Sailing old Cal Yachts webpage. A webpage, edited by Dan Dalrymple, and dedicated to one of the greatest Sailboat designers in the world, Bill Lapworth, who designed the Cal 40 in 1963. The Cal 40 remains a great sailboat design to this very day.
I don't pretend to be a great authority on Cal Yachts but I've owned a Cal 2-27 for many years. I will keep this Cal Yacht webpage full of anything that I find about Cal Yachts and about Bill Lapworth, one of the greatest yacht de
signers in the world. Thanks, Dan Dalrymple, editor, Cal Yachts homepage.
Photo at right: Cal 2-27, hull #213 port tack, full and by...
I recently received information and a copy of an
original flyer for the
C. Raymond Hunt designed
44. This is not a Lapworth design but it
certainly deserves a spot on this Cal website.
Click here: more
on Cal 44
Jack Jensen started one of this country's most successful fiberglass boat manufacturing
companies in 1956*. Jensen Marine manufactured and sold the centerboard Lapworth 24 in Costa Mesa, California. Bill Lapworth designed these flat bottomed fiberglass hulls that seemed to blow the doors off most of the competition. Lapworth, was a very talented yacht designer who was more than 30 years ahead of his time. Lapworth's 24 footer put Jensen Marine on it's feet so Jensen hired Lapworth to design several more yachts including the first of three 27 footers, a pop-top racer/cruiser with a nine foot beam. (for more information on these 27s, go to the links at the bottom of this page, Click on "the 3 Cal 27s".)
The combination of Jack Jensen / Bill Lapworth and the use of fiberglass brought fast, comfortable, ocean going, sailboats to the American working class. To keep expenses down the first Cals were mostly built outside, in an open field. Jensen Marine and Cal Yachts quickly earned the nickname "backyard boats", due to this "open air" construction. The near perfect climate of Southern California lended itself nicely to this outside construction.
Older designers such as Nathaniel G. and his son Halsey Herreshoff had offered several fin keeled, spade ruddered sailboat designs but owning Herreshoff designs was still a rich man's game. These designers worked mostly with wood construction. Wood designs are very expensive to build requiring expensive materials and high labor costs.
Jensen Marine's Lapworth 24 sold well and was soon renamed to the California 24, named after the home state for Jensen Marine. The boats continued to sell "like hot cakes" and the name was soon shortened to "Cal". The name Cal stuck with the company until it was forced out of business by a 10% luxury tax that was set by the federal government on new boat sales in 1986. This tax put over 56 sailboat manufacturers out of business. These companies included Cal, Gulfstar, Morgan, S2, Cape Dory, Pearson, Lancer, Tartan and many more. The tax has since been removed and a few of these bankrupted companies have started anew by modern investors using the old molds. There have been several attempts at starting Cal again but the last I heard, no one has suceeded. If anyone knows differently, let me know.
Teenager Robin Lee Graham circumnavigated in a Cal 24 during the early 1960s. A film, "Dove", was made of this young man circling the globe in a small sailboat. This much publicized circumnavigation provided lots of good publicity for Bill Lapworth and Cal Yachts. Cal's business continued to boom and Lapworth designed several more hulls for Jensen Marine. Click to a webpage with line drawings and photos of the Cal 24 at bottom of this page. Note: I received an email that added to this statement. Most of Robin's trip around the world was in a Cal 24. He switched to a different boat for the last of the trip. This email is posted in Cal Q&A section #2 right here on this website.
Cal sailboats have always been at or near the top of the racing world. Bill Lapworth with Jensen Marine of California has had many successes with the Cal 20, 24 and the famous Cal 40. Since that time, Cal has been built by Bangor-Punta, Lear Siegler and currently, Little Compton Yachts of Compton, RI. The present line includes the Cal 22, 33, and 39. C. Raymond Hunt Association are the designers. They have evidently purchased the design rights from now retired Bill Lapworth. Designed primarily as club cruisers, Cals have proven to be highly successful racers.
