Cal 48 For sale: Narrative history of her refit and travels.

Narrative history of our Cal 48 KOHO

Well the day has finally arrived to pass on our beloved Koho to someone who will take care of her. We purchased KOHO in Tampa in 1998, trucked her to Portland OR where we worked on her and then to Pocatello ID to  continue work on her and then to Napa CA to finish the job. I tried to follow the recommendations of a very complete marine survey by RD Shelley in Tampa, FLA as well as my own refit desires. In 2005 we headed south from the Bay Area to spend the Fall and winter in Mexico with the goal of heading across the Pacific in the spring.  I had totally rebuilt and refurbished  the 1967 Yawl personally and with expert help.  Major life events abrogated our world cruising plans and she was dry-docked in San Carlos MX for a few years. In 2009 my daughter Heidi and I sailed her back from southern Mexico to Alaska where she had remained in dry storage in Hoonah, Alaska, a beautiful native community across from Glacier Bay Natl Park.  I brought her back to the Pacific Northwest in May 2014.  I have some current photos taken there last summer. We cruised her a summer visiting old haunts and harbors in SE Alaska but changes to my  health  necessitate  selling this sturdy, swiftboat to someone who will use her. I will post info on these fabulous Cal racers but I see the Cal48 has a facebook page here!/pages/CAL-48-Yachts/102018083197140. KOHO also has a Facebook page called Koho Owens created by Heidi here.. with more pictures.
KOHO will be for sale for $39K  which is less than the cost of her refit. She needs little  in the way of work to head across the Gulf of Alaska or around the world. She is primarily set up for Northwest cruising with extensive and expensive electronics(Furuno) including radar, chart plotter and charts, multiple depth sounders including a powerful internal furuno transducer.  The Interphase depth sounder has fwd looking and side scanning modes making it extremely useful navigating into uncharted waters and among pinnacles. It slides out on a track easily seen from the cockpit. I have a full complement of Paper charts but we almost always used a laptop with charts using the Maxsea navigational software.We have CD charts of the ENTIRE WORLD which will go with KOHO.. I added a color LCD display mounted in the cockpit which not only outputted the charts but also Nav Data and even the Furuno 36 mile color Radar NAVNET display.  She also has the optional Furuno Weatherfax/Navtex unit which was very valuable in the Pacific. Koho has 2 Furuno GPSs and an ICOM VHF radio with 2 antennas She sports a commercial hydraulic auto pilot(WH) as well as a canvas sided pilothouse with hard aluminum dodger topped with a large array of solar panels which run all electronics and keep the batteries topped up without the need to run the engine which has a 90 amp and large 200 amp twin belted alternators. She has ample diesel tankage. Her base cupronickel 70 gal factory tank plus an added 50 gallon aluminum keel tank. I installed a fuel polishing system which constantly cleans the tanks when we are under power by means of circulating the fuel through large Racor filters. She has a diesel cookstove(Adriatic) as well as a deluxe Aussie Broadwater propane stove and oven. We lost our Hood furler near a  minimal Cat 1 hurricane in Mexico  but she sails very fast with just hank on sails as she takes little in the way of canvas to make 8-9 knots. We added new sails for her return trip to Alaska from Mexico. She has 2 mains, staysail, storm trysail, storm jib, a 100% jib and a  few rarely used genoas.  We blew out our little mizzen in a gale off Oregon so she will need a new mizzen. During the same gale our old fully battened main parted and we completed the voyage on a backup main. She has all new over strength 316 SS rigging(3/8″), new  oversize super duplex stainless chainplates and  mast tangs, and  bronze 5/8″turnbuckles  with sta-lok or Norseman terminals. The rigging and mast is grounded below water by bronze and copper bolts and strapping  for lightning protection running full length along the keel. We skirted a tropical depression in MX and sailed in  numerous gales on the trip up the West Coast on our way to Alaska. This is one strong boat. Before the refit, not so much. I was formerly a commercial fisherman in the Gulf(Alaska) and have seen some really rough weather and KOHO saw quite a lot of Force 6-8 conditions with no worries. She is sleek, dry and fast and underwent extensive hull and deck and bulkhead reinforcement  to all bulkheadswith epoxy fiberglass, a layer of kevlar and laminated yellow cedar forward for impact protection, and a 5/16” steel shoe  on the fwd keel .  One of our intended destinations as the South Atlantic and Antarctica and hull and rig strength was foremost in our minds. She has sheet urethane foam insulation in hull and deck which keeps her warm and dry below with no annoying water drips.  An overhead was installed using Off white vinyl and #932 eggshell Formical attached to ¼” plywood, screwed to epoxy fastened backing strips facilitating easy removal for later maintenance. The boat from the factory had only painted fiberglass overhead, and cabin sole.  Two Laminated deck beams and additional plywood were added  under high stress areas like deck tracks and under the heavy  windlass.  She  had 2 small areas  under the sidedeck staysail tracks with some dry rot which was repaired with injected West Epoxy following their detailed instructions. Her hull to deck joint was cleaned and sanded and lifted off the hull and reattached with #5200 and rebolted with SS bolts and then re fastened and epoxy glassed inside and out to solve the problem of hull to deck leaks, a common problem in older racers. All the bulkheads were then reglassed to the deck and reinforced where needed with many layers of epoxy and glass especially in high stress areas in the fwd bulkheads.  The leak prone Teak toerail was removed and replaced with a ½”X2” aluminum toerail and  black ¾” X 2” UHMW rub strips bolted or blind tapped to the hull for protection against barnacle encrusted pilings and other boats. New cleats were added which were bolted to ¼” aluminum plates and aluminum angle which were in turn bolted to bulkheads where possible.  Virtually all the blocks were replaced with new Garhauer ss units. In the cold wet Alaskan climate she is warm and dry with her diesel Dickinson stove. Additionally, she has 2 electric 110V baseboard heaters under the salon settes for use in port.  She has a large  powerful Ideal vertical windlass with  400′ of  HT  3/8”chain. The windlass can be operated in the bow with foot controls as well as in the cockpit and has a SS handle for backup hoisting of the 66 lb Bruce anchor. She may be sold with our NZ aluminum hull Hypalon inflatable. She has a Isuzu 60 hp diesel with about 660 hours with a feathering adjustable Italian made  22″ 3 BLADE MAX PROP. She is highly maneuverable with her spade rudder and under power with her large 3 blade feathering prop. She has a large V berth stateroom forward. Aft to port is the forward head with a Lavac toilet used offshore only. Across from the fwd head is a large cedar lined hanging locker with light. Aft is the main salon with a slide out settee berth. Outboard of that is a secure sea berth with lee cloths. She has aqua Naugahyde like upholstery and high density cushions throughout which are in v. good condition, many lightly used. To port in the salon I eliminated the full length settee berth and pilot berths and converted them to food and book and gear storage. The long folding 6′ long salon table was removed and replaced with 2 small folding eating tables. The table was removed because in the narrow hull, it dominated the salon making any movement difficult when folded down and impossible when deployed. Koho has an enormous teak cockpit and we found our family always took our meals there instead of below. I did take care in the salon remodel by leaving virtually all the original cabinet and furniture structure intact and my added cabinetry was attached to the existing framing with aluminum and steel angle brackets.  This would allow a later owner to restore the interior to her original racing configuration should he or she so desire. To continue the tour: aft of the port salon is the Dickinson cookstove mounted centrally  with the ss flue exiting the hull in the midline.  Above deck the flue has strong 316 ss grab rails protecting it from errant lines, sails etc. SS grab rails also protect the deck dorades. To port along the hull is a large gimbaled Broadwater propane stove with oven and broiler. Over this stove I added an opening Bomar deck hatch for ventilation. This  stove  has an electric shut off  solenoid on the two 7.5 gal aluminum  propane tanks  which are located aft of the mizzen masts on deck. After two failures in 3 years(one replaced under warranty) we elected to turn off the tanks manually. The poorly insulated Cal 48 icebox was replaced with a foam insulated custom fridge with a Glacier Bay type vacupanel lid. It is cooled by a 1/2 horse 12 V powered commercial compressor utilizing a water cooled cupronickel condenser and ss holding plate.All maintenance controls are easily accessed below the Port berth. Additionally it has a finned air cooled condenser for use in dry storage. To starboard is the unusual salon entry ladder flanking a large hanging locker which we used for food storage. The small shallow sink was replaced with a deep double ss sink with both fresh and saltwater faucets. The fresh water is accessed by foot pump. The fresh water tanks are  expensive cupronickel like the diesel tank. They are over 45 years old and have never leaked a drop! the fresh water has  a delicious taste as well. Initially we had a new pressure freshwater pump and accumulator tank installed but disconnected it when we headed across the Pacific to abrogate the accidental depletion of the water tanks. We now use only hand and foot pumps.

