Boats similar to Cal Yachts 46 Mk III
|Make:||Cal Yachts 46 Mk III|
|Model:||46 Mk III|
|Location:||Marina Del Rey, CA, United States of America|
|Keel Type||Full Keel|
|Offered by:||Denison Yacht Sales|
Today, the Cal 46 stands as a boat that in many ways was ahead of its time, combining as it did a daringly different layout with 270-degree visibility from the deckhouse, a spade rudder and long cruising keel. That they are still revered and sought after comes as no surprise.
When it came to designing the ultimate cruising boat, Lapworth wasn’t about to settle for a slug. The Cal 46 has a displacement/length ratio of 250, which is considered moderate even today. When in 1973 Robert Perry designed the Valiant 40 with a D/L ratio of 260, many critics said it was too light for offshore work. After numerous, safe circumnavigations, the critics were proven wrong. Of course the Cal 46 is a big boat and when carrying a full load of fuel, water and provisions for cruising, its actual D/L ratio will be higher.
The boat has moderate overhangs by today’s standards, though in the 1960s it probably didn’t seem so. The spoon bow and carefully proportioned transom balance well. And there is some nice sheer to elevate the bow and keep it drier in bad weather. The deckhouse of the original 46 had large windows and the smallish cockpit was immediately aft of the mast. The coachroof stepped down about midship to the long, windowless cabin trunk, giving it a somewhat awkward appearance.
In the 2-46, the cockpit was pushed aft, and windows added to the cabin trunk for a much more handsome and balanced profile.
A sloop rig was the only option until 1973, when a ketch rig was made available. We don’t know how many of each were sold, but to our eye, the ketch seems more appropriate to the boat. For cruising, the extra stick enables the crew to sail with “jib and jigger” in high winds, and to fly a mizzen staysail in very light air. Neither rig has a lot of sail area, however. The short rig was mandated by the relatively shoal draft and high center of gravity. It was assumed, correctly, that most owners would find the beefy 85-hp. Perkins diesel the perfect antitdote to doldrums and drifters.
One of the more unusual features of the Cal 46 is its large spade rudder. Lapworth wanted to retain some performance features and apparently a keelhung rudder was anathema to his creed. The keel is quite long, though cut away significantly in the forefoot. It terminates just behind the cabin trunk, leaving space between it and the spade rudder for the propeller, which in the original 46 exits the deadwood horizontally for top efficiency. The Cal 2-46 relocates the engine closer to midships. Both drive the boat at its hull speed of about 8.5 knots with a cruising range of 1,200 miles.
The spade rudder gives the boat better control in tight maneuvering situations than a keel-hung rudder, especially since the keel is so long. The drawback
is the potential to snag lines on both the rudder and propeller. Addressing the question, the Feiges’ wrote: “It does have a spade rudder, which many people would call a fault in a cruising boat, but considering the advantages, and considering the damaged rudders of all kinds we have seen in boat yards, we’ll take our chances with our big beautiful spade.”
Draft is shoal at five feet. Clearly this boat isn’t going to climb away from a lee shore like an eightfoot draft fin keel racer, but as cruising is its priority, this was a trade-off Lapworth was willing to make. Even the shallow waters of the Florida Keys and Bahama banks won’t pose a problem for the Cal 46. And if you need to get to windward in a hurry? Crank up the iron jenny!
Nevertheless, spade rudders do require extra caution, especially in areas where fish nets and lobster pots are prevalent. Indeed, floating lines and logs are a menace worldwide, and the smart skipper will have some plan in mind for the eventuality of cutting free lines or other obstructions.
Cal 46 Cabin Layout
The Cal 46, like most early Cal boats, was hand-laid of solid fiberglass using cloth and woven roving. An early brochure states that the hull was engineered for
“maximum impact strength,” using “compressive strength materials on the outside” and “tensile strength materials on the inside.”
The lead ballast was precast in a mold, then lowered into the fiberglass keel cavity and glassed over. The wood bulkheads and structural furniture were fiberglassed to the hull. According to the company’s literature, this occurred before removing the hull from the mold, which is highly desirable. Removing the hull before it is fully supported, as some builders do, encourages the possibility of the hull deforming and making the fitting of the deck sloppy. The joint was “bonded together to form a double-thick seam” and “concealed by a decorative rubber or teak rail on the outside, and rendered invisible on the inside by filling, taping, sanding, and painting.” The sealant used was 3M 5200 and the joint was through-bolted with 1/4-inch machine screws.
Interior joinerwork is Burmese teak. Overhead panels were covered with vinyl. The sole of some models was plywood supported by 2 x 2s and aluminum angles, with teak and holly over.
The large windows on all models (though their size were progressively reduced after the original 46), are a cause for concern. Most owners mentioned it in completing our Owner’s Questionnaire. Not only did they seem weak, but leaked as well. Most owners said they had replaced them with stronger materials or permanently covered them. At the least, some provision for attaching storm shutters should be made.
