SailNet Community banner
1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
335 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

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.

Thanks,

Joe
Boston
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Hey Joe,
Surprised no one has answered you yet so I thought I would give it a shot. Of course I am a bit bias as I own a Cal 34, but from all of the research I have done on boats of this age, the Cal is a very solid, well built boat. They have a reputation of being tough, yet very easy to sail and quite comfortable. They track well and are very dry. If you Google a bit, you will see that these boats have circumnavigated and done a bunch of California to Hawaii races over the years. If you google this site, stirlinglaw cal28, (I can't paste links yet as I don't have enough posts, but you will find it easily) you will see a lot of history on the 28 as well as the other models.
As far as comparing them to Catalinas and Hunters, I think I would lean more twords the Ericson and Pearson in quality and performance. The Cal 34 is a very comfortable boat, yet can put some serious water under the keel each day. There are a good sampling of all three in my marina and I can safely say I would rather be on a '68 Cal in the middle of the ocean than an 80+ Cat or Hunter. Good luck with your search and be sure to check out a Cal or two.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
19,485 Posts
Tanley

You need to keep your intended use in perspective, too, though. For the typical coastal cruising that most of us do there are a lot of boats that will do the job more than adequately besides the three you're focused on. I'd suggest you not restrict yourself quite so much and keep an open mind.

As a generalization I don't think I'd lump Catalina and Hunter together either. Catalinas have a history and continuity that speaks volumes.. Hunter seems to turn out a "new" boat every half dozen years (or sooner) leaving buyers puzzling over which were the good and which were the bad.

If you start to look at Cals, then that opens a range of options such as Rangers, C&C, CS, Benes etc that may well perfectly fill the bill, and some these may well rival your top three in terms of quality.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
210 Posts
We have had our Cal 28 flush deck for 3 months now.

We looked hard at alot of boats, erickson and pearsons and catalinas in particular. We were looking at an older group of boats than you are, late 60's early 70's, but here is what we found.

That little Cal 28 has more space inside than any of the other boats. It is laid out so intelligently it is just a pleasure to work on. lapworth just knew his stuff.

I don't claim to be an experienced technical sailor, but we have found her to be easy to work on and her systems are straightforward and accessible. An important issue if you are doing almost all the work yourself.

She has not had a ton of tlc, but she has not been abused either and she has worn really well. For an older lady she is dry as a bone and without funky smells.

We bought her as a bay and costal boat planning on upgrading in a few years to a boat better suited to cruising. I really can't tell you how many people have said "keep the Cal, she'll go anywhere..."

I would certainly put a Cal 28 on the list of possibles. I love how the ericksons look...but our little Cal is sweet...

and she is BIG inside!
 

·
Bruce Roberts 25'
Joined
·
23 Posts
I sail a '77 Cal 29 and will second Sara's statement that they are laid out really exceptionally and spaciously. I am 6'3" and I fit in my boat :) whereas I have friends who have 32'+ sailboats which I couldn't spend 10 minutes in without a sore neck.

I have found that the older cals are solid, simple and dry boats and for me, that has translated into savings as the quality of the boat has stood the test of time and doesn't require costly work to maintain it.

I have been on a friends cal 28 and found it to be similar to mine, both in it's simplicity and value. They are fantastic boats and you would do well to check some out.

Both my 29 and my friends 28 are over 30 years old, and both will be sailing in coastal BC this weekend with families on board... That is build quality to me...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
335 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I've now been on two Cal 28's (both '86s), 2 Ericson 28's (an '86 and '87) and a Pearson 28 ('87). Looking at a '78 Sabre this weekend but having trouble finding a Tartan very close by.

The condition of the Cal's has been exceptional. Almost like new. I appreciate the room in the cabin as a result of moving the head aft. Not thrilled with the mast support pole and fixed table. I thought the idea of a deck stepped mast was to get rid of that and open up the cabin a bit. I also noticed that the cockpit in the Cal seems more cramped than either the Ericson or Pearson. Like the top deck though, and the quarter birth with the ports for ventilation. Some very nice touches overall.

I read that Cal was sold to O'day's parent company, Bangor Punta. It sounds like many of you have Cal's from when they were still being built at Jensen Marine. I wonder what impact the eventual sale and move to the east coast had on later Cal model's build quality?

The Pearson's out due to the configuration of the cabin, not sure what they were thinking with that Vberth setup. Overall quality doesn't seem as good as the Cal and Ericson either.

