Seems everyone has an opinion about boats designs and their strengths and weaknesses. As anyone who has been sailing for even a short period of time realizes, the ideal boat does not exist. Owners usually develop a soft spot for the boats that have given them pleasure and fond memories over the years. We can try to systematize the merits of a boats design through the use of engineering design metrics, but even these do not capture the overall experience each design offers.
I've had the good fortune to sail and crew on a large variety of sailboats over the past 50 years. The boats covered the gamut from dingy, to one design, to large, sleek (and expensive) one-off ocean racers. I also happen to own a very well maintained 1982 Cal
39 MRK III. Is the Cal
the most comfortable boat I've sailed? No. Is the Cal the fastest and best overall sailor I've been on? No. Is the Cal the best constructed boat I've experienced? No. But, it is still one of the best all around boats, given my requirements and finances, that I've had the pleasure to own.
My wife and I (the kids
are all grown now) do most of our sailing off southern California
. We spent a year living aboard
sailing the Sea of Cortez
and the west coast
. We're comfortable double handling the boat and find it manageable and quite comfortable for the two of us. Even when we had another couple aboard for a week of cruising in the Sea of Cortez
, we never felt cramped or over crowded. The boat performs well in light air (which is more common than not in the lower latitudes) and behaved itself well bashing to weather
from Cabo to San Diego
in winds up to 30 knots with sloppy, cresting seas. Would a Nordhaven 65 performed better in the trip back up the coast? Absolutely. But we still love our Cal 39 and plan to take it back to Mexico