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Cal 2-27's and Spar Losses
By Steve Seal
(originally published in the Cal 2-27 Class Association Newsletter, 1993)

I got involved with the Cal 2-27s in 1988 (the year three boats lost their rigs) when Roger Miller came to me for his new mast. My seat of the pants analysis at the time was that the stock wire sizes on the boat were too small and so I went one size heavier on all the stays except the backstay on Roger's boat.

When Don Walder lost his rig in the Ong Regatta due to a broken lower stay (the stay failed 1/2" inside the lower swedge fitting, as so often happens on older stays), I decided to do a complete spar and rigging analysis of the Cal 2-27 for my knowledge and for the good of the class.

I approached Carl Schumacher, Naval Architect (the designer of the Express boats) for his expertise. He told me that if he had a "righting moment" (a calculation of a boat's sail carrying ability or stiffness) for a Cal 2-27, he could do a complete computer analysis of the mast and rigging. After a number of long distance phone calls, including one to Bill Lapworth, it became evident that the Cal 2-27 had never had it's righting moment measured.

I then contacted Dick Horn, former Cal 2-27 owner and official IMS Measurer. When he heard what I was doing he volunteered his time for the project, as did Carl Schumacher. Thank you both!

Dick used my Cal 2-27 to measure righting moment. Once we had the calculations, Carl did more figuring, and plugged the numbers into his computer program. He came up with some interesting results. According to his analysis, the stay sizes on the Cal 2-27 are indeed too small. Especially the headstay, backstay and upperstays. And he said it wouldn't hurt if the lower stays went up one size as well, as they are more heavily loaded than the upper stays.

Even with the larger wire, it is still necessary to replace the standing rigging every seven to nine years. With the stock wire sizes I strongly recommend that the standing rigging be replaced in five, or at the longest, six years. If your rigging is older than that, you're on borrowed time. Don Walder's rigging was seven years old when he lost his rig.

Our boats have suffered way too many spar losses over the years. Going up one wire size on all the stays should solve the problem. Now, the plug - I have the specifications on Cal 2-27 standing rigging down, if you want to order new stays from me and change them yourselves. Or, I can do the complete job. Call me for details.

Steve Seal racing his Cal 2-27 Ex Indigo during the 1991 Vallejo Race.