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Old 26-08-2013, 12:26   #1
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1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

I received a good offer on a 1969 Cal 34 and have been talking extensively with the owner the last week. It needs some TLC but according to the owner has no "major" problems- besides the Atomic 4 engine but that is being rebuilt as part of the deal. He sent me a bunch of new photos and we talked about whatever concerns I have. Since he is the seller he is biased somewhat I'm sure, so I was hoping to get all of your opinions on a few things I saw. I'm suppossed to go look at this boat in September. He is selling for medical reasons (he is 67 and has a problem with his leg now that won't allow him to be on the boat very easily)

First Photo: Including here just so you can see the entire boat at once and for one concern, which is the whiter streak that is running up from the waterlilne up the hull up towards the first 2 aft portholes. The owner said its purely cosmetic and probably from where she sat and rubbed up against a pier or something like that. Your thought?


Picture 2: In this photo you can see what looks to me a large crack/hole where the cabin top connects to the cabin sides....claim is it is just paint flaking off? Can paint flaking typically look like this? I'm inclined to believe him on this one, as it's a pretty big stretch to think that he'd stretch the truth on something as obvious on inspection as a leaking crack. Also note the seperating wood on the bulkhead-this is just veneer that was put over the FG by the previous owner (he was in love w/ the look of wood), and I will probably just get rid of it and paint the FG. The arm looking thing attached to the back of the instrument box is a swing out arm for the chartplotter that comes w/ the boat.



Photo 3: The beautiful custom made tiller. Made by the owners friend who sails with him. No concerns here, just thought you might like to see it. Obviously those boards are going to need to be sanded and repainted or varnished (not teak, thank heaven)....



Photo 4: In this photo you can see the bulkhead that seperates the v-berth from the main cabin (saloon even?) has some water damage/ peeling. Should I be concerned that water may be leaking in from the mast step? that post on the right side of the bulkhead is the mast compression post. You can also see the new layout of the dinette area that the previous owner made into a storage/counter and a slide out table. Also the 2 seats that used to be the end of the dinette seats. The next pic will show this area better.


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Old 26-08-2013, 12:27   #2
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Re: 1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

SO what do you all think? Can she be a diamond in the rough perhaps? He's only asking 8k.
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Old 26-08-2013, 13:00   #3
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Re: 1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

The light color places on the topsides look to me like repairs have been done there. The long, wide-ish one does not look to me like rubbing from a pile. However, those white spots do not look to me like they're a problem, other than visual, i.e., do not indicate a structural problem.

It looks to me like there has been a lot of water intrusion, and a fix for that fwd. bulkhead will be time consuming, and involve de-constructing and then re-constructing a lot of the surround. I'm wondering where the point of ingress was for that, and whether the deck at the mast base is compromised, or is there just a moisture entry where wiring comes in. I to sail on a Yankee 30, and it's dinette used to make into a good sized double berth. I'm wondering if such a setup was sacrificed in this boat, for the sake of the counter and sliding out table. I'd point out that your saloon does not offer somewhere to share cocoa with friends or hot buttered rums, either! You might want to check out another Cal 34 purely for comparison's sake.

The overhead in the saloon looks warped to me in places along the port side. If that is so, then there has been water in there, too. Yes, I see flaking paint, but IMO, there's more to it than just that.

With all that water evidence, now I'm starting to wonder about the condition of the wiring. So if you go see the boat, you might want to look behind the switch panel, for instance. You might want to see that all the interior and exterior electrical objects work, and if not, adjust the offering price accordingly, or just simply plan on replacing all the wiring: that can be a really good move.

If you go for a sail, be sure and check the bilge for water, and also after the engine's back installed, check shaft alignment, and the stuffing box, for appropriate drip.

Well, I hope this input helps, and by the way, have you lakes near Billings for sailing?
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Old 26-08-2013, 13:11   #4
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Re: 1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

Thanks Ann T. Cate, yes there are some lakes up near Helena and we have a smaller one here in Billings that is somewhat shallow- but we are moving to the coast to live aboard and cruise so that is irrelevant

The prop and prop shaft were very recently replaced by a professional. Now that you mentioned it I remember the owner saying that he ran a wire down the compression post when he mounted a new masthead light or something like that...maybe thats where the water is coming from.
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Old 28-08-2013, 20:02   #5
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Re: 1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

The boat has definitely had water intrusion and damage. As said above, the concern is the wiring and bolts and anything not stainless or rust proof or galvanized because it takes a lot of moisture over a long time to warp and discolor the wood like that. Cabin top, i doubt thats paint flaking. That looks to me like something wrong with the fibreglass join, and a soaked foam core cabin top with mildew oozing out. May be dry now but the real test would be a rainy season.

