With a loyal following the Caliber 33 is an old favourite with big boat interior in a small package. Designed by company co-founder Michael McCreary the boat was launched in 1985, aimed squarely at the performance conscious cruiser. The design has seen many improvements over the decades and todays offering, the Caliber 35 LRC, is a world class yacht and is considered excellent value on the used market, hold their value and generally sell fast.
Calibers were designed for shallow waters of the East Coast with only four and a half feet of draft in standard form. If that’s not enough, an optional shoal draft version drawing four feet was also available.
With angular lines and a nearly flat sheer, the Caliber 33 quietly blends tradition with a taste of the modern. The underbelly is quite contemporary, with flat front sections leading into a fin keel with a straight leading edge, while the rudder is skeg hung and mounted well aft. The hull is stiff and stable, carrying most of its beam well aft like modern boats, a configuration that makes for generous room belowdecks, enough for comfortable live aboard for a couple and lots of stowage for a 33 footer.
While there’s nothing especially radical about her design, a high standard of build quality is clearly visible on the boat. The hull is constructed of solid fiberglass, without the use of a pre-fabricated liner commonly seen in modern production yachts of this price range. Instead each bulkhead is secured with two to four layers of hand-laid fiberglass cloth and resin, resulting in a boat with excellent accessibility to all areas of the superstructure. There are substantial and closely spaced floors throughout the bilge.
Decks are fiberglass with a plywood core and the deck-to-hull joint is sealed with a polyurethane adhesive and through bolted to an aluminum toe rail. The overall result is a strong structure, devoid of creaks and groans under stress which is often seen in lesser boats. Some of the early models had some problems with bowsprits that failed under extreme load which was later rectified by Caliber with a beefed-up structure.
Caliber Yachts was founded by two brothers, Michael and George McCreary, fresh out of college in 1980. The two worked on a shoestring budget while George focused on business and marketing and Michael set to work on designing the entire line up of Caliber yachts.
Their first boat was the Caliber 28, a solidly built coastal cruiser that was loaded with features which defined the nature of their sailboats to come. It was received well which helped them follow up with the Caliber 33 in 1985.
Despite being introduced during harder economic times, the Caliber 33 was a success, many attributed this to their quality. A total of seventy boats were built from Caliber’s small plant in Clearwater Florida before the model was evolved into the Caliber 35 in 1990. The newer evolution added a reverse transom that stretched the overall length along with many other refinements.
The latest version, the Caliber 35 LRC, introduced in 1995 adds the LRC suffix denoting “long range cruiser”. The name change was probably for marketing reasons as it came at a time when Caliber introduced the LRC suffix to the Caliber 40 alongside the introduction of a smaller sibling, the Caliber 30 LRC.
Including the seventy Caliber 33 hulls produced prior to 1990, the total production run of all variants produced by Caliber Yachts (Caliber 33, 35 and 35 LRC) stands at over 100 boats.