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Old 28-01-2016, 12:32   #1
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Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

Hey guys, I got one for yalls.

Recently I picked up a heavily modified cal 20, for free, on a sweet trailer. Say what you want to say about free boats, I've heard it all. A bit about me, I've worked as a boat builder, commercial fisherman in Alaska, and currently work as a marine diesel mechanic, so i know my way around a boat, this is sailboat #5 for me, probably boat #12 all together.

What makes this Cal20 a unique project is the previous guy ground off the rub rail/deck to hull joint, and slapped a bunch of epoxy, mat, and cloth tape inside and out, probably 2&3, about 4-5" wide depending on how sloppy he did it.



He also removed the chain plates, and out the mast step in the cockpit to accommodate the mast being raked forward like 20 deg and ran 3 headsails, almost cutter style, with no boom and main, bizarre if you ask me.


Not to mention, after removing all deck hardware, he applied a do it yourself truck bed liner to the decks and cockpit, which is beneficial because January in the Pacific Northwest means rain, rain, and more rain. At least it's dry inside the cabin.

I won't forget to mention the last guy got 400 miles off shore on his way to Hawaii before something caused him to turn back. Gee, I wonder why....


Any who,

The reason why this boat in particular appeals to me, as I am interested in doing the Race to Alaska (Iook it up), and it would be a shame to hack up a perfectly good boat, so I am starting with one that has already been hacked and am going to improve upon it and make it a tough no-bs micro cruising boat for the San Juan's and Canadian San Juan's, with the Queen Charlotte crossing being what I am building this boat for.

Keep in mind, while I say Alaska, it probably won't happen, but I would like to build this boat for the occasion none the less, class racing isn't something I care about, so, I would like to make this a tough heavy duty boat.

With all of the original hardware locations moved, and the structural integrity of the hull to deck joint compromised, I am going to re-glass the joint, beef up the chain plates, reinforce tabbing and bulkheads, and just all around strenghten the entire boat.

My questions about the Cal-20 are if anybody knows what the original lay-up schedule was, and what their suggestions would be for a lay up for the reinforcements.

I plan to start inside, grind out all epoxy scabs inside the cabin and then get down to bare glass. I am thinking a 12-18" glass job should be sufficient, and I plan on using either poly or vinylester, skipping the epoxy. I haven't decided material weight yet, but I figure a 3 mat and 2 biax, maybe 4/mat and 3 biax, with cloth overlay for cosmetics (they way cloth is meant to be used), and either a 4&3 for chain plates or a 4 mat, one uni, and 2 biax with cloth overlay. I am. It sure yet.

Fortunately the deck is in fair condition, I need to stick a dehumidifier in there and dry it out, but there aren't any soft spots but there is dampness, Iam debating whether or not to rip out the headliner and glass in one mat, one db, one mat, and cloth and stiffen the deck, but if I get into that, and I find out the plywood is bad, then I'd be up a creek.

The chain plates, I would prefer to go as low into the center of the hull as possible, without ripping up berths. I would also consider adding stiffness further back towards where I would put winches and Genoa tracks/cars, and of course reinforcing the transom with the same lay-up as the deck seem, but do the entire thing, and re-bed the back stay chain plates.


It's going to be an involved project, but in the end, I intend on having a solid well built boat capable of heavy duty racing, with the intent on family cruising with the wife kid and dog

As far as the Rig goes I'd probably go the next size up in rigging, dynema or spectra back stay, fully adjustable, with heavy reinforcements on the hinged mast step

I know how to do all this stuff, so might as well do it right.....right?


I've always been a fixed keel San Juan 21 guy, I've had a few of those, but Cal-20s like Black Feathers and Chalupa have definatley inspired me
-Erik
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Old 28-01-2016, 13:30   #2
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

Sorry for the spelling errors, my thumbs are too big for my phone and trying to type in an engine room on a grand banks 50 something babysitting a Cat 3208ta rrunning at 2000rpm makes it even more fun.
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Old 28-01-2016, 15:09   #3
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

I can't comment on layup except that you might want to check how much extra weight aloft that will translate to in the end. They're sturdy boats, but it seems (to my uneducated mind in these matters) that you may need more keel weight. A friend who was interested in the R2K also planned to build a rowing seat to be able to scull if the winds get too light, which I understand that is likely. The Cal20 is light enough to move in light winds, but it's still a slow boat and it's easy to scull by tiller alone. You might want to consider something like this, too.
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Old 28-01-2016, 16:45   #4
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

Congratulations on your new boat. In my opinion, Cal 20s are very cool. Your cruising plans sound great. I will be looking forward to comments regarding the idea of using polyester resin, as I am under the (perhaps incorrect?) impression that epoxy was the standard in boat repair/renovation. Were I in your Topsiders, I would keep the boat as close to original as possible. That is especially true for the rig, though your idea of making the standing rigging one size larger is a good one. The increase in weight aloft--though fatal for one design racing--won't be enough to change her sailing qualities or call for extra ballasting. You would then be able to pick up virtually brand new used sails from a racer who gets new sails very frequently. Year old sails should trade at half the cost of new ones. Or less.