Really like the Ericson's layout, both above and below - cockpit is roomy and the cabin has a fold-up table which gives a little more space to move around. One of the owners was gracious enough to take us on a sail and the boat seemed very manageable for two - or one experienced sailor. Granted, that is probably a result of how it was rigged and the expertise of the owners.

While one was in better shape than the other, neither of the Ericsons were kept as well as the Cal's we looked at. My amateur opinion is that the Cals and Ericsons are of similar build quality. Maybe a slight edge to the Ericson for being a fractional rig, and some of the systems/hull engineering which appear to be meant for their larger boats.

The search continues, but please chime in if you have any thoughts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
210 Posts
I think you are correct that the Ericksons and Cals are comparable boats. As I understand it the Ericksons were relatively pricey boats and well built and the Cals were value priced boats and you got a lot for your dollar.

Something we had pointed out to us by a broker (who would have been more than happy to sell a boat to us) is that is we liked the Cal flush deck we should go for it. Because of it's untraditional styling its resale value has stayed artifically below the market and what other similar boats are going for in its class.

Basically he said if you like "that" boat, buy it; you will get more for your money that with any other similar model out there.

And our shopping showed us that it was true.

other boats in similar or worse condition were selling for almost twice what we paid (2500.00)

admittedly we were looking for a project boat and had a small budget, but we were prepared to spend quite a bit more than we did and were happy to find such a good value being passed over by other buyers for boats with more traditional lines.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Cals

If your budget is $23,000, you can find a well equiped Cal 34 in that price range. I grew up on a Cal 29, (not the 2-29) and have to say that with the exception of the Cal 34 it is the best boat you can buy for your money. Went to Alaska and back, and everywhere in between. The cockpit in the 29 is much more spacious than the 28, and we had 10 people in it at once with no problem. I urge you to look at a Cal 29 if you want that size, but if you have about $23,000 to spend hold out for the 34. You also might want to look at a Ranger 33, great boat (very fast) and is in that price range.

Rachel
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Hi everyone, I just finally joined after years of reading posts here because of this thread!

I purchased a 1988 Cal 28-2 several months ago and have been very, very happy with her. It was smaller than what we were looking for but fit all of our needs (wants) more than any of the others we looked at. Much like Tanley's experience, our boat was much better maintained and cleaner than others in the price range.

Though there is a lack of information available on the late models (built by lear-seigler) and it is nice to finally see a little discussion on the topic.

Happy Sailing!
 

·
clueless
Joined
·
184 Posts
Im sure your tired of the Cal people but i am one too.. I have a 1970 Cal 29...
Solid, easy to sail and easy to work on.
All of what you have already heard a few times.
Here is a pic of a Cal 29 with no table.. It was removed before we owned the boat.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
709 Posts
I like my '74 Cal 29. I consider it to be average quality for the time. If it's an older boat you buy Plan on setting aside money to refurbish the boat whatever you get. I think the biggest hull concern is blistering (osmosis). I don't know when manufacturers addresses it ant that ceased to be problem and that would be a good thing to find out. When I looked for my Cal I looked for a boat that had already been peeled and epoxied. But even that's not a guarantee.
 

·
bell ringer
Joined
·
5,560 Posts
I have a "newer" 1988 Cal-39 that was built at the O'Day factory toward the end. The quality is as good as any boat you will find. In fact I would say that it kind of shows that what sometimes gets talked about as being 'better" doesn't really matter in the long term as "good" holds up just as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
709 Posts
I've had a '74 Cal 29 for about 20 years. It was built by Jensen Marine and represents mid-grade qualtiy for the era. Most Cals were built to be a good solid club racer/cruiser. I've done a lot og upgrading find it's stick interior easy to work on. A fellow named D'Arcy took one to Tahiti and has a web page devoted to it you can google. As was typical of all 70s era boats Cals can have osmotic bilstering. It helps if you can find a boat that's been pealed and exoxied. But you will find this risk with about all boats in that categroy. Cal 29s can also have a issue with corrosion of the mast step girder. There's photos on this web site showing someone who cut it out and replaced it.... a reely big job. You can see if you have a problem by looking at the tabs that hold the bulkhead to which the mast is stepped. But I reals don't know anyone else who's gone in and done that job and there's a lot of Cal 29s around. All boats have thier soft spot. Of the boats you're takling about it probably means more about how they were maintainde than anything.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
older cals

