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serah 02-13-2009 07:43 PM

Cal 20 in Vancouver, BC
So the boat buying process is in full swing. We've secured moorage (joy of joys!) at Lynnwood Marina. We've decided to go for something a bit smaller than we'd originally thought, and he's leaning pretty hard on a Cal 20, especially as there's one that looks like she's been well maintained in North Vancouver for $1900. He needs the space, as he bought another boat. We took a look at her the other night, but it was dark, and despite a high powered light, there are a few more things we'd like to check out. The current owner is being kind enough to let us take her out tomorrow morning and she how she is in the water. We couldn't take a look at the sails or a good look at the electrical, which we'll do tomorrow. Apart from that she seems seaworthy - he's done a lot of work/replacement.

Any thoughts on these boats? Is this a reasonable price? Anything we should be particularly attentive to on our sea trial?

Thanks so much!

Faster 02-13-2009 08:00 PM

Cal 20s are good solid boats, though obviously quite small. You should watch for all the usuals, delamination, leaks, rigging conditions etc as these are all pretty old boats. For under $2K you'll get some fun sailing with these boats and there are a lot of them around if you ever want to get into some class racing. Also, with the seller being a 2 boat owner I suspect you can safely offer something less. These were the boats of choice for the old Jibset Sailing school, which had a standing offer of a prize for anyone who could actually knock them over - very stiff boats.

One thing, though, with moorage at Lynnwood... Mooring on the North Shore puts you between two bridges, each with considerable tidal currents (often flowing faster than your boat will travel) This places some restrictions on when you can leave and return to your marina, careful attention to tide and current tables is required. In your case, as sailing is limited in the Harbour itself you'll need to go through a bridge narrows either way. English Bay is the better part of an hour with neutral tide, with Indian Arm half that distance through Second Narrows.

In order to make sure you can safely transit these areas you need to be certain that the outboard engine is reliable and powerful enough to help you get through the inevitable times when you can't quite time your passage for slack.

I suspect that, if this all works out for you both, it won't be long before you're looking to move up, but this may be a good way to "test the waters" as it were. Good Luck!

serah 02-13-2009 08:13 PM

Thanks for the quick reply!

We've debated and debated how to go about getting on the water this summer, which at the moment is the priority. There is NO moorage anywhere closer to English Bay. Thunderbird - 5 - 7 year waitlist. Horseshoe Bay - about the same. My name is on the waitlist. There's nothing in False Creek or Coal Harbour either (not that we're particularly inclined to spend that sort of $ anyway)

I have my current atlas sitting here just begging to be used ;)

Short of trailering, which at the moment will also require upgrading the truck, this seems the best option. Do you have another suggestion?

We've been told one portlight leaks, but want to check everything out. He originally was asking $2900 and dropped the price to $1900.

The Cal only has a 3 hp on her right now. One of the thigns we'll be doing tomorrow is playing around in the tides to see what she can do. We'll likely be upgrading the engine as one of the first big projects. The upgrade to an upper twenty footer is already planned - this was really just meant as something to get us through the summer ;)

AdamLein 02-13-2009 08:28 PM

serah -- we were in your situation in 2006. Due to delays I lost a spot in Mosquito Creek and we ended up keeping our boat in Point Roberts. I've been really happy with the decision (even though we are carless and it involves a lot of walking and bussing!) ever since.

Best part is that you're about 15 nm from the San Juans and 10 from the Gulf Islands. You're about a day's sail from Howe Sound or Nanaimo. You motor for about five minutes to get past the breakwater and you can hoist right away. They also have very relaxed races on Saturdays in fall and winter, and Tuesday nights in spring (haven't tried that out myself but will probably crew this spring). Boatyard, chandlery, restaurants, usual amenities as well.

Call to find out about their availability. Their website says none under 30' but I could swear I've seen space on T dock (in fact I'll let you know on Monday).

p.s. no affiliation with the marina, though I can see how I might come off that way...

