"New" Cal Boats Made in USA? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 48 Old 11-22-2016
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Re: "New" Cal Boats Made in USA?

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Originally Posted by Bluesmoods View Post
As a former importer, long time Dealer and broker, I have been playing with the idea of bringing back "Cal Boats", built to the integrity and exquisite sailing standard of the original Lapworth designs, primarily the Cal 39, 34 and 2-27.

I have been a Dealer for several high quality respected brands and also importer for a very long time. I owned a Cal among others. The [Cal] boat even to modern day standards in my opinion, remains one of the finest vessels of its time. Gotta love the Cal 39 and would gladly take it just about anywhere on the globe right now and can say without doubt, that I would make good time doing it.

Can you imagine going to a Boat show and seeing big Cal Boats banners flying again? What do you think? It is doable.. All of these imports are also driving me crazy, even though I made part of my living by doing just that. I think "we" should do this.
I'm lucky enough to live nearby a world class custom boat builder. They build mostly in wood but also composites - and they're branching out with the advent of new building technology.

They make their money taking care of clients boats which keeps the skilled staff and business machinery in top form.

They have an experienced design team that is engaged in restorations which include design upgrades to older boats.

The design team is also a sales tool for new construction (naturally), and works on speculative designs, looking for buyers. These speculations, as well as state of the art design, have included reproducing older, past - popular designs, in newer materials (or traditional if the buyer prefers).

I'd say their speculative model is a safe venture, but I don't think it is successful as they would like it to be.

That's where your idea is different. It's bold,..and risky.

You can pump out renderings - ads, of a boat, but nothing compares to the real thing, floating at the dock. Who knows?

Tom Young sailing a 1961 38' Alden Challenger, CHRISTMAS out of
Rockport, Maine.
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post #22 of 48 Old 11-22-2016
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Re: "New" Cal Boats Made in USA?

The original Cals carried Lapworth's name back when people might have recognized it. And some of that rep was earned through the Cal 40's unique-at-the-time design (fin keel, spade rudder) and ocean racing pedigree. Frankly, I'm not sure the Cal name holds much weight at all in today's market. My guess is anyone fanatical enough to want a classic Cal already has one and has spent the time/money to restore it.

I'm all for more new domestic sailboats coming to market, but I'm not at all convinced that something without a wide beam, roomy cabin, sprawling cockpit and modern design aesthetics (plumb bow, etc.) would have much appeal to the marina crowd or most coastal cruisers.

Catalina 34

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post #23 of 48 Old 11-22-2016
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Re: "New" Cal Boats Made in USA?

The Golden Age of Recreational Sailing in the U.S. is dead.

Consumers in the United States:

A) Don't give a sh!t about sailing.
B) Have never heard of William Lapworth.
C) Don't have the necessary amount of disposable income, nor faith in the general economy to spend the money if they had it.
D) Don't have the disposable free time required for sailing and keel boat maintenance.

Face it, we're considered a weird, fringe-element in our society and we're not gaining in popularity. Sailing is viewed as an elitist pastime, even if you're sailing a grungy, 49-year old Coronado 25 with blown-out rags for sails yet somehow, you're viewed as a down-to-earth kind of guy for bar hopping on a $25,000 H-D Electra-Glide that you've just poured $10,000 worth of mods into. (You can substitute "Donzi powerboat" if you wish)

Sailing enjoyed a brief "blip" in our public consciousness with the recent America's Cup. The boats were almost fast enough, the wrecks almost spectacular enough, to hold peoples' attention for a moment but .00000001% of viewers probably said "Hey, that's something I'd like to try."

If I had a nickel for every friend and co-worker who told me that sailing is way too much work to be doing on your day off, I'd be sailing a brand-new boat right now.
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post #24 of 48 Old 11-22-2016
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Re: "New" Cal Boats Made in USA?

