Join Date: May 2007
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I had a Cal 21 a few years ago. Prior to that, a Grumman 16, Holder 20, Prindle 15, and a Grampian 26. Subsequently I've had an O'Day 20, and a Catalina 309.
The Cal 21 was the worst boat I've ever had. By far. It was built well enough, but unlike my other boats, it used plywood bulkheads tabbed to the hull rather than a fiberglass liner. Not necessarily a bad construction technique, but you'd definitely want to look for punk in the bulkheads near the hull in case the boat ever had standing water in it.
But, my objection to the Cal was not its construction. It just sailed crappy. My other boats have all had their quirks to be dealt with, but the Cal seemed to do just about everything poorly. I found the boat very tender to sail, with a lot of weather helm. The keel on the 21 is, IMHO, a real piece of crap. Lowering and raising the keel is a pain in the neck.
In contrast, the O'Day 20 I had after the Cal sailed like a dream. Sailed stiffer, less weather helm, and you could tie off the tiller and go forward without all hell breaking loose (actually continued to go in the same direction, UNLIKE the Cal).
My particular Cal was in good condition with good gelcoat, etc., and to my eye was a good looking boat. It is, however, the only boat I've owned that I deeply regretted owning.
My guess would be that the Cal 21 could be picked up at a considerable savings, considering its shortcomings.
There are a lot of great Cals out there, but the 21 marked a low point (at least I hope they don't have any others as bad as the 21).