Considering Cal 33 -- Opinions? - SailNet Community

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Old 04-01-2003
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Considering Cal 33 -- Opinions?

I''m considering a 1985 Cal 33. Haven''t been on one before (going to see it later this week). After several years day-sailing, I''ve spent the past two years with a Catalina 25, so this would be a pretty big step up.
I haven''t seen much mention of the Cal 33, except in a Google search they show up a lot on race results. I don''t race, but it''s always nice to go quickly. I mostly single-hand, and I guess the big concern is whether this is too much boat for that.
Any info would be appreciated.
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Old 04-01-2003
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Considering Cal 33 -- Opinions?


I don''t have first hand experience but my observation of one that is in our marina is that the Cal 33 is a really nice looking boat. It appears to have good attention to construction detail for a production boat. I like the blend of clean design with a touch of traditional lines. The boat looks like it performs well, although it may be a tad light for heavy weather sailing. I believe its California heritage makes it more suitable for downwind conditions.

I''m surprised not to see more of them as they seem to be competent boats. I also like its big brother, the Cal 39 (or was it 40?). I''m sure Jeff H. will weigh in with his wealth of knowledge.

J. Wagner
Charlevoix, MI
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Old 04-01-2003
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Considering Cal 33 -- Opinions?


I owned a 1985 Cal 28,a smaller version of the 33, for 5 years. I loved the boat, it was great looking,had a great design ,was fast and very spacious. The boat does some limitations. The hull thickness is very thin. I found this out after the boat was implaled on a piling during a hurricane. The deck layout is very good but the gelcoat had some voids and stress cracks, especially in sharp corners. I bought my boat brand new and after the first year I sent it back to the factory to have numumerous gelcoat chips and spider cracks filled and fixed. The boat sails well in light winds and well in moderate winds with a reef in the main, but it is not well suited for heavy winds in my opinion. I also found that the cabin top traveler was inconvient for single handling. This may have only been the 28 when you had to leave the helm to make an adjustment and your weight was a factor in the trim.
Would I buy a 33, surprisingly I have condemplated buying one. The layout is super. The looks great and it is fast, so the answer is maybe.

Good Luck
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Old 04-02-2003
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Considering Cal 33 -- Opinions?

While I am reasonably familiar with Cals of this era, I don''t have any first hand opinions on the 33. As a previous poster noted, the 1980''s was not the best period for quality construction at Cal, and I was not fond of the Ray Hunt designs of the other boats within this period of Cal''s history, lacking the simple sophistication of the earlier Lapworth designs. I am hesitant to paint the 33 with same brush since I do not know that design personally.

Looking on Yachtworld, I was surprised by the seemingly high asking prices for these boats, prices that are in the range of better quality boats of that same era.

I also thought that the galley, tucked under the bridge deck and aft of the companionway looks like it would be a pretty uncomfortable place to be when cooking.

Looking at the deck layout, the mainsheet is so far foward on the boom that I would expect this to be a major pain in the butt and a serious limitation for singlehanding perhaps slightly offset by having a reliable autopilot.

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