The Cal 40 was introduced in 1963. At first, these flat bottomed, fin keeled, spade
rudder racing machines were considered by many to be unsafe for anything but protected waters. It was unheard of, in those early days of yachting, to go offshore in any boat that didn't have the rudder securely fastened to the keel! However, by the early '70's, the Lapworth designed Cal 40s already had proven themselves on every ocean in the world. These sailboats had proven themselves to not only be fast offshore racing machines but solid, safe, fast, comfortable world cruisers as well.
Actually, Bill Lapworth had been designing fast sailboats right along... but most of these were smaller boats. Many sailors of the era considered these small fast boats to be fast little daysailers. But the Cal 40 was an extremely large boat in 1963. The Cal 40 proved to the sailing masses that these fast, roomy, fin keeled, spade
rudder hulls were safe for offshore cruising. Not only safe and fast at sea, but extremely roomy below when compared with the narrow, slack bilged, long overhang boats of the era.
Bill Lapworth's early 1960 designs changed yacht designing from the long keeled, slack bilged designs that had lingered since before the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria into the yacht designs of today. Even though fiberglass was rapidly becoming the #1 sailboat hull material, most designers of the era continued to design as if the hulls were to be built of wood. Bill Lapworth was one of the first designers to take advantage of the flexibility of fiberglass in a hull design.
Photo above is an early Cal 24. Note that this 24 is outboard powered. (see the Cal 24/25 page near the bottom of this page for more information on the different models of Cal 24/25 boats that were produced.) I don't know what others call this design but I always called it the Cal "flat-top" or "flat-deck". This design not only produced a unique and distinct look but it made a great flat deck for sail work. It also provided maximum space below decks. These designs were some of the first that Jensen Marine and Bill Lapworth produced. They were quick, roomy and functional. The freeboard (sides of the hull) came up to the top of the cabin resulting in the added
cabin space and the roomy deck to work on. These flat-top designs were produced from the start of Jensen Marine into the mid 1960's. These designs included the Cal 24, 25, 28 and 29. Maybe more. The later Cal 25 had a more conventional trunk cabin and an inboard engine. It was a nice boat but you couldn't beat the room below and the large deck space that this "flat-top" design produced.
Note: There seems to be some conflicting information on this photo. Several old-timers say that this is an early Cal 25, not a 24. This email that I received from Dave Few should clear thing up:
Dan ---The picture you said was a Cal -24 and had a correction offered by some "old timers" that it was a Cal 25 is indeed a 24 foot Cal. It is the 2nd generation 24 foot Cal known as the Cal 2-24.
It is identifiable primarily because of the double aft lowers. Were the entire picture shown you would also see that it was a 15/16 rig and it had a bolt on cast iron keel. The early Cal 25 was a Flush Deck mast head rig with single lowers and internal ballast. I own a Cal 25-II, mast head rig with double lowers, and inboard, 1980 model, one of Bill Lapworth's last designs before Hunt took over.
Regards Dave Few
Chairman, Northern California PHRF Committee
. Bangor Punta purchased Jensen Marine in 1965*. The Cal Yacht factory was moved to Tampa, Florida in January of 1980. The factory remained in Tampa until March of 1985. It was then moved to Fall River, Massachusetts and was managed by Jim Hunt, son of yacht designer C. Raymond Hunt. Bangor Punta also owned O'Day Yachts and Prindle Catamarans. C. Raymond Hunt had designed several of the O'day yachts. A 10% Federal Excise Tax was levied on the boating industry in the late 1980s that closed Cal, O'Day, and about 30 more sailboat manufacturers including Pearson, Endeavor, Irwin, Cape Dory, Seafarer, Aloha, Morgan, Seidleman, Gulfstar, Bristol and more. These companies were already facing skyrocketing resin costs due to the oil shortage so the Federal Excise Tax was the straw that broke the camel's back.
