Cal 29

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The Cal 2-29 is a Bill Lapworth design and is a cruiser/racer class sloop.


  • LOA – 29.34 ftCal 2-29 Sailboat
  • LWL – 24 ft
  • Beam – 9.25 ft
  • Draft – 4.5 ft (fin keel)
  • Displacement – 8000 lbs
  • Ballast (lead keel) – 3350lbs
  • Sail Area – 434 sq ft
  • Theoretical Hull Speed – 6.6 knots (we’ve clocked 9kts with GPS and knotmeter)
  • Sail Area to Displacement Ratio – 17.36 (pretty good ratio for performance)
  • Displacement to LWL – 258 (cruiser/racer)
  • Farymann A30M Diesel Inboard w/Nanni 2:1 Reduction transmission (12HP 1-Cyl)


Cal 2-29 Line Drawing

Cal 2-29 Line Drawing

6 comments on “Cal 29

  1. Hi Richard, My name is Ken and I believe I contacted you maybe 7 months ago with questions about my Cal29. I now have a new problem. About 2 months ago, I grounded it on some rocks. After getting pulled off, I looked for any damage and found under the step/access panel to the battery/ engine compartment, some separation of the sides to the front panel, also, a little more water than normal coming in. Upon pulling the boat out for winter storage, the only visible damage was two dings in the keel about the diameter of a softball. There were no visible cracks.The invisible problem, the keel is now loose to where it will swing sideways. Not to where it looks like it will fall off, only maybe an 2 inches in either direction.
    After posting this issue on the Cruisers and Sailors forum, one of the responders stated that to his knowledge, the keel is built right into the hull and the 3400 lb lead ballast is dropped into the keel and filled over with whatever material they used. Being involved in the construction industry, the various ways that I figured out to repair this issue, such as stripping all the glass off the ballast and then trying to re-glass it to the hull, all appear to be expensive to the point where the insurance company would consider it totalled considering the age and agreed value.
    I would love to avoid this for various and obvious reasons to which I’m sure your aware of. With that said, I have come up with another solution I would like your opinion on, especially considering your architectural and engineering background. What if we drilled let’s say,eight or ten long holes down into the keel from the bilge and then filled them with metal rods.
    Does this sound like a feasible, effective repair for this situation? What diameter and length should the rods be? What type of metal? Any other suggestions would be much appreciated. This is a great boat that we have we paid $3500.00 for and have invested another 5 or 6K in upgrades. I would hate to loose her. Thanks for any input.


    • Wow, Sorry to hear about this.. First, I must provide a disclaimer that I am in no way qualified to recommend structural repairs to a boat. You should probably consult a naval architect or reliable boat yard..

      However, I will comment on a couple things from my own experience with our Cal 2-29..

      1.) On our boat, the bilge area under the batteries and engine is completely isolated from the rest of the bilge. There is no way for water to drain out, so ANY water that gets in there is stuck there. Ours had a big manual bilge pump mounted in front of the batteries that we periodically used to empty that section when there was water. To my knowledge the only sources of water in that area are:
      a.) The prop shaft packing
      b.) The raw water lines and pump for the motor

      So my suggestion there is to pump out that area and see if more water is coming in, and try to identify the source. I believe the reason for the isolation is in the event of oil or fuel leaks, the oil/fuel won’t drain down to the lower bilge and get pumped out to sea.

      2.) Regarding the keel. Ours had a little wobble, maybe an inch or two, the entire time we owned it. IT was never an issue. The hull fiberglass form includes the keel area and the lead is encapsulated inside. The structural reinforcement for the keel seems to be primarily the stringers across the bilge and the fiberglass itself.
      There are several cases of people running into issues with the keel wobble becoming excessive and having to repair it. Our naval architect contact suggested that we could build/reinforce the stringers under the floor, possibly with some carbon fiber, if it became a problem.

      I don’t believe there is any need to internally reinforce the lead itself. If I recall correctly, some owners stripped the bottom paint off and found cracks around the keel to hull joint area, so they reinforced with fiberglass, faired, and repainted. If you have separation of stringers inside the boat, you may need to tighten that all up and reinforce the joints with glass or carbon.

      I don’t see any reason to strip all of the glass off the keel, and in fact I would think that would cause structural impairment beyond what you might have currently.

      All that said, you may not actually have any structural issues, the keel movement may be normal for the age, so work through the easy stuff first (stuffing box and engine raw water system to identify any sources of water), and possibly strip away some of the bottom paint around the area that the keel meets the hull and check for cracking and flexing there.

      Also, I believe the Cal_List on Yahoo Groups has several members that have dealt with this themselves.

  2. Hello Richard,
    I recently purchased a 1978 Cal 2-29 and I found the standard equipment list on your site very helpful.
    I have a 1978 with the dining table that swings up and bolts to the main bulkhead and two settees. Is that the version of the 2-29 that you have? I also have the Atomic 4.
    – John

    • Do you have a starboard side inline galley and two quarter berths? Or an L galley and one quarterberth? If you have the L galley, and a single quarterberth only, along with a swing up dining table, I believe that means you have a 3-29, which a handful were made near end of production.

      I am not aware of any swing up tables on 2-29’s, though I could just not be remembering correctly.

      Our 2-29 had a table on a post, and we had a short post to swap in for converting to a dinette. We had the Farymann A30M in ours, single cylinder 12HP diesel. Very simple but worked well.

  3. Richard,
    I must actually have the Cal 3-29. It is the L-Galley with one quarter birth. It is Hull # 1005. Probably one of the last ones made. It has the Atomic 4 – which must have been an option instead of the Diesel. The L-Galley opens up the interior and was probably done to counter competitors, who were opting for this design. It does complicate access to the engine. The boat needs some upgrading, but the overall fit and finish is very good. The boat had a FAMET furler, which is still functional, but I may go with something of newer design. I think your site is very helpful, especially if you end up with a boat with little background information from the owner.
    – John

  4. I’m looking at buying a 29 with wheel steering, that I would like to convert to tiller. Do you have any info about this type of job, or can you point to any online resources? Thanks in advance.

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