Cal 25-2 (cal 25mkII) Upgrades Just FYI for Cal 25-2 Owners
My wife and I have owned a cal 25-2 for three years and we have done a lot of research on how to make the boat sail to its full potential. With that I have made 8 Key upgrades and I wanted to share them for in case other owners want to do the same. I will list them in order of favorites.
You will notice that the following requires a lot of through-deck hardware. For these old boats it is essential to install hardware in the following way (or similar way). (1) drill a larger hole than needed. (2) plug that hole with West System epoxy/filler. (3) drill through the epoxy plug without touching the core. (4) bed new shareware with 3M 4200/5200. Add a large washer or backing plate on the inside. This method will protect the core.
1: New Jib leads/Barber-haulers: I added two new jib leads between the chain plates of the forward and upper shrouds. I lead the jib sheet of a 95% jib through a low friction ring which is connected to a 2 to 1 purchase block system which is led back to the cockpit. Now you can adjust the draft and angle of the jib from the cockpit. This system makes it practical to fly a small jib and full main while beating up wind in 15-22 kts. It lets the boat sail efficiently to about 40 degrees of the wind.
The new leads are through bolted with 3 1/4 inch stainless bolts and have a 10" backing plate. I tried to spread the load over as large a space as possible. We have had no issues so far after about 55 sails and 800 NM.
2: BoomKicker: The BoomKicker enables you to precisely adjust the draft of your mainsail. The Cal 25-2 has a relatively small main, and the draft adjustment can let you get more power from it. You can also balance the boat more effectively. (BTW I highly recommend a fully battened main for this boat, upgraded this year and it is a great addition).
3: Leading all lines aft + cabin top winches. The Cal 25-2 is large enough to occasionally require assistance while adjusting lines. For safety and single handing we led all lines aft. These include:
a. Main/Jib/Spinnaker/stay-sail halyards.
b. Spinnaker Tack Line.
c. Jiffy Reefing Lines.
d. Spinnaker Snuffer Line.
We added port and starboard cabin top winches which are helpful for raising the main, reefing, adjusting tension on the jib/spinnaker halyards, and the spinnaker tack line.
4: Bowsprit: This is essential for flying asymmetrical spinnakers IMHO. the bowsprit opens up the window for the spinnaker to get more wind, it keeps the spinnaker away from the jib, it gives the boat better balance downwind, it makes an inside gibe possible! even easy! We almost exclusively use the Asymmetric spinnaker for downwind sailing. It requires more reaching, but in general is more fun and almost as effective as the symmetrical. The bowsprit makes this so much more fun.
I used 2.5" diameter aluminum with a 1/4" wall and extended it 2.5' past the stem. This has two SS clamps which are through bolted through the deck into the anchor locker. We have a Dyneema bob-stay and two Dyneema whisker stays which are bolted into the anchor locker and through the toe rail. We have put over 500NM on it in conditions up to 28kts. and have had no issues.
5: Added two additional #20 primary self-tailing winches which are forward to original winches. When you fly the 135% sail that the boat was built for, these winches are essential. It also makes single handling much easier. Also, it will keep you crew from hating you. This frees up the original winches to be used for the spinnaker. Now when you gibe you can stand over tiller, and release one spinnaker sheet, and sheet in the other without getting in the way of the helmsman.
6: Dyneema: This fiber enables you to use smaller diameter lines with more strength and less stretch. We used these to replace cable halyards and update all control lines. You can order remnants on ebay for reasonable cost. I also used it to update the lifelines, it looks and feels good. All lines have held up nicely for the last three years. Every line on the boat (other than sheets) is 6MM double braid with Dyneema core.
7: Adjustable Backstay: This gives you more control over the head stay sag. I have noticed a difference performance with being able to increase and decrease Jib/Genoa draft. We can sail comfortably in 15kts with a 95% jib and and a powered up main. When the wind picks up to 22Kts we can tighten the backstay and the vang and have the same performance without shortening sail. When the wind hits 25kts we put in a single reef.
8: Removable Babystay: For this I added a double block at the mounting point for the topping lift. This through this we run a strand of 1/4" Dyneema SK75 and a 1/4" halyard through the block. The Dyneem stay runs to a 2 to 1 purchase system at the base of the mast which is used to tiension the stay. The other end mounts to a pad eye which is attached to the bulkhead in the anchor locker. The hatch still closes when tightened.
When the wind is 25-30 kts we will hoist a storm jib on the baby stay. This gives the boat better balance and increases upwind performance and control. When the wind is pushing 40kts we use the storm jib and a double reef. We have never sailed the boat in more than 42kts. so north of that we have no clue. We would probably drop the main and sail with storm jib alone. (However, not sure if this would let you steer appropriately. for sure it would not work if the jib was on the forestay, in that case the rudder us useless.
We sail in the New York harbor and NJ/Long Island coasts. This area has good sea breeze in the afternoons and is light in the morning. There is some good steady wind in the spring and fall via long-lived storms. The harbor has a lot of tide and very often you end up beating against an 18Kt wind and against a 2kt tide. This is why windward performance is such a big deal.
Our previous boat was a Ranger 23 which we loved. The Cal 25-2 is larger (really comfortable for a cursing couple). However, the Ranger 23 was a bit better sailing boat. After these upgrades, I would say that with a bit of additional sailing work (=FUN) the Cal 25-2 is just as good of a sailing boat. If you look at the things we did, quite a few of them bring the center of effort aft. This gives better windward performance for this boat.
I have pictures of almost all of these things in my profile. Feel free to check them out if interested.
If this is not a waste of time I can give the interior and power upgrades later.