I would be very careful about adding too much weight. It can add up, and remember she will be much more heavily loaded with gear, equipment, and supplies as a cruiser than as a racer.

One of the advantages in owning a one design boat is the help and support that is readily available. This will be handy in relocating deck gear, for instance, especially headsail sheeting tracks.

Quite some years ago a Japanese sailor sailed a Cal 20 from Japan to either Hawaii or the West Coast. I believe he wrote a book about it. The modifications he made and his experiences may be useful to you. No doubt a bit of searching on Google will find it.

Good luck with your project and please keep us posted.

Paul
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Old 28-01-2016, 17:04   #5
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

Quote:
Originally Posted by gamayun View Post
I can't comment on layup except that you might want to check how much extra weight aloft that will translate to in the end. They're sturdy boats, but it seems (to my uneducated mind in these matters) that you may need more keel weight. A friend who was interested in the R2K also planned to build a rowing seat to be able to scull if the winds get too light, which I understand that is likely. The Cal20 is light enough to move in light winds, but it's still a slow boat and it's easy to scull by tiller alone. You might want to consider something like this, too.
Of course fiberglass will have no effect on weight aloft, though it will add to the boat's total displacement. No additional ballast will be necessary.

I agree that that an oar or a pair of oars are much preferable to an outboard especially an unsightly one mounted on the transom. Of course rowing or even sculling with the helm is not permitted during a race. Things cannot have changed that much.

Paul
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Old 28-01-2016, 18:18   #6
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul J. Nolan View Post
Congratulations on your new boat. In my opinion, Cal 20s are very cool. Your cruising plans sound great. I will be looking forward to comments regarding the idea of using polyester resin, as I am under the (perhaps incorrect?) impression that epoxy was the standard in boat repair/renovation. Were I in your Topsiders, I would keep the boat as close to original as possible. That is especially true for the rig, though your idea of making the standing rigging one size larger is a good one. The increase in weight aloft--though fatal for one design racing--won't be enough to change her sailing qualities or call for extra ballasting. You would then be able to pick up virtually brand new used sails from a racer who gets new sails very frequently. Year old sails should trade at half the cost of new ones. Or less.

I would be very careful about adding too much weight. It can add up, and remember she will be much more heavily loaded with gear, equipment, and supplies as a cruiser than as a racer.

One of the advantages in owning a one design boat is the help and support that is readily available. This will be handy in relocating deck gear, for instance, especially headsail sheeting tracks.

Quite some years ago a Japanese sailor sailed a Cal 20 from Japan to either Hawaii or the West Coast. I believe he wrote a book about it. The modifications he made and his experiences may be useful to you. No doubt a bit of searching on Google will find it.

Good luck with your project and please keep us posted.

Paul
K.P. Chin on Chalupa. Really cool article here:

chalupaprep.html
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Old 28-01-2016, 19:27   #7
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

Quote:
Originally Posted by vjm View Post
K.P. Chin on Chalupa. Really cool article here:

chalupaprep.html

I know Chin,he lives on Chalupa in Indian Harbor beach Fl. The current Chalupa seems a bit bigger than a Cal 20, though I don't remember the make and model. He stopped in Indian Harbor Beach after completing a circumnav.
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Old 28-01-2016, 21:09   #8
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

Thank you, vjm, for that interesting article.

Paul
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Old 28-01-2016, 22:41   #9
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

So having just acquired my own Cal-20 and intending to modify for cruising I have been thinking along these lines.

Are the spreaders and jumper still on the mast or did the PO really go off the deep end?

In the stock boat the hull deck joint is an outward flange that was thru bolted some adhesive or mastic in between with a layer of glass across the joint on the inside. On my boat I intend in the long run to grind off the flanges and glass back using polyester. It may be that the glass job on the inside of the joint was not the PO's but original construction. Post some photos if it's convenient.

Vinylester is the current choice for large scale mods. Lots cheaper than epoxy, bonds fine to previous polyesters and allows later repairs in polyester if that is all that's available. If you use epoxy now and later need to do a repair, you have to use epoxy because polyester doesn't bond so well to epoxy. If polyester is all that's available you're running a risk of having it fail underway until you can get to somewhere and grind it back out to replace with an epoxy fix on top of the epoxy mod.

For the foredeck I intend to install 1 or possible 2 transverse deck beams. I intend to use 1" to 1.5" by 2.5"-3.5" actual (as opposed to nominal) mahogany scribed to the deck. Actually I will crown the top slightly so the deck is slightly pre-loaded up. A bedding of thickened resin on top of the beam(s) then place it and brace up the ends. Once the bedding goes off remove the bracing and tab the ends of the beam to the hull.