Continuing the tour aft you pass through a companionway door into the aft cabin. To stbd is the Nav station, to port is the aft head with another Lavac .  This head diverts waste to a holding tank or overboard by a valve.  I should mention that all the ancient gate valve sea cocks were replaced with marine  ball valve units with new marine hose with all new SS hose clamps. Aft of the head is a double berth. Aft of the Nav Station is a quarter berth traditionally the off watch berth of the skipper. The Nav station is the electronic heart of the boat with a large 12V breaker panel above and 110 V breakers below, well separated for safety.  A Prosine inverter/charger is mounted below. The boat was entirely rewired with tinned copper marine grade wiring with subpanels distributed throughout the boat facilitating troubleshooting of circuits. The original boat had only 2 110V outlets using non marine #14 gauge automobile quality wiring and outdated house breakers.  The 12V wiring was a few  old #14 and #16 gauge circuits with a mix of old breakers and fuses, poorly secured and difficult to access. Treadmaster covered steps allow access to the pilothouse/dodger area. The drop boards are ¾” teak or ¾” acrylic for good bombproof visibility!  The cockpit has a thick laminated glass dodger forward and vinyl windows port, starboard and aft. In warm weather the pilothouse curtains can be lifted and secured. The top of the pilothouse is Aluminum and it is well braced. There is an acrylic hatch in the roof to view the sails and the sides have fiddles to collect rainwater along with SS rails for outboard safety. I designed the pilothouse to be removable for truck transport and we have removed the house both times we trucked Koho across the country. It takes half a day to reassemble and re bolt the house. Both in the pilothouse and below are ample and sturdy grab SS grap rails replacing flimsy teak rails for security in a rolling seaway.  Some double as webbing attachment for deck gear such as the Inflatable. I replaced the low and flimsy factory stanchions and pulpits with thick wall 36″ high  316 SS stanchions using 316 ss sockets of my own design with fish netting for safety. Her aft factory cable quadrant steering was rebuilt with new cable, sprockets and bearings . At sea we rarely steered with anything other than the WH autopilot remote which was powerful, sensitive and accurate and allowed movement forward for enhanced visibility. Aft of the cockpit is the mizzen mast which does double duty as a mounting platform for the electronics. Both masts have steps to the top for facilitating rig inspection and maintenance chores. There is an Aires Windvane mounted on the stern which we used once to confirm it worked properly(which it did). We disconnected  the wind vane lines. It remains as a a backup in case the WH autopilot fails. It never has. I prefer to steer by a heading rather than by wind direction. The WH hydraulic/electric autopilot is the same design as what I had installed on my 80,000 lb commercial Halibut/Salmon troller where it never failed in the at times rough Gulf of Alaska. It performed flawlessly on the recent trip south from Alaska in May 2014, steering virtually the entire way.

