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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello sailors,

I am about to buy an old sailing boat here in California and I have done extensive research on several used boats for sale that would fit my budget and my needs ending up selecting these three. I am from Europe so we usually have completely different boats over there and I have never sailed any of these boats before but I have been on a Ranger 28 and on a Newport 30. I will probably sail mostly on week-ends short distances to Catalina, channel islands and other close coastal destinations.

The Newport is from 84, the Ranger is from 75 and the Cal is from 69. They are all in pretty good conditions. Engines are diesel. Cal has an atomic 4 (needs work). Ranger has a Yanmar 1MG10 (woks but has a few leaks). The Newport a Universal Inboard Universal Diesel 5411. The Cal is the one that needs most work being the oldest... sails and engine work is needed, while the Newport and the Ranger are ready to sail. The Newport is in good condition. The Ranger has bad interior and the hull needs to be repainted, maybe also the main sail should go. I personally love the look of the Ranger though even if I know some people will disagree. I also feel it's a very good classic racer. They all fit my budget with the Cal and the Ranger being cheaper than the Newport.

I would like to hear your opinion on which one sails the best in most weather conditions. Which one is the best built and also safest in a possible longer trip. Ideally I would like to go as far as Baja California and San Francisco. Pretty much which one you would go for if you were me. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts about these boats as I am not sure which one I should go for. Obviously the Newport seems to be the one that would give me less problems but I am not in love with the look and style of the boat. Thank you for your advice. Cheers
 

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The Ranger 28 is a handsome boat, esp if you like the 'tumblehome' look, Mull did a great job on that. But she's a bit twitchy in a breeze, esp downwind, like so many early 70s IOR influenced designs. The mainsail is extreme high aspect and doesn't do much for the boat, and the headsails are oversized for the same reason.

Of your list, I'd probably go for the Newport, since it's a decade newer and has the fewest issues by the sound of it.
 

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I would like to hear your opinion on which one sails the best in most weather conditions. Which one is the best built and also safest in a possible longer trip. Ideally I would like to go as far as Baja California and San Francisco. Pretty much which one you would go for if you were me.
For what you wish to do, the Cal 30 mkII, hands down all things being equal. The Newport 27 is a quick boat, but not built well enough for extended cruising. Also, the Newports have bolt-on keels, where the Cal has encapsulated ballast, so you never have to worry about your keel bolts rusting out (a common problem on older Newports). I also don't think I have ever seen a Newport that didn't leak at the hull/deck joint. Rangers were better built, and more in line with the Cals (same manufacturer), but as was pointed out earlier - IOR tumblehome design is not what I would care for sailing downwind or in strong breezes.

As you stated, though, all things are not equal and it sounds like the Cal needs some work. You might wish to expand your search. In California, you will also find Cal 29 and Ericson 29 at any given moment - they are both well built, good 30' designs that I would take coastal cruising. Try to get the best condition one you can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys, I was going for the Cal 30 but my friends from the sailing club thought it needed too much repairs to sail again. Any other boat under 30/33ft that you would recommend worth looking at? I am not willing to spend a fortune. This is just a boat I would keep for a couple of years to then eventually upgrade to a more powerful bigger boat.
 

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The Ranger 29 is a much better-mannered boat than the 28, and a better cruising boat. As Lazer said, an Ericson 27 or 29 would fit the bill too, and there should be plenty of those around your area, they have a good reputation.

Some examples 'locally'

(Sail) Cruiser Boats For Sale
 
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Looked at one Ranger 28 in SoCal but it had major soft deck issues and leaks. The one listed at $2900 looks too good to be true. Nice boat though. IOR boats have problems when over canvassed, if you don't sail them like a stupid racer, they are fine. The Newport 28 is an improved version of the 27, same hull different deck, etc that I'd look for if you like the Newports. The owner of the one for sale in Dana Point is a nut. Might have bought it but he wouldn't show it and was a total jerk on the phone. The Cal 30 is a solid boat but if if that one needs a lot of work, they better pay you to buy it as repairs would probably exceed value of boat. Agree on the Ranger 29 but the only one recently for sale was a bit of a mess. Cheap but too much work for me to get it back in shape so passed.

I've been looking for a similar sized boat and had to go to SF to find one with good equipment and not needing a ton of work. If you want to go that far afield, believe there is a Yankee 30 there that sounded interesting. Good S&S design and well built boats that have done a lot of ocean miles. yankee3 mk 3 sailboat S&S design, rebuilt diesel
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The Cal 30 I saw is in my marina and it looks okay. It's a 50 years old boat so of course it has issues and needs work. The Newport I saw it today and it was a disaster. The bilge pump didn't work, it was rusty and the hull is probably rotting. I can't believe they try to sell these boats advertising them as good. The Ranger has also issues but out of three is probably the best one and can already sail. The keel is rusty and there is signs of corrosion. There is electrolytes on the propeller which will probably have to be replaced. The bottom definitely needs a paint job, the main sail must be replaced and the interiors are bad which is not a big deal. I wonder if a good bottom paint job will be able to get rid of the rust and how much it would cost to do that here in LA.
 

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The keel is rusty and there is signs of corrosion..
I assume you mean the keel bolts? The keel should be lead on those. If the bolts are rusty proceed with caution.
Cals and Ericsons have internal ballast, and will never have keel bolt issues, FWIW.

These are nice little boats that go around the world all the time: https://losangeles.craigslist.org/lgb/boa/5967018421.html

Here's a nice little 30 that seems to be well taken care of: https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/boa/5971016314.html
 

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If the keel is iron, have it sandblasted, if that's legal, and coat with black tar epoxy paint and you should be good to go with new bottom paint. If you are talking keel bolts then it's probably drop the keel time to inspect the keel bolts. Not an outrageous expense but will probably eat up a couple of boat units.

The Cal 30 I saw is in my marina and it looks okay. It's a 50 years old boat so of course it has issues and needs work. The Newport I saw it today and it was a disaster. The bilge pump didn't work, it was rusty and the hull is probably rotting. I can't believe they try to sell these boats advertising them as good. The Ranger has also issues but out of three is probably the best one and can already sail. The keel is rusty and there is signs of corrosion. There is electrolytes on the propeller which will probably have to be replaced. The bottom definitely needs a paint job, the main sail must be replaced and the interiors are bad which is not a big deal. I wonder if a good bottom paint job will be able to get rid of the rust and how much it would cost to do that here in LA.
 

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One thing that would concern me about all three boats is that the engines are old and probably raw water cooled. If they need replacement or major rebuild, the cost could be as much or more than what you pay for the boat.
 

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Sounds like none are real keepers - I don' know the boat market in CA but here in Florida I would tell you to keep looking - used boats are a dime a dozen and will frequently pop up for sale - personally in your size I would look for a Cal 29 - very good sailor, well built - usually fairly cheap. Why buy a fixer upper when with a little patience you can have one ready to go - don't get to anxious to buy something - you will end up overpaying.
 
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