FAQ: How Did The Capri 14 Become What It Is Today?

Discussion in 'Capri/Catalina 14 Talk' started by Bradley, May 8, 2012.

  1. Bradley

    Bradley Administrator Staff Member

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    Through the seventies and into the early eighties, Catalina built a boat called the Omega 14. (It was originally called the Capri 14, without the .2, but another builder forced Catalina to stop using that name - they said they owned the name.)
    In 1983, Frank Butler and his designers set out to build a more modern version of the Omega 14. They added a foredeck and cuddy, which the Omega 14 lacked, and made it 14.2 feet long, and named it the Capri 14.2. Frank says his intention was to build a family boat with a simple rig, and build them in quantity so that they could be competitively priced. They obviously succeeded - over 5200 happy owners can't be wrong. Catalina didn't envision the boat being used for racing, but in Southern California three racing fleets spontaneously formed within two years. Others formed later as far away as New Jersey.
    The first boats (called Mod 1s) were well made, but some problems surfaced. One was that the cuddy door wasn't as watertight as it should be, and if the boat capsized the cuddy usually took on a lot of water. So about 1990, they came up with a fix, which was to fit an open fiberglass box, about 18 inches on each side, into the cuddy opening, then cover the open side with a canvas door. These modified boats became known as Mod 2s. It solved the problem of water getting into the cuddy, but it meant the usable storage space was only a fraction of the volume actually available. It also made hull repairs and modifications more complicated, because the glued-in box had to be removed to get access to the space under the foredeck.
    Finally, in 1996, a major redesign was undertaken, creating the Mod 3. The cuddy box was discarded, making all the space under the foredeck useful again. A large, rugged, completely watertight plastic cuddy door was installed. The foredeck was rounded upward somewhat, giving the deck more strength. Also the teak splash boards were eliminated. Another major change was to bolt the deck and hull together, (Previously they had been glued, and sometimes the glue joint leaked.)
    A bulkhead was added across the aft end of the cuddy, which made for three separate watertight compartments, the cuddy and each side under the seats. It also added lateral rigidity to the hull. Lastly, the centerboard control was greatly simplified, reducing the number of turning blocks required for the control line, which made for less line drag, making it easier to raise the board. And it de-cluttered the cockpit.
    All together, these changes made the Mod 3 a lot more user-friendly, safer, and much stronger. But what about speed?
    Either by luck or by design, the speed of the Mod 3 is about the same as Mods 1 and 2, based on an earlier analysis I did of race results in our fleet. The Mod 3s seem slightly heavier, but the stiffer hull makes for less flexing in the chop, so the overall effect is roughly equal speed.
    I've owned two Mod 1s, two Mod 2s, and now I have a Mod 3. I would say in terms of quality, ruggedness, safety, and features the Mod 3 is clearly superior. But if you own a Mod 1 or 2, you still have a fine boat that will give you many years of service.
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  2. Mrs Limpet

    Mrs Limpet New Member

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    Awesome info. 1000 Thanks.. Now just gotta find the boat.

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