a modern design. The same hull as a Cal 40.

Last edited by chuck711; 07-17-2006 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 07-18-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck711
I noticed a Cal 39 ( Hunt design) priced at 59K ,just a bit over your budget. The price surprised me. a boat half the age of age Cal 40 but a modern design. The same hull as a Cal 40.
Thanks for the advice Chuck, I'm going to engage with the Yahoo Cal group soon.

I didn't know that the Cal 39 was the same hull design as the older Cal 40, which bodes well for the aspiring racer in me. I'm looking at whether I can get a little help in the purchase which may increase my budget and a Cal 39 may be a good bet. I guess my only concern is whether she's really set up to be a racer/cruiser or if she's more of a cruiser first and foremost.
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Old 07-18-2006
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The Cal 39 does not have the same hull as the Cal40. Both were Lapworth designs but the Cal 39 hull has a pinched transom, is a foot shorter with 2 feet more waterline length, a foot more beam, 2000 lbs more displacement, a foot more draft, and 1000 lbs more ballast than the 40.

While the Cal 39 is a faster boat than the Cal 40, I have always liked the 40 better as a cruiser and believe that a well prepared and sailed Cal 40 has a better chance of sailing to her rating than a Cal 39. The cal 40 is an easier boat to work on and you can find them in beautifully restored and upgraded condition at very reasonable prices.

Jeff
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Old 07-18-2006
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Clarify this for me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_H
The Cal 39 does not have the same hull as the Cal40. Both were Lapworth designs but the Cal 39 hull has a pinched transom, is a foot shorter with 2 feet more waterline length, a foot more beam, 2000 lbs more displacement, a foot more draft, and 1000 lbs more ballast than the 40.

While the Cal 39 is a faster boat than the Cal 40, I have always liked the 40 better as a cruiser and believe that a well prepared and sailed Cal 40 has a better chance of sailing to her rating than a Cal 39. The cal 40 is an easier boat to work on and you can find them in beautifully restored and upgraded condition at very reasonable prices.

Jeff
Jeff
You are right. I orginally told "anthonycolfelt" that the a Cal 39 had a foot more beam than a Cal 40. So I was wrong to say its the same hull.

However If a Cal 39 is faster. A cal 39 has more displacement ,ballast and draft ergo more stable in heavy seas. Why would a Cal 40 be a better boat? Also why is a Cal 40 easier to work on?

My thought is a Cal 40 is under tankage,beamed and powered in todays world.

Compared to a Cal 39. Besides having a outdated design ( decks etc.). I do appreciate the Lapworth history. Without that there would be no Cal designs to improve upon. Also the recent wins in Bermuda race and Pac Cup say great things about Lapworths. Its a light fast boat with good crew!

If you were going cruising would you want to buy a 40 year old boat and undersized engine? Or one half its age with the right size engine?

Not looking to argue I don't own either a Cal 39 or Cal 40 . Enlighten me
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  #9  
Old 07-19-2006
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My preference for the Cal 40 vs the Cal 39 for cruising is somewhat subjective based on my experience with their relative motion comfort. Cal 40 spreads its beam out a little more evenly over its waterline length and has more gently modeled chines, so that its roll motion has less of a snap roll to it than the 39. Its has more powerful stern sections which allows it to generate some form stability without the motion comfort issues normally associated with boats that have higher and more concentated form stability like the 39. Dispite its shorter waterline and longer overhangs, the fuller stern on the Cal 40 seems to do a better job of pitch dampening as well. The narrower beam also means a higher angle of positive stability. The lower aspect and more evenly divided proportions of the Cal 40 rig makes for an easier boat to handle than huge jib, small, very high aspect ratio mainsail on the 39. Helm balance on the 40 was quite good so that many were tiller steered. I disagree with you about the undersized engine on the Cal 40. 25-30 hp is perfectly adequate for a 15,000 lb boat with an easily driven hull.

If you can find one of the Cal 40's with the 'Conventional Layout' rather than the dinette layout, they had a great layout for offshore work with two pilot berths in the main salon and a well laid out U shaped galley.

As to my comment about the 40 being easier to work on, the Cal 40 did not have hull liners so that there is direct access to all hull to bulkhead and hull to deck joints. Plumbing and wiring systems were readily accessible. There was little that could not be reached and worked on. The Cal 39 used a glued in pan that precluded almost any access to the hull.

I also somewhat disagree with your point about the age of the boat. Most of the Cal 39's that would be in the price range being discussed would be from the mid to late 1970's. In other words, they would be 10 to 12 years newer than the Cal 40's, but once a boat gets to be 20 or so years old, maintenance and original build quality really outweighs age. The thing about Cal 40's is that you find examples of these boats that have been lovingly restored, beefed up and upgraded at bargain prices. I could be dead wrong here, but my sense is that it would be much harder to find a Cal 39 that had that level of attention lavished on it at a reasonable price.
Jeff
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Old 07-19-2006
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Cal Boats

I would strongly suggest you look for the Lapworth designs in looking at Cal Boats. Also make sure you are looking at a California built boat, I beleive all 40's where.
Anything after 1978 is not really a Cal in my opinion, different people, plant, designers.
It would be hard to beat the Cal 40 for what your looking for IF your willing to modernize some things and spend a little money. Great boat, one that had it's production life cut short by short minded people at Bangor Punta Corporation
By the way, the cal 39 is not a lapworth ( total ) design, Hunt had a lot to do with that and I would not compare it to the older and more traditional 40. Two completely different generations.
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