Join Date: Feb 2012
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Your Cal 21
I've owned a Cal 21 since 2002. I've done some work on it since that time and have enjoyed sailing on Lake Michigan and other midwest lakes. It is a great boat! Make sure all of the standing rigging is in good condition; turnbuckles, chain plates, wires, etc. I've replaced both the forestay and the backstay and upgraded all the turnbuckles. I replaced the stainless bolts that secure the chain plates to the interior bulkheads after I discovered two bolts had corroded to the point of dropping their heads. This could have been very bad had the bolts failed under sail. I also removed the swing keel and installed a bronze bushing in the steel plate tightening up the fit between the keel and the pivot bolt. My boat has only been sailed in fresh water and the metal was all in very good condition. You will also want to be sure to have and use the keel plug that fills the space through the hull that houses the keel when it is retracted. I have a really good solution to holding the plug in place and covering the opening in the cockpit floor. Let me know if you are interested I can share what I did at that location.
I've cruised side by side to wind with J 22's and a Melges 20 and was able to keep with these high performance boats on Lake Charlevoix in Northern MI. I would not rate the Cal 21 as a good boat to learn to sail with kids. It can be a handful in winds over 20 mph. We've been able to stay upright in gusts to 40 mph. under jib and main.
It is a good sturdy boat assuming that the hull is solid and all wood stiffeners are not rotted. I did need to completely replace the structural wood frame that joins and reinforces the joint between the stern and the deck.
I completely stripped the mahogany rudder and glassed it and coated it with performance epoxy. I stripped the bottom paint and repaired some minor hull damage caused by the trailer and then gave it a couple of coats of epoxy and finished it with VC17. I have a 6 horse Nissan 4 cycle outboard on it.