I've been around Cals and other boats for a number of years. I currently have a 39. It can still walk by any comparably sized boat out on the water. The quality of construction of the Cals is bulletproof as they used a lot of fiberglass. Hunters and Catalinas are cheaper construction and are much more flimsy by comparison. I've seen Hunters and Catalinas run into things (such as pilings) which caused major damage to the boat where Cals have only had minor gelcoat damage. Try putting a thru hull fitting in a Hunter--the hole will take about 2 seconds to cut through. A Cal takes awhile because the glass is about 5 times as thick. I've seen glass thickness in the bow of a Catalina 36 thats about a quarter inch thick, which is pretty thin. Ericksons are another fine boat and well constructed. The other difference is the Hunters and Catalinas tend to have that motor home look with the fake wood where Cals and Ericksons use real teak. I'd by an older Cal, such as the 34. It's fast and strong enough to take you anywhere you care to go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
709 Posts
I too have a Cal 29..'74. I'd assess the quality as mid-grade quality for the time. How the boat's been maintained and upgraded may be a bigger factor along with your preferences. I've done a lot of upgrading and that's easy to do on the Cal. In this market you should be able to get a well maintained boat upgraded with what you want at a reasonable price. Three things warrant special attention. Check for hull blistering, the fix is eapensive and time consuming. When I got my Cal 20 years ago I got one that has been peeled and epoxied. Check for deck water intrusion, that is fittings that have alllowed water to get into the deck's core. Sometimes you have to take a fastener out to see if water's inside. The fix is costly and painful. Finally the engine. Ideally you'd want a boat that's been repowered. Again a costly job
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
cal quality

Even the best boat will need some work if it has not been maintained to some degree. I'm not that familiar with the 29, although I know they sail fast. My boat is a 1979 Cal 39 with the 3 cabin layout. I've done a lot of upgrades and found a few places where I had to do some caulking to fix some deck leaks, but overall, considering the age ,there were no major problems. I've had a few haulouts and there is not a blister anywhere to be found. We were only going to keep the boat as a "transition" boat, but it sails so fast and strong I think we'll keep her. Had the hull and deck LP'd; upgraded systems; and repowered the original engine. Quality wise I would stack this boat up against any similar boat on the market.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Hi All:

Regarding Cal quality, here are some good quotes I've heard myself...

Cals:

1. "Cals will be able to get you back when other boats won't." (direct quote from Doug Hamlin, a former worker at the Cal factories back in the day).

2. "They cross oceans all the time." U.S. Coastguardsman during safety re-inspection.

3. "A great boat" and "this boat never had blisters and never will" - Surveyor for Port of Long Beach I've been told, and highly recommended, talking about Seasters during the survey.

4. "Sounds like a well-balanced boat" U.S. national sailing champ (and Seaster's next door neighbor) when told how Seasters literally sails by herself with some quick sail trim. If you have Weather Helm and the boat wants to round up into the wind, sheet out your main a bit or sheet in a bit on the jib/genoa. If you have Lee Helm (boat wants to turn away from the wind), either let out the jib/genoa a bit to reduce that sail's power, or sheet in the main sail to increase it's power. With just a little bit of sail trim/adjustment, Seasters literally sails by herself!

Sure, there are other nice sailboats out there, but it seems the Cal's have a mystique about them throughout the sailing world!

Seasters is a 1979 Cal 31' which was acquired late in 2011 for a very good deal at $14,000 in overall very good condition including:

18 hour old Yanmar 3YM20 (21 h.p.) diesel engine, canvas galore, newer running rigging, running lights/electrical all ok, sails ok, interior ok (but changed out for $1,200). Fits into a 30' slip, has a great feel at the helm, by far the best of the four total sailboats I've had. I firmly believe that you'd be hard pressed to hear any negative comments about Cal sailboats!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
GOOD LUCK with your new CAL Tanley! Just checking in after the long weekend. Great thread, great responses from the Cal crew. We've had 2, and the 2-29 is one well bulit, solid sailing and comfortable boat. The 28 is most likely as good. Read some of the threads and it'll convince you. It's true, Lapworth knew his business well. These boats were designed over 40 years ago and are still getting around. Even in the harsher, tropical Hawaii conditions. Hope that you get and that it's great!
Good Luck,
Leonard


Oh, This thread is not new...Still GREAT boats though.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top