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Old 05-03-2002
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CAL 39

You don''t see much regarding the Cal 39 on here.

Don''t have one myself but the reviews and write ups by magazines and owners are just great.

Any opinions on this boat? How does it compare to present day design and yacht building?
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Old 05-03-2002
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CAL 39

I am a little surprised that the Ca 39''s would be getting good reviews. The 39''s are one of the boats that put Cal out of business. While I am actually a pretty big fan of Cals, (most are a lot of boat for the money) IMHO the 39''s were one of their worst models.

I raced on an early 1980''s model Cal 39 shortly after I moved to Annapolis (somewhere in the mid- 1980''s). I thought that while the boat had a reasonably nice interior, they sailed pretty poorly. The fellow who owned the boat that I was racing on had previously raced an older Irwin quite successfully, but even with very good crew on board, we could not get that boat to go worth a darn. Shortly after buying this 39, the owner replaced a lot of the deck hardware (went to larger primary winches, better genoa sheet lead blocks and lower friction traveler hardware etc.) which in the boat''s stock form was inadequate for anything other than a crew of gorillas.

This fellow also had a lot complaints about build quality issues. He would say words to the effect of, "I never thought I would own a boat that would make my old Irwin look well constructed". Whether his was a lemmon or the norm I can''t say, but I was always left with a pretty poor impression of the 39''s.

In some fairness, the late 1970''s and early 1980''s were not a high point in yacht design. Boats were still being affected by the hull forms of the IOR rule and although the 39 is hardly what I would call an IOR type form, the pinched in triangular transom and comparatively long bow overhangs were styling elements derived from mid 1980''s IOR type forms. Also the late 1970''s and on into early 1980''s (when most of these boats were made) was the period during which blister problems were the most common.

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CAL 39

Not to contradict the venerable Jeff_H, but you may want to check out this month''s edition of SAIL magazine for the following article: "People & Boats- This Cal 39 was abused and neglected, but she sailed like a dream–reason enough for Walker and Ginny Vought to bring her back to life. By Beth A. Leonard". These people seem to really like their Cal 39. Good luck!
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Old 05-03-2002
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CAL 39

Walker & Ginny love their Cal 39, and spent a long time refitting her very nicely - to Jeff''s point - to cruise. I do not recall them racing the boat much, if any, since they got her. I had thought that Cal 39''s were faster cousins of the Cal 40 and had hoped to race them after they got her, but based on what I''m seeing on the Cal 39''s qualities above, perhaps I was mistaken.
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Old 05-03-2002
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CAL 39

Here are some reviews F/Y/I

Sloop rigged, aft cockpit. Aft stateroom with large V-berth. Strengths: Layout is comfortable (similar to many boats being manufactured today at many times the cost), 6'' headroom, T-shaped cockpit, sails well under all conditions (heavy weather to light air). Weaknesses: No stall shower, deep draft (nearly 7'' - although that''s one reason it sails well). Great all-around boat for the cruiser!
A very sweet sailing boat--stiff, tracks well, well-behaved in boisterous conditions and quite fast. Layout below is great for cruising--both storage and livability; cockpit is a good size and sail controls are handy for the helmsperson (mainsheet access can be awkward). Pathfinder disel has been OK tho marinizing of some components has been problematic. Glasswork above/below ranges from excellent to occasionally shoddy. Sailed this boat to Mexico and cruised the Sea of Cortez with my wife and "Allegria" performed beautifully--plus, she''s very pretty ( wife, too). Overall--a terrific boat!!
Sloop, 6''8" draft, 2 cabin layout.
Ocean racer, adapatable as a cruiser, though draft is deep for the Chesapeake and Carib, and sails are large for short-handed sailing. Stiff, fast, points well to weather. Factory rudder leaks, weeps rust, typically has to be replaced by year 20. Minor leaks in through bolts, no other major problems in 7 years. Overall the best value at 39 feet on the market. Solid boat if well maintained
Owned for 12 years, cruised for 4. Great sailing boat, but lacks storage space due to tanks in knees, not keel, and overall slender design. Also, this model (tri-cabin) lacked nav station; one was added in port side salon forward. Perkins 4-108 was a winner. Eventually up(down?)graded to larger, center cockpit boat losing performance, gaining comfort.
Modern American Classic-Bill Lapworth designed sloop-fast cruiser-comfortable-no major weaknesses 10 years of very fine caribbean crusing
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Old 09-12-2006
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Cal 39

Yes, but what about the Hunt Designs with the Wing Keel of the late 80's? Would you take one offshore?
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Old 09-13-2006
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Hunt Designed Cals

Would I take a Hunt Designed Cal Offshore? Without Hesitation !

My Cal 33 did a fine job from the USA to Trinidad. Now in North Carolina.

However never heard of a Cal with a Wing Keel? Are you certain?

Fairwinds has a 4,475 Lb Wing Keel 6 Foot 2 Inch Draft

and was Very Comfortable at Sea.....

Pity those Benateau owners but not Cal Owners...........
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