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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to buy a Cal 39 or similar boat. Can anyone suggest boats similar to the CAL 39? Something like an IOR one ton with robust construction. Solid hull layup, fin keel, six foot or less draft, spade rudder or small skeg. Thanks.
 

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Our personal experience is that you can do quite well shopping such boats, esp if you're prepared to look at some of the many non-mainstream brands, boats built by various "custom" builders throughout the IOR 'disposable boat' era.

They are likely to be rough and/or spartan interior wise, but will be free of molded liners and other obstacles to modifications to layouts and the addition of amenities.

Caution is warranted, though, as some were built rough and ready. Others, though, were well built with the technology of the times. We owned a Choate 40 for 12 years or so, continued to 'cruisifiy' her throughout the time we owned her and had a lot of boat for a fraction of what you'd pay for similar performance in a production boat. We were even fortunate enough to sell her after 12 years for virtually what we'd paid to begin with.

The biggest bonus with this approach is usually excellent deck gear - winches, blocks, steering systems, tunable rigs, and often a good selection of sails (however using the boat as a cruiser and 22 bags of sails are a bit of a contradictory situation - better have a basement!)

What these boats are not are ideal for shorthanded sailing, and many of them can exhibit some positively scary habits downwind in a breeze if you push them. But careful sail selection and heading choices can get you around all that. (No spinnakers in 20 knots of breeze, for instance!) We sailed ours mostly with a blade jib and full main, had plenty of power once we had 12-14 knots apparent upwind.

That boat will probably remain my personal 'favourite', though after wrestling those big headsails for all that time a big 'must have' for our most recent purchase was a fractional rig!;) :)
 

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Most boats from the production builders in the late 70s and early 80s were heavily influenced by the IOR even if they weren't all out racers. One from that era that is racier than the Cal 39 is the Pearson 37. Might fit your requirements.
 

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I have sailed on a mid eighties CAL39. I can tell you that from 1986-1991 Pearson also made a 39, called the 39-2. Same displacement, and I believe that the saloon was identical to the CAL39. I know that the Pearson offered a centerboard, fin, and winged keel. The CAL that I sailed on had a winged keel. Here's a line drawing:


I believe that JimsCAL must be referring to the 1982-1986 Pearson 37. This is very similar to the 1983-1986 Pearson 34 (its just bigger). Here is a line drawing;


The 1986-1991 Pearson 37-2, however, is an entirely different boat. The 37-2 was designed by a group of Pearson dealers that provided their ideas to Bill Shaw, who penned the final product. [Have you ever heard that a horse designed by committee is a camel?] It was nicknamed the "condo boat." I thought that it looked like something out of star trek. Here is a pic;

(Yes, the pink stuff is wall to wall carpet.)
 

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Crown 34, Sceptre 36, San Juan 34, C&C 38,40,41... Islander (Peterson) 40 come to mind as production boats clearly based on the IOR rules of the day.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you everyone! Good information, I will be checking into those designs as possibilities. I appreciate your help. Anyone else care to chime in?
 

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With all due respect to my estemed colleague and co-moderator, I would argue that there is just about no such thing as a truly seaworthy performance cruiser-which is also an IOR rule based design.

Perhaps the apparent difference in the opinion expressed by Faster and myself comes in how we each would define term 'seaworthy performance cruiser'. To me a seaworthy performance cruiser must be able to quickly adapt with a small crew to changeable conditions and be seaworthy, seakindly, and easy to handle at the upper ends of the wind range while offering reasonably good performance at the lighter end of the wind range.

No matter how you look at it, IOR era boats were designed to be handled by big strong crews and to have a lot of weight on the rail. By the very nature of the IOR rule, IOR boats counted on huge overlapping headsails to gain performance in anything below a half gail and counted on a large inventory of incrementally larger, heavier and lighter sails.

You can work around this some with modern sail handling gear and with oversized (perhaps power driven) winches and by using smaller sails that are cut slightly fuller from a lighter weight, lower stretch high modulus sail cloth (kevlar, spectra, or carbon) to increase their wind speed range.

But even with all the optiomizing that is possible using modern science, these boats have a lot of drag, low SA/D's and not much stability without a whole lot of weight on the rail, which means that their sails will still have a comparatively narrow wind range (even with roller furling). And that is where I have a problem seeing these performance cruising boats. If you don't do a lot of sail changes you are stuck with one of three poor choices as a cruising boat; either:
- Sailing with a small headsail and having no light air performance,
- Sailing with a large overlapping headsail and have a bear of a boat to push around, especially as windspeeds increase,
- Or doing more frequent sail changes, which is hard to do with a small crew and which also disquailfies it by my my definition of a seaworthy performance cruisng boat since it can't respond qucikly to changing conditions.

