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Bob Centers Cal 30 Boat Review

posted Nov 4, 2012, 7:17 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Mar 23, 2016, 10:00 AM by AUGUSTA SAILINGCLUB ]
Please see the down load below for the full article with photos. This article was published in the Southwinds News & Views for Southern Sailors, October edition. It is a great article.

First of all I need to come clean. I'm not the type who will
throw off the dock lines and then come back in a year or
two-at least, not yet! I'm not a racer-and not really a
true sailor, I suppose, but I do love the sound of the wind,
the waves hitting the hull and the gentle rock of the boat at
anchor. Sometimes, at night, we'll simply go up on deck, sit
and stare at the moon, the stars and the reflection on the
water-and again feel pleased with the purchase of our Cal.
Her original name was Circle and she was first purchased
to sail on Lake Michigan. She ended up down south where
the second Owner gave her to a close friend who spent the
better part of two years restoring her. We finished the deck
painting just before Thanksgiving of 2010. We changed her
color from an old light blue to basic white--much cooler,
which is important here in the South. The bottom Was completely
redone, along with a new head, rigging, custom
spreaders, hand/grab rails-the list goes on and on.
I had owned two sailboats previously-both Macgregor
26 trailer-sailors. We kept both docked and have always
enjoyed our 1,200 square mile freshwater lake that borders
Georgia and South Carolina.
The original Cal 30 was launched in 1964. The designer
was Bill Lapworth, who came to the general public's eye as
designer of the 23-foot Dove, the boat that Robin Lee
Graham took around the world at age 16, back in the '60s.
The Cal 30 was originally marketed as a "low maintenance
racer and family cruiser." We have hull #112 and try to
spend as many weekends as we can on her.
The Admiral (my wife of 30 years, Margaret) had a discussion
with me, and we determined that it was time to look
at something "bigger, but not too time-consuming." We
went shopping and quickly found we did not have the
knowledge to determine what boats were Iow on mainte-
nance but also in good shape.
After a lengthy time spent at the computer researching
boats and locating boats for sale in the Southeast, I was told
by a friend that I may want to consider a boat right at Our
own sailing club. When I learned it was a 43-year-old vessel,
I wasn't very interested, until I went online and read
reviews and found it was at least worth a look-actually
worth more than a look.
Stepping on board for the first time was like nothing I
was accustomed to. The boat did not roll anywhere near as
much as the Macgregors; the lines were "old school." The
cockpit was enormous, and the headroom down below was
spacious. Running water was an added plus; the ice box was
a treat indeed, as was the single burner alcohol stove. Other
step-ups included the largest V-berth on a 3O-footer I had
seen, a dedicated table and wraparound settee, ample hardwired
lights, and an anchor locker-amenilies that we never
had experienced with our previous boats.
Negatives? Well, sure, trying to stop a boat that weighs
more than our other two boats combined-including their
trailer.;--was, I admit, a bit different. The best advice was
given to me by an older gentleman who owns a similar Cal
when he stated, "Try going to neutral about a half mile from
your slip. You'll still crash into the dock, but you probably
won't break anything." Thankfully, so far, we've not put a
scratch on her, or us, but it will eventually happen. The major
learning there: No need to ever "jump off" at the dock! It's
been a challenge learning the "Systems"--electrical, plumbing.
and such. More amenities means more stuff to learn.
The 4.3-year-old Universal Atomic 4 runs like a champion.
At first blush, I thought that a gasoline inboard was a
recipe for disaster, but running the blower for several minutes
while we load up folks, gear and such is now second
News &: Views for Southern Sailors
nature. I always sniff the bilge when first boarding. just
prior to turning the blower on. The bottom line is that she
runs like a sewing machine and sips fuel. At my best guess,
she burns just over half a gallon per hour at about half throttle.
She's so "old school" that you measure both your fuel
level and water level with dipsticks, just under the port side
settee cushion.
