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Old 12-19-2003
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Help with info about Cal''''s

Please help!
I''m close to purchasing an old Cal 34'' 1967.
I like it so far but don''t know too much about the model. How does she sail? How does she handle in reverse? Is there history of rigging problems over time?
Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. Can''t really afford to have her checked by a licensed Pro. What can I look for to see if she is in good shape?
Hull is clean, no bubbles, dings or dents. Engine is a 14 year old # cylinder Universal deisil. Low hours i''m told.
Needs sail work. No dodger/bimini. Has wheel, old loran, old depth, and wind speed.
deck seams clean. Stay chainplate repaired recently. Looks solid. Told she sails very well, very sturdy, comortable.
Can you give me some insight?

Thanks alot
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Old 12-20-2003
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Help with info about Cal''''s

If you can''t afford to hire a capable surveyor, you should really beware the costs of the various repairs you are likely to need to make to an old boat. $400 for a surveyor is a drop in the bucket relative to expensive boat repairs, and would be the best money you will send on your new boat. If you are unwilling to spend this money, do not buy a boat, or you can kiss your financial life goodbye, and while you are at it, you can also toss your physical wellbeing into the mix.
I apologize for such strong words, but NO SURVEY is an absolute non-starter. Without the advice of a surveyor, you are a babe lost in the woods except you''re in water over your head, even worse!
Even with a survey, you are getting into an expensive hobby, and if $400 is a concern, you should re-visit your ability to bear with the rountine costs of maintaining a boat, let alone the non-routine, but predictable, repair/upgrade/replacement costs. Think of a $10,000 or whatever purchase price as more of a down payment, and you''ll have the right concept.
I personally really like the old Cals, and encourage you to consider such, but $400 for a survey is the right way to get into the financial spirit of boating.

Good luck and try shopping your Cal 34 specific questions on the Cal email list.
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Old 12-20-2003
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Help with info about Cal''''s

In the 1960''s Cals were pushing the limits on producing extreme light weight race boats. In their day, Cals were pretty much as fast as there was. Of course those days are nearly 40 years ago and a lot has happened in those nearly 40 years. While Cals were fast in thier day, they were not easy boats to handle in heavy going. Of course by today''s standards they are pretty slow and moderately heavy.

My biggest concern with your post is that you cannot afford to hire a professional surveyor to evaluate this boat. If ever there was a boat that should be professionally surveyed it would be early Cals. I don''t think that you can afford to not have this boat professionally surveyed as the likely hidden problems can literally be dozens times more expensive to correct than the cost of a thorough purchase survey.

It is important to understand that these boats took light weight to a real edgy level in a time when hull engineering was very primitive and the resins, laminates and layup methods resulted in substantially weaker layups that were more prone to fatique than is typical on modern production boats.

These boats are imfamous for hull deck joint problems which resulted from using a very vulnerable deck joint adhered with polyester slurry. Tabbing was crude and discontinuous. There were large amounts of non-directional laminate in their layup schedules (which we now know reduces impact and fatique resistance over time). This was one of the first boats to use a pan as part of the structure and so the connection of the cabin sole to the hull is a very critical area of concern and one which is pretty vulnerable to damage in a grounding.

By this time the boat should be on its second set of rigging. Depending in the venue and amount of use could be ready for a third set of chainplate replacements, as well as standing and running rigging. The same is true for sails.

When you say that there is 14 year old engine that is a different model than the original, the engine beds should be examined to see how they were modified as the original engine beds were a key part of the structure of these boats. Of course after 14 years the engine could easily be in need of a rebuild or at least a thorough going over replacing all belts, and hoses. The Starter, waterpump(s) and alternator could easily be at the end of thier useful lifespans as well.

The bearingless rudder tube, the rudder and rudder post are quite vulnerable on these boats and should checked carefully. Check carefully for delamination in the area of the keel stump. Check carfully the structure supporting the mast as this relies on a lot of wooden components (some hidden in the bilge beneath the cabin sole).

I can''t recall whether the Cal 34''s had cored decks in 1967 but I believe that they did. Boats with cored decks (and Cals of the late 1960s are very mush included in this) of that general era were notorious for deck core problems.

The deck hardware of that period was pretty miserable. While much of it was reasonably robust, getting replacement parts is next to imposible so unless the deck hardware has been updated you can plan on replacing some if not most of the deck gears. Obviously you are up for new instruments. It sounds like the boat has marginal upgrades and long term maintainance so cushions and the like are probably past their comfortable lifespan.

Wheel steering is a pretty bad idea on these boats (I have sailed on Cal 34''s set up both ways). I would try to find one with a tiller.

Unless you are a very experienced sailor with years of checking boats for other people I cannot emphasize how important a thorough survey is to you. Besides if there are problems the survey can generally be used to know money off of the sales price that is far in excess of what you will pay the surveyor.

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Old 12-20-2003
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Help with info about Cal''''s

I concur with above posts. No survey, no buy. As the first post said, if you cannot afford the survey, you will not be able to keep the boat in usable condition.

Why was chainplate repaired? Old boats often have rot in the wood chainplates attach to. If it happened to one how are the others?

Older designs are notoriously bad at backing up.
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Old 12-21-2003
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Help with info about Cal''''s

The Cal 34''s have a spade rudder and steer quite well in reverse.

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