cal 4040

Stephens Waring Design takes a fresh look at an old classic…
Listen up, all you Cal 40 owners and racers: We have nothing but deep love and true respect for all you do, and what you represent. But, we have two serious marine design words for you all: “It’s time.”
Over the past several months, we have been tinkering with several questions for cruisers/racers for the California, Oregon and Washington coasts. Not everyone realizes how a fertile the waters of the western U.S. have been for yacht innovation. But everything from America’s Cup boats to Bill Lee’s ultra-light TransPac racing sleds have flourished in these open waters that are lucky enough to have the people with the means to race on them in style and speed.
One of the most iconic west-coast craft is, of course, the Cal 40. Starting from around 1963 to something like 1971 about 160 of these super-light, super-simple 40-footers were built. And amazingly, most are still raced, cruised and loved to this day. It’s a hot topic, even now, what Cal 40 owners do to their boats, how they address the yacht’s issues. And what gets spent to support the residual values. Cal 40 restorations are big deals. We old-boat nerds love that.
So, while we so respect the dedication for the wholesome values of these marvelous boats, we have to be honest about what a career in finessing designs from years past has taught us about keeping older designs relevant: The Cal40, as she is configured today, is blithely sailing into dangerous design shoals.
Read on.