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Calcutta — 1966 CAL 36 By Joe Corey


ack when Peggy and I decided to cut the ties that bound us to land and sail away, we made up a list of features we wanted on a boat—a boat that we would be living aboard that would take us where we dreamt of going. What we didn’t have was a lot of The CAL 36 money. “Must have” features included 1966 CAL 36 Specifications diesel auxiliary, wheel steering, roller feet in southwest Florida, but as Peggy furling, and an onboard shower. Our LOA 35’ 6” pointed out, “Her deep keel will dictate previous boat had some deck delaminaLWL 27’ 0” where we go (or don’t go).” And, yes, we tion, so structural integrity was going to Beam 10’4” have gone aground a few more times be carefully looked at. Draft 5’ 8” than we did with our previous boat that After perusing countless magazine Displacement 11,200 lbs drew 4’ 3”. ads and looking at a number of sailBallast 4,500 lbs On the first night of our first boats in southwest Florida that were Sail Area 600 sq. ft. extended cruise, the wheel-steering setappropriate in size and cost, we found up that Peggy was less than thrilled with that many boats that had it all and disassembled itself in spectacular fashweren’t badly blistered or soft were just ion as the wind piped up at the advance of a thunderstorm. beyond what we could afford. But we made some comproLuckily, the original tiller was aboard, and it was a fairly mises and finally settled on one that fit, a 1966 Cal 36. easy job to uninstall the wheel and reinstall the stick. What The 15-HP Universal diesel on the boat had no hour a difference! Not only would she answer the helm, but she meter, was of an undetermined vintage, a little greasy, and felt more like a thing alive. Properly trimmed, two fingers is suspiciously small, but it did start on command without all it takes to steer (except when motoring due to wheel belching any telltale clouds of blue, white, or grey smoke. wash). Although the original design was with a tiller, the seller had The Cal 36 is the little sister to her more famous sibling, crafted an ingenious wheel-steering arrangement with the Cal 40. In fact, she’s just about a 90 percent replica and worm gears and universal joints. There was no roller furling even has the same rudder as the 40. Both were designed by nor shower but, gee-whiz, was she rock solid! Bill Lapworth in the early ’60s as ocean racers. Their sucAfter the pre-purchase out-of-water survey confirmed cesses in the TransPacs are legendary. Although boats laid her solidity and found no major defects, the deal was done up in that era are decidedly heavier than today’s models and on we moved. Some of our friends thought we were and she sports a very “un-racy” mahogany interior, once nuts getting involved with a boat that draughts nearly six divested of the encumbrances of life aboard, the Cal 36 turns a quick heel on the racecourse. You can’t however, race your home successfully. As a yacht built for racing, the Cal 36 leaves a little to be desired as an extended cruiser or live-aboard. Her narrow beam and lack of proper storage are a disadvantage. We do, however, take advantage of the cavernous sail lockers port and starboard in the roomy cockpit. That large cockpit does limit the interior to about the size of a more modern 32- to 34-foot yacht. There still remains plenty of living space for the two of us, but we marvel at the space aboard other cruise-designed 36-foot yachts we visit. The v-berth, though, is her standout interior feature—being 6’6’’ both wide and long. The double spreader rig is pretty straightforward with inboard rigged shrouds as befits a racer. There is a stay’sl


December 2007



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