A newbie asks for advice

Thread starter #1
Hello, everyone. I'm posting here to find out a little bit more about the Capri 14.2. You see, my family has had a Thistle for a long time, but since we're all spread across the country, it's getting hard to get together a decent sailing crew, and we're looking for something that one person could take out by themselves. None of us intend to race. This is just for recreation.

My mother is probably the most experienced sailor in the family. She used to race in a Windmill when she was twenty or so. She's sixty now, though, so although she knows what she's doing, she's not all that strong. She's looking for a boat that she could sail by herself in a light or moderate wind. I'm less experienced than she is and my husband is less experienced than I am. We're looking for a boat that's fairly easy for one or two people to get right-side up if—maybe I should say when—we capsize it. It's true that I've never managed to capsize the Thistle, but I've also never taken it out alone.

We'd be sailing on Watt's Bar Lake in Tennessee. I suspect it's much smoother than sailing on the ocean or in the Great Lakes, as some of you do. There are gusts and boat wakes, though.

It looks like we might have a good deal on a used Capri 14.2, and I'm trying to figure out if we should take it. So I guess I need to know (a) if the Capri can be sailed alone by one woman who isn't young and athletic, (b) how many people—and how much effort—does it take to flip it right-side up when it's gone over, and (c) is it a totally unforgiving boat for not-quite-beginners, or will my husband and I be able to sail it with some practice?

I appreciate any advice or anecdotes you might have. Thank you.
I am a 62 year old male who sails his 14.2 solo most of the time. If you do not cleat the sails your chances of capsizing are slim, I also return to the dock when the winds pass 12 knots. The 14.2 often will turtle once it is capsized, but that can be avoided with the use of a Hobie Baby Bob masthead float. I have never capsized my boat but have watched the students in the local sailing school do so on purpose and they never have any problem righting the boat (they tie a lifejacket to the masthead before capsizing and they never turtle). Once the boat has capsized and then righted, you need to get back aboard, that is hard to do without a boarding/swim ladder, which I have installed on my boat, but hope to never use. I sail in the ocean and don't have to worry about shifting and gusting winds. If you (or your mother) watch the wind speed and direction, and don't push the boat to its limits, it is a ton of fun to day sail. I put on my ipod and have a great time sailing my little boat. Every once in a while I hike out and that keeps the boat sailing flat. I carry a hand held GPS and have touched 6 knots twice. My boat is a model 1 made in 1987 and I have just over $2000.00 in it, and it needs nothing now. I feel a roller furling headsail is a must, at least when sailing solo. Tell us more about the boat you are thinking about buying and members of this group can walk you through what is good and bad about that boat. Feel free to contact me off group at gregcoats1@yahoo.com for more information.
Thread starter #3
Well, it looks like we're moving ahead and buying the boat. I don't know a lot about its technical specifications, but I can tell you that it's all fiberglass. It doesn't have the self-furling jib, I'm afraid. It has a mount for a small motor, but no motor installed. I'll have to go back and ask my mother what year it is.

We're definitely going to take your advice and put a float of some sort on the mast, and I'm going to look into a boarding ladder. Thank you so much for your suggestions. I'm really relieved to know that this is a boat my mother can handle. (I'm pretty sure it's a boat I can handle, too—but maybe I shouldn't tempt fate by declaring that.) I'll see if I can get all the technical details and post them here in a few days.
As I stated before, I am a 62 year old male and I weigh around 225. I don't move around nearly as fast as I used to, so I tend to sail my boat very conservatively, as I would really rather not go swimming. But you and your mother need to understand that capsizing the boat is always a possibility. I have had my little boat almost two years now and have never come close to tipping it over, but you just never know. The Capri 14.2 is considered a "Sport Boat" by most, so when pushing the envelope, getting wet is possible. If you are able to test sail the boat before buying it, you will know right away if it is the boat for you.
Hi Izuyna,

Here's a link to a discussion on the mast float:

You'll see how to attach it to your mast.

I'm a newbie too; just bought a 2001 Capri mod 3 (you can do a search here to see how the mod 1, 2, and 3's differ). It doesn't have a furling jib either, but I'm sure you two can manage; there's a lot of Capri owners here who like gregwcoats sail their Capri's single handed and don't use a furling jib.

If you search around you'll find discussions on solo sailing, recovering from a capsize, hiking out methods, altering the jib cleat/cars, reefing the mainsail, and modifying the traveler. This place is really a gem! They've helped me to get a better feeling on how the boat works, its limitations, and its joys.

It sounds like your Capri is the centerboard version, so you'll see some discussions on even that little guy. Good sailing!