* Jack Jensen started Cal in 1956*. Source: Sail magazine, Sailboat Buyers Guide, 1996
* Bangor Punta purchased Jensen Marine in 1965. Source 1995 December issue of Practical Sailor.
Quote from one of Steve Cole's "Cal 24" newsletters.
From a February 1981 Cal 24 Association newsletter, sent to me by Philip A. Chung. Phil says in a later e-mail, "If you should use any part of the CAL 24 class association newsletter extract I sent you, can you please give credit to Steve Cole, since he wrote most of the articles concerning the CAL 24 and CAL 24 lore in the newsletter.
For many years Steve held the Class Association together (along with a few old time owners), and was very helpful to fellow boat owners like myself .... Steve having done many nautical miles both cruising and racing in the early centerboard CAL 24, and giving rest of us weekending sailors the benefit of his experience.
Quote: Jensen, and his boat company, leave us. . . A bit of the Cal 24 heritage was lost at the end of 1980. Jack Jensen, who built his first Cal 24 after deciding that Bill Schrock's boats were too expensive, died recently. Jensen started with the Cal 24 and built Jensen Marine into one of the most successful boatbuilders in the world. The first name on the pertetual Cal 24 Championship trophy is Jack Jensen.
Some years ago Jensen Marine was sold to Bangor Punta, a conglamorate that also owns Ranger, O'Day and others. The idenity has become a bit blurred, with ads reading Jensen Marine, Bangor Punta Marine, and Cal Boats. Now the company has closed it's Costa Mesa, California plant and moved all manufacturing operations to Florida, where land and labor are cheaper and the market more available. Over 50% of recent sales have been east of the Mississippi. What will they call them now, Fla boats?
Speaking of Old Times . . . Having had "ZEST" (evidently the author's Cal 24, dd) for nearly 10 years, I've heard quite a few of the old Cal 24 tales. Just before the holidays, I attended a party at Peter Ebeling's and was able to meet Bill Lapworth, the designer of the Cal series. It was an oppertunity both to hear new tales and to express my pleasure with the boat to the person to whom it should be the most meaningful.
I heard a story of what must have been one of the very first races for the Cal 24. Jack Jensen, Bill Lapworth and another sailor aboard, entered a long race around Catalina Island off Los Angeles. The hot boat of the day was the Schrock 22, and the upstart Cal 24 won the race . . . 3.5 hours ahead of the Schrock.
We all knew . . . that the Cal 24 (Editor's note: First called the Lapworth 24, then renamed the California 24, then shortened to CAL) but I was never sure which was the second. Now I know that the Cal 30 was the second design but before the first 30 could be launched, the Cal 20 was designed and launched. So, you figure out which one was second! The Cal 28 was the forth. Incidently, if you ever see a Cal 30 in drydock, note how her hull is just a blown-up 24 without a centerboard.
Sail number / hull number . . . When our periodic questionaires are returned, there is always some confusion about hull numbers and sail numbers. The hull number is the manufacturing serial number and should be the number carried in the registration. I have heard that it appears inside the hull, in the lazarette area but I have never actually seen it on any Cal 24. End quote from one of Steve Cole's Cal 24 newsletters.
There were more pages to this newsletter but this is all that came with the fax from Philip Chung. dd Editor's Note 1/7/1999, I received an email from Steve Cole, the author of these newsletters. I replied and am waiting to hear more. The original email from Mr. Cole is in my Q&A section, #2 of 3.
I received this email
from Myron Gilcher on February 8th 2011. Myron enjoyed and sold Cal
sailboats and sailed with Lapworth and Jensen.