However your getting a 34 in half decent shape for $8000. Your not going to get some pristine marvel of the universe in that price range for that size. Ive seen boats ten feet shorter go for the same price that still had some problems. Par for the course when your looking for a deal.

Given the price my main concern would be major leaks in the cabin roof through whatever ifnfitted on top of it, soaking the foam core causing water to dribble out of all sorts of places and making the actual leak very difficult to find, causing mildew growth that you cant seem to get rid of no matter how well you dry the boat (because once its dry and you close it up and leave it, the water starts dribbling back in, it gets warm and turns to vapour, then at night it condenses agsinst every surface connected to the exterior, then you come bsck the following weekend to black mould everywhere.

If your willing to chance those sorts of problems and spend what might possibly be a whole spring season ripping apart the cabin roof to find and fix the leak (and possibly remaking it with new fibreglass and foam core) for the price id say go for it. If you want a boat that is only going to develop leaks because of your own mistakes, id shy away from this one. A bit of leaking isnt that bad provided its coming from the topside and not below the waterline. Just means a mouldy, stinky boat you have to spend a lot of time cleaning with vinegar and water to get the mildew out to prep for the season.

Blue water - id say forget this boat and expect to spend 5x more at minimum. You need a boat in absolute tip top shape to go on long blue water voyages and with the problems on that boat a big wave crashing over the beam might collapse the whole cabin. There little risk of that sort of thing if your sticking to coastal and if gets that rough you can head to safe harbour before it happens.
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Old 28-08-2013, 20:28   #6
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Re: 1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

Could be a post hurricane boat? where is the boat located?
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Old 29-08-2013, 01:28   #7
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Re: 1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

If it's a deck stepped mast, I'd be concerned about the core in the mast step area. That will usually be plywood. Long term leaks will wick through plywood rotting it out. Definitely want to find out where that water is coming from. As others have said, with a stain like that, the leak has been going on for a while.

Does the boat have an FRP liner or a vinyl head liner and plywood or other veneer on the cabin sides. By the looks of the sharp angle, it doesn't look like a liner. Why the paint or whatever it is flaking is a question. Typically the interior of cabin top is not structural. If it's another water leak, there could be core issues almost anywhere on that side of the cabin top.

The mark on the hull is strange. It really looks too narrow to be repaired damage. I'd get in a dinghy and have a close look at it. Also figure out where it is on the inside of the boat and look closely.to see if there is any sign of damage like loose tabbing or delaminated FRP layup. You wouldn't be able to see delamination if the interior of the hull is painted. I question why he doesn't know what caused it. I pretty much know where every ding on my boat has come from.

The interior is interesting. Does it have a pull out table between the two seats on the port side?? Looks like a custom built set up and a neat design. Have seen these old Cals available at a wide range of prices from under $5,000 to over $20,000 if they have a diesel. I'm not fond of the hull to deck joint but they seem to have held up over the years. I'd want to get a surveyor to look over the boat to address the issues you've pointed out as well anything that might be hiding from you.
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Old 29-08-2013, 07:49   #8
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Re: 1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

I own a 1968 Cal 34 and spent a year fixing it up recently. Just a lot of time, elbow grease and cheap materials. Those blue cushions are original, they are exactly the same as mine and I thought they were only about ten years old due to their nice condition, thanks for posting that.

Personally, I wouldn't buy a Cal 34 with an Atomic 4. No matter how much work and time you pour into the boat it will never be worth much without a diesel. I paid less for a boat with similar problems but with many expensive mods including a low time Yanmar 27 diesel (installation cost was about 15K.) Likely the fuel tank hasn't been replaced and it will be a problem if it is vintage 1969. Additionally, while you still have the V berth and two large quarterberths for sleeping, I think the market may not reward the custom woodworking in the future over the large comfy dinette that I use all the time and which is a nice place for guests to sleep.

