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  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-29-2016 12:33 AM
Re: Cal 21 Owners

Thank you for the information!! I will keep my eye out for one of the boats that you listed. I really liked the Cal21, but I think I might need to find other boat ramps to launch from. Thank you.
07-28-2016 09:26 AM
Re: Cal 21 Owners

Really you should only sail the CAL 21 with the keel down and locked. In light airs the boat might be stable enough even with the keel all the way up, but without the keel sticking out you have no directional control (Boat becomes a saucer on hte water with nothing to stop leeway) also, you will need the rudder for steering and it extends down a couple of feet anyway, negating the "advantage" of having the keel retracted (draft about 10").
The CAL 21 was designed so that when you get her in hte water, you lower the keel into position, insert the locking bolt, remove the cable from the keel, insert the keel plug, cover the opening in the cockpit, and sail off in a "semi-fixed" keel boat. If you need to transit a 1/4 mile shoal area (less than 5' of water, boat draws 4'3" keel down) to get out to where you will be sailing, then perhaps the CAL 21 is not the boat for you. You might be better off with a keel/centerboard boat, like an O'DAY 222 or 192 (or O'DAY 20, Precision 21, Quickstep 21, Precision 18, Starwind 19) or a shoal-keel boat like the O'DAY 22 (1'11" draft) or one of the other boats with a shallow wing-keel. There are various centerboard designs too, (O'DAY or Stuart Mariner, O'DAY 19, Sanibel 18). Some of the other retractable-keel boats like the MacGregor-Venture line (17. 21, 22, 24, 25) or the Balboa 20, Ensenada 20, Catalina 22, Santana 21 could be easier to get over that shoal, their keels still are intended to be locked down while sailing, but most still expose enough keel to aid steering with it retracted, although I would still be careful and might still suggest powering until past the shoal.

Alternatively, you could launch the CAL 21, lower the keel part way (about 1/4 to 1/3 down) to provide some control, attach rudder if keel is deeper than rudder, otherwise carefully steer using outboard as you power out beyond that shoal. Once out past the shoal, stop, lower anchor, and then lower the keel down and lock it. Go sailing! Then on the way back in, stop before the shoal and raise keel partway and power back to the ramp. One downside is that it is a LOT easier lowering/raising the keel at dockside than while anchored, especially if you would then be near any waves (or powerboat action) as calm water is very much desired for the operation, specially inserting/removing the locking bolt. Sailing without the locking bolt would not be wise, as the keel will tend to swing a bit fore and aft, and I'm not sure how well the keel plug could be used, thereby allowing water to surge in and out of the cockpit opening of the keel well while sailing, making sailing with dry feet a bit hard.

One final option would be to get a mooring out past the shoal and keep the keel down and locked for the season. That was what we did for the 38 years we had our CAL 21. It had been our intention to keep the boat moored in the cove in front of our house, but it turned out the water wasn't deep enough there, so we rented a mooring at a nearby boatyard which worked OK for us.

I am a tremendous fan of the CAL 21 and can recommend her highly, but I also recognize that she isn't the right boat for everyone. Right now, my sailing budget would not allow renting a boatyard mooring and I've grown too attached to keeping my present boat (1979 O'DAY Day Sailer II) in the cove in front of our family cottage...... so, if I ever realize my dream of a larger boat.... sadly, she won't be a CAL 21.
07-27-2016 10:49 AM
Re: Cal 21 Owners

Hello Everyone, I am new to this forum and I apologize for asking questions that are probably already answered in the hundreds of posts on here. I am in crunch time with making a decision on buying a 73 Cal21. I have been trying to find any info I can on the Cal21's. I greatly appreciate any info you can provide me. Currently my biggest question is, can you sail it at all with the keel retracted or will any amount of wind knock it down or performance would be so horrible that it is not practical for 1/4 mile transit over shoals. Thank you!!
07-27-2016 10:29 AM
Re: Cal 21 Owners

Well, you are correct, those are not the mainsheet blocks....... WEIRD! Maybe a previous owner used those for a genoa or spinnaker? Kind of weird setup. I was able to post your picture here for you.
07-22-2016 07:10 PM
Re: Cal 21 Owners

I can't actually post the picture in link form so I guess just copy and paste my link? I put a space in so the forum won't pick up that its a url?

ht tps://

Hopefully that works.

You can see the main sheet as well. I haven't seen any other boats with blocks in these positions. But then again I haven't seen that many boats either. :P
07-21-2016 12:16 PM
Apollo There are actually 2 more blocks, one on either side that are actually mounted to the side of the boat, not the main sheet blocks, I'll take some pictures after work, and I'll get some pics of the rails too, don't think I could tell the difference.
07-21-2016 10:02 AM
Re: Cal 21 Owners

The 2 blocks near the stern are for the main sheet, I'll try to post a drawing of that rigging.
The 2 pulleys sewn into the sail maybe for a reefing setup if they are about 18-24" above the foot (bottom) of the sail and are located at the leading edge (luff) and trailing edge (Leech).

The jib fairleads may be a problem replacing, since Jensen Marine (CAL) used a t-track that is narrower and thicker than what is used now. Several CAL owners (all models) have noted this when upgrading/replacing hardware. You mentioned something about "C-track" so maybe yours have been upgraded already?
A good used sailboat parts dealer or marine consignment shop might have some used fairleads that fit.
Steve Seals Spars in California might also be worth checking with, Steve Seals was a rigger at Jensen Marine (CAL) and now sells replacement spars and fittings for some of the older CALs. I doubt he would have any original jib fairleads, but might have ideas. (Seal's Spars and Rigging is their web site I think).
07-21-2016 12:01 AM
Re: Cal 21 Owners

Originally Posted by Apollo View Post
As for the tack on the jib, how high off the deck did you tie it?
Actually never mind, after re-reading I realized you said to shackle the tack right to the stem head. My reading comprehension needs some work.

There is also two of those blocks on springs - not sure what they are called - attached to the outside of the cockpit right at the aft end. Looking at pictures of other boats I have yet to see this set up. I'll take some pictures tomorrow. Puzzling.

I'm guessing I'm going to need to buy all of the jib sheet lead hardware, as the tracks are there but no cars :/
Any suggestions on what to look for would be great.

Thank you again
07-20-2016 02:14 PM
Apollo Right! Ok great sounds like we have most of it down, we are missing the fair leads, but the C rails are there. As for the tack on the jib, how high off the deck did you tie it? If we haul the halyard in to the top of the rig, the sail is quite high off the deck, or is this normal?

Another aside, our mainsail has two pulley wheels sewn right in, and I have no idea what they are for.

Thanks again !
07-20-2016 02:07 PM
Re: Cal 21 Owners

What aspect of the jib setup? I may or may not have pictures of the factory rigging, we installed roller-furling when we replaced our sails in 1993. The original setup is pretty simple and I could sketch a layout of it if that helps.

Here is the Owners Manual description of the process of hoisting the jib:
1. JIB

a. Fasten TACK to middle hole in stem head. (we always used the aftmost hole, used a shackle)

b. Hank Jib on to Jibstay.

c. Attach Jib Halyard to Head of Sail.

d. Splice or tie in sheets to CLEW. These can be left permanently attached to the jib.

e. Lead sheets "outboard" of the stays then through the fairleads on the tracks on the cockpit coamings and tie figure-eight knots in the bitter ends.

The jib halyard has a funny looking fitting where the cable part joins the rope part, there is a good explanation earlier on this forum about that.
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