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A marina near my home has a 1973 Cal 27 that they are willing to sell for $800. The boat was abandoned by the previous owner (financial difficulties), but is in decent shape, other than a filthy cabin and no cushions. It seems to be a good deal, and frankly it's about all we can afford. We had it looked over by a couple people, and they gave it the thumbs way up. Does anyone know of any inherent problems with this boat that we should look for?

My husband and I have wanted to start sailing a big, over-niter boat, but we don't have experience with sailing anything larger than a Catalina 18 and a sunfish. Are we crazy to get the Cal?

I'd like to take a class, but the ASA Basic Keelboat class is prohibitively expensive for the two of us (more expensive than the boat!). Are there any other classes we can take? Or maybe we can hire someone more knowledgeable for a day of training on the boat? We have several more experienced friends and family members, but I don't know if I can count on them to teach us what we need to know.
 

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I don't have experience with the 27 but a friend has a Cal 34 and loves it. Having said that I would caution you that buying the boat is only the start of spending money. It's amazing how quick money goes when a boat is around. maintenance, dockage, registration and taxes all add up.

If you do decide to go for it, congratulations. By the way, welcome to Sailnet.
 

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Thanks, rdstanley!
I was adding up all the costs, and yikes, it is a big tally. We have a bit of luck in that we are eligible through my in-laws for a slip that is very reasonable in price, especially for CT. I found a marina that will winter it for $25/foot, including hauling in and out. Does that seem reasonable?
 

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Life is short, get sailing,,

I'm by no means an expert sailor but I am a relatively new owner of a 1966 Cal 28 and couldn't be more happier with it. I am sure that has a lot to do with attitude though... I will say I have been nothing but impressed with how well the boat is built. I've never sailed a day in my life before I got this boat last August, but I have already managed a 4 day trip from San Diego to Puerto Salina Mexico and the boat was a dream. I have also managed to be out in 25 - 35 knot winds with twenty foot swells out in the ocean off La Jolla and It was a great confidence builder in the boat. It was originally sailed here to San Diego from Hawaii by it's original owners so its def a capable boat. If you guys dream of sailing and the boat appears to be sea worthy "as is", I say go for it and work out the small stuff later. $800 sounds like a steal if its ready to sail. I will admit I'm partial to Cal's now but im sure that's what your looking to hear : ) . I have a great link to a cal boat only website but I cant port here because I'm new but message me if you want it. Good Luck and get sailing. Chris
 

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One of None
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I don't know if a 27 qualifies as a big boat. I've always thought boats in 20 to 30ish size were mid size.

A suggestion: get it surveyed!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Chris, Thanks for your comments. You make me feel more confident about the boat, and our ability to handle it.

Denise, You're right, it's not a BIG boat, but for us it's "big". I guess I really meant a boat that we can take on weekend trips around Long Island Sound. We also looked at a Pearson 26, but for some reason the Cal 27 seemed a lot bigger than that additional foot would have you think (aside from the height of the cabin, which is the one big drawback of the Cal).

I thought about getting it surveyed, but I don't know the typical cost involved. My father, who is a sailor with 20+ years experience, gave it a thorough look over and said that it is currently sea-worthy, but he also pointed out the things we should replace now and down the road. I was hoping his advice could be relied upon instead of paying for a professional boat surveyor. Needless to say, he seemed pretty excited about the prospect of a boat being back in the family.
 

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Enjoy!!

We were also impressed with how much larger the 27 was than a 25 for instance, when shopping.

After going out a few times one gets used to it in a hurry!!
 

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I found this owners review:
Cal 2-27 specs and photo gallery
Hope your Dad comes with tools! I'm actually starting to feel my O30 is getting smaller. I'm getting the "5 footitis" again and thinking 35-38 ft (if I ever become a live aboard) in retrospect I'd suggest buying a boat 5ft bigger then you think you need. Oh the P26 is a great boat too!

Things to think about.. title and papers.. are they clear. Many abandoned boats don't have titles and they sit for years mostly because of that reason.
 

