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post #1 of 8 Old 09-25-2016 Thread Starter
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Looking at a Cal 27

Howdy, ladies and gentlemen and the rest of you.

Well, my wife and I, novices that we are, were planning not to buy our first boat this year and to at least wait until next season. Which was all fine and good, except that I kept window-shopping and happened across a Cal 27* that's a couple of hours away from us for what seems to me to be a very reasonable price.

I didn't immediately find a ton of Cal 27-specific information out there on the Googles, and in any case I'd rather interact with my answers, so I was wondering if folks here have any experience-based insight on this for a couple of relative newcomers to sailing. I just e-mailed the owners with a couple of initial questions, but the fact of the matter is that I don't really know all the questions I should even be asking. (Honestly, I feel like I wouldn't know all of those questions ever, because experience is always going to turn up a "Huh, there's another question I should have asked.")

So, setting aside the usual feedback of "You'll kill yourself no matter what you do, so you're better off sitting indoors and staring at the wall," what words of wisdom can folks offer on a Cal 27? Is there anything from looking at the Craigslist ad that jumps out at you as a potential issue? Is there anything else I should really be aware of before I go look at the boat?

* Although the posting gives a year of 1975, and Sailboatdata.com lists Cal 27s as being built from 1971-1974, I compared the pictures there with those on the ad, and the shape of the port lights do seem to line up with the Cal 27 rather than the 2-27, for whatever little that is worth. I assume that just means this particular Cal 27 was built late in the run and probably not actually completed until the following year.

Current Boat: TBD
Currently Crewing: 22' Pearson Ensign (Wednesday Night Fall Racing)
Sailing Area: Casco Bay, Maine, USA
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-25-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Looking at a Cal 27

Update: Heard back from the owner on a couple of outstanding projects.

  1. One of the four bolts holding the outboard mount to the boat broke and needs to be replaced (according to the owner, there's no actual access to the inside of the boat at this location. Which seems odd to me, but hey, that's how it goes. Owner's plan was to create an access point in order to replace the bolt.
  2. "Fuel connection point seems to be sucking in a bit of air." Probably not too bad to fix, as far as I know.
  3. Some of the cosmetic wood (inside and out) needs to be sanded (or in one case, epoxied) and refinished.
  4. One of the cabin lights was disassembled and needs to be reassembled (does not seem like a big deal to me).
  5. Per owner, sails are all in good-to-great condition (mainsail sounds like it has the most wear, but is still fine).

The only project that raises my brows is the first one, just because if there really is no interior access to that location, and access would have to be... created... I'm not super-comfortable with the idea of saying "Hey, just bought my first boat, time to drill holes in hit." That sort of project may well be perfectly benign, it just makes me uneasy.

Haven't been up to look at the boat in person, yet—it's a bit of a drive, so I want to feel like it's worth my while to go up (and also like it won't be an automatic waste of the current owner's time, since I know people are time-sensitive and I respect that). Assuming there are no huge pre-visit red flags, though, I'll probably try to arrange a "visit" on Friday or so.

Current Boat: TBD
Currently Crewing: 22' Pearson Ensign (Wednesday Night Fall Racing)
Sailing Area: Casco Bay, Maine, USA
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-25-2016
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Re: Looking at a Cal 27

Those are just minor issues for an old boat. Any used boat will have a list of minor things that need attention. The big ones on a boat like that are hull/deck issues, engine, and sails. If the hull is sound with no structural issues, the deck core is not rotten and soft, the engine runs well, and the sails are in decent shape and have some years left in them, you have probably found a boat worth considering.

Note there were three Cal 27s - Cal 27, Cal 2-27 and Cal 3-27. First was built in the early 70s, second in the late 70s and last in the 80s.

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1985 Cal 33-2
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-25-2016
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Re: Looking at a Cal 27

Great boats. However, another thing to check is the mast step. Under the mast, under the flooring, is a large metal beam. They can sometimes become corroded, and are a rather large job to fix. My brother owned a Cal 2-27 and he loved it.
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Re: Looking at a Cal 27

For just data this is a great resource. sailboatdata dot com
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-26-2016
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Re: Looking at a Cal 27

Nice boat at a very reasonable price. As Jim mentioned already, these are relatively easy projects to complete even for a newbie. I would add that you should check the keel bolt condition, as well as standing rigging, including the infamous steel beam.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-26-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Looking at a Cal 27

Thanks for the feedback, folks. It makes me feel better getting confirmation that all of the known projects are pretty minor and doable, even for a newbie like myself.

@krisscross , you mentioned the "infamous steel beam." Am I right in understanding that that refers to the compression post area, and that it needs to be checked due to a tendency to corrode? Obviously that would be something I'd expect a surveyor to pick up, but if there's anything can investigate myself in advance, that would help me a ton (and if it ends up being very bad, might save me the cost of a survey).

I have tried to find out online whether the Cal 27 has an encapsulated or bolted-on keel, but it seems that either my Google-fu is weak, or that the answer is "it depends". I can ask the owner when I go up to look at it, but since the boat is in the water, I'd have to just take his word for it until the haul-out.

Current Boat: TBD
Currently Crewing: 22' Pearson Ensign (Wednesday Night Fall Racing)
Sailing Area: Casco Bay, Maine, USA
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-26-2016
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Re: Looking at a Cal 27

That steel beam is just something to consider. Not a deal breaker IMO but a big plus if the beam has already been replaced. Looking at the pictures in the ad you linked, I'm pretty sure that is a bolt-on keel. Cal was making good boats and their keel to hull joints are usually very solid. Still, neglect can ruin even the best boat.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
Plato
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