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Review please Cal 39

Nov 16, 2018
8
Cal 39 MKIII Mission Bay
Hello everyone this is my first post and just so happens to be my first boat purchase. I just put an offer on a Cal 39 (listing link below) It has been accepted pending a survey. I would really appreciate any input from other Cal 39 owners for things to look out for or suggestions for the surveyor to pay close attention to.
Being so new to the sailing please forgive my post if it seems vague..I really would just like to hear from the forefathers of the legendary Cal 39!
Thanks in advance for your time and posts

https://www.sailboatlistings.com/view/76440
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
2,336
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
The Cal in the listing looks pretty clean. Ask your surveyor what he knows about the Cal 39. He/she should be able to tell you what areas need close inspection as there must be history of this design.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,141
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
A work colleague had one for decades, only sold it cuz he retired and wanted a quicker boat (power) to get to Mexico from Los Angeles. Nice boats. The reality is that there is rarely a reasonable response to this request:
...things to look out for or suggestions for the surveyor to pay close attention to.
It's a boat. It's got the same issues any other boat of this vintage may have.
I understand you're a newbie, but this is an altogether too often and recurring question. You should apply all appropriate visual and non-destructive testing of the boat and its systems to assure yourself that what is being presented as workable actually works.
Good luck, nice boats.
 
Dec 22, 2012
87
Hunter 356 Coral Gables, FL
Cals were generally well built boats. That being said, this one is 36 years old and a lot can happen in that time. You should follow the surveyor around very closely and ask many, many questions. Find a sailboat surveyor that will climb the mast to inspect the rigging; many will but you usually have to ask. Make sure he takes an oil sample. A couple of general comments.
1. Don't know what a Water Rudder is but would like more information since the rudder shaft was replaced as well as outer fiberglass: what happened, any collateral damage, who repaired it and how. This is pretty serious stuff and a rudder could get expensive quick.
2. Has the standing rigging been replaced in 36 years or is it original? The little bit of running rigging in the pics looks OK.
3. A little more information on battery system, how many, what type, last replaced?
4. Is the diesel original, what is low hours on a 36 year old diesel? How do you know? How many?
5. Would guess some one tightened the lock nut on the stuffing box nut and safety wired the coupling to shaft bolts.
It's not whether the purchase price is a good deal or not, it's what you have spend to get it where you wish. And you will spend money, so figure that in your budget, pick wisely and don't fall in love, there are a bunch of used boats out there. Find one that the PO has spent money on wisely.
 
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Likes: Danvrgs
Nov 22, 2011
821
Ericson 26-2 San Pedro, CA
A work colleague had one for decades, only sold it cuz he retired and wanted a quicker boat (power) to get to Mexico from Los Angeles. Nice boats. The reality is that there is rarely a reasonable response to this request:

It's a boat. It's got the same issues any other boat of this vintage may have.
I understand you're a newbie, but this is an altogether too often and recurring question. You should apply all appropriate visual and non-destructive testing of the boat and its systems to assure yourself that what is being presented as workable actually works.
Good luck, nice boats.
Stu is correct in general. However, in this case there is at least one issue that is not typical with most boats of this vintage.

Many if not most of the Lapworth boats of this era--and I believe the Cal 39 is one of them--used a galvanized steel beam to support the mast. This beam is hidden by a fiberglass liner and if you did not know about it you would not even think to look. Over time this beam can rust significantly, seriously compromising the ability to stand up against the compressive forces of the mast. Replacing this beam is not a trivial repair.

A Google search will turn up some hits. Here's one to get you started: http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?480239-Just-bought-a-Cal-39-MKII

Edit: I had the wrong link pasted above. It is now fixed.
 
Last edited:
Nov 16, 2018
8
Cal 39 MKIII Mission Bay
Stu is correct in general. However, in this case there is at least one issue that is not typical with most boats of this vintage.

Many if not most of the Lapworth boats of this era--and I believe the Cal 39 is one of them--used a galvanized steel beam to support the mast. This beam is hidden by a fiberglass liner and if you did not know about it you would not even think to look. Over time this beam can rust significantly, seriously compromising the ability to stand up against the compressive forces of the mast. Replacing this beam is not a trivial repair.

