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Old 28-11-2012, 14:35   #1
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New to me Cal 34 MK III

Well after years of looking for a boat I have purchased a CAL 34. This is my first boat and I went to the yard looking at a LaFitte 44, never thought I would end up with this little CAL. I have read through all the short comings and opinions on these boats, there seem to be many happy owners out there but others who are concerned how it can be possible to get a boat of this size, in good condition for such a low cost. I was hesitant as well, but my boat is solid, no leaks, no rusted hull beam as seen on some, solid bulk heads, polished chainplates rebuilt engine, decent rigging and sails, having all been replaced in the last ten years, matching dodger, Bimini and rail covers, custom teak rub rail (never seen another cal 34 with one), everything practically turn key for coastal cruising.

Could use some cosmetics and newer electronics, but when I am all said and done I will have a very capable boat for less than 30k, a little over a 1/3 of what I was planning to spend.

I am a DIYer and that is one of the things that attracted me to this boat. I always buy distressed items and repair as a way of saving money, and not loosing when its time to sell. just being new to sailing I was not sure where the limits of my fix-er-upper abilities would be. This little boat gives me all the canvas needed to experiment and not having to stress too much about financial issues.


So now I am getting into the fun of playing with this CAL. I woudl love to see more details on these hence I started my own thread

Mine has already been customized a good deal, an extra counter was added to the galley making it U shaped and the port table is now fixed in place with an L shaped dinette. Really makes the salon more usable than the pics I have seen of the standard configuration. Now I am just working through refinishing all the exterior teak and interior mahogany, as well as laying a sole instead of just the plain fiberglass one currently. Nu-teak is looking like a good solution there. I am going to pull all of the ports and hatches, bead blast them and possibly power coat or polish, ( I think they are aluminum ) ... All my cushions have been redone and match the canvas but I may cover them again with something less plain than a sold color. Got a canvas shop adding a full enclosure to the Bimini so I will be ready for some winter sailing. All and all I am very excited,

What say you other Cal owners or those who are not afraid to do restore work themselves ? Seems I am following the path of a few in marina who have continually, restored, resold and upgraded, buying more expensive boats as the confidence in repair ability and knowing what to look for increases.
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Old 29-11-2012, 19:04   #2
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

Damn, I must have rambled too much.

No CAL owners at all ?
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Old 29-11-2012, 20:03   #3
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

I've got a Cal 34 and I think it is the perfect boat. Teak rub rail? Sounds nice, I'm thinking of making a pine tree garland one with lights for the holidays.
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Old 29-11-2012, 21:24   #4
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

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Originally Posted by sunblock View Post
What say you other Cal owners or those who are not afraid to do restore work themselves ?
Hi. (Actually I am just a Cal owner wannabe.)
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Old 29-11-2012, 21:46   #5
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

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Seems I am following the path of a few in marina who have continually, restored, resold and upgraded, buying more expensive boats as the confidence in repair ability and knowing what to look for increases.
Congrats on the new boat!

The Cal 34 is a great boat! However, two things in your post concern me.

First, you seem mostly to be concerned with interior cosmetics such as galley layout, upholstry, et cetera. That's the wrong place to start. Begin, rather, with whatever is needed to bring the boat up to full sailing functionality. The more you can sail her, the more you will appreciate her regardless of how worn the cushions seem to be. Don't start with the galley--start with the rig. And the drive train.

Second, the idea of restoring a boat just to flip it and buy a more expensive boat is ALWAYS a losing proposition. This is true no matter what the folks in your marina are telling you. Indeed, this is true no matter what folks on this forum might tell you. From a purely economic standpoint, owning a boat, any boat, is always a loser. A boat is a hole in the water into which you will pour money. This is a rule, and your new treasure will not be an exception to this rule.

Again, congrats on the new boat.
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Old 30-11-2012, 09:09   #6
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

CAL 34 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
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Old 30-11-2012, 18:58   #7
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Congrats on the new boat!

The Cal 34 is a great boat! However, two things in your post concern me.

First, you seem mostly to be concerned with interior cosmetics such as galley layout, upholstry, et cetera. That's the wrong place to start. Begin, rather, with whatever is needed to bring the boat up to full sailing functionality. The more you can sail her, the more you will appreciate her regardless of how worn the cushions seem to be. Don't start with the galley--start with the rig. And the drive train.

Second, the idea of restoring a boat just to flip it and buy a more expensive boat is ALWAYS a losing proposition. This is true no matter what the folks in your marina are telling you. Indeed, this is true no matter what folks on this forum might tell you. From a purely economic standpoint, owning a boat, any boat, is always a loser. A boat is a hole in the water into which you will pour money. This is a rule, and your new treasure will not be an exception to this rule.

Again, congrats on the new boat.
Thanks, thats the great thing about this boat, sails, engine, rigging, deck and all are in great shape, the only issues the boat has are cosmetic, and thats why I am pretty confident I can do some minor updates and have a real winner. Some polishing here and bright work there will make a huge difference. I do not expect to make much off the boat, I have not bought it for profit but with the upgrades I add in and the work I do I am going for best bang for the buck. without dumping cash into a money pit. I am quite happy with the layout of the boat and the interior, the cushions are only a few years old and the customized layout is great, What will make it greater is after I sand and varnish all of the woodwork. I am more concerned with it holding its value so if/when I do select to upgrade, I get about what I have in it.
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Old 30-11-2012, 19:25   #8
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

Congrats! Wow from a Lafitte 44 to Cal 34... amazing how life leads us eh?
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Old 30-11-2012, 19:37   #9
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

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Congrats! Wow from a Lafitte 44 to Cal 34... amazing how life leads us eh?
very true, I started out wanting to get a prefect long term boat with the economy being down and all, but I am also pretty handy and wanted to learn all I can for making a larger commitment like that. A few years in this boat and I will be making my own in my backyard
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:28   #10
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

I have never sailed on one, but did tour one. They have a great reputation. I orginally looked at a 42 cascade but ended up with a 30ft boat. Your wallet will thank you for your decision in the long run.

Good luck with her!
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:29   #11
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

Congratulations!
There are a lot of Cal owners on the forum but maybe not owners of your Cal 34 Mk III and hence not many responded.
I like Cal boats. I think they are really a bargain in this economy and your can find parts and pieces all over the place.
I think the best advice I've heard many times is that before you change things down below just clean them up and give it six months before you change anything. Glad its only cosmetics for you.
kind regards,
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:10   #12
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

Congratulations on a great price! I've been looking at Cals (on the internet) and seems like all the 34's are listed at about $100k. The 30 footers are dramatically cheaper.

Good luck.
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Old 13-12-2012, 16:11   #13
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

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Congratulations on a great price! I've been looking at Cals (on the internet) and seems like all the 34's are listed at about $100k. The 30 footers are dramatically cheaper.

Good luck.
Must be looking at the wrong boats, the CAL 34 III is very affordable, way below 100k, Mine is in above average condition and when I am done I'll have a solid modern 34 footer for less than 30k, cockpit enclosure included
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Old 13-12-2012, 17:53   #14
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

Like I said, congratulations. I've been looking at Cal 30's on all the usual internet sites and they seem to come in around 20k and the 34's (if I remember correctly) were listed for substantially more. I glad you got a great deal and from your experience I think I'll raise my sights a bit. Fair winds, Tom
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Old 21-02-2014, 18:35   #15
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Re: New to me Cal 34 MK III

Congratulations. I purchased my Cal 34, the harvest Moon, about 5 years ago. It sounds like yours is in slightly better condition than mine was at the time of purchase. As advised earlier, I foucsed on the riging and drivetrain, and have migrated to the cosmietics and functionality of the cabin.
The boat is a fantastic boat. I'm not sure it is a fantastic investment, but you will certainly get your value in fun.
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