some thoughts on the CAL34

It’s come to my attention that there are several CAL 34s going cheap (as in less than $3K). This got me thinking about how I’d go about VolkCruiserizing them today knowing what I know now after living aboard and sailing “So It Goes” for ages.

For starters, there’s a CAL 34 going for $1k which is floating right side up, has a mast, and an engine that does not work. I expect there are a bunch of other issues but at less than the cost of the lead in the keel $1,000 would still be a lot of boat for the money.

$1K Cal34

My first thought would be to get rid of the mast and rig since I’m sure that the rig is way past its sell-by date. The mast could be salvaged and I could sell it for $500 or so which is close to what I could build a new mast in terms of materials. Since I’m sure I’d also have to replace the dreaded I-beam, it would also be a great time to beef up the compression post to support a serious tabernacle arrangement if keeping the boat as a sloop or change the location of the step in aid of a junk or lug rig.

Then there’s the non-functioning motor which I’d replace with an Atom Voyager inspired outboard installation with either a 6HP gas or electric outboard which is really all one requires to move the boat when needful. While I’m at it, I’d seriously consider moving the rudder back to the transom which would improve the balance and make incorporating a simple self-steering trim tab both cheap and easy.

As far as the interior goes, the Lapworth design works just fine and while I’m sure it would need some work and sprucing up, it wouldn’t be difficult or expensive.

The rest just comes down to cosmetics.

Do the work yourself, use affordably sourced materials, avoid mission creep, and you’ll have a pretty awesome boat for $7.5K or less.

I’ll go into a bit more detail in the next post…

Share this post

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top