Dan Dalrymple's website

Fun, light and G-rated pages from Dan's family tree, sailing the Great lakes in old Cal Yachts, burning Ohio firewood, herbal cures, my humble opinions on several '70s Great Lakes sailboats, and muzzle loading ballistic charts .

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Our home page.

Cal Yachts
One of my favorite sailboats. I've owned a Cal 2-27 for over 20 years. I've owned larger, newer boats but the cal 27 remains my favorite sailboats for the Great Lakes especially Lake Erie.

fun sailboats
My humble opinion on several older sailboats that were popular on the Great Lakes during the '70s

Firewood facts
Interesting information on burning firewood as a home heating aid.

Our wood stove
We've backed up our home's heating furnace with a firewood woodstove for over 40 years.

Herbal cures
Our ancestors used many different items to cure their ills. Hundreds of these items, or herbs, as people called them were developed into the medicines that we use today. Note: For information only. We do not sell or promote herbs here.

Muzzle Loading
Muzzle loading ballistic tables from my son and my experiences with Ohio muzzle loading deer hunting.

my Family History
This web page contains a complete Dalrymple family line from Andrew Dalrymple, born in Scotland about 1682, all the way down to my grandson, Brian.

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 Page down for my views on the Catalina 30.

the Catalina 27s

There have been 2 different designs of the Catalina 27. The first Catalina 27 was designed by Frank Butler and Bob Finch. They sold like hotcakes. My 1974 was hull #1416. Almost 1500 27s were built in basically the first 3 years of production. Hovever, the Catalina 27 has had a major re-design since it was first introduced in 1971. The original 27 ceased production in 1991. Total production was 6662 hulls. The current model, the Catalina 270, debued in the fall of 1992 if I'm not mistaken. (See chart below, comparing the 1974 and 1996 Catalina 27s and the Cal 2-27.) This re-design is the reason that the 27 Catalina didn't place in the longest run (years) of any sailboat over 25 feet. That honor must go to the Catalina 30. The same basic Catalina 30 has been produced from 1973 and is still going strong, making it the longest produced sailboat over 25 feet in the world. I include the specs below for both designs of the 27. The profile shown is of the 1974 model year.

The image at right is of a 1974 Catalina 27. The top views in the profile show both the traditional and the dinette style interiors. The '74 was over a foot narrower than the newer design.

The newer, wider boat provides more living area but is more complicated to trailer. The extra width also provides more initial stability with a thousand pounds LESS ballast. The new design, no doubt, is faster. One drawback to the wider boat is that some of the wide fat designs can turn "turtle" and remain there for quite a length of time in the right conditions (remember Fastnet?). Maybe I worry too much. I've never heard of this happening in the Great lakes. I still like the old design better. If you want a light fat sailboat, why not just omit ALL the lead and buy a catamaran.

  • NEW STYLE Catalina 27 (1996)
  • LOA = 27' 0", LWL = 23' 9", Beam = 9' 10"
  • Draft (fin keel) = 5' 0", Draft (wing keel) = 3' 6",
  • Displacement Fin = 6240 pounds, Displacement Wing = 6460 pounds
  • Ballast (fin keel) = 1840 pounds, Ballast (wing keel) = 2060 pounds
  • Engine = IB diesel, Designer = Frank Butler
  • Sail area = 316 Sq. Ft., sail measurements: I=33'4", J=9'3", P=28'3", E=11'6"
  • OLD STYLE Catalina 27
  • LOA = 26' 10", LWL = 21' 9", Beam = 8' 10"
  • Draft (fin keel) = 4' 0", Draft (shoal keel) = 3' 3"
  • Displacement Fin = 6850 lbs
  • Ballast (fin keel) = 2700 lbs., Ballast (shoal keel) = 3050 lbs.
           deep keel was fin, shoal keel was Scheel type. 
  • Engine = IB (gas or diesel) or outboard
  • Sail area = 340 Sq. Ft., sail measurments: I=34'5", J=11'25", P=28'66", E = 10'5" 
  • Designer = Frank Butler / Robert Finch

NOTE: The older style Catalina 27s most all weighed more than this. I think that the factory weighed an outboard model without an engine to get this light weight. Every lift operator that ever handled my diesel powered 27 told me that she weighed over 7500 lbs. These new hydraulic lifts can pinpoint a boat's weight with amazing accuracy.

I owned a 1974 Catalina 27 (#1416) back in the '70s. It was probably one of the best boats I've ever owned. It was quick, comfortable, and built like a rock. I've owned larger sailboats but for my sailing, here in the Great Lakes, I like a 27 footer. They have a tall enough mast to grab good air and the sails are still small enough to manage easily. Since our sailing is usually just my wife and I, a 27 offers ample accommodations. Insurance and dockage is much cheaper for the 27 footer.

My 1974 27 was a bit heavier than the new 27 but probably had a stronger hull. My 1983 Irwin Citation only had a hull thickness of about 1/4 inch at the turn of the bilges. My 1974 Catalina had almost 5/8 inch in the same area. In order to save weight, Irwin depended on high tech glass mat and resins plus a unidirectional grid structure for hull strength while the older boats just used layer after layer of good old hand laid cloth and glass mat. My opinion... give me the extra weight and the layer after layer of glass mat.

These new redesigned 27s have a slightly different keel shape, offer a wing keel as an option, and have an open transom with steps up into the cockpit.

If you purchase a new 27 here are some of the features: 5 year blister protection limited warranty*, pedestal steering with engine controls, double lifelines, stern boarding platform with swim ladder, self tailing winches, double spreader rig, full batten main, internal halyards led aft to stoppers, molded-in nonskid deck, genoa furling.

The older Catalina 27s are usually a good, inexpensive way to get started in sailing. However, there are several problems to be aware. Leaks are the biggest problems of many 27s and water finds its way below through the hull-and-deck joint, the hatches, the chainplates and deck fit­tings. Chainplate leaks often result in bulkhead delamination.

Check the through-hull fittings and replace any gate valves with seacocks. Check for backing plates on deck fittings, occasionally owners have added these and sometimes by remounting the fittings they have inadvertently created leaks. The lack of backing plates allowed deck fittings to move, and the gelcoat around chocks, cleats, and other fittings is often crazed and cracked. Other items to inspect are the spreaders and particularly the cast aluminum spreader sockets as they're prone to failure. The result can be a mast toppling into the drink. Apparently Catalina is aware of this problem and has a ready-made replace­ment kit available.

* many fiberglass hulls built in the 1980s had blistering problems. There were very few of these problems in the 70s and they seem to have it corrected now. I don't know what the caused this but it cost many owners many thousands of $$$. Make sure you check this part of the warranty when purchasing a fiberglass hull.


the Catalina 30

The Catalina 30, designed by Frank Butler, has had the longest production run of any boat in it's size class. It was first designed, if I'm not mistaken, in 1974 and is still going strong today. I would have said this about the Catalina 27 but the hull has been changed too much to call it the same boat. This popular Catalina 30 is the exact same boat as it was designed in the early '70s, must of been a good one!

  • LOA = 29' 11"
  • LWL = 25' 0"
  • Beam = 10' 10"
  • Draft (fin keel) = 5' 3"
  • Draft (wing keel) = 3' 10"
  • Ballast (fin keel) = 4200 pounds
  • Ballast (wing keel) = 4300 pounds
  • Displacement Fin = 10,200 pounds
  • Displacement Wing = 10,300 pounds
  • Engine = Inboard diesel
  • Sail area = 446 Sq. Ft. Standard Rig
  • I=41'0", J=11'6", P=35'0", E=11'6"
  • Sail area = 446 Sq. Ft. Tall Rig
  • I=43'0", J=13'2", P=37'0", E=12'0"
  • Designer = Frank Butler

Since 1974 the principal dimensions have remained the same at LOA 29' 11", beam 10' 10", displacement of 10,200 lbs. and standard draft of 5' 3". From 1977, shoal draft was offered as an option, first with a fin keel drawing 4' 4" which was replaced with a winged keel design drawing 3' 10" in 1988. The displacement and ballast of shoal draft boats are 100 lbs. greater than the standard draft versions to compensate for the higher center of gravity of the ballast.

Some of the more common problems are deteriorated deck cores, compression fatigue at the mast step, failed wooden spreaders, failure of lower chain plate attachments on older model boats, leaks and separation at the keel to hull joint, and delamination and damage along the vulnerable deck to hull joint caused generally from minor docking incidents over the years.

If I were to purchase a new Catalina 30, it would probably be a standard rig with the wing keel. If, for some reason, I purchased a tall rig it would have the deep fin keel. Being 60 years old now, I would still probably get the wing keel, standard rig and the largest diesel available.


This page was last updated on May 26th, 2010

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