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Old 26-06-2009, 14:18   #1
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CAL 2-46 vs Columbia 45

I had a look on both boats as long term cruisers.

The CAL is proven with many circumnavigations. Plenty of interior room but deck space is limited. When she has the bimini up entering the cockpit is gym for a tall guy like myself.

This Columbia model is a great live aboard but I didn't found much about long distance cruising. The layout seems to me a bit roomier with no walk in engine room and a separate galley and dining area instead. Cockpit acess is easy and the aft deck offers more uncluttered space for customizing. The forward flush deck is multi functional too.
A weak point is the steel back-up for the keel. Sometimes they require replacement and this isn't cheap.

Both vessels are in principle motor sailors and have usually the 85 HP Perkins workhorse.

But what about the sailing qualities?

Tripp designs are not too bad on that.

In comparison a good CAL is more costly than a Columbia.

Any first hand experiences on the Columbia 45 and-or additional comments?
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Old 26-06-2009, 15:26   #2
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I worked for a Columbia dealer and the factory in the 70's. I have first hand experience launching, rigging, and installing optional gear on 6 Columbia 45's. Choose a different boat.
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Old 26-06-2009, 21:08   #3
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Location: Beaufort, NC
Boat: Just sold my Cal 2-46 looking for a 47 Vagabond
Posts: 38
I'd go with the Cal....
We lived aboard my Cal 2-46 for several years...Mom, Dad, 2 kids.

~ The Cal always felt safe and secure, even in some real nasty weather in the Keys and Down Island .
~ Oversized ketch rig. Easy to match sail area to wind....
~ Heavy, made her very stiff, able to stand up to a healthy breeze, which the Cal needed to really move along.... 7-8 knots with the gennaker was easy...
~ She is huge, held all the family stuff with ease....
~ Lots of light....huge windows and hatchs
~ Cut away forefoot and spade rudder made her quick and responsive, we logged many many high mileage days on our cruises.
~ 5 foot draft and flat bottomed keel, got us into places in the VI's that other 46's couldn't/wouldn't dare.
~ Headroom galore....never felt claustrophobic... even when rained in with the kids
~ Huge dinette plenty of space for dining & homework
~ Full stand up workshop...keeps all the oily, messy tools and stuff away and in 1 place. I built a work bench with vise, made maintenance much easier.
~ Biggest cockpit of all the 46's. That's where we lived in the Islands
~ Best big boat for the money....

~ Windows had to be shuttered to prevent breaking while offshore or in "Blue Water"
~ High cabin caused lots of windage, made docking in high winds a test of skills
~ High cabin caused the "Mooring Dance".... had to use an anchor sail or give other anchored boats lots of room
~ Age of all the 2-46s require ongoing repair and mainteance
~ Flush deck area is small
~ Aft cabin berth off center....requires 1 person to crawl over the other to get in and out...rebuild to centerline queen.
~ Combo of dining, cooking, living and lounging areas got old...need to divide areas for comfort.
~ High freeboard made boarding with kids and stuff difficult.

I would have another Cal but we're looking for the "Classic" look....clipper bow, heart shaped stern and separate salons....
ie: Hardins, Vagabonds, Formosa, Force etc....

"Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names."
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Old 27-06-2009, 12:42   #4
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Thanks Fred

I really appreciate your statements. Especially in the cons I found some issues I was not thinking about before. Thanks again and good luck for your search on a classic.
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Old 29-11-2009, 13:32   #5
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Location: Treasure Island, FL
Boat: Columbia, Sloop, 45
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Columbia 45 Experience

Hi there,
I see your post is quite old but incase you are still looking I can offer my personal experiences on my C-45. I have nbo experience on a Cal 2-46 so this is not a comparison.

The C-45 is great big boat. Very roomy and TONS for storage for cruising. I am third owner of this boat (4 years now) and purchased her from a cruising couple. They lived abord her for 10 years cruising the Caribbean extensively. Made the entire circuit many times.

That said...I would not consider her a World Cruiser. Windows too big for one and this sloop rig does not carry enough sail with her short mast. She a motor/sailor though and with one fuel tank can go over 1200 miles on engine alone. With optional second tank double that.

I have not had ANY issues with quality. It is a '73 boat so all rigging has been changed with exception of chainplates which are huge and in my case in excellent shape. One issue some mention is the steel keel strongbacks. There are four of them, mounted transversly above the keel. They sit in the bilge so corrosion is present. They will require replacement at next haulout but they are easy to fashion. I will go back with steel but powdercoated. Easily get another 35 years on new ones.

Mine is the shoal draft model (5'3") and has extra ballast. She is both faster and more stable than the deep draft version which has 7' draft but 500 lbs less ballast. Mine is equipped with the Perkins 4-236 which is an awesome motor. Love it.

Everything in this boat is KISS. No headliners, no hydraulics, etc.. but she is a beast. I am refitting mine for a cruise back to the Caribbean in a few years. Until then, she is a wonderful livaboard and coastal cruiser.
m/s Miss Magoo
C-45, #98
Joel Wilkins
Treasure Island, FL
m/s Miss Magoo, Columbia 45, #98
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cal, cal 46, columbia, columbia 45

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