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The Cal 27 sounds like a great opportunity. Congrats.:)

Recommend you look at the 'sticky' thread by Sailingdog; "Boat Buying Trip Tips." Here you will find a fairly comprehensive list of things to examine on the boat, and a systematic approach to doing this inspection, that will help you decide whether or not to buy it. But ff you decide after using SDs Tips that you still want the boat, I would still recommend a professional survey. I don't know how much it would cost you, it usually depends on the size of the boat, the distance the surveyor must travel to get there, etc., but it will be worth it in the long run. You will either learn that this diamond in the rough is a great buy or you will be thankful that you narrowly escaped a huge money pit.

Take a look on the forum here at a thread entitled "Boat Buying Assistance." You might find another Sailnet member who can help with your inspection, and also find out who is a good surveyor in your area.

Good luck. Keep us posted. Even though I currently sail a small trailer-sailer, Cals are on my short list of 'my next boat.":D

Fair winds, and welcome to the Net.:thewave:

Pat
Catalina 22 "Stargazer"
 

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I think the Cal 27 is a desirable boat and a good beginner boat. It sailsl very nicely and handles well. A quality design.

I would caution you double-over regarding the costs of fixing up a fixer-upper. I would expect new cushions for that boat to run $2000 or so. You didn't mention the engine or sails, usually the most expensive upgrades. For $2800 I'd bet you could find a Cal 27 with cushions in clean shape ready, to go. Not to say you shouldn't carefully consider this boat, but appreciate how boat expenses quickly add up. It is very easy, and in my opinion more the rule than not, to buy a cheap boat and end up putting so much money into it you end up seriously financially underwater (youl lose a lot when you finally sell). Generally its wiser to buy a good boat for a fair price, especially if you are going into one for the first time.

Good luck.
 

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Cal's are great boats. I would highly recommend your first purchase (before the boat) be a book "Sailboat Maintenance" by Don Casey. It's a little pricey, but covers most things you need to know to maintain a sailboat (including making your own cushions, if you are so inclined). Most importantly, it has a 30 minute buyers survey that you should do before buying any boat. You really should have a professional surveyor look at the boat, but many buyers don't for a boat in this price range. Know that you will probably have to have it surveyed anyway to obtain insurance which a Marina will require, so it makes sense to do it before you buy the boat. In any case, Casey's list will educate you and let you qualify or eliminate the boat before you hire a surveyor. You will also find the Cal owners sites a valuable source of information.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm considering the cushions as a non-necessary "cushy" feature of a boat. We probably won't have any this season. They aren't really necessary, right? We have lots of camping gear, including foam sleeping pads, etc, so I thought we could use that. I thought we could make our own cushions down the road.

The sails are good - two originals, both in excellent shape (surprisingly), with a nicely done professional repair on the head sail. It also comes with a brand new spinnaker and another mystery sail.. I'm not even sure it goes to the boat, but I think it does.

The motor is somewhat of a problem, though. It takes on outboard, but it doesn't come with one. We have a 6 hp sitting in the basement, but I don't know if it's too underpowered for the boat. I think 10 is optimal. Do you think we could make do with the 6hp this season, if we are careful?

We also sort of inherited tons of ancillary boat supplies from my parents when they downsized. Basically, we have access to a nearly free slip on the Sound, a free functional dingy with motor, two anchors, and an assortment of other random stuff, taking up room in our basement.

So what's this now about having to hire a surveyor for insurance? I didn't know about that. The marina said nothing about it, or the insurance company I got a quote from (Progressive). If we have to do it, I guess we might as well do it before I'm committed to the boat.. How much do they generally cost? Where do you find one?

I really appreciate all the feedback you guys have been giving me.
 

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Lots of good advice. As a newbie with a new (small) boat I am seeing first hand how all the little expenses can add up. I largely DIY (paint bottom, etc.), but I still suppose that ANY boat costs a certain amount to keep - per year.

Maybe someone has some rules of thumb. I always told my kids - a car will cost "x" per month, whether you buy a new one or a used one. You might go 2 years without large expenses, but then something big may be needed. In the boat case, it might be sails or other rigging, a new outboard or something we have not thought of yet.

Murphys law will always come into play. That said, you have a lot of stuff going for you with slip and the old boat accessories.

