The Cal 27s. . There were three separate, completely different designs of 27 footers
by Bill Lapworth for Cal.
Photo at right: My Cal 2-27 freshly out of the water shortly after I bought her. The bottom looks a little rough. Karen and I have since sanded her bottom to bare jelcoat and applied 6 coats of VC Coal Tar epoxy barrier coat, wet sanding between every other coat. We then applied 4 coats of VC-17 copper bottom paint with teflon. She looks better now.
I own one of these 27 foot
designs. No, I don't own a plush little creampuff of a Cal 2-27, I own
an old abused, raced-hard, "rode hard and put away wet" Cal 2-27.
I bought her , just to have a cottage on the lake until I could buy
a real boat again. To my surprise, after owning an Irwin 34 Citation for
the past 7 years, my Cal 2-27 "imp" actually put the fun back
into sailing for us. I can honestly say that this 23 year old Cal is a
pleasure to sail. It's quick, easy to handle, roomy and comfortable below.
Near-perfect for my wife and I to sail the Great Lakes and Lake Erie.
- Note 5/23/2000:
I'm removing the Volvo-Penta inboard from my Cal 2-27 and replacing it with an outboard engine. This will be my first outboard powered sailboat since my Macgregor Venture 21 during the early '70's. The Volvo was a great engine but it needed some repairs. It always started and ran great but parts were expensive and hard to find. I hope that I'm not making a mistake. I'll keep you informed.
- I've completely removed the old Volvo-Penta MB-10A engine and transmission. I have installed a new 2000 (year) Mercury outboard. It's a 9.9hp, electric start, 10 amp alternator, four cycle, Bigfoot sailpower outboard with a 25 inch shaft and a 10 3/8 inch three bladed prop. The Cal's transom needed to be stiffened so I added 3 layers of 1/2 inch plywood to the inside of the transom, bonded with epoxy resin and 24 ounce unidirectional roving between all layers. The new transom core runs port to starboard and is bonded to the sides of the hull with double layers of 6 ounce roving and epoxy resin.
- The advantages of an outboard are:
- #1- Prop/shaft raises completely out of the water while sailing (no folding prop needed here).
- #2- Easy maintenance of entire engine outboard assembly by simply removing outboard and taking it to a shop or dealer (no need to pull the entire boat).
- #3- Frees up LOTS of room below.
- #4- Lightens my boat by an estimated 400+ pounds.
- #5- Pollutes the air much less than my 26 year-old Volvo Penta (the new four cycle, overhead cam outboard passes all the year 2000 EPA air pollution laws).
- #6- I'm hoping that it will burn less fuel than my old inboard.
- #7- Even though it's only 9.9 hp, the outboard's horsepower is measured AT THE PROP SHAFT, the Volvo's 15 horsepower was measured at the crankshaft, not allowing for gear, shaft and seal losses.
- #8- Allows me to remove and glass over the old inboard's water intake thru-hull fitting. This valve was located under the cockpit, a bad place to reach in an emergency.
- #9- All stored fuel, oil and gasoline tanks will be removed from below decks.
- I'll end up with about $3000 in this upgrade. Replacing with a new diesel would have been much more costly, at least $7000. Like I said before, I hope I'm not making a mistake here, I'll keep you informed on how this new outboard performs.
- By the way, my Volvo-Penta MB-10A is for sale.
(Sorry, SOLD) Starts/runs great, comes complete with prop, shaft, Morse controls, muffler, starter, and newer exhaust manifold, all for $600 plus shipping. Lots of pieces and parts for someone who wants to keep one of these old girls running. If I could've purchased a good spare MB-10A for this price, I probably would have kept the old inboard. So, if you think that you might be interested, email me and I'll send you a complete list.
- END OF NOTE...
Actually, there have been three different 27 foot Cal yachts, all designed
by Bill Lapworth. All three of these 27 footers were separate and distinct
hull designs, not modifications. Add this to the fact that there have been
several variations of each design. I will do my part to kill the confusion
about the many models of Cal Yachts.
