The Cal 40, the boat that did it big . . .
This photo happens to be a 1966 Cal 40 sloop, "Forever Young". A great name for a boat that remained just that, forever young, for the past 35 years!
This is the boat that did it! This boat proved to the sailing world that the hard chined, fin keeled, spade ruddered, Bill Lapworth designs were fast and safe on any ocean in the world! Other designers had worked with fin keeled, spade ruddered boats but these designers only designed for the rich . . . Lapworth brought sailing to the working class.
The Cal 40 won races! It won lots of races... Also it was comfortable at sea. It was roomy when compared to the other long keeled, soft bilged, narrow, designs of the early 1960's. It ran downwind well. It reached across wind well, and it went to weather like a 1966 GTO with four on the floor hit the quarter mile dragstrip. The '60's were the days of hot cars, hot motorcycles, hot powerboats, but until the Cal 40 came along, sailing was still the same old grind.
Actually, the hull material, Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP), commonly known as fiberglass was the big item. Up until the '60's most boats were built from wood. Wood made a nice strong hull but it had it's problems. High construction cost, high maintenence costs, rot, decay, and the fact that wood could only be bent at slight angles. Even though the Pearson cousins had been building fiberglass hulls for about a decade, the hull designs (see Pearson Triton) were still from the wooden boat era... Mater-of-fact the molds for the Pearson Triton was made off a wooden boat hull designed by Carl Alberg. The sailors wanted the fiberglass hulls for it's ease of maintenence and long-lasting qualities the manufacturers wanted fiberglass boats for their ease-of-assembly with bottom dollar labor, but the designers did not take advantage of one of the best traits of fiberglass! Fiberglass could be easily formed to almost any shape! Bill Lapworth saw this quality in fiberglass from the start.
Here are the specs for the Cal 40 designed by Lapworth, built by Jensen Marine.
- Year 1966, LOA 39"6", LWL 30'6", Beam 11', Draft 5'6", Disp 15,500, Ballast 6,000
- Rig specs: I=46', J=15'1", P=40', E=17'5"
I got the above photo of this Cal 40 from a for-sale ad on the net. This 32 year 40 footer is selling for $49,500, a bargain for a fast 40 footer at today's market prices. I doubt if the Cal 40 cost much over $49,500 when it was new, back in 1966. The boat, made from fiberglass, is still a bargain on today's market. How many 32 year old wooden boats do you see on the market today, still bringing the same price that they sold for new? Not many. I don't mind saying, "I'm a Cal 40 fan and someday, God willing, I'm going to own one! Dan Dalrymple " To tell the truth, I even still like the Atomic 4 inboard engines. They start good, run good, no vibration and easy to maintain.
Photo at right is the Cal 40 "ILLUSION", on a good run under the Golden Gate. "Illusion" owned by Stan Honey, is leaving San Francisco for the 1994 Transpak. If there were crew aboard, one of them might be saying "Hey!" "Stan!" "Hey, how about slowing this thing down a bit! Somethin's gonna BREAK ! ". I'm sure that anyone aboard is a little apprehensive, starting out a race to Hawaii with winds like that! It just happens that no crew was aboard to complain, Stan was singlehanding...
But anyhow, Stan didn't slow down... 11 days, 10 hours, 52 minutes later, Stan pulled into Hawaii with his old Cal 40, beating over 100 previous Transpak efforts by Cal 40s! I'm not sure where he placed in the race but he did well. My, don't these old Cals sail well! Someday, I'm going to own a Cal 40. dd
Here's a copy of an e-mail that I recieved from an owner of a Cal 40. Is this a great boat or what . . .
Subject: CAL 40's Date: Sat, 23 May 1998 08:19:30 -0700 From: David Bowers Organization: Pungo Marine To: email@example.com
Dan, I have a CAL 40 that I have owned for the past 25 years. This is the most underrated boat for cruising both coastally and in blue water. The interior of the boat has been modified extensively to make it a comfortable live aboard cruiser while maintaining the decks pretty much stock. The result has been a very succesful cruiser that has the comforts that Lapworth did not build into the boat since it was originally a hot berth racer.
My interior looks like a Hinckley Bermuda 40 with teak floors and Brunzeel mahogany bulkheads. I have added tanks to give her 150 gals of water and by eliminating the two coffin berths I have provided for a full blown navigators station and a wrap around galley.
This has been a wonderful boat to own and she still has a lot of life in her. Great boat, great design and when modified for living aboard a great cruiser that beats anything on the market today for sheer elegance and ease of sailing.
It still goes like a rocket. The Sail magazine issue on breakthrough boats rated the CAL 40 as the best ocean racer and best Ocean cruiser. Regards, Dave Bowers
Note from editor: How many sailboat owners are so happy with their boat that they continue to sail it for 25 years. This e-mail says it all. . .
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