Then there are the hull form issues. Most of the IOR era boats came with the gift of a hullform conceived to beat a rule but almost by design, were inherrently skitish when pressed hard. These boats, with enough weight on the rail, were impressive going up wind in a moderate breeze, pointing high and moving well. But as soon as you began to reach or run these boats began to develop nasty habits, so nasty in fact that you lose a key heavy weather survival technique, namely running off under bare poles.

Then there is the robustness issue. While many of the early IOR era boats were pretty solidly built, (boats like the Tartan 41, or Peterson 34) most were not. Boats like the C&C 41 or the Islander Peterson 40 certainly were not especially robust when they were built, let alone 25 years later and even a reasonably well maintained Tartan 41 or Peterson 34 will need a lot of help making it suitable and relable for cruising.

I should say of all the IOR era designs I am particularly fond of the maverick designs which were not strictly designed as IOR designs such as the Contessa 33 (which I raced on for 6-7 years), J-36, Oyster SJ 34, Taylor 39 and 41, and Lightwave 39, Express 37, Frers 36, Hogfarm 30, Soveral 33 and (less so) 39 or many of Farr's racer-cruisers of this era or full blown racers like the Farr 37, and (Garratt)41, which were often departures from the rule that produced better all around boats.

But more to the point, if you are looking for a good, seaworthy, performance, cruising boat then you should really be looking at boats that were not designed with any thought about the IOR rule. If you are going to buy an older boat to fix up, then my advice is to start with the best designed boat that you can find, and improve from there rather than investing your heart and soul in design that will always be limited in performance and seaworthiness by the rating rule it was compromised to beat.....

Respectfully,
Jeff
 

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I'm looking to buy a Cal 39 or similar boat. Can anyone suggest boats similar to the CAL 39? Something like an IOR one ton with robust construction. Solid hull layup, fin keel, six foot or less draft, spade rudder or small skeg. Thanks.
What about an early 1980s Morgan 38?
 

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As I was reading Jeff`s post I couldn`t help but think that a lot of people might be under the impression that if a boat was designed as a `racing boat`that it was particularly fast. Jeff has already explained the handling issues. To my mind what it really means if designed as a racer under the IOR rule is that it was distorted in various ways to rate well, hopefully better than the competition. Features like low ballastédisp ratios were I believe treated well under the IOR so you had a good rating and could make up for it with crew on the rail, as they were not measured. What you really want is a boat that was designed to be fast based on the water conditions, not based on the rule. I will leave it to others to come up with some good examples, except to suggest the CS36T as one good example.
 

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With all due respect to my estemed colleague and co-moderator, I would argue that there is just about no such thing as a truly seaworthy performance cruiser-which is also an IOR rule based design.
....
Hey Jeff - you forgot to put the "roll eyes" icon after "esteemed colleague";)

Anyway another excellent post, as usual. I'm not sure that we disagree - and the OPs specific reference to the older IOR boats puts the 'seaworthy' definition in a grey area anyhow - I guess I took the IOR part as the primary qualifier ....

My point was two fold... that you can get good value for the money in some of these boats, esp the non mainstream boats if you know what to look for- but that also these boats can be a bear to handle and require special consideration with short handed crews. So we agree on at least the latter point.

That we're sailing yet another "IOR"ish design is again, a function of budget vs boat size for the most part (btw, everybody, Jeff doesn't think much of our current boat either!:p ;) )

But that's cool.... would I rather be sailing some of these other designs mentioned... surely. But we're managing to cruise quite nicely on a smaller investment overall and frankly I do enjoy owning something other than a "Benehuntalina" :)
 

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I don't think it is simple as all that. The IOR rule went through many revisions. The early boats tend to be a little less radical than the mid to late 80s designs. No way you are going to crew a mid 80s Farr 1 ton with a short crew and it was a fractional rig. Remember as designers figured out the nuance of the rule they designed to beat it. IOR bumps where put in there to fool the measurement process. The boat appeared to the rule to be slower than it was. Was it faster than a fair hull, no. Late in the rule boats were designed to go like banshees upwind and downwind because that is what a lot the racing evolved to. IOR racers of that era were reaching pigs because they tended to be beamy for form stability and they slowed down as they heeled on a reach and the water line shortened.