AdamLein 02-13-2009 08:31 PM

p.p.s. lot less crowded, no tugs pulling logs, no bridges dumping soot, no crazy tidal currents (well, maybe one crazy tidal current)... okay I'm done.

Faster 02-13-2009 09:23 PM


If you were referring to the Georgia Strait Current Atlas, it's of limited use for where you are. You will be needing the current tables specifically for First and Second narrows to time your passages. The real current atlas is somewhat cryptic and mostly of use to long distance racers and tugboat skippers.

There are advantages to keeping a boat in Pt Roberts, esp proximity to the Gulf Islands but constantly crossing borders is a hassle, and many there cruise exclusively in the US as a result. That in itself is neither good nor bad, but you'll miss an awful lot of beautiful territory on our side.

That 3 hp engine is going to be a bit of a problem if you intend to get yourself out to Georgia Strait. btw - you should give the False Creek Harbour Authority (604 733 3625) a call, they may well accommodate a 20 footer at rates similar to the North Shore. They are between Granville Is and Burrard Civic.

AdamLein 02-13-2009 09:38 PM

Very true about the border, though a Nexus card ($50, lasts five years) should solve that problem. While I've noticed that we do tend to pick weekend cruises to the San Juans, we're planning longer trips to Canada (like maybe two weeks in Desolation Sound!).

False Creek might have something and the atmosphere there is pretty awesome. It's a tangled web of slips with houseboats, fishing boats, yachts, you name it. We spent a week there last summer and really got to liking the "neighborhood" feel: folks would dinghy across the fairway to borrow tools, or a bit of sugar, or whatever.

However I'm a bit concerned about the level of security. You can walk up to any boat you like. I've gone to visit a friend's boat there a coupla times and nobody ever asked my business. Same friend has also mentioned that stuff -- like outboards -- gets stolen unfortunately often.

The big thing that struck me in comparing False Creek / English Bay to Point Roberts is the crowds. I thought I was used to lots of boats on the water after sailing up Puget Sound... in Everett there were five or six and I've seen as many as eight at a time in the waters just outside the Point Roberts marina. Imagine my surprise when we first motored up False Creek in July, and had to navigate around dragonboaters, scullers, layakers, SeaRays with bikini-clad babes all over them, water taxis, you name it. Hundreds of boats. Okay maybe you can count the babe-infested SeaRays as pro or con, but still, it was crowded. Also, with a 3hp outboard (we had a 4hp at the time) you're in everybody else's way. Also people don't seem to heed the "no wake" signs very well.

Anyway I know may sound a bit harsh in my view of this nautical Babylon, and I will probably visit there again, but it's very welcoming to come back to our home port where I have all the room in the world and everybody who works for the marina knows my face.

Faster 02-13-2009 09:57 PM

If you choose to go into "the creek" on a summer weekend afternoon, then indeed, Adam's picture is quite accurate. But we are moored at the FCHA and have experienced no more issues with security or vandalism than we did at Mosq Creek - things were not worrisome at either location. They do have a full time security staff there and the docks are regularly patrolled. And besides, gated marinas are usually hit by thieves by water anyway so the gates are no deterrent there.

We rarely have any issues coming and going, though of course there are busy times - after all there are something like 5000 boats moored here. Busy times under the First Narrows bridge (ie slack tides) were much more of a bother than in and out of False Creek.

Convenient access to West and Steveston Marine, Granville Is and the developed waterfront walkways of Vancouver are bonuses too.

But, in this moorage market, you just gotta go where they'll take ya....

AdamLein 02-14-2009 12:29 AM

Faster - good to hear that your experience in False Creek has been more or less problem free. And of course I can't deny that it's gotta be the most convenient spot in the world... I know I'd get more sailing in than just Sunday afternoons if the boat was basically a SkyTrain ride away. Plus they have fresh fish and chips I hear :)

Faster 02-14-2009 12:37 AM


Originally Posted by AdamLein (Post 448014)
.... Plus they have fresh fish and chips I hear :)

True, but you have to like them a lot - most days the lineup is 45 minutes long!

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