The white streak: the hull is incredibly thick non-cored fiberglass there: almost certainly cosmetic. Regarding the coach roof- any place that you see a delamination suggests water penetration to the plywood core which then swells and pops open those joints at the fillet, there are numerous holes in the deck right over that area where the full length teak handrail is attached. The outer deck skin is thick fiberglass, then 1/2 inch marine plywood, then thin CSM fiberglass interior skin covered with gelcoat. The flaking is due to deteriorated gelcoat, I had to spend weeks completely stripping all of the interior gelcoat with a heat gun. It is a difficult job to repair the deck as it must be done from the inside and is really messy but just time consuming and with fairly cheap materials to fix.

Beneath your windows (love the newspaper curtains) there is another delamination visible where the sides of the coachroof (all fiberglass) meet the main deck (cored) and that area also has water penetration, likely from the lifeline stanchions which are nearby. Look for a bunch of uniform drill holes in the deck, people try to fix this problem by drilling and filling which doesn't fix it.

Water is probably running down the inside of the mast and leaking onto the bulkhead. Probably no big deal but I can't find any info on that topic either.

My advice: if you are willing to put about 800 hours of time and several thousand dollars of materials into the boat you will still have a boat only worth $8000 with that Atomic 4. Offer $4k and do the work yourself and you will have a nice boat to live on and sail but not an investment for sure. Or, find the best example Cal 34 you can find with a diesel and save yourself working for a year for $2 per hour. A nicely restored Cal 34 with a good diesel and full cruising equipment goes for $25 to 40K.
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Old 29-08-2013, 08:04   #9
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Re: 1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

Looking back over the photos again I think there is also wet decking in the area near where the ring buoy is hanging. That area is prone to leaks from the chain plate attachments.

The old style tiller fills up the whole cockpit and the helmsman has to sit far forward, while the crew tends the lines in the rear of the cockpit- not to everyone's liking. Also that sail configuration tends to be prone to excessive weather helm. Later models (which mine was modified to resemble) had a shorter boom, wheel steering, and mid boom sheeting with a traveler to open up the cockpit and reduce weather helm while making single handing easier.
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Old 21-01-2014, 13:54   #10
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Re: 1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

I have a 1967 Cal 34 (Hull 19) and it's a really sweet boat! I agree with your assesment. I spent about 600 hrs and a total cash investment of about $9000 including buying the boat itself. Mine's pristine now and really a lot of fun to sail. I thought the Atomic 4 was bullet proof though, why arent they worth much with that motor?
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Old 25-01-2014, 10:45   #11
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Re: 1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

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I have a 1967 Cal 34 (Hull 19) and it's a really sweet boat! I agree with your assesment. I spent about 600 hrs and a total cash investment of about $9000 including buying the boat itself. Mine's pristine now and really a lot of fun to sail. I thought the Atomic 4 was bullet proof though, why arent they worth much with that motor?
Thanks,
Ben
There is often a Cal 34 available on either coast with a diesel already installed, priced in the mid teens that needs some updating and cosmetic work (less if there are structural issues such as deck core issues) without going through a costly diesel installation. Most buyers will worry about the Atomic 4's reliability (they can be ok if completely overhauled and modernized) and carrying more flammable gasoline fuel to supply it. Almost all of the original Cal 34's came with Atomic 4's, most owners upgraded to diesels the first time the Atomic 4 needed to be rebuilt. As opposed to 15 or 20 years ago, the boats have depreciated to the point where installing a new diesel may not be practical financially.

Certainly there are "true believers" in the Atomic 4 and parts are readily available. You can get decent money for a running engine. But there are logarithmically more people that don't trust them and they tend to kill resale value as buyers will mentally add another 15K to the price of future refitting.

There is nothing wrong with fixing up a vintage Cal 34 with a gasoline engine if you plan to keep it for a long time and use it. If a person spends $9000 on acquisition and supplies and 600 hours at $10/hr minimum for their labor time, they have a $15,000 boat (at least.) It may be hard to get $15K for an otherwise nice Cal 34 with an Atomic 4. Heck, there is a decent looking legendary Cal 40 on the west coast for sale now for $32K that needs a new engine. Those are usually 65K+.

I'm sure there are people that will disagree with the above logic and absolutely love their gasoline engine.
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Old 25-01-2014, 11:18   #12
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Re: 1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

It's got some issues. The lack of any upkeep on the exterior, generally means there is lots of deferred maintenance. The water leak by the compression post could be a major job if the post and deck under the step is compromised.

The leak by the companion way is from rain leaking by the drop boards and is most likely cosmetic only. Some rot in the ceiling too.

