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The Cal 25's rate a bit slower. (Even if you're not a racer, this is still useful for gauging performance).
The Cal 25's have a flush deck. There is no deck or walkway around the shrouds. To go forward, you have to climb up onto the cabin top as you do on my Coronado 25, whereas the Santana has a more conventional deck where you walk around the cabin to go forward.
I think that the Cal 25's have a more spacious cabin due to the flush deck arrangement.
The Cal 25's take an outboard, the Santana's use an inboard. We could go around and around about the pro's and con's of this all day.
Here's an important note: It appears that the Santana 25-1 has a cast iron keel, and the 25-2 has a lead keel. I would run far away from a cast iron keel. I don't care if the iron is encapsulated, eventually that stuff fails and then you have another maintenance issue. At least lead doesn't rust.
FWIW, I saw several very nice Cal 25's racing at this weekend's Good Old Boat Regatta. They sailed quick for their length and had spacious cockpits. I don't think you'll go wrong with either one, I'd just avoid the cast iron keel.
1981 Tartan 33 #168