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jarcher 07-29-2008 02:40 AM

Checking out a Cal 29 - Advice needed
Hi All...

Sorry for the long first post, but I am hoping a Cal owner or two can help me.

I am in the market for a 30ish foot sloop and I mentioned this to a friend of mine. He told me that a friend of his has a Cal 29 for sale. I'll be taking a close look at it Wednesday evening, and would appreciate any advice about what to look for. I know nothing about cal boats.

What I know about this boat is that it has been out of the water for 5 years and the atomic 4 is frozen. I'm told it has been well wrapped to keep animals out and the owner has taken care of it each year. Supposedly it has a new head (enclosed) and a new stove. The wood is all supposed to be in good shape. It needs all new sheets and halyards. The mast and boom are said to be in very good shape as are the stays. It comes with only 2 sails, a main and a jib, but the owner didn't know what size jib. It is supposed to have a depth sounder, compass, VHF, doger and lights, and other stuff I can not recall. Oh, an auto pilot thing for the tiller. I have never used one of those.

The owner is asking $4,000.

I have no idea what year this is or even what model it is supposed to be (ie, 29 vs 2-29). Is there any way to tell by looking? Is there a hull number somewhere I can check? What is the difference between a 29 and a 2-29?

One thing I noticed from looking at pictures of different Cal 29s on the Internet is that there seems to be no hatch on the front deck, above the V birth. I would think this makes for very little air flow below up front. Is this a problem?

Can someone tell me what I should expect to pay for sails for a Cal 29? I would like to have a 150 genny and spinnaker.

Thanks very much. It will be August in a few days and if this is a good boat I am going to stop shopping around and buy it, so I can get some sailing in before winter. I would appreciate anything that would help me decide.



sailingfool 07-29-2008 09:40 AM

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Generally speaking you are best to buy a boat equipped the way you want a boat'll pay about half what the gear cost new. Likewise for boats needing major repairs, such as a new engine. When you state the engine is "frozen" I assume you mean it no longer operates.

You might look at this boat for the experience, then go on and look at some in-the-water, well equipped and operating versions, and buy the best one at a fair price. The most expensive way to get a nice boat is to buy a fixer-upper and well...fix it up on your dollar. Ignoring the value of your time and effort, and the months not spent sailing, putting a rebuilt engine, new sails, new running rigging, and a few surprises you won't find out about until you are the owner, can easily total $10-15k, giving you... eventually ...a $20k Cal 29 worth maybe $12k. Go buy someone else's $12K Cal 29 and go sailing the next day.

The only exception to this advice is if you have lots of time on your hands and nothing to do, and just want a project to enjoy, and don't really care what it costs you in the end...

PS - to estimate the costs of sail, you can use the online estimater at FX Sails, Sails, Sailboat Sails, Custom Sails, Cruising Sails, Instant Online Sail Prices just remember the costs of sails would be at best just one leg of this expensive table.

jarcher 07-29-2008 02:15 PM

Thanks for the reply, makes good sense.

By frozen, I meant that it does not turn. I did a little reading and apparently the atomic 4 can get stuck. You can remove the plugs and fill it with oil, let it soak, and get it to turn again. But the engine could have many problems and replacing or rebuilding it would be a major expense, as you said.

If I can find a completely equipped one for $12,000 or so I would probably go that route. So far, I have called and/or emailed people looking to sell boats and received not one reply.

What do you think of the Cal 29, or the Cal boats in general? A 29 foot boat with a 9 foot beam seems like it would be pretty roomy.

sailingfool 07-29-2008 02:55 PM

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Cals as a group are very nice sailing boats, and in my opinion, they are represent a lot of value for the money. I spent a lot of time on an older cal 25, have sailed some 27, 29, 30, 33 and 39 models. I think them all very good to excellent sailing boats. Interior wise thay are fairly basic, usuually vinyl interiors, simple may be a better word, but they sail wonderfully, can race to their ratings. A good plasce to start if on a limired budget, but don't want a dog boat.

ChesapeakeCal29 08-25-2008 03:55 PM

cal 29
i bought 1970 sail #145 2 years ago for 1500. no motor i did the outboard conversion. had to put about 4k into her, but she sails great now.

countrybumpkin 08-27-2008 01:48 PM

Bought a Cal 2-27 this spring, PO put a 5hp outboard on her instead of rebuilding the inboard, not the greatest setup, but works. She is roomy enough for the family below, but man, she sails like a dream!

Mc51 08-27-2008 11:49 PM

We bought a 1971 Cal25 last year and love it. The hull construction is solid. The cabin is not tall enough to stand upright but it sleeps four comfortably. We are on our second used outboard, but that isn't a big deal (not much money invested). We have gone sailing many times using a 40lb thrust trolling motor to get in and out of the slip and bayou. I found out lot of info on Cal boats online. I'm actually looking into going hybred by replacing the powerhead on my outboard with a golf cart motor and using our small generator to charge the batteries when needed.

MoontideC30 09-01-2008 04:31 PM

We own a 1965 Cal Jensen 30. She is a good solid boat but she needed a lot of work when we got her. The interiors are somewhat sparce. You do get a lot for your money with a Cal boat but it sounds like the one you are looking at is over priced and too much of a project. Unless you have all of the time in the world to work on the boat I would strongly advise getting something you can enjoy weekly and work on part time.

jarcher 09-05-2008 02:31 AM

Thanks very much for the advice everyone. I passed on the Cal, it needed way too much work. I bought a Scampi 30 instead.

rgmori 12-08-2008 04:07 AM

Owner of a Cal 2-29 1973
I have been restoring a Cal 2-29 I am in the second year of the rebuild but since I am disabled the work is slow. I decided to make some major changes, and have found some problems that are common in Cal 29's.

First, borrow a bore scope or a camera attached to lap top and inspect the steel beam that is under the hump that separates the main salon from the head. You can gain access by going through the head platform where the thru hull is. This beam needs to be in good shape. Also check all of the bulkheads for damage to the plywood. I had to make a new beam, main bulkhead and forward as well. The minor bulkheads that support the rear chain plates were beyond hope. Tiny leaks will destroy any wood, even teak. There is enough room to put in a small holding tank by moving the small water tank aft and upright.

As to the engine you might think of going with an air cooled diesel or using an electric motor (two in tandem) from golf carts. Add a small generator and you have a diesel electric drive. Use golf cart batteries.

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