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  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-09-2014 08:41 AM
Re: Cal 31

Jeflaba, you are right on target about the Cal31 icebox. It is too big and too poorly insulated for a typical add-on refrigeration unit. Our previous owner tried to improve by drilling holes in the box and pumping foam insulation behind it. What a mess!

Depending on what your refrigeration goals and ambient air temperature are, a thermoelectric unit is a possibility. We use our boat primarily in the winter and don't need to freeze anything, so it would fit for us (manufacturers claim it will cool to 40 deg. below ambient). I have used one and it is not at all as aggressive a cooler as a compressor unit, but it is simple, cheap and quiet.

I have also used a small regular home depot 110 ac refrigerator. Will keep foods quite cold, is relatively inexpensive and power use is manageable. Obviously not built for salt water conditions but will last several years. Not a bad option either.

Unless you are going long term offshore I wouldn't bother with improving the existing icebox. We store all of our canned and dry foods in it and it does fine for that.

As always check power consumption and battery/recharge system for compatibility.

11-09-2014 12:15 AM
Re: Cal 31

Just a quick note about refrigeration. The icebox in the CAL31 is huge and very poorly insulated. It would not make sense to install any kind of refrigeration without resolving this problem. There are two solutions I see. One is to build a new box inside the old one with adequate insulation - also making the capacity less which is ok by me. The other is to tear out the existing box (maybe including the cabinet and top) and start over. My understanding is that the icebox was just a plastic insert with foam blown on the outside and then dropped into place as the cabinet was being built. I am leaning on the latter approach even though it would be more expensive. As for the refrigeration system itself I have had quotes from $700 to $2000. I am concerned that the low end air cooled unit would not be up to the task and would really prefer the more expensive water cooled unit (some use a heat transfer system that does not require a pump). The whole project is looking very expensive and will never be recovered at resale. Maybe just a small 110 VAC unit to fit under the drop down table and used only when in the slip or when the motor is running would be a (short term) solution though not very elegant. Has anyone else done this?
09-16-2014 12:56 PM
Re: Cal 31

Hello Tankersteve,

Congratulations on acquiring your Cal 31. When I purchased my 1980 model I found several things needed immediate attention.

1. The boat was in fresh water and had not been hauled out in many years. The hull was full of blisters. Fresh water increases the potential for blister development and should be checked if the boat hasn't been hauled in awhile.

2. The heat exchanger had corroded and the previous owner tried to fill the hole with putty; a really poor fix. I replaced it with a new unit from Toad Marine.

3. The engine hoses looked ok but were rotten. If they haven't been replaced recently, do so. It isn't very expensive if you buy the hose in bulk and cut it yourself. Don't waste money on the hose kits available online.

4. Check the propellor shaft seal packing. Mine was worn out and dry. Pretty easy to replace.

5. Check all through hulls by tugging on them. One of my plastic ones broke immediately with a moderate tug. I like plastic, but old fittings can be really deterioated even though they don't look bad.

6. Check the tanks and tank hoses for leaks and general condition. My fuel tank started leaking in transit down the Tenn-Tom waterway. Not pretty.

Good luck and great sailing.

09-16-2014 10:25 AM
Re: Cal 31

Hi, I just bought a 1984 Cal 31. The PO is my father, and he had the boat for about 10 years, so I feel confident in the condition (plus the deal was pretty sweet).

The boat has been freshwater for at least 2 decades, if not since commissioning. What things shoul I be looking for as I get ready to move her to Virginia and put her in the Chesapeake?

I am thinking replacing plastic thru-hulls, check heat exchanger, replace zincs, and obviously change the bottom paint. I'll also check standing rigging and rudder stuff.

07-14-2014 09:53 PM
Re: Cal 31

Jeflaba, was thinking about refrigeration. I put a 12volt Adler Barber in the icebox on my previous Cal35 and was a little underwhelmed with the performance. I think the box was too big for the capacity of the unit.

If your icebox is as big as the one on my Cal31, I am not sure you will be happy with a typical 12v Adler Barber or Dometic unit (just doesn't get cold enough). Right now I am doing ok without and the icebox is used for canned food storage. However, if I decide to add refrigeration I will either get a much smaller 12v refrigerator or put a higher capacity holding plate that can be run off the enigine in the current icebox.
07-14-2014 09:29 PM
Re: Cal 31

Jeflaba, thanks for the response back. I did some more measuring and think I have a plan that will fit a 6' long bimini from the mainsheet, which is connected at the bridgedeck like yours, to just past the stern pulpit. It is going to require some holes to run the split backstay through the fabric. From the mounting point just aft of the winches, it looks like the height will be about 44 inches giving about 6 feet of height above the cockpit sole.

You are absolutely correct about a bimini being on top of the list. As soon as the air temperature got above low 70's we started to bake.
07-14-2014 09:17 PM
Re: Cal 31

Hope you have found a solution/vendor for your bimini needs. I have had my Cal31, Imagination, for 26 years now and of all the upgrades I might consider, a bimini is near the top of my list. I just returned from a bluewater crossing to Honolulu from San Pedro, CA on a friends boat, a Catalina 42. It had both a dodger and a bimini and I can't imagine how uncomfortable the trip would have been without either. Additionally the bimini was used to mount two 10 amp solar panels as well as GPS and AIS antennas.

Imagination has the boom sheeted to the bridge deck and not the cabin top. this makes installing a dodger somewhat iffy. The bimini, however would really help with the SoCal sun. Also, if I get refrigeration installed (pricing it this week after living aboard for 4 years) I will need someplace to mount solar panels if I don't want to be running the engine for a couple hours a day when not connected to 120VAC.

One of the things holding me back is that I would want to replace the stern railing (pushpit) rather than just add new mounts for the bimini. I have already replaced the bow pulpit with considerably stronger stainless tubing than was used in the original. My current pushpit is marginal for holding my 45# dinghy outboard. With a stronger structure and perhaps a built in crane I could consider a larger outboard and maybe get my dinghy up on a plane!

To be honest, If I added everything I want (secondary antenna mounts, radar mount, corner seats, stereo speakers, grill mount and maybe a rack for my mountain bike, in addition to the outboard mount and crane and solar panels) I am afraid it would cost a fortune and look like a Rube Goldberg contraption.
05-16-2014 12:33 PM
Re: Cal 31

I need as big a bimini i can fit on my 31 with accomodation for the split backstay and bridgedeck mounted main sheet.
05-16-2014 11:09 AM
Re: Cal 31

I purchased a Cal 31 in January 2014. It didn't have a bimini. Just spent 20 days on inland waters (about 500 miles traveled). Definately need shade in the hot southern sun. Cockpit shade is a challenge on this boat due to the small cockpit, split backstay and cockpit mounted main sheet. Anyone find a good solution they could share?
04-09-2014 10:17 AM
Re: Cal 31

I have had Evania, a 1981 Cal 31 since 2001 and sail in Puget Sound, Washington. What do you want to know. I may be able to help.
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