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Full Bilge

Jun 17, 2020
12
CAL 27 Harbor North on Lake Erie
Hello everyone. New to this forum but not new to forums in general. Looks like a great depository of resources for Cal owners!
With that being said I have been looking for a project boat. What I mean by that, is work on the boat at my shop for as long as it takes to get her in shape.

I found a 1983 Cal27 that is in good shape. She has been on the hard for 4 years and there were two deteriorated tarps around the mast. When the broker opened the companionway board he exclaimed, "Shoot it is full of water" . When I looked over his shoulder I saw the cabin floor had about 3 inches of water in it.

Water in the bilge should not be an issue. The boat surprisingly did NOT smell foul. We could see where the chainplate through deck areas were leaking. I did not see any water damage at the deck step.

So... My questions are: Do the stringers that are under water have pass through drains holes at the hull level? If so did the manufacturer seal them or just run some holes through exposing the ply stringer to water intrusion?

Next: How is the keel constructed? Does it have bolts? There looks to be a seam half way down the keel on the outside.

The bilge pump worked but since the boat was sitting nose low, the intake was uncovered and we did not get all the water out.

I am not afraid of doing any of the work needed. I just dont want to get this boat then have to part it out because of damage that is not repairable.

Any info on the above question would be great
Cheers Bert

2020-06-17 10.34.41.jpg
 
Last edited:
Jun 17, 2020
12
CAL 27 Harbor North on Lake Erie
As a general concern to any boat stored where winter is freezing and full of water, the damage by ice can be pervasive.
Agreed Don! It is a shame the owner did not check on the boat. The broker and I discussed areas where popping do to freeze thaw would be an issue. He unfortunately was not familiar with the keel construction which is why I reached out to the forum.
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,811
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
At least it is rain water and not salt water. I'd be concerned about invisible freeze/thaw damage too. Did you buy it already?
a Cal owner will respond to the keel question I'm sure.
 
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Jun 17, 2020
12
CAL 27 Harbor North on Lake Erie
Not "good shape."
Agreed jviss! But your reply is simply telling me to walk away. I made it clear I was willing to work on a project boat. That means fixing the issues that caused the water intrusion.

My questions are still are unanswered.

We had unprecedented rainfall in the area. My fields and driveway flooded which has never happened in the 15 years here in North Central Ohio. I am taking that into consideration when looking at the water intrusion that could be less than a month old... therefore no freeze thaw.

Cheers Bert
 
Jun 17, 2020
12
CAL 27 Harbor North on Lake Erie
At least it is rain water and not salt water. I'd be concerned about invisible freeze/thaw damage too. Did you buy it already?
a Cal owner will respond to the keel question I'm sure.
No I did not.

I replied to jviss we had serious rainfall 4 weeks ago. Unprecedented flooding!

One thing to note. I could get this boat for less than the Yanmar that is inside. Trust me i am not looking for a cheap boat to plop in the water and sail. I am looking for a restoration project. If it is totaled I am moving on!

Cheers Bert
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,581
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
I would be concerned about the water having frozen, and also if it's soaked into structural wood components, like bulkheads and beams.

If there's no rot and no freezing damage I imagine it could be dried out.
 
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Jun 17, 2020
12
CAL 27 Harbor North on Lake Erie
I would be concerned about the water having frozen, and also if it's soaked into structural wood components, like bulkheads and beams.

If there's no rot and no freezing damage I imagine it could be dried out.
jviss, If I can get this boat for less than the Yanmar, it will be hauled out the my shop where it will go through complete overhaul. I am well aware of the perrals used boat buying. I can not find any info on Cal Boat construction and would rather not haul it out to the shop to part it out if she turns out to be totaled.

When I went through the cabin I only saw the glaring signs of water intrusion through the chain plates. In fact when looking on this forum I see the same exact signs of water intrusion on owners boats in thier gallery photos and they are actively sailing them.

So to get back on track, I am worried about stringer damage and keel mount damage. I know it is not an iron keel and there were no signs of bulging due to rust. I saw no signs of bulkhead damage at first glance.

Any Cal owners out there?

She is worth putting on the water again!

Cheers Bert
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,581
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
The Cal 27 Boat Review

This is a good review, with construction details and things to look out for. Notably, cored decks, so water intrusion could be an issue, and water damage to plywood bulkheads could lead to rigging failure.
 
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Jul 7, 2004
6,811
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
Practical Sailor has a review also if you have access.

 
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Jun 17, 2020
12
CAL 27 Harbor North on Lake Erie
The Cal 27 Boat Review

This is a good review, with construction details and things to look out for. Notably, cored decks, so water intrusion could be an issue, and water damage to plywood bulkheads could lead to rigging failure.
jviss thanks, I have read that review. It had no mention of stringers or keel. In fact I have exhausted any readily available online resource for info. I have price lists, Owners manuals, Brochures, winch manuals, roller furling manual, Yanmar service manual and electrical schematic.

I can not find any factory construction info on stringers or keel. I am hoping to find an owner, that has had to dig into their boat and can answer those questions.

Cheers Bert
 
Jun 17, 2020
12
CAL 27 Harbor North on Lake Erie
Practical Sailor has a review also if you have access.

