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Old 18-03-2016, 09:02   #16
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Re: Cal 39 vs 40

A quick google search found the story of Dave and Jaja:
A Cal 25 World Cruiser

I think they also have a book about it too (who doesn't these days?).

Good luck with your boat search. As you work to save up the $ needed to buy your dream boat, perhaps my words will have more meaning.

My experience, I look for a boat that is 1)close enough to buy, and 2) cheap enough that I can afford. I get little choice in the particular make or model. In this way, I say that "the boat chooses me", not the other way round....LOL.

If I did have enough $ to get whatever I wanted...I would have a very hard time figuring out what to buy.
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Old 18-03-2016, 12:00   #17
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Re: Cal 39 vs 40

I used to sail on a Cal 34 when I was a kid. I loved that boat.
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Old 18-03-2016, 12:16   #18
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Re: Cal 39 vs 40

I owned a 1988 Cal-39 for 2 years (was my first boat) and prior to that spend a season sailing on older Cal-33s in a club. In my mind limited yourself to only Cals just because you have been on one is crazy.
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Old 18-03-2016, 12:33   #19
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Re: Cal 39 vs 40

You are aware that in addition to th 3 C39 models that the two boats are (in some cases) drastically different.

Although there's a younger young lady cruising a C40 these days, writeups & letters in Latitude 38.

Happy Hunting, good luck.
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Old 18-03-2016, 15:40   #20
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Re: Cal 39 vs 40

Re DAve and Jaja;

We met them in NEw Zealand in 1991 or thereabouts... great people, great stories! But, don't kid yourself bout sailing a Cal 25 RTW as is. As Dave told it, he beefed it up a bit before departure, but by the time he got to the UK it was falling apart in a frightening manner. A MAJOR refit and strengthening program ensued, and that cured most of the issues. It was during that period that he met Jaja, and became a double hander... followed by babies and all that stuff!

And also remember that these were pretty stalwart folks. folks who later built a steel 34 foot (luxury yacht!!) steel boat and spent at least one winter frozen in somewhere in the Artic... deliberately! Definitely not weekend sailors...

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Old 18-03-2016, 17:31   #21
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Re: Cal 39 vs 40

Cal 40 from the early 70's was the first boat I raced. Fine boat, fast and great to weather. I would sail it blue-water. Here is a link to episode ONE to a Cal40 restoration.
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Old 18-03-2016, 17:34   #22
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Re: Cal 39 vs 40

The Cal 40s did some impressive sailing from California to Hawaii in races, too.
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Old 19-03-2016, 05:44   #23
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Re: Cal 39 vs 40

Some comparisons & thoughts, in no particular order:

~ There’s a LOT of information, & Resources on the 40’s on their class website, & there’s a big racing fleet for them (One Design) on SF Bay. http://cal40.com/


~ You can find a lot of info on 40’s via Swell Voyage & there’s also plenty about her (Liz Clark), her 40, & the Voyage, on; Facebook, & Instagram. Plus articles in Latitude 38, & several different surfing magazines. Ditto on her having several videos on YouTube & Vimeo


~ Cal 40’s are a LOT smaller inside than the 39’s. With microscopic galleys & nav stations. Though they have big cockpits. But with their reduced interior volume, you have a lot less space for stores, spares, & toys. So that a 39' is better for cruising.


Much of this is detailed on/can be seen via Liz Clark’s boat, & the mod’s which she did to hers.

Also, some would perhaps correctly say, that a Cal 34' has more interior room than the 40's. And yet the 34' still has a great cockpit.

~ The 39’ MK I’s are much smaller (and lighter) than the later versions, as well as being narrower. With the attendant, relative lack of space inside.


~ The later generation 39’s have only as much sail area as the MK I’s, while being a lot heavier


~ Some of the MK III’s have a totally enclosed aft cabin, which, IMO, makes the boat seem a lot smaller inside. Particularly as, for a boat of their length, they’re not big to begin with.


~ Some of the MK II's, & III's were put into charter fleets, & thus saw a bit more use & abuse.

~ All of the boats rate pretty much the same, under PHRF. But levels of tune, & sail inventories vary Hugely. So buy one with the best gear you can find. Ditto one having received the most TLC.


~ The 40’s, & some of the 39’s have a steel beam for the mast step. That's encased in the boat's structural fiberglass pan. It's prone to rusting, being that it’s made of galvanized steel.
In some boats the beam has been replaced with a stainless one. Other’s haven’t yet, or don’t require it.
Regardless, it bears inspecting. With some boats having screw in type inspection ports, for this. While with others, you’ll need to use a borescope.


Should the beam need replacing, you pretty much have to disassemble (destroy) the entire internal fiberglass structure inside of the boat in order to do this. Along with all of the furniture, & bulkheas as well.
Here’s the “Fix” Wilkie's Sailboat Page And I’ve seen a few videos of it on YouTube from time to time as well.


~ Many of the 40’s sport new (class legal) rudders, designed by Carl Schumaker. They’re of the spade type.


~ The rudder on the 39’ MK I is of the partial skeg type.


~ The rudder on the later 39’s are spades.


~ Rudder problems with the 39' are a semi-regular issue. So inspect them well/plan on doing a rubuild if going offshore.

~ The hull to deck joint on the 40’, & some of the early 39’s is/are crap. And leak a lot. Some have been re-glassed, which fixes the problem. While others haven’t.

Liz Clark had to do hers, & describes it somewhat. As do some other owners. Including in the Cal 40 video series.
Here’s the “Fix” (more or less) Wilkie's Sailboat Page


~ Fiscally, if you’re buying a 40’, you’re Much better off to buy one which has already had the full “40yr” refit done. Meaning; glassing the hull to deck joint, re-taping the bulkheads, having had the keel templated & faired, the new rudder fitted, new paint, etc., etc.
As buying a “cheap” one, & then doing all of this work yourself, will cost you 2x-3x of what a tuned up, shined up one will cost.


~ All of the boats are a bit shy on sail area when it’s really light. But that’s common to boats designed during this era. So taller masts help, & some 39’s came from the factory that way.


~ THIS is why folks enjoy the 40’s/they have a fun reputation https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=794377693830



PS: Ranger's were built by the same company as Cal's, Bangor Punta. And tend to be good quality boats, which sail very well.
Also, there are other models of Cal's worth considering too, besides the 39' & 40'.

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Old 19-08-2016, 11:25   #24
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Re: Cal 39 vs 40

I have a Lapworth design, 1984 Cal 39, Mark III, deep keel, and have sailed a few pretty stout ocean storms and feel blessed I picked the vessel I have. She points well in the stiffest of wind, takes a licking and keeps on ticking, in a speedy way. The Universal 50 purrs, and has yet to let me down after long stretches...needless to say, I love her....


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Old 19-08-2016, 12:12   #25
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Re: Cal 39 vs 40

Have you rebuilt the rudder on her yet? I ask as that to some degree, the 39's have had rudder self-destruction issues. So if you've upgraded it, I'd be curious to see how the internal structure in one is put together. As well as what materials were used, & how, for the framework.
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Old 19-08-2016, 12:57   #26
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Re: Cal 39 vs 40

The 40 is a pretty darn famous boat, after it boat designs were never going to be the same. I have a friend who used to have one he sailed around engineless. My only complaint would be that flat hull going upwind, but as long as I don't have to sleep up there it's ok.
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Old 19-08-2016, 13:05   #27
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Re: Cal 39 vs 40

The 40 is a pretty darn famous boat, after it boat designs were never going to be the same. I have a friend who used to have one he sailed around engineless. My only complaint would be that flat hull going upwind, but as long as I don't have to sleep up there it's ok.
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