Although it is not exactly the same as Murphys law, my take is "everything costs more and takes longer than you think". So, figure out the proposed yearly cost, double it, add 10% and you will probably be close.
 

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I agree the Cal's are great boats. We have a BIG Cal and love it and friends have Cal 2-25 which has similar space down below to a lot of 30 foot boats.

Regarding the motor, I think the 6 HP is a bit small if you are trying to over power storm winds and waves... but depending on the weather where you are it might be ok if you keep a close eye on the weather before heading out (which you want to do anyways) Is it a long shaft or does the mount get the motor in the water far enough?
 

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I'm considering the cushions as a non-necessary "cushy" feature of a boat. We probably won't have any this season. They aren't really necessary, right? We have lots of camping gear, including foam sleeping pads, etc, so I thought we could use that. I thought we could make our own cushions down the road.

The motor is somewhat of a problem, though. It takes on outboard, but it doesn't come with one. We have a 6 hp sitting in the basement, but I don't know if it's too underpowered for the boat. I think 10 is optimal. Do you think we could make do with the 6hp this season, if we are careful?

So what's this now about having to hire a surveyor for insurance? I didn't know about that. The marina said nothing about it, or the insurance company I got a quote from (Progressive). If we have to do it, I guess we might as well do it before I'm committed to the boat.. How much do they generally cost? Where do you find one?

I really appreciate all the feedback you guys have been giving me.
Well, if you are going to keep the boat in a private berth (not a Marina) the insurance (and hence, survey) may not be an issue. The thrust of my post was that you need to educate yourself if you are going to acquire an old boat. No, cushions are not important. For that matter, while I wouldn't recommend it for a novice, some sailors swear by going without motors. My point was that Casey's book covers just about everything (including a detailed explanation about Surveyors). There are lots of good books and I've purchased several. However, I wish Casey's was the first. Due to the current economy, inexpensive boats like the one you are considering are plentiful. In fact, a sailing magazine in my area just published a picture of a string of boats (10 or 15!) which didn't sell at auction, being towed from a marina to the wrecking yard:(! However, even if someone gives you a boat, if it has a major defect, it may not be worth fixing, and will simply turn into a cheap headache. A little knowledge goes a long way to avoid this situation. I suggest you take your time, educate yourself, and you will find a sweet old boat (I have one). The Cal may, or may not be it!
 

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a couple of things to add to this post, in case any new cal 27 pop top owners find it. first, the link Denise put up about cal 27s is for the 2-27; a totally different boat. the pop top was made from '70 to '73. in '74 they made the 2-27. everything is different.

you can get insurance with state far, liability only, without a survey...at least at the time I write this. that will get you in most marinas, although some marinas will call for a survey before letting you a berth.

the inboard version of the cal27 came with a vire7motor. 7hp. the builder thought that was enough. haven't sailed mine yet. I just got it and am still fixing it up. however, another owner, on this site, felt it was a little underpowered. of course, he also said he likes to blast into the dock. so, take that for what you will. I suppose it depends on your usage. I may have found an original vire for mine ( the motor was removed and an outboard bracket installed, all before I got it ). so, I can't say if it's big enough or not, but it does give you some idea of what the designer thought.
 

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Did we ever hear from the OP how this turned out :confused:

It cracks me up that someone that can't afford a survey or ASA 101 wants to own a boat :laugher:laugher
 

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Did we ever hear from the OP how this turned out :confused:
no. i just stumbled onto this thread, myself.

It cracks me up that someone that can't afford a survey or ASA 101 wants to own a boat :laugher:laugher
i must just tear you up, then. i own an 8' rowing pram ( bought almost 19 years ago $50 ), a 9' sailing dinghy ( bought 18 years ago. i taught myself how to sail on that boat $75....still sailing that boat, too. good boat ), an holiday20 ( bought 18 years ago $800 ), and i just bought a 1971 cal 27, which needs fixed up, for $300 ( off of the lean dock )...which i had to pay for in two installments. i couldn't afford to pay $10 to $20 per foot, for a survey; as much as i pad for the boat, itself. i inspected it, myself. you do what you must and just becausre you aren't floating on expendable funds it doesn't mean you have no right to sail. in my opinion. if you have the desire and the will to pull it off, whatever your bank book says, then you deserve to sail, far more than someone who has it the easy way because they have a lot of cash.

