Ralph Chant and his wife Cheryle bought their CAL21 as a stop-gap, but have found that she fulfills their requirements admirably.
Splash is my wife Cheryl's and my third trailer-sailer. In 2001 we went looking for a TS to use in pending retirement. It had to be able to be towed by a Falcon ute, which frequently carries a glide-on camper, which is used as an on-shore base when not sailing.
We first saw Splash under a gum tree at the Bendigo Yacht Club. Apparently she had not been off the trailer for about seven years. Nobody at the club could remember when she had last been on the water. Her trailer sported rusted and collapsed rims with perished and split tyres. The decks and most of her cockpit were growing a green mossy mould usually found on old roofs and deserted caravans. The hull was streaked with that black stuff that forms on objects left under gum trees. After hunting for 18 months we had not found what we required so we decided to have a closer look at Splash. The aim was to get onto the water. Then while sailing Splash, we could look at other boats in our own time.
Sound but in need of TLC
A close inspection showed the boat, its rigging, sails and trailer to be sound but requiring work. Boat: repaint hull and deck. Trailer: new wheel bearings, rims, tyres, disc pads and over-ride cable. As it turned out, after a pressure wash and a cut and polish, painting was not required.
When all the work was completed, we had a clean, very solid yacht on a roadworthy trailer. We equipped her with a new 15hp electric start four-stroke Mercury outboard. Mind you, the outboard cost more than the rest of it combined.
Our CAL21 is a swing keel, raised-deck trailer-sailer with built-in buoyancy. She is a 7/8th sloop rig. Compared to modern designs, the CAL21 carries a small sail area. This means that she is slow. But it helps to make her a comfortable and stable cruiser. From the limited information available, we think our boat (Sail No 139) was built circa 1975.
The flush deck allows easy crew movement around the entire boat. Changing headsails and spinnaker handling is greatly assisted by having a flat, open work place for the forward hand. It is and old-fashioned deck layout. Halyards are internal to the mast and are tied off on the mast. No halyards lead back to the cockpit as they do on modern yachts. She sports two deck winches.
Splash's mainsail can be roller-reefed and the jibs can be hanked onto the forestay for racing or a jib furler can be used for cruising. When required, she can fly a large, tri-radial masthead spinnaker.
The cockpit comfortably seats four adults for cruising and dining. Splash is fitted with a bimini which ð due to the high-aspect ratio of the CAL21's mainsail ð there is plenty of room for behind the arc of the boom.
The raised deck gives excellent sitting headroom and comfortable sleeping arrangements for two adults and two children. On the port side, there is a small galley with a two-burner dual-fuel stove, a stainless-steel sink and a manual tap that draws from a 10L water tank. Pots, pans and the like are stowed under the stove. Plates and cups in a rack above and behind the stove. The dinette comfortably sits two adults. The table drops down to provide a 2-1m bunk on the starboard side of the cabin. Food is stowed in a locker under the head of this bunk. There is a 2.2m quarter berth under the portside cockpit seat and a large V-berth up front. Splash carries a full set of breakfast dining silver. A Porta-Potti is carried under the V-berth.
The cabin is fitted with 12-volt fluro lighting, and there is a power distribution box that has five 12-volt cigarette lighter sockets. This box provides power to the fish/depth-finder, nav lights, TV and radios. The box draws from one of two 12-volt batteries that are kept charged by the outboard motor.
At anchor, the hatch can be swung up and a boom tent erected and, depending on the weather, cockpit dining is the order of the day.
The CAL21 has a lazarette, which has a petrol, oils, lubricants and tool locker in the centre and an in-built esky on the port side of the lazarette. On the starboard side the stern is let in to allow for the mounting of an outboard motor. Under the starboard cockpit seat, there is the largest storage locker I have ever seen on any trailer-sailer. It houses two 12-volt batteries, 12 2.5-litre water bottles, a mainsail, two jibs, spinnaker, cockpit table, cockpit shower kit, oars, boat hooks, spare anchor, ropes, a boom tent, diving and fishing gear, and there is room to spare. Mind you, when fully loaded for cruising, Splash heels slightly to starboard.
Up front there is an anchor locker that houses two anchors. One anchor is a 6kg Danforth fitted with four metres of chain and 20m of rope. The other Danforth weighs 10kg, is fitted with six metres of chain and 40m of rope. The big one is our primary anchor and the smaller one is mostly deployed off the stern.
Splash's trailer is a single-axle, tilt trailer. The trailer is fully galvanised and fitted with torsion bar suspension and mechanical over-ride disc brakes. It has alloy rims and light truck radials. The hubs have bearing buddies. There is a two-ratio manual winch up front and a spare wheel fits to the winch post. Fully loaded for holidays, the boat and trailer came in at 1600kg on our local weighbridge.
Since acquiring Splash, Cheryl and I have trailed her to Gippsland every year as well as trips to Port Phillip and Corio Bay, Goolwa in SA, Lake Mulwalla and to Cairns via Goondiwindi. As a trio, we have covered 15,000km on the road and more than 200km at sea. A real “trailer-sailer”.
High and dry
The CAL21, due to its high freeboard, is a dry boat that is comfortable to sail. They can be raced, but demand a high level of skill and concentration to get them to perform. As a cruiser, they are a lovely boat with forgiving sea-keeping abilities, allowing for relaxed and comfortable cruising. And living in the boat, on the road, always attracts the nicest form of curiosity. The longest period of time that we have lived aboard is two weeks. We shower in the cockpit using a manually pressurised micro-spray. Very efficient and can be purchased in the gardening department of any hardware store.
LOA . . . 6.4m
Disp . . . 805kg
Ballast . . . 410kg
Sail area . . . 19.2sqm
AUTHORS BIO. Ralph has been sailing, off and on, since he was eight years old. He purchased his first trailer-sailer in 1974. He and Cheryl retired two years ago and have been travelling and trailer-sailing ever since. Their next sailing adventure will be to Tasmania ð via the ferry, of course.
The author sails Splash (CAL21) back into Trinity Beach's Bluewater Marina, just north of Cairns.