A Google search will turn up some hits. Here's one to get you started: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/pleasure-boats-private-flyers/pleasure-boat-overview/roam
Thanks for the response,
That is an issue I wasn't aware of or wouldn't even think to look at. I'll make sure to have the surveyor inspect this closely.
Really appreciate the note about this. From what I understand the boat just hasn't been used much over the last 20 years.. It was only used a few times a year. At least that is the story I have gotten.
D
 
Nov 16, 2018
8
Cal 39 MKIII Mission Bay
Cals were generally well built boats. That being said, this one is 36 years old and a lot can happen in that time. You should follow the surveyor around very closely and ask many, many questions. Find a sailboat surveyor that will climb the mast to inspect the rigging; many will but you usually have to ask. Make sure he takes an oil sample. A couple of general comments.
1. Don't know what a Water Rudder is but would like more information since the rudder shaft was replaced as well as outer fiberglass: what happened, any collateral damage, who repaired it and how. This is pretty serious stuff and a rudder could get expensive quick.
2. Has the standing rigging been replaced in 36 years or is it original? The little bit of running rigging in the pics looks OK.
3. A little more information on battery system, how many, what type, last replaced?
4. Is the diesel original, what is low hours on a 36 year old diesel? How do you know? How many?
5. Would guess some one tightened the lock nut on the stuffing box nut and safety wired the coupling to shaft bolts.
It's not whether the purchase price is a good deal or not, it's what you have spend to get it where you wish. And you will spend money, so figure that in your budget, pick wisely and don't fall in love, there are a bunch of used boats out there. Find one that the PO has spent money on wisely.
I'm also waiting for some additional information. This boat is in San Diego and I'm in Minnesota. So I haven't been able to personally look over the boat.. we're working on a purchase agreement that allows me to back out if there major issues are reveled in the survey. Will post an update and additional info here as it I receive it.
Thank you for this post. I'm taking notes on anything posted here!
 
Nov 22, 2011
821
Ericson 26-2 San Pedro, CA
Thanks for the response,
That is an issue I wasn't aware of or wouldn't even think to look at. I'll make sure to have the surveyor inspect this closely.
Really appreciate the note about this. From what I understand the boat just hasn't been used much over the last 20 years.. It was only used a few times a year. At least that is the story I have gotten.
D
I originally pasted the wrong link somehow. I've fixed my post to now show the correct link. Here it is: http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?480239-Just-bought-a-Cal-39-MKII
 
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Likes: Danvrgs
Nov 16, 2018
8
Cal 39 MKIII Mission Bay
The boat was mis-listed as having a universal 44hp and a 5'6 draft
reality was pathfinder 44 hp engine and 6'8 ft draft.
owners wife wrote the listing.. At least that was the story I got.. that little mistake could have lost someone thousands if they traveled to look at that boat wanting a shallow draft and fining out it s a foot deeper.
Kind of frustrating
Lowered my offer by a a few thousand and waiting to see if that still gets accepted
 
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Likes: jssailem
Dec 22, 2012
87
Hunter 356 Coral Gables, FL
Wow that website is unkind. Really rethink this whole process over well. Because in the end it's not worth putting 30 grand into an old boat. It won't normally increase the value of the vessel. Better to add that amount to the purchase price and buy a newer boat.
Usually a Purchase and Sale Agreement like most brokers use protect both Buyer and Seller and are always in writing. They are promulgated by the local/national broker associations and allow you to reject the vessel if you don't want it and you don't need a reason. It's not necessary to site any survey or whatever or even go to survey. Governing dates of the P and S are Sellers acceptance of Buyer offer, usually 2 or 3 days. Next is Buyer acceptance of vessel (3 or 4 weeks on a long distance deal) during which he does his due diligence, survey, sea trial, mechanical inspection or whatever he desires; the acceptance must be in writing and usually there are problems found so it is conditional on the Seller either lowering the price or fixing whatever is wrong. You may reject verbally or in writing, and if you say nothing before the deadline it is considered a rejection. Your deposit is held in a broker's escrow account and returned 100% if you reject. If you accept then and only then do you move on to closing and if you don't close your deposit is toast. This is a rough summary you need to check this all out. Good luck.
 
Dec 22, 2012
87
Hunter 356 Coral Gables, FL
One last thought. You are really far away from the boat. That will create a bunch of problems, pre and post purchase. Think about it.
 
Nov 16, 2018
8
Cal 39 MKIII Mission Bay
Thank you everyone, I ended up passing on the boat. All your input has been appreciated. There were just too many weird issues with what they said and what the reality was. I think I'll just work with a broker next time..

Cheers everyone!
 
Oct 22, 2014
12,622
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
I think I'll just work with a broker next time..
Oh dismay not.
Look at many boats. It is going to be winter, and a trip south to inspect a boat would have to be a great diversion Think of it as a mental health adjustment. You may find a broker as well. There are many avenues.
 
Nov 16, 2018
8
Cal 39 MKIII Mission Bay
Oh dismay not.
Look at many boats. It is going to be winter, and a trip south to inspect a boat would have to be a great diversion Think of it as a mental health adjustment. You may find a broker as well. There are many avenues.
Agree, I will be moving to Florida in January and will be much more able to run around and check out boats in person. I know there is a gem out there with my name on her!
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,811
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
What attracted you to this one? What are you looking for in a sailboat? Help us help you spend your money :)