Problem towing the Capri behind bigger boat

Discussion in 'Capri/Catalina 14 Talk' started by Allatoona, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. Allatoona

    Allatoona Member

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    My Capri capsized while towing behind a bigger boat, when we had 30+ knot gusts from behind.

    I just finished sailing trip on a big boat and towed my Capri 14.2 behind for the trip. We sailed around Pensacola, Florida for 5 days chartering 2 Beneteau sailboats, a 33' (I skippered) and a 38'. I sailed my Capri plenty at different anchorages. I found the Capri tows well with the centerboard down about 3-4 inches and the rudder up. We towed it last year for 5 days behind a Catalina 36'.

    We sailed across Pensacola Bay with 15-20 knot tailwinds and everything was fine. The 33' was getting overpowered in gusts over 20 knots across the deck. We took a 30+ and the Capri capsized under tow.

    I had some teenagers for crew, so one jumped in and righted the Capri and lowered the centerboard all the way down. Another gust over 30 knots and the Capri capsized a 2nd time and started to turtle. Two of the boys got into the boat and had to ride out the last mile to keep it from rolling over again. It was a real rough ride for the last mile back into the marina, they said it felt like they had whiplash from being tossed around.

    I cut them loose about 100 yards from the gas dock at the marina and they beached the Capri. I parked the 33' with a cross breeze against the dock. We had sustained 25-35 knots for the next 1.5 hour pinning the 33' against the dock.

    30 knot gusts would probably have been fine as a headwind, but off the back quarter was enough to roll the Capri over. Doing it again, I think bring the boat to the leeward side of the big boat could have helped prevent it from capsizing. Although, I don't know if it would have towed well along side of the big boat?

    -Robert
     
  2. Charley Sheets

    Charley Sheets Member

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    Robert, Sail magazine had an article in a recent issue about this very problem. The dink capsized and was cut loose to prevent damage to the big boat. The skipper called the Coast Guard and reported a possible hazard to navigation. They found the dink washed ashore undamaged and returned it to the owner. There have been numerous articles over the years in many diffrent mazines, all with advice in hind sight. The one article that i remembered as sounding the best was to rig a "Y" shaped bridle attached to each side of the transom and pulled up tight behind the boat. One even has a factory lift designed to hold the bow up out of the water and lashed in place. These were for inflateables and probably will not work for a heavier boat like the capri. I have toed several boats in to the docks with a good bit of luck. One was tied along side to work around the docks and put him into his slip with no problem. It was easy to manuver with him alongside. We both had fenders down so no problem with damage. Heavy weather is a diffrent situation and a stern line seems safer for both boats. I had the skippers at there tillers to help steer and all went well. Remember, what doesn,t kill you makes you stronger! Charley
     
  3. Allatoona

    Allatoona Member

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    Thank you Charlie. I like the idea of a bridle or some other rig. I call this "experience" -- we encounter weather, problems, or make mistakes, as long as we learn from these then we are gaining experience.

    I had checked the weather that morning and was forecasted 15-18 SWS all day long, so we had a great sail in the big boat with the wind blowing over my right shoulder. The 30 knot gusts came out of nowhere, we never had any storm clouds, nor any rain. A 30 knot headwind, probably would have caused no problem at all for the dinghy. The 30 knot gust tailwind was a different story.

    I'll do some reading and see if I can find some pictures of a good bridle for towing the dingy.

    We did have a great time on the big boats again this year, plenty of sailing, snorkeling, and sailing the dinghy. 5 days and I only used 4 gallons of diesel, and that included about 3-4 hours of motoring as well.

    -Robert
    1989 Capri 14.2 Mod2
    1984 Catalina 22
     
  4. Charley Sheets

    Charley Sheets Member

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    Robert, I had a day last Wed. on the lake which would have ripped a dink to pieces in no time. Wind straight down the lake at 25+ with 3 foot rollers coming down the lake. The white caps were blowing spray completely across my 25. I was not able to stand or walk around , had to crawl to work the sails. Had a great time, but no way i could have pulled the capri. If you had a boom out to leeward and pulled from it say 8 feet out from the big boat it might work? The way i was rolling, 45 degrees while qyartering through ite waves a boom would have been buried most of the time, not good for towing. So, looks like no really GOOD way to do it in big seas/winds. Charley
     

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