Lots of good production boats of that had an IOR flavor to their design. They weren't competitive with the purpose built boats and faded from the race scene. Sabre 38-1, Sabre 34-II, Tartan 37, C&C 37 etc would fall into this category.

Bottom line is that Jeff is right. A friend of mine tried to convert his Frers 39 to a cruiser. He shortened the keel, added wings and a bulb, retractable sprit. etc. It never worked out the well. The rig was too big and spindly. He needed to keep the runners, no deck lockers, little storage, high loads, expensive sails etc . The list is endless. Bottom line is that you are better finding a cruiser/racer from that era and fixing it up.

For the record I raced on these IOR boats at one time or another: Farr 37, Farr 40 1ton, C&C 3/4ton, Frers 39, Frers 50, C&C 39, J-34, DB-1 and a few others I can't remember. I wouldn't want to cruise any of them today.
 

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Agreed, the spindly "must-have-runners-on-NOW" rigs are not suitable for 'cruising'. Our boat had a fairly robust section with checkstays for bend control, but did not rely on runners for rig integrity.

And I also agree that there are lots better boats for cruising than any old IOR boat. But the fact remains that there are a lot of such boats out there, be they IOR influenced production designs, or some of the better built custom jobs that can provide a lot of boat for the buck.

btw for the purpose of this discussion I'm not thinking 'blue water' cruising, but coastal. I definitely would not have considered cruising our 40 footer off shore - maybe doing a Vic Maui with a good crew, but.....
 

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I would say that among the worst examples
would be the Catalina 38 which was derived
from an early '70s S&S 1 Ton.
Similar to the Cal 39 would be a
North American 40, Islander 40,
C&C 38s, and Beneteau 38F.
I agree with Jeff's points as to why these
boats are somewhat undesirable as cruisers.
The rigs are tall and the boats require large
overlapping genoas. Their hull forms are great
for going to windward, but are slow and squirrely
in breezy reaching and running conditions.
Which is just the the type of sailing I think of
when I think of cruising passages.
 

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Yep, the Catalina 38. It has a particularly nasty design feature. The boat has a lot of tumblehome. The outward bulge in the hull that is wider than the deck. It also has a fine entry. When going to weather in waves, the waves hit the front quarter of the hull and funnel up the tumblehome area to dump straight down on the deck and cockpit. On rough days the crew and helmsmen have the waves come crashing on them from above instead of spray hitting them in the face like a more conventional hull design. Not fun. What were Sparkman & Stephens thinking when they designed that one.
 

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Jeff- Please let me know where you sail so I can stay as far away from there as possible.
Although based out of Annapolis, Maryland, I have mostly sailed the U.S. Atlantic Coast, and Florida Gulf Coast.

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yes, thank you all. In fact (don't tell Jeff) I am thinking about sailing on the west coast. I've been researching boats for a coupla years now and have found some interesting patterns to the price and availability of different kinds of sailboats in different market areas.

But that's another topic. Meanwhile I continue to collect information in order to make a decision on what kind of sailboat to buy in order to cruise the Baja and then maybe head west down the trades. Perhaps I should just focus on the Baja for now as finding a boat that sailis well in the light and flukey and also can run down the trades may not be possible for less than $100k (which is my budget).

A good solid performance cruiser would be a compromise I could probably live with. I still have a bit of time before the theory can become a reality so I will keep looking and please offer any more information that seems relevant.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'd like to add that the original post mentioned "IOR like" boats, by which I meant boats designed in the spirit of the rule. Namely, reasonably safe for cruising but also with good enough performance to make buoy racing fun.

Certainly there were plenty of IOR specific rule-beaters that finished well but were never what the people who wrote the rules had in mind. I've raced on many of these designs on inland waters but would never consider taking one out to sea.

The Wauquiez Pretorien, Islander 36 and Cal 39 are my current favorites. Are there any other boats not yet mentioned that come close to these?
 

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I'm presently drooling over the Scanmar line of boats. IOR era, but intentionally designed to sail well rather than beat rules. The 35 is a semi-center cockpit. Rare, esp on the West Coast. Still a bit expensive. But nicely appointed & rock solid.

Hard to beat a Contessa 35 or 34OOD, too. Probably most of these boats will need additional tankage, and electrical upgrade, and improved ventilation for sailing in hot climates. Good luck in your search & keep us updated.
 
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