You donít have to ask the question "Want to go sailing?" twice to anyone on the SAILING Magazine staff. The occasion was the Caliber 40LRC Boat Test on the Lake Michigan waters only a stoneís throw from the office doorstep. The office cleared out in minutes on a fine fall afternoon complete with a 15-knot southerly blowing across the lake, still warm from the summer sun.
          The Caliber 40LRC was easy to spot as we headed out the dock to one of the few remaining sticks left in the marina. There is no mistaking this boat for a coastal cruiser or a lightweight racer. Its beefy bowsprit and cutter rig give it the stamp of a seaworthy offshore cruiser.
          Caliber Yachts of Clearwater, Florida, is run by the McCreary brothers. George runs the business side of the operation, while his naval architect brother Mike is the designer of the entire line of Calibers. Placing great emphasis on solid construction and offshore design, Caliber has steadily grown since 1980. The latest development is the Long Range Cruiser line, including the Caliber 40LRC.
          As we piled aboard and set about making ready to sail, I took a look around the well-thought-out deck layout.      The overall effect is a clean modern look. There is just a hint of teak on the coach roof, bowsprit and cockpit, enough to add a bit of style, but not enough to make teak maintenance an endless chore.
          The Caliber 40 is set up for short-handed sailing, with all sail control lines lead aft to Lewmar winches and rope clutches. All winches are self-tailing and there is Harken roller furling for the genoa.  Roller furling is an option for the staysail, which is flown from a removable inner forestay.

          The 40 we tested had the Dutchman mainsail handling system to make furling after sailing easy, but in-the-mast roller furling is also available on the Z-Spar mast.
          Ted Meljac of Great Lakes Marine Service, the Caliber dealer in Grafton, Wisconsin, handed us the keys, and we slipped the lines and headed out. The Caliber 40 handles comfortably under power, driven by a 50-horse-power Yanmar 4JH-2BE, but like most cruising boats, it needs a sure hand while backing to avoid stalling the rudder.
          As we headed out the gap, the southerly filled the sails. We had everything flying as we took off on a reach at more than 7 knots. The cutter rig allows for a variety of sail plan options. The self-tacking staysail is rigged to a track before the mast and makes tacking as easy as a sloop.
          As we hardened up, we realized we had a bit more canvas than was prudent, but the Caliber 40 shouldered it well. It laid over and the helm became somewhat stiff, but the boat tracked well to weather. Reducing sail was so simple it surprised the racing contingent on board. With a simple pull of the roller-furling strings, the Caliber 40 stood back up and sailed on at about 7 knots. Though it was more comfortable with reduced sail, the boat felt steady and in control even when overcanvassed.

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