Justin, thanks so much. I have read that as well. It is the main reason I looked at a Cal 27! I also saw in that article the keel has lead and not steel.

I do not think water in the bilge could harm the keel, except for the freeze thaw previously mentioned.

I really appreciate everyones constructive posts!

Cheers Bert
 
Oct 22, 2014
12,619
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Hi Bert. Welcome. Throwing a big one at us right off the batch. Interesting style.

Here is a link that may offer some help. Cal Sailboats

Water had to get in some way. I am not familiar with the 27 design construction. You may find a link some where that has some brochure drawings. I am familiar with the "brown tea looking water"I had a leak in my hand holds on the deck. First sign was a brown drip stain on the side of the hull. Water seeped beneath the hand hold. Down the thru bolt and left it's trail. I am sure there was some moisture intrusion in to the plywood used to sandwich the deck. In the 70s when my boat was built plywood not balsa was used. I suspect the Cal you are looking at was similar. I'd be checking the deck for moisture and softness. It may not be too extensive. It would possibly explain the colored water.

It would take a core examination or a moisture meter to give you any hints about water in the stringers or the deck. Getting the water out would be the first step so you could begin the survey to examine the boat. A core sample of the stringer would tell volumes and I would think is indicated in this situation. I suspect the stringer is a molded fiberglass It is on my boat. But my boat is older an different design.

Likely the plywood bulkheads are water damaged. Plywoodmay be ok when it drys. It is a case by case basis in my experience. Depends on the glues and the length of time. Ice forming in the wet core can make it worse.

Sure looks like a "Project boat". Maybe more of a project than you envisioned.

Pay for the engine, boat is free and clear. Open it up if hull no good then strip and dump. Or keep looking. There are many boats out there this time of year.
 
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Jun 17, 2020
12
CAL 27 Harbor North on Lake Erie
Hi Bert. Welcome. Throwing a big one at us right off the batch. Interesting style.

Here is a link that may offer some help. Cal Sailboats

Water had to get in some way. I am not familiar with the 27 design construction. You may find a link some where ...
John thanks so much! I already visited that site and downloaded all the manuals available prior to looking at this boat. I have not reached out to the Facebook group that is linked on that site.

I know what I am asking is kind of abnormal. What you may not understand is that restoring things, Cars Boats, Aircraft... is my passion. So... where one person would runaway because they don't want to spend the time or money, I embrace the challenge.

The deck is in fantastic shape. No soft spots while walking every square inch. Sure I will check the core (plywood not balsa) around all the through deck fittings. Gouge out any rot and back fill with epoxy and cabosil. This kind of work is not a problem for me.

As I mentioned in my original post the stringers are my main concern.
Replacing stringers may be a problem, not sure. I have never done it.

If I decide to bring this boat home, it will be in a dry heated shop where it will be completely dismantled.

The only money I am concerned about spending is the money spent on transporting this boat to my place only to find I need to part it out and pay more money for disposal. So I am just trying to get info from owners that know what the boat is like below the cabin floor.

If she is not totaled, then to me she is worth rebuilding and saving her from the boneyard. That is all I am trying conclude. Thanks again for your constructive post.

Rest assured, if I buy this "Project" there will be a thread on the whole process here in the Cal owners forum!

Cheers Bert
 
Oct 22, 2014
12,619
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Thanks Bert.
I am sitting on my boat pondering my las trip of coffee and preparing for todays project... I've scheduled a haul out to replace a couple of thru hulls for next week. Inside I look around and there are so many things to do. I often remind myself, you can eat an elephant if you do it one bite at a time.

Last night was the first night in 3 months that I could sleep on the boat. It has been too long, those 3 months of house lockdown. Feels doo to be on the water. Now I just need to finish the chores...

It would be emotionally nice if you can refit her. It is sometimes a difficult decision. She needs to have good bones. Most Cal's are considered stoutly built boats able to sail in the Pacific Ocean. The older boats were hand laid. Lapworth Designed. You might check with of the CAL 27's she is.

I suspect she is a Cal 3-27
Notes
The CAL 3-27 is also advertised as the CAL 27 MKIII and then renamed the CAL 27 before being discontinued in 1985.
Shoal draft: 4.0'
Tall Rig:
I: 34.5'
J: 11.0'
P: 29.5'
E: 11.0'


Good luck with your project.
 
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Jun 17, 2020
12
CAL 27 Harbor North on Lake Erie
Thanks Bert.
I am sitting on my boat pondering my las trip of coffee and preparing for todays project... I've scheduled a haul out to replace a couple of thru hulls for next week. Inside I look around and there are so many things to do. I often remind myself, you can eat an elephant if you do it one bite at a time.
...
Good luck with your project.
John, I envy you and your ability to live aboard! My ultimate goal but not on this boat.

You are correct.. She is a 1983 Mk III, Cal 27 or as you mentioned 3-27. I have found all of those nomenclatures throughout my research. It is because of her stout construction that I feel she is a worthy candidate!

Good luck on your projects... If you find time to grab camera/phone takes some pictures of the stringers or bulkheads attached to the solid laminate floor!

Cheers Bert