When I was looking at Cal-20's to buy I noticed one that had the glass failing at the two bottom corners of the companionway. The front end of the cockpit was not strong enough. There is a transverse bulkhead under the cockpit about 16" back from the companion way. To prevent this from happening on my boat I intend to install longitudinal bulkheads one on each side running forward from the transverse bulkhead to the companionway.

In the short term for the rig I intend to re-install the forward lowers. In the long run I'd like to convert to a double spreader rig, with the headstay going to a short bowsprit and a removable staysail stay 8-12" aft of the stock position at deck level and hitting the mast at the upper spreaders. I would keep the jumpers so I only needed running backs in really heavy weather. I'd also like to install a radius track to the staysail can be self tending. The goal of the double spreader masthead rig, staysail and running backs is to build a lot more support and redundancy into the rig. With essentially a cutter rig, I can carry fewer sails and balance the boat better. A secondary reason for the masthead and bowsprit is that I can carry a lot bigger drifter for light weather. As a cruising boat I will be carrying a lot more stores than a racing boat would and the bigger headsail will help compensate.

The backrest situation in the cockpit is pretty bad. I intend to find some foam core synthetic trim wood and bolt that in as a back rest. I'll let you know how it goes.

With kids aboard I'm putting in a pulpit and lifelines with netting. The lifeline will end before the back of the boat but will serve for most of the perimeter.

The keel is bolt on so you should check is the condition of the keelbolts. If they are rusty, time to replace to the tune of about $200 (if you want the good A316L bolts). I get to go this. Plus since I have a crane off trailer I need to get picking eyes and a lifting bridle for another $400.

To improve the rudder I'm going to ultimately have the pintles on the rudder and the gudgeons on the hull, if a pintle breaks it's easier to work on the rudder in the cockpit than hang over the back of the boat in the middle of nowhere. I got this idea from the Blackfeathers book.

The bow sections are pretty flat and from what I heard from Bay area sailors they have a tendency to oilcan. Chalupa added a full length stinger each side. Blackfeathers did not. I intend to add one or two stringers each side from bow to shrouds. I may add a stinger or two across the transom.

The stock window are coming out the be replaced with 3/8" or 1/2" acrylic thrubolted all around and bedded in silicon. This is a regular mod for a lot of boats which is stronger and more waterproof if done right. For bolts I'm going to try stainless Chicago bolts aka binding posts so nothing sticks out to bang my head on. I may go for a double layer window for redundancy and insulation value. We'll see about that.

Finally I intend to use 3" or 4" reflective tape to cover the shear stripe all the way around the boat. I expect this to have a moderate life expectancy but think it would be a major safety feature.

For part check out Seal's Spars if you haven't already. You can get stock or better parts from them specifically for the Cal-20.

Where in the PNW are you? I'm actually a Seattle boy.
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Old 29-01-2016, 09:30   #10
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

Polyester resin makes for a poor secondary bond. Repairs should be made with epoxy.
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Old 29-01-2016, 09:37   #11
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

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Polyester resin makes for a poor secondary bond. Repairs should be made with epoxy.

Define poor are we talking 60% bond strength of epoxy or 30%?


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Old 29-01-2016, 10:36   #12
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

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Polyester resin makes for a poor secondary bond. Repairs should be made with epoxy.
I did boat building and repairs for several years when I owned a boatyard. Always used epoxy for repairs. Polyester DOES make a poor bond. It's not an adhesive, epoxy is. I preferred West System myself.

"Fortunately the deck is in fair condition, I need to stick a dehumidifier in there and dry it out, but there aren't any soft spots but there is dampness, Iam debating whether or not to rip out the headliner and glass in one mat, one db, one mat, and cloth and stiffen the deck, but if I get into that, and I find out the plywood is bad, then I'd be up a creek."
If you don't and it is bad then you could be up a creek at sea with your family!

This boat sounds like a LOT of work and a LOT more money than you think. It may never turn out well in the end. You'll never be able to resell it for what you put into it. Spend the $ on a decent boat to begin with and save yourself a LOT of grief.
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Old 29-01-2016, 10:48   #13
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

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Define poor are we talking 60% bond strength of epoxy or 30%?


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Epoxy is an adhesive. Polyester resin is not. Polyester resin can form a molecular bond if applied to polyester resin that has not fully cured. That's how several layers of fiberglass become a solid hull. Add another layer years later & it may stick or it may not but it will never become part of the hull. For a mechanical bond an adhesive is required for a structural connection & epoxy is typically the adhesive of choice when it comes to boats.

Why WEST SYSTEM® Brand epoxy? All epoxies are not created equal.
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Old 29-01-2016, 10:54   #14
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

Free or near free 20 -23ft boats are everywhere. Walk away and get one that isn't that trashed. Save the trailer!
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Old 29-01-2016, 11:18   #15
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Re: Un-ownerizing a Cal-20, and making it better

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Free or near free 20 -23ft boats are everywhere. Walk away and get one that isn't that trashed. Save the trailer!
Good advice.
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