This evening I was surfing the internet and found your web site on Cal
boats. What a trip down memory lane for me. In 1964 I left Cambridge
Ohio with my new bride and headed for St. Petersburg Florida. Arrived
on Friday and Sunday I was enjoying a demo ride on a Columbia Challenger 24 on
Three months later I purchased my first sailboat and joined 3 other boats
with a new start up group called the MORC (Midget Ocean Racing
Club). Next spring I saw a new Cal 25 sitting on a cradle at a
new boat dealership. Bought it, sail number 22. First one
East of the Mississippi. The owner also bought a Cal 28 for
himself. Name of boat, Cal-A-Go-Go.
In 1967, Yachting magazine had it's One of A Kind regatta in Tampa Bay.
Bill Lapworth flew in from California and skippered my boat. What a
great guy he was. The Cal 28 won the big boat displacement
In 1968, won the MORC overall trophy in 1968 with
Cal-A-Go-Go. The fleet was starting about 40 to 60 boats. Sold my
boat and used the money to start Salt Creek Yacht Sales, located in the St.
One of the first boats sold was a Cal 29, sold to George
Dewar. We won the yearly trophy for six straight years. When the
fleet got over 150 boats, the yacht clubs could not handle the crowds and we had
to break up the fleet.
In 1972, Bill Hough wanted to win the St. Petersburg to Ft. Lauderdale race
in January which was part of the Southern Ocean Racing Conference
(SORC). I sold him a Cal 33 and we took delivery the end of
December. In Januarary we were taping the spreader tips with a guy in
the bosin chair as we are racing down Tampa Bay. We won that race
over all and division, plus set a new corrected course record. We
also were the smallest boat ever to win the Ft. Lauderdale race. They
retired the SORC race some time in the late 70's or early 80's.
Also raced a Cal T/4 in the first worlds 1/4 ton championship from Miami to
Bimini light in the Southern Bahamas and return. We lead all the way up to the
final 5 miles. We missed the inlet and finish line inside after dark
when the gulf stream carried us past it. Got 2nd.
Raced with Jack Jenson in 1974 (about) with the new IOR Cal 43 called
It was a very exciting time to be at the beginning of modern sailboat
racing and the fun and happy times shared with all the people who made it
Did we have fun? You bettcha. One of the most popular
races was a Saturday race across Tampa Bay to Ruskin Beach and return Sunday.
Each spring, at the annual meeting, the treasurer would read the bank account
then ask the club permission to pay the damage bill sent to us by the Ruskin
Beach motel and Resort. It typically ran about $600. to $800.
dollars. The larger the bill the more fun we had.
Just a little history with Cal boats, Jack Jenson, and Bill Lapworth.
Best wishes, Myron Gilcher, Quaker City, Ohio
NOTE: I don't
spend much time working on this website now but I thought that this email would
be a good addition to the site. There's not a lot of information on the
web about Cal Yachts since they went out of business 25 years ago. After
so many years, Cal Yachts are still sailing and sailing well. Bill Lapworth and
Jack Jensen were far ahead of their time in designing and building sailboats.
Many of the early Lapworth designed, Jensen built yachts were built
outside in southern California. The early Cals were nicknamed "back yard
boats" but many still sail well today.
Links section . . .
Here are some quick links to some more of my Cal pages right here at this website. Since these pages are right here, on the same server that you are presently logged to, they should load very quickly for you. Most of these webpages, listed below, can only be accessed from this web page. So, take your time, surf through them, one at a time. Lots of good Cal information in these pages listed below. Use your browser's "back" arrow to return here, then click on the next one...
- Cal Q&A #1. Our Old CAL Q&A section
. This Q&A #1
section contains our oldest questions and answers.
- Cal Q&A #2. Our Old CAL Q&A section . This is the second page of our
Q&A section. I've separated these pages so that they don't take so long
to load for the slower modems.
- Cal Q&A #3. Our Old CAL Q&A section
. Take a few minutes and browse these Cal Yacht Q&A pages. Got
a question? Maybe these Q&A paages will answer it? This Q&A section #3
contains our latest questions.