Anchoring was just as simple as our earlier boats. She
lays to the wind (no real current on our lake), and the anchor
locker is a treat indeed; no more hauling around the anchor
rode in a bucket, and the 200-foot rode with 15 feet of chain
is more than adequate where we gunkhole. The previous
owner was kind enough to have colorful tape marking the
rode in 2(}-foot increments-another unexpected treat! Th,,-
deck light, placed about two-thirds up the mast, lights up
the deck for working at night-€Specially helpful during
anchoring time. The anchor light is another nice safety feature
that doesn't seem to drain much from the two series-24
batteries that she has.
Coming down the companionway steps, you have the
galley to starboard, settee and table to port, then through a
door with the toilet on the starboard side and a sink and
drawers to port with the hanging locker directly behind
them. We have just added running water to the sink forward.
There are plenty of nice lights for nighttime, as well as
two great reading lamps forward in the V-berth. Just under
the deck in the V-berth is storage for the V-berth extension
and the companionway door. Two nice shelves running
along the sides of the V-berth make for wonderful extra storage
and a great place to hang a couple of small hammocks.
Overall, she has ample storage for a long weekend and adequate
storage for a month-long cruise. The two quarter
berths make for additional storage and have come in handy to charge the laptop.
Our Cal has the tall-rig, which is perfect for our light-air
lake. She has a Hood Seafurl roller furler, a 155 Radial cut
genny, an extra jib or two and a spinnaker with pole. There
is a baby stay that was added, and when we have 10-12
knots of wind, she'll easily go over five knots with two fingers
on the tiller. She is a fast boat and easy to handle. Lines
are not led aft, and we are okay with it, as we like to have
the deck as clear as possible when we anchor out and enjoy
simply being "out there."
We've not added a whole lot, but did bring our ship's
bell from our old boat and a new copy of This Old Boat,
which comes in handy. The previous owner added or
replaced so many things that there is just simply not a lot
left to do, since he added a new Bimini a couple of years
ago, a new stainless steel prop shaft with a PSS shaft seal, a
new head, hoses and macerator, epoxy barrier bottom with
vc17m paint, a custom stainless compression post, and the
interior. painted and varnished. The Admiral especially
enjoys the custom awning running from the mast to the
backstay, perfect for our brutal Georgia summers.
The engine is a bit of work to change the oil, check the
oil and to even switch from one battery to another. We'll be
adding a RPM and temperature gauges Soon.We talk sometimes
of what to do when the time comes to replace the
engine; whether to consider another A4, a diesel-or even a
simple outboard. We may simply decide to rebuild-lots of
options here for sure.
We are cruisers, simple cruisers indeed. We'll load up
the icebox with some steaks or chops, some type of salad,
our usual nectarines, for me a couple of Mountain Dews and
a nice merlot for the Admiral, a few books for the weekend
and that's about it. We'U sail a few miles to some favorite
anchoring places, swim in the moonlight, relax to some
four-part harmony with the Beach Boys and wonder what
all the stressed-out folks are doing. We should fish more
than we do, should raft up more often, learn more about the
stars and clouds, go ashore to explore more-but those are
always things we can do "next weekend."
. We love having our daughter and friends sail with us.
We still get a kick out of taking people out and hear them
Comment about how "silent" sailing is. Just recently we had
the interior cushions redone, have added curtains and are
considering other upgrades.
She's a lot more boat than we are used to; harder to
stop, but easier to sail, definitely nicer "down below room,"
and we are fast becoming more comfortable with her systems
and such. Would I recommend a Cal to someone looking
for a boat? Without question. Her old lines are classic;
she points well and appears to be low maintenance as compared
with other 3O-footers that were built "back in the
day." We look forward to the weekends; she's 19 minutes (if
I drive fast) from my office and 32 minutes from our home.
We park next to the ice machine, and there she is, the second
boat, left side of our dock. We load her up fast, cast off the
eight lines and head out. For us it's been a great decision,
and we look forward to years of the old same 01' same 01'.
Mar 23, 2016, 10:00 AM