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1978 Cape dory yachts Cape Dory 28

$13,900 USD

Seller's Description

Solidly built classic Alberg design. Very seaworthy and stable. Full keel. Holding tanks & interior woodwork in very good condition. Sails in good condition. Brightwork needs finishing. Fiberglass hull new Awlgrip finish 2012. Waterline painted 2023. Main cabin headroom 62. V berth 6 5 Main cabin settees 6w In water until September 28, 2023. On hard in Eliot Maine for off season.

Equipment: Volvo MD7a diesel engine. 2 main sails. 1 Genoa on roller furler. 1 spinnaker. Dodger. Boom cover. Manual pump head & 2 sinks. Ice box. Custom screens for port windows & curtains. 2 burner denaturated alcohol stove. 1 fresh water tank. 1 holding tank. Compass. Depth finder. GPS chart plotter. Radio. Autopilot for tiller. 2 battery operated fans. Ring buoy. Pick up pole. Aluminum 4 step ladder.


Carl Alberg
Cape Dory Yachts
Cape Dory Sailboat Owners Association
# Built
FG solid lamine hull/ cored deck.
Also Known As


Length Overall
27 11 / 8.5 m
Waterline Length
22 2 / 6.8 m
8 10 / 2.7 m
4 0 / 1.2 m
9,000 lb / 4,082 kg
3,500 lb / 1,588 kg (Lead)

Rig and Sails

Reported Sail Area
404′² / 37.5 m²
Total Sail Area
400′² / 37.1 m²
Sail Area
197′² / 18.3 m²
31 5 / 9.6 m
12 6 / 3.8 m
Air Draft
41 0 / 12.5 m
Sail Area
203′² / 18.8 m²
35 2 / 10.7 m
11 6 / 3.5 m
Forestay Length
37 0 / 11.3 m

Auxilary Power

Fuel Type
Fuel Capacity
32 gal / 121 l
Engine Hours


Water Capacity
60 gal / 227 l
Holding Tank Capacity
6 2 / 1.9 m


Hull Speed
6.2 kn
Classic: 6.32 kn

Hull Speed

The theoretical maximum speed that a displacement hull can move efficiently through the water is determined by it's waterline length and displacement. It may be unable to reach this speed if the boat is underpowered or heavily loaded, though it may exceed this speed given enough power. Read more.


Classic hull speed formula:

Hull Speed = 1.34 x √LWL

A more accurate formula devised by Dave Gerr in The Propeller Handbook replaces the Speed/Length ratio constant of 1.34 with a calculation based on the Displacement/Length ratio.

Max Speed/Length ratio = 8.26 ÷ Displacement/Length ratio.311
Hull Speed = Max Speed/Length ratio x √LWL

6.21 knots
Classic formula: 6.32 knots
Sail Area/Displacement
<16: under powered

Sail Area / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the power of the sails relative to the weight of the boat. The higher the number, the higher the performance, but the harder the boat will be to handle. This ratio is a "non-dimensional" value that facilitates comparisons between boats of different types and sizes. Read more.


SA/D = SA ÷ (D ÷ 64)2/3

  • SA: Sail area in square feet, derived by adding the mainsail area to 100% of the foretriangle area (the lateral area above the deck between the mast and the forestay).
  • D: Displacement in pounds.
<16: under powered
16-20: good performance
>20: high performance
<40: less stiff, less powerful

Ballast / Displacement Ratio

A measure of the stability of a boat's hull that suggests how well a monohull will stand up to its sails. The ballast displacement ratio indicates how much of the weight of a boat is placed for maximum stability against capsizing and is an indicator of stiffness and resistance to capsize.


Ballast / Displacement * 100

<40: less stiff, less powerful
>40: stiffer, more powerful
>350: ultraheavy

Displacement / Length Ratio

A measure of the weight of the boat relative to it's length at the waterline. The higher a boat’s D/L ratio, the more easily it will carry a load and the more comfortable its motion will be. The lower a boat's ratio is, the less power it takes to drive the boat to its nominal hull speed or beyond. Read more.


