Cal 40: World’s coolest yachts

Published on November 20th, 2022

Yachting World has been asking top sailors and marine industry gurus to choose the coolest and most innovative yachts of our times, and when they turned the question to one of the world’s most accomplished navigators, Stan Honey nominated the Cal 40. Here’s the report:


The Cal 40 has iconic status in the United States and was a game-changer in the 1960s as a true racer/cruiser. Designed by Bill Lapworth, it has a radical flat-bottomed hull and separate rudder and keel, and was famed for its downwind surfing performance.

“The Cal 40 revolutionized yacht design,” says Honey. “All ocean racers that came after had the fin keel and spade rudder that the Cal 40 proved in the mid-1960s, dominating the sport including the Transpac, Bermuda Race, SORC etc. The Cal 40 remains competitive in racing and an easy-to-sail, well-mannered cruising boat, perfect for a couple.

“One aspect of owning a Cal 40 is that everywhere you go folks come by the boat and tell stories about how they used to race on a Cal 40 and that they love the boat. They have friends and admirers everywhere. It’s like driving a 1965 Mustang, everybody has fond memories. The Cal 40 changed the design of offshore sailboats, like the ’65 Mustang changed the design of cars, forever.”

Cal 40 stats rating
Top speed: 22 knots
LOA: 11.99m/39.3ft
Launched: 1963
Berths: 6
Price: $30,000-$80,000
Adrenalin factor: 70%


For Yachting World’s list of cool boats, click here.

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