Easy to capsize?

Thread starter #1
The first thing that occurs to any nonsailing person, when looking at sailboat underway, is that it is potentially risky. I have friends who will never join me for a sailboat ride because of the fear that the boat will capsize and toss them into the drink. As sailors, we understand the risks and mitigate the danger by adjusting the controls and balancing the forces. So the fact that one must be ready to let the sheets out, or shift their weight, is all part of sailing experience. There is a point; however, when the continuous application of control seriously suppresses the pleasure of the sailing experience. Sailboat characteristics that reward the racing sailor with speed, may be an annoyance to the casual daysailor out for a simple pleasant cruise.

My point is this:

The 14.2's hull, despite its width, does not have a hard enough chine to provide fundamental stability. Passenger weight shift is more critical than most sailboats, but you get speed.

The sail plan is too big for a boat with a 340 lb. weight and a hull of this configuration, but its good in light air.

The standing rigging is too heavy and may make it top heavy in a turn, but its as tough as nails.

The rudder is too small to afford quick, and sometimes critical, directional compensation, but it is light and easy to turn.

You can add a