- Return to the index of my website.This index
will guide you to all parts of this website including my Favorite Lake Erie
boats. My Cal Yachts Question and Answer (Q&A) pages, muzzle loading
balastics, my webpage on herbal cures and more...
- Click here for specs of the Cal 20. . I
don't have a lot on the Cal 20s, but I'm slowly getting more. So far, no
line drawings. I do have the specs and a photo.
- Click here for specs/photos of Cal 24s and Cal 25s. . There are photos of more than one Cal 24 in this page. The
inboard powered 1984 model is a "for sure". The earlier outboard powered
photo is a much earlier model.
- Cal T2 photo and specs.
- Click here for specs and a nice photo of a T/4. . I think that the T/4 was a modified Cal 24. They were built
to race in the IOR class. Correct me if I'm wrong about this... also which
IOR class? quarter ton? Pretty boat, as you can see. Also you can see that
I'm not up on IOR races.
- . The three Cal 27's . . . . There were
three separate, completely different designs of 27 footers by Bill Lapworth
for Cal Yachts. Here's the story of all three and some photos.
- The Cal 2-27. . . . The boat that captured my heart... Specs, line drawings and some full screen photos on the Cal 2-27. Also a few of my humble opinions of the boat and several photos of my Cal 2-27 "imp". The
Cal 2-27, as far as I'm concerned, is one of the best "all around" family
sailboats that remain on the market today. The 2-27 is large enough for a
small famly, it's fast, and built solid as a rock. They can be purchased on
the used boat market for $5000 to $10,000.
- Specs and full page photos of the Cal 27 Mark III These photos are of the Mark III "Liberty" owned by Doug
McCance. The Mark III was the last design of the Cal 27 footers.
- The Cal 29 ('s). . . . Specs, line
drawings on the David Dobbs' Cal 29. Also specs on the later model Cal 2-29.
- Specs and photo of the Cal 2-30, "Freedom" . These photos are of the 1969 2-30 owned by Scott Howard of
Hendersonville, TN. Mr Howard and his Cal have done some impressive racing
this year. I really enjoy posting race results like these. Keep up the good
- Specs and photo of the Ron Holland designed Cal 9.2 This is one of the very few non-Lapworth designed Cal Yachts.
- The Cal 39, . This is the boat to buy if you complain about the lack of storage space in the Cal 27! Believe me... Lots of storage space, when compared
to a Cal 27. This is the boat that replaced the Cal 40. More beam than the
40 and almost 2 feet longer at the waterline, the 39 is another true "go
anywhere in the world" boat. The small cockpit pegs this design as a world
- The Cal 40, the one that did it! . 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.
- A 1965 Cal 40 brochure with line drawings! . Sent to me by Rob Stiglitz, who sails his Cal 40 on Long
- Click here for the Index of this website. . We have pages on our favorite sailboats of Lake Erie, herbal
cures of yesteryear, muzzle loading ballastics, my family history and more.
- Just click here to see a chart of over 125 popular boats. I have the specs (LOA, LWL, Beam, Draft, Weight, Ballast, and Sail Area) of over 125 popular boats right here on this website. Need to know the beam of a Cape Dory 30? the weight of a Bristol 35.5? They're all right here...
Return to the index of my website.This index will guide you to all parts of this website including my Favorite Lake Erie boats. My Cal Yachts Question and Answer (Q&A) pages, muzzle loading ballistics, my webpage on herbal cures and more...
My webpages are all rated "G" for all ages to view. I post these webpages for user information only. There is no fee, dues or profit involved for viewing my webpages. I try to be accurate when writing these pages. I cannot be held responsible for typos or errors.
This website gets neglected during the short Ohio summers. Thanks for viewing my Old Cal website, please go to my main index (above) and check out my other sites. Dan Dalrymple, editor Old Cal Yachts Official website.
Note: This page was last edited on May 21st, 2010.
(the previous edit was several years ago)