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Old 08-25-2009
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Cal - Build quality reputation

Hi All,

Not sure which forum to put this...

I'm looking for a 28' Cruiser and have up till now been focusing on Ericson, Tartan and Pearson due to their reputation for solid build quality and effective compromise between performance and comfort. I've seen several Cal boats during my search and I am wondering how Cal compares to those mentioned above? From the photo's I've seen, they appear to be a very attractive sailboat. Is the build quality of a Cal more similar to Catalina's and Hunters?

I'm primarily focusing on mid '80's boats around the $23K range. I haven't been aboard a Cal yet, so I have no reference.


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Old 08-25-2009
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The Cal 28-II is a sweet boat, I consider its build quality on par with the builders you mention. Well worth taking a look at, I think Tartan and Cal are more performance oriented than the others.

Last edited by sailingfool; 08-26-2009 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 08-25-2009
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On the Cals, you'll want to take a look for rot where the chainplates bolt to the bulkheads. Also, the Cals have a steel "transverse" beam under the cabin sole pan where the mast compression post sits. You'll want to check that for corrosion if you can. It's not easy to do. If the limber holes beneath the sole pan clog up, then water can sit against that steel beam and it'll corrode and mast support will be compromised.

Other than that, you'll want to look for the usual wet decks and blisters. The Cals didn't use solid glass where hardware was through-bolted like on modern well-built Hunters and Catalinas, so definitely check for spongy decks, especially on the coachroof around the winches, cleats, and clutches and near the mast step.

Cals in general had a pretty good build reputation, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything on a given boat after 30 or so years. I had a Cal 3-29 that ended up being a project boat for a nice old guy. My point is that you should look an old boat over really well and not rely too much on its builder's reputation from back then.
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Old 08-26-2009
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For what its worth, I owned and sailed a CAl 2-29 from 1991 to 1994. This boat was in generally good shape. I ahd bought it from the original owner who kept up on the maintenebce of it and there were no obvious deficiencies inher. That said, I cruised her between the various Hawaiin Islands and during one particular rough passage from the Ala Wai MArina in Honoluolu on Oahu to the Maalea Harbor on Maui I had to wonder about her construction. At about 0130hrs, in building seas and 35 knot winds, I was under small working jib and deep rfeefed main. The forward sections of the hull were very obviously oil canning, and the maim froward bulheads between the salon and the head area were flexing and coming adrift. I arrived in Maalea Harbor ok and the vessel appeared ok and I never could find any permanant damage but after this I always questioned how well built they actually were. I have owned similar era boats such as Ranger 23, and Pearson Wanderer and have sailed them in similar conditions and never had that type of problem with them. Other than that she did sail well..Rick
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Old 08-26-2009
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Woah - midnight...I smell a BFS!

Have you told that full story yet somewhere else? If not, go throw it down in the BFS thread. That definitely rates!

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