The first 27 designed in 1969, launched in 1970 (Practical
Sailor Dec 1995), was built in Costa Mesa and was the smallest
of the three. Choice of outboard or inboard power with a 9 foot beam and a convertable pop-top
that helped make up for the fact that the boat didn't have much standing headroom. This original 27 displaced only 5400 pounds but was very quick and well built. The main problem with this
27 was the lack of headroom. The T2 was a variation of this first design. I think the T2 was a racing version of the original 27. I know for sure that the T2 does well, to this day, in sail races throughout our country. The Catalina 27 was introduced in 1971. It bacame a major competitor to Cal. I think that the introduction of the Catalina 27 forced developmemt of the largest 27 foot Cal, the second 27 footer, Cal 2-27.
Next came the Cal 2-27, designed in 1973, launched in 1974 (Practical
Sailor Dec 1995), which displaced a whopping 6700 pounds. Click
here for a full webpage on the Cal 2-27, with full screen photos of my
Cal "imp". Catalina Yachts (Cal's neighbor manufacturer and
chief competitor) had introduced their Catalina 27 in late 1971. This 27
offered more interior room than the first Cal 27 so this new 2-27 design
had full standing headroom, a 9 foot 3 inch beam, a marine head, a decent
galley with an icebox and an alcohol cookstove. The 2-27 was to be the
largest Cal 27 ever designed. Most of the new 2-27s had some sort of inboard
engine. Some used Atomic 4s, some used Volvo Penta 2 cylinder, 4 cycle
gas inboards, some used Farymann diesels and yes, a few were still built
with outboard engines.
The last Cal 27 that was designed was the Mark III or sometimes called
the 3-27. The name was later changed to simply "Cal 27". This
all new 27 foot Cal was designed in 1982, launched in 1983. The 27 Mark
III remained in production through 1985.(Practical Sailor
Dec 1995) Click here to go
to the specs and a photo gallery of the Cal 27 Mark III "Liberty",
owned by Mr. Doug McCance. Mr. McCance has donated much data to this webpage.
The Mark III was lighter than the 2-27 and a bit narrower with a longer
waterline. She had a deeper fin keel and less sail area. The Mark III was,
no doubt, the quickest of the three 27s.
Here are the rigging measurements for the three basic but different Cal 27s.
- Cal 27 (original design),
- I=34.5, J=12, P=27.8, E=10.2
- Cal 27-1 (still the original design),
- I=34.5, J=12, P=27.8, E=10.3
- Cal 27-1 TM (original design with tall rig),
- I=37.5, J=12, P=30.5, E=10.5
- Cal 27-2 (second design),
- I=36, J=12, P=30.8, E=10.3
- Cal 27-3 (third design),
- I=33, J=11, P=28, E=11
- Cal 27-3 SD (third design with shoal draft),
- I=33, J=11, P=28, E=11
The Cal 2-27 was a major competitor to Frank Butler and his Catalina
27s during the 70s and 80s. Actually, I think that the Cal 2-27 is a little
faster than the Catalina 27, having a taller stick, more sail, a harder
turn at the bilges and a slightly flatter bottom. The Cal's interior was
not as nice as the Catalina. Frank Butler, of Catalina, seemed more concerned
with the creature comforts of the interior and exterior of his 27 while
Bill Lapworth seemed more concerned with the performance end of sailing.
People seem to buy boats more for the creature-comforts. Note that Catalina
Yachts is alive and well while Cal Yachts is gone... Click
here for a chart comparing the old and new designs of 27 Catalina with
the 1974 Cal 2-27. . This chart shows how Catalina Yachts favored
the old Cal 2-27 design in their new 27 footer. I've owned both boats,
crewed on both. Matter of fact, I own a 1974 Cal 2-27 now.
Dan Dalrymple, editor, Old Cal Yachts Official Homepage