For $6500 maybe, depending on how handy you are with tools and woodworking. Thing to remember is for every issue that is easy to spot, there will be two more that you can't see. I'd factor $10K for minimum refit and that's if you do your own work.

But then my little 72 Islander 34,which is similar to the cal 34 was only $11,500, had a diesel and no structural issues. I did replace the electrical and plumbing though.
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Old 26-01-2014, 20:37   #13
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Re: 1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

Run, run, run away. Unless you get it for $4000.00 or less. the rotted bulkhead alone is a sign of much pain in your future. I've replaced bulkheads and it's not easy. It doesn't require a huge amount of skill but does take time. One piece of 5/8" teak ply? $340.00 - $380.00, then all the work involved to cut it out, cut, fit, seal, varnish and tab back in the piece. Of course if you do it right it will be better than original.
My main concern is that the amount of water required to do that kind of damage means there are lots of leaks in the deck, which cause the deck core to rot, you really don't want to even go there. When I met my wife she had a boat that sat in her yard for several years with no deck maintenance, we had to cut out/remove the inner cabin top FRP top get at the rotted core (she didn't know about bedding in your deck mounted gear every few years) to peel out and replace the core, then apply new FRP on the interior, overhead to fix it, that was a lousy job I don't want to repeat. Sure the cabin top was stronger than original but at what cost in time and money? As I advised her at the time, we could have bought an auction boat for less and been ahead of the game from a time and money angle.
The pictures of that boat show many issues, if you want to learn all about structural repairs and FRP construction, have a lot of time on your hands and are a glutton for punishment, go for it, you'll have a hell of an education. Looks like the previous owner spent a lot more time drinking on his boat than working on it.
I'm not saying it's not rebuildable, it's just going to take a fair amount of time and effort and will still be about what you paid for it when your done, the only way you'd get your money worth is to own it for 10 years or more after fixing it.
Or buy it for $3500.00, sail it as is, beat the crap out of it and junk it when you can't trust it anymore, at least you'll get your money's worth, if it last 3-4 years you'll be ahead.
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Old 26-01-2014, 20:57   #14
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Re: 1969 Cal 34-Is this water damage or just cosmetic?

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Originally Posted by lifeofreilly57 View Post
Run, run, run away. Unless you get it for $4000.00 or less. the rotted bulkhead alone is a sign of much pain in your future. I've replaced bulkheads and it's not easy. It doesn't require a huge amount of skill but does take time. One piece of 5/8" teak ply? $340.00 - $380.00, then all the work involved to cut it out, cut, fit, seal, varnish and tab back in the piece. Of course if you do it right it will be better than original.
My main concern is that the amount of water required to do that kind of damage means there are lots of leaks in the deck, which cause the deck core to rot, you really don't want to even go there. When I met my wife she had a boat that sat in her yard for several years with no deck maintenance, we had to cut out/remove the inner cabin top FRP top get at the rotted core (she didn't know about bedding in your deck mounted gear every few years) to peel out and replace the core, then apply new FRP on the interior, overhead to fix it, that was a lousy job I don't want to repeat. Sure the cabin top was stronger than original but at what cost in time and money? As I advised her at the time, we could have bought an auction boat for less and been ahead of the game from a time and money angle.
The pictures of that boat show many issues, if you want to learn all about structural repairs and FRP construction, have a lot of time on your hands and are a glutton for punishment, go for it, you'll have a hell of an education. Looks like the previous owner spent a lot more time drinking on his boat than working on it.
I'm not saying it's not rebuildable, it's just going to take a fair amount of time and effort and will still be about what you paid for it when your done, the only way you'd get your money worth is to own it for 10 years or more after fixing it.
Or buy it for $3500.00, sail it as is, beat the crap out of it and junk it when you can't trust it anymore, at least you'll get your money's worth, if it last 3-4 years you'll be ahead.
I 100% agree. Run don't walk. Or offer $2500 and beat it until it dies. Atomic four almost guarantees you won't get more than that on the resale. And yes the water damage on that bulkead is coming from somewhere: the deck. And take it from someone who has just taken the last 4 weeks to recore large sections of a CAL 35's deck. It is a shitty job, one that devalues a boat greatly.

There are so many boats on the market just like this one: old guy who thinks his boat is worth something but who has completely let go of all maintenance and who's health is fading. Sadly it's a buyers market.
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