A 2-46 brochure says the two fuel tanks (totaling 135 gallons) are “10 gauge steel.” Water tanks, at least in later models, are stainless steel.
Overall, owners rate the construction of the Cal 46 as excellent. While the smaller Cals may have been regarded as budget boats, we have repeatedly observed that the larger boats in a company’s line are frequently built to higher standards. This appears to be the case with the Cal 46. At the same time, remember that this was a production boat with precut interior components, so don’t expect custom quality joinerwork and finish work.
The original Cal 46 featured V-berths forward with its own head compartment, a raised deckhouse with dinette and galley, and a large “living room” aft with settees and a sofa bed. Aft of it is a large head with shower and access to the engine room, which had room for a workbench and generator set. In this configuration, the engine was coupled to a V-drive. Owners of all 46s are unanimous in their praise for the large engine room and its standing headroom. As one owner wrote, when her husband is fixing something on the workbench, “he, and the mess, is not in my hair.”
The great appeal of the raised deckhouse is the ability to see through the windows while seated—no need to stand up every time you hear a noise!
The galley was moved into the passageway aft, making it smaller but more secure. Owner wrote, “We can hand food directly up into the cockpit through our port located above the sink. The saloon, without the galley, looks huge. There is plenty of storage space, and the largest chart table I’ve ever seen.
The center-cockpit layout of the 46 was unusual in the late 1960s and early 1970s. By providing a stateroom at each end of the boat, two couples can cruise in privacy, leaving the dinette “up” all of the time. In a pinch, it could sleep extra crew.
An attraction of the 46 is that neither Lapworth nor Jensen tried to squeeze too much into the hull, leaving plenty of room for stowage and working, which is exactly what a couple or family needs when venturing far from home.
On deck, the cockpit is quite elevated and dry.
Consequently, the cabin is tall; some may find it less pleasing to the eye than a lower-profile structure. But that would require higher freeboard, which might impair sailing performance. It may be helpful to install steps somewhere to make it easier to climb from the deck to the coachroof.
The side decks are not as wide as one might expect on a 46-footer, but remember that this design has just 12′ 6″ beam. And, as is usually the case, the designer wanted to maximize space below. Stepping around the shrouds can be a nuisance, but at least you have a handhold.
The cockpit seats are long enough to sleep on and the backrests are tall.
As one would expect of a boat with a short rig and shallow keel, sailing performance is not grand prix. The hull, however, is easily driven and the long waterline helps achieve good speeds, especially when the wind is up. Several owners said light-air performance was less than stellar, but then one must remember this boat is part motor sailer, with a large diesel for such conditions.
On the plus side, the rig fits under the East Coast’s Intracoastal Waterway fixed bridges. And, for those venturing to the latitudes of balmy tradewinds, which routinely blow at 20 miles per hour and more, a smaller rig is more easily handled, while still providing sufficient power to reach hull speed. Because it is a bit under rigged, one owner said the boat can carry full sails up to 25 knots of wind.
Most owners rate balance as superb. Several say the boat is a bit tender and that early reefing is a requisite of comfortable passage-making.
Performance under power is good. The Perkins 4-236 diesel is an excellent engine. The reduction gear is 3:1. The standard propeller was a 26-inch, three blade that gives good power and control. Dragging it around under sail, however, is another matter. A good feathering propeller, such as a Max-Prop, would perceptibly increase sailing speeds as well as improve handling in reverse.
Motor sailers, as critics say, are neither beast nor fowl, representing either the best of both worlds, or the worst. The Cal 46 represents about a 70/30 split between sail and power. For a blue-watercruising boat, that isn’t bad. It sails decently on most points, and has the big diesel necessary not only for long periods of motoring, but also to run all of the convenience items important to long-term comfort at sea, such as refrigeration, inverter, desalinator and electric windlass. Equally important, there’s space in the engine room to install all of these goodies.
Cal 46 Price History
The Cal 46 is a big boat that’s sized right for long distance cruising. It appears that most owners have been devoted to their vessels, and a prospective buyer can only hope that they have maintained them with equal diligence and effort.
The problem, if you’re interested, is finding one. Though more than 100 were built, they don’t often appear on the market. We’d look for a 2-46 or 3-46, preferring their deck and interior to the original 46. We also like the ketch rig better than the sloop on this design.Known Issues
|Draft Max||1.52 meters|
|Cruising Speed||8.5 knots|
|Engine Horse Power||85.0|
|Propeller Type||3 Blade, Bronze, Feathering|
The Cal Yachts 46 Mk III is a 46 feet long. It boasts a 13 feet beam and a draft of 1.52 meters. This 1977 diesel Cal Yachts 46 Mk III is powered by a Perkins 4-236, with 85.0 horsepower. The Cal Yachts 46 Mk III is made of fiberglass.