Close To Knockdown!


Active Member
So last Saturday I set sail on our nice medium sized lake in the north Chicago suburban area. Winds were predicted to be 5-15, turned out to be more like 3-20. And the gusts popped up out of nowhere! You could only see them coming by watching the water for the big "cat's paws". Started out with reefed main only, as the gusts became less frequent I got bored and decided to hoist the jib. After a few nice laps out of nowhere WHAM got nailed with a good 20 knot gust. Didn't have time to do the usual de-powering drill, Capri just heeled about as far as possible without going over! Bottom rail submerged as I let go of the helm and scrambled to the high rail. Boat automatically rounded up to weather which gave me time to regain control. Went to a somewhat upwind heading which allowed the partially luffing main to keep boat moving while I dropped the jib. Bailed out the cockpit and carried on with my tail between my legs.
Lessons here:
**When you hit a blast release the helm. Let the boat go where it wants and just scramble about to fight the heel. The worst thing you could do is hang on the helm which most likely will cause her to go over.
**Thank goodness I had my "baby bob" on top of the mast. When conditions are calm I don't bother putting it on, but it would have been a lifesaver that day.
**On those gusty days be mindful that getting bored and hoisting jib can be problematic. Now I should add that this is my 5th season with Capri and have yet to dump her, this was the closest I ever came.
**I'm also going to hook a float onto the end of my anchor line. That way if I do ever dump I won't lost my nice 8lb mushroom anchor. My keys, cell phone, and other important things are all stored in waterproof Deckson bags, so no issues there.
**And the boat has great flotation below the seats. If it goes over it will lay on it's side, cockpit will stay dry. But without the baby bob you will turtle for sure, then you're toast.
The only scary part is that I have one (or 2 AGM batteries, depending on conditions) in the cuddy, plus the Minkota motor on the back. Look at one of my earlier posts and you'll see. Lying on it's side the setup would probably survive, but a total flip over would ruin everything. Can't even imagine how I would flip a full turtle back unassisted, but would be quote doable with the Bob and my 195 lb gut standing on the keel. After this last event I'm pretty confident it will never happen under my watch!
We went over on our maiden voyage in a Mod 1 and haven't been out since! I didn't have the centerboard down and a gust hit soon after leaving the boat ramp, and skipper might have had the main cleated. Mast-head float kept it from turtling and helpful pontoon-ers helped us gather belongings. Biggest challenge was getting back into the cockpit; it was too high for me to hoist myself into.
I just installed reef points so we will take another swing at it soon. Our traumatized daughter will not be joining us :)
Yep sounds like the stage was set for disaster there! My boat's set up so I'm able to motor out and hoist sails while underway, and I always start out under canvassed. You will find the reef points to be a great investment for sure. And of course the keel goes down the minute I climb on board. Also helps that I'm a single hander, makes it easier to react to unpleasant surprises. When I take my non-sailing wife it's either on a nice calm day or otherwise put up my boom canopy for sun protection and do a leisurely motor around the lake....
Yes, I've seen your various mods, Aquaman, but I think I will hold off on the motor. All I need now is a stern ladder and a boom crutch for trailering and I think the SOB might actually be ready to get wet again. Well, and a new roller furling line ... All new running/standing rigging already done.