My nephew has a very successful business restoring very costly lake launches from the 1920s and 1930s. These boats were not built to stout scantlings so he never has to wait for work. With normal use for about four months of the year with storage inside a boathouse these boats need significant work about every ten years. He is able to build new boats, with modern, more powerful, reliable engines and traditional (incredible) construction quality that are much stronger than the old ones but few people want them. They want an original boat, even if few bits of wood are left from the original. I suspect the same thing might be true of Cal people.

Tried to post some pics from his website without success. The website is below and you can compare the restored boats and the new builds. Interestingly while Rainbow I is a reproduction of a race boat from the early 1920s there were no plans available. They worked from from a half model and a magazine article of the day. The designer who pulled it all together was Steve Killing who designed quite a few sailboats back in the day, including a couple of AC 12 meters. The owner liked the boat so much that he ordered another boat that could take more than two people! BTW, the engine for this boat is two Viper V-10s with a common crank shaft.

http://clarkwoodenboats.com

After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.

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post #25 of 48 Old 11-22-2016
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Re: "New" Cal Boats Made in USA?

KS.. your link doesn't show for me but does open in a new tab.. beautiful work!

Ron

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post #26 of 48 Old 11-23-2016
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Re: "New" Cal Boats Made in USA?

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KS.. your link doesn't show for me but does open in a new tab.. beautiful work!
The work is incredible (as are the prices he charges) for both the rebuilds and the new builds but my point was that very few people want a new boat in spite of the fact that the new boats are much better than the old boats - stronger, much better engines.

After the refit we have decided to sell Ainia. We want something smaller that would be could for the light summer winds of Lake Ontario, although we plan to spend at least a couple of winters in the Caribbean before heading north.
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post #27 of 48 Old 11-23-2016
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Re: "New" Cal Boats Made in USA?

Reminds me of the guys restoring the old chris craft lake boats of a bygone era:

https://www.google.com/search?q=chri...HUWYC9oQsAQIIQ

Think my old mate UPHILL hasd one on a lake up in Idaho that we used to tool around with coolers full of beer, young gals in bikini's and not a care in the world.


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post #28 of 48 Old 11-23-2016
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Re: "New" Cal Boats Made in USA?

I really like the way these CALs sail. Easy and well balanced. I've spend a couple of weeks on one in the islands. Only ran the engine to charge the battery including on and off anchor. They handle really nice. Sweet sailing boats. Something about them is just right, the kind of thing you only know when you get behind the helm.

IMHO, the market for new seems to have bifurcated into 2. As us boomers get older, many stop cruising and want to day sail in something nice. Thus the birth of the ridiculously priced fancy daysailer, many of which are backyard lawn ornaments on water front property. On the other end, those that really want to cruise or want a dock condo want something really comfortable to live on, loaded up with systems and complexity with all the comforts of home. Thus the market for bigger cruisers, 45 and up. This middle market for moderately sized cruising boats is small. When we built a Morris 38 in 2009, they needed to pull the mold out of the back 40, and clean up the moss on it. Especially the older designs with relatively small beam and taper to the stern. They aren't big inside, but they sure sail nice. But I don't think anyone wants one except for deviants like me.

In my mind, a boat that was easy enough to single hand and daysail without power winches and fancy main furling, but could also do a few weeks of cruising and was comfortable in a blow was perfect. But I think I represent a VERY small market segment, and I think we are gradually dying off or at least aging out of the market.

Still, I want you to be right, and hope you succeed.
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post #29 of 48 Old 11-23-2016
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Re: "New" Cal Boats Made in USA?

^^^^ Holy cow that was some time ago. Yea the old wood boat thing is big. As KS says they want the old restored boats built to last 10 years in the 30 s and 40s.

The old man got rid of the Chris Craft years ago and bought a restored 1930 Dodge watercar.

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post #30 of 48 Old 11-23-2016
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Re: "New" Cal Boats Made in USA?

Sign me up for that effort. I think we are getting "Euro'ed" to death over here. What ever happened to American yachts style. I have a new 44'er starting build in January. It's a custom project.
Client wanted the galley forward.


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