D/L = (D ÷ 2240) ÷ (0.01 x LWL)³

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds.
  • LWL: Waterline length in feet
<100: ultralight
100-200: light
200-300: moderate
300-400: heavy
>400: very heavy
Comfort Ratio
30-40: moderate bluewater cruising boat

Comfort Ratio

This ratio assess how quickly and abruptly a boat’s hull reacts to waves in a significant seaway, these being the elements of a boat’s motion most likely to cause seasickness. Read more.


Comfort ratio = D ÷ (.65 x (.7 LWL + .3 LOA) x Beam1.33)

  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds
  • LWL: Waterline length in feet
  • LOA: Length overall in feet
  • Beam: Width of boat at the widest point in feet
<20: lightweight racing boat
20-30: coastal cruiser
30-40: moderate bluewater cruising boat
40-50: heavy bluewater boat
>50: extremely heavy bluewater boat
Capsize Screening
<2.0: better suited for ocean passages

Capsize Screening Formula

This formula attempts to indicate whether a given boat might be too wide and light to readily right itself after being overturned in extreme conditions. Read more.


CSV = Beam ÷ ³√(D / 64)

  • Beam: Width of boat at the widest point in feet
  • D: Displacement of the boat in pounds
<2: better suited for ocean passages
>2: better suited for coastal cruising


The Cape Dory 28 is a rugged little cruiser often quoted as having a feel of a larger boat. She combines traditional looks, quality construction and well-mannered sailing characteristics into a package that is offshore capable. As testimony to her seaworthiness, we’ve seen at least one circumnavigation – in 2009 Fred Bickum completed his three year voyage singlehanded in his 1978 Cape Dory, FêNIX.

At her launch in 1974 the Cape Dory 28 marked the beginning of a fruitful twelve year partnership between Cape Dory Yachts and well respected designer Carl Alberg. Between 1974 and 1987, Cape Dory built 388 in their yard in East Taunton, New England, helping the company forge a grand reputation for producing sailboats that are well constructed with excellent sailing characteristics.

Taking a closer look at her hull shape a trained eye can see much of the classic Alberg form. A Swede himself, he was heavily influenced by the sleek Scandinavian folkboats of the early 20th century, and in that regard the 28’s hull is narrow, making for less accomodation volume belowdecks, but the long overhangs seen in earlier Alberg designs are only hinted at, instead they have been toned down in favour of a longer waterline and gaining back some space. The sheerline is graceful with traditionally low freeboard. Beneath the waterline is a full keel with a forefoot cutaway and ending in a keel-hung rudder which completes her classical profile.

Hulls are of solid fiberglass in polyester resin while decks are balsa or plywood cored fiberglass. The build quality is excellent throughout and the quality of her fittings are good. Bronze is used for the through hull fittings and the eight opening ports, though early boats before 1978 had lower quality plastic ports.

Under sail, they are sea kindly, stiff and capable in heavy seas, yet surprisingly quick in light winds. Nine thousand pounds of displacement, a modified full keel and a well-distributed sail plan results in a well balanced boat that tracks easily, is nimble through the tacks yet has enough momentum to push through choppy water.

In summary, if you’re looking for a small cruiser with classic looks and proven offshore potential, but don’t mind foregoing the interior room seen in more modern 28-footers, the Cape Dory 28 may be a good choice.

Buyers Notes

  • Decks are fiberglass with a plywood or in some models balsa core. Check for stress cracking which if neglected can allow moisture into the core. Particularly critical areas include the chainplates and mounting points for deck hardware
  • Check the fuel tanks. Most models have aluminum tanks mounted on wooden cleats that caused pitting in the aluminum, eventually leading to failure. Some models have steel tanks which can be prone to rusting. Note the tanks can be easily accessed via the port seat locker without difficulty.

Links, References and Further Reading

» Cape Dory Owners Association’s Cape Dory 28 page. Info, brochures and photos.
» Cruising World Magazine’s review of the Cape Dory 28 by Lauren Anthone, 2007.
» Jack Horner’s review of the Cape Dory 28, BoatUS

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