The hull was   double epoxy sealed barrier coated  using the WEST System and Copperpoxy followed by conventional antifouling paint. When I purchased her she had a few small blisters despite a well done epoxy barrier coat by her previous owner in Florida. She has been blister free ever since despite spending  years in warm Mexican waters as well as  in SE Alaska. The spade rudder was removed and X-rayed to inspect the  internal steel framing for corrosion, None was found and additional epoxy fiberglass was added. The rudder tube was also epoxy/graphite lined and reinforced per WEST system recommendations to reduce friction. There is a Gore Tex bearing/seal the the top of the rudder housing which has never leaked.

KOHO was painted with Epoxy and top coated with Sterling 2 part LP in 2005. The hull has lost luster and the deck could use a fresh coat after 9 years of wear and tear. Belatedly I must mention that during this long expensive refit,

No boat is perfect and Koho by now after 4 years in the harsh Alaskan climate will need some cosmetic attention.  I removed the shower and water heater for our transpacific trip because her tankage is just 90 gallons.The cockpit  and below deck teak  may need re varnishing and there may be leaks in all the usual places boats can leak. The electronics were all functional when I left her but electronics age just like the rest of us. She will need a new set of batteries if abundant voyaging capacity is desired. She has 2 new deep cycle batteries installed for the trip south from Alaska in 2014. She has capacity below for 7-9  #27 or #31 batteries. This  Cal 48  is big and powerful  and  without modern labor saving aids like headsail furlers, she  can be a real handful in gale conditions and above.  Nevertheless we have sailed her  shorthanded on long  Pacific voyages with just hank on sails. I have extensive offshore experience on a variety of sail and power vessels and I can honestly say I have never sailed a boat as controllable , predictable, stable and comfortable as this Cal 48. Steve Dashew in his book the Offshore Handbook recommended the Cal 48 as an excelled example of classic plastic. But I digress… With the fully battened main and Hood furler, I could single hand her 10 years ago under mild to moderate conditions.  The good news is that her sleek hull is easily driven with only modest canvas..  This boat like most old  CCA racers is not a roomy beamy liveaboard apartment. She has no current shower and we removed the large water heater after it failed very early on. She was designed to go to distant  places fast. That she does. In spades. To my knowledge Koho is structurally sound and most of the expensive refitting and strengthening has been done. If I were to keep her I would purchase a headsail furler, because in gale conditions Koho is perfectly balanced under just mizzen and staysail w or w/o a reefed main.  I would install a new mainsheet traveler  as well.
We may be reached at our mailing address: Hugh Owens, PO Box 309, Wilson WY 83014 or through our web sites: or or at  Our home phone is 307 203-2109. Call is 307 699-2254. I have additional pictures of the interior.  There are a few short sailing videos of Koho on the other links listed as well as some pics under sail and at anchor.

Nav Station

Published by Rendezvous Mountain Farm

I was born in Cascade county Montana and raised in a dozen Air Force SAC bases. I attended Holy Cross,West Point and UNC in Chapel Hill(MD"71). Army doc in the last years of the Viet Nam fiasco. My wife and I live in a log cabin I built from standing dead lodgepole trees we cut from Shadow Mountain and regional local timber in 1976 . I've done a dozen different jobs including construction, boat building,magazine writing and commercial fishing and retired from the Emergency and Operating Room in 2004. We manage a small diversified organic farm including leased land which totals about 40 acres in the Jackson Hole valley. We raise a variety of livestock which includes some heritage breeds of animals and poultry. We grow most of our food and forage. Our land is irrigated from Granite Creek and the Snake River and we raise and bale our own organic hay. We supplement with food collected from Jackson Hole Food rescue which is mostly dairy, bread and past date vegetables and food from the grocery stores and restaurants.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: