We've had our '82 Cal 39 MRK III shoal draft
for four years and are just returning from an 8 month cruise
along the west coast
and the Sea of Cortez
. Most of our sailing was done in wind
of 15 knots or less. However, on the bash back to San Diego
we did encounter winds between 22 and 30 knots. Sailing in those conditions, we were under double reefed main and 100% jib
. The boat was able to sail between 5.5 and 6.5 knots, depending on the wave conditions. It handled well, albeit a bit more lively than heavier cruising designs of the same length.
We've been pleased with the boat. It sails well compared to similar designs of the same vintage and performs respectfully even against newer, lighter designs. The boat really shines against those comfortable cruisers when the wind
is light. While it will outsail most under most all conditions, with light air the Cal is still sailing while those beautiful, comfortable but heavy cruisers are cranking up their desiels.
It handles very well and is strongly constructed. One of the only things I would consider is reglassing all the tabs to all the bulkheads; it's an issue of noise
when going to weather
when the rig is loaded. There are no problems with door or cabinet fit due to flexing, but it can be noisy.
Good luck and enjoy whatever boat you settle on. Fair winds.