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Bumbré, Cal 28
Interior | Exterior

I started researching cruising sailboats soon after reading the book Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi and Bernadette Brennan, many years before we ever actually looked at any boats to buy. We chartered sailboats and I started looking at boats on Yachtworld.com. I also started compiling a list of anything that seemed necessary in a cruising sailboat. I checked out different Web sites, read many books, and studied the differences in coastal cuisers, like Hunters, and more rugged offshore boats, like Valiants. Once we decided to take the relatively easy route down the intercoastal waterway (ICW) to the Caribbean, there were many more types of boats that we could consider.

In the fall of 2002 we decided it was now or never if we wanted to go on this trip, so we started looking more seriously. We defined our price range at between $10,000 and $20,000--knowing the less we spent on the boat, the more money we'd have to put into upgrades and repairs. There was a list of features that we thought were important before a boat could even be considered. These were things like a diesel engine, propane stove, wheel steering (as opposed to tiller), and it had to be under 35 feet. Then there was the list of things we would like to have, such as an L or U shaped galley, good engine access, large water tanks, and a comfortable cockpit. Having items like refrigeration, radar, autopilot, and other luxuries would be a plus, but in our price range we new that would be tough, and these things could be added relatively easily after purchase. The boat also had to be clean and well cared for by the previous owners, as we wouldn't have time to completely tear her apart and rebuild her in the months before we left. Early in the search we realized that our demands were many, and it was virtually impossible to meet them in our price range.

After looking on Yachtworld.com and contacting numerous different individuals about boats up and down the East Coast, we decided to get a look at some boats first-hand at a local yacht dealer. I didn't expect much and really just wanted to give my wife a feel of what sort of boat she was to expect in our price range. Up to that point, she had only been on charters like Beneteaus, and had gotten used to their roominess and amenities. I thought it was important to "lower" her expectations a little bit; I told her we could end up with a boat older then she was. When we sat down in front of the broker I told him what we were looking for and our price range, and he a laid out a group of about ten boats for us to see.

Looking at the Cal 28
Bumbré before we bought her
The very first boat we went onto was a Cal 28, which was about as small as I wanted to go. But I had read good things about Cals, and thought it was worth considering.

The boat looked to be in great shape, and as we went below decks I was pleasantly surprised to find a roomy, good-looking interior. It had a diesel engine, propane stove, brand new autopilot and many of the other things we had hoped for. For a 28-footer she seemed really spacious, but she was above our price range at almost $29,000. We looked at many other boats in the 30-foot range including a 31-foot Southern Cross going for $60,000. But after the first day of our search, the only boat we both agreed on was the Cal.

That night at dinner Jen and I talked about how much we liked the Cal, and I decided I'd have another look at it if it was still on the market the next weekend. A week later, I called the the marina, and sure enough the Cal was still available. I went down and spent a day opening everything and basically taking apart the whole boat, checking out the storage, and looking for signs of neglect or structural issues. There was nothing out of the ordinary; she seemed to be in great condition, but the price was still above what we wanted to spend.

The boat did have many features we hoped for and thus would not have to purchase ourselves later, so we did a few calculations and decided to make a bid. After some haggling with the broker we found a common ground on a price that included winter storage, bottom painting, and launching, as well as repairing a few issues found during my inspection. The survey of the boat went well, and after that, the deal was sealed. A little over a month had passed since we started looking at boats, and a process I believed would take many more months was completed well ahead of schedule. We had our boat.

About Bumbré
Interior | Exterior

Cal 28 Sailplan
Cal 28 Sailplan
Dimensions
  • LOA: 28' 3"
  • LWL: 23' 4"
  • Beam: 10' 8"
  • Draft: 5' 3"
  • Keel: 2825 lbs
  • Displacement: 7200 lbs

    Engine
  • Make: Westerbeke
  • HP: 13.5
  • Hrs: 660
  • Fuel: 17 gals

    Accommodations, Sleeps 6 (barely)
  • 2 Queen V berth
  • 2 Side settee's
  • 2 Queen Quarter berth

    Cal 28 layout
    Cal 28 layout
    Salon
  • Max 5' 11" headroom
  • 2 full settee's
  • Center table folds up to seat 6

    Galley/Head
  • L shaped Galley
  • Gimbaled propane stove
  • Magma propane BBQ (regular size)
  • Water: 40 gals
  • Groco Marine Head
  • Holding Tank: 16 gals

    Electronics
  • Simran radar
  • Adeco Spectrum VHF
  • Garmin Handheld GPS
  • Raytheon Autohelm autopilot
  • Depth sounder
  • Speed indicator

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