people tend to place greater value in something they work for. if people are just 'given' something, most of them tend to not really appreciate it or treasure it. it becomes meaningless for them. not usually the case if you have to earn it. not insinuating that if you have money, you didn't earn the money; just saying that, if you don't have money, you must work much harder to get that boat and get it on the water. it becomes a true labor of love.

i say, if you are willing to work for a goal, then you should try, with all your might, to attain that goal. if you wade, courageously, into the tide of war, and you fall, you remain undefeated though you die. only someone who is afraid to even try is ever truly defeated: they are beaten before they even try.

when i got my first sailboat, i had little money, i didn't ( and still don't ) know how to swim, i had never sailed and had no one to teach me. but i wanted to sail and so i did. it's been 18 years now and i still love sailing. i am as broke, now, as i was then, thanks the the economy, but i wanted a cruising sailboat and i got one...and i AM fixing it up and doing what i need to do to reach that goal. even if i fail, which i WILL not do, i will still not have been beaten because i had the courage and fortitude to try.

i salute anyone with the strength of character to attempt the difficult path, in the face of the derision of those who have little faith in the strength of the human spirit. it is such men who set out across unknown seas and explored our world, while the nay sayers sat all cozy and safe in their houses.

but that's just my thoughts on the matter.
 
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man o man...

captain jack you live the dream all right bud?

surveys? wth?...surveys and proffesional surveyors, what a joke...not everything is money related or has to be "proffesional" serviced...

seriously guys... help when someone wants or asks for help and if not lets just be quiet and enjoy that someone wants to live his dream not yours

I have not bought 1 boat with a survey...thanks to my dads passed on experience and my self learned experience if you will...

and I would for sure not use a surveyor for a $300 boat project...

you know cause surveyors often look at the so important stuff as expiration dates on extinguishers and not keel bolt conditions

or you know they look at small blisters and say this is catastrophic and you need to invest 15k in a new bottom but they dont look at the sails...

or how they asses standing rigging condition from the cookpit without going up the mast...

or how they pay attention to such important details like the head and how it functions and not the bulkeads, or structural details etc...

good proffesional surveyors are those that KNOW the boat you are looking at, NOT what ever they say they have done...

My last boat was surveyed for a new sailor, the stuff he(surveyor) paid attention to and NOT simply made me sad inside...he was such a "proffesional", looked at everything he thought needed attention yet the important stuff and model boat related stuff he should of been investigating went right over the new owners head and his...

In fact I later stressed to the new onwer(since the boat passed) such things pertaining to THIS boat that needed attention and all was fine.

I just cant understand why anyone would laugh at somebody who does something he wants to, in this case buying a nice fixer upper and living the dream...it can be done.

good luck!
 
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I'm considering the cushions as a non-necessary "cushy" feature of a boat. We probably won't have any this season. They aren't really necessary, right? We have lots of camping gear, including foam sleeping pads, etc, so I thought we could use that. I thought we could make our own cushions down the road.

The sails are good - two originals, both in excellent shape (surprisingly), with a nicely done professional repair on the head sail. It also comes with a brand new spinnaker and another mystery sail.. I'm not even sure it goes to the boat, but I think it does.

The motor is somewhat of a problem, though. It takes on outboard, but it doesn't come with one. We have a 6 hp sitting in the basement, but I don't know if it's too underpowered for the boat. I think 10 is optimal. Do you think we could make do with the 6hp this season, if we are careful?

We also sort of inherited tons of ancillary boat supplies from my parents when they downsized. Basically, we have access to a nearly free slip on the Sound, a free functional dingy with motor, two anchors, and an assortment of other random stuff, taking up room in our basement.

So what's this now about having to hire a surveyor for insurance? I didn't know about that. The marina said nothing about it, or the insurance company I got a quote from (Progressive). If we have to do it, I guess we might as well do it before I'm committed to the boat.. How much do they generally cost? Where do you find one?

I really appreciate all the feedback you guys have been giving me.
as far as temporary cushions are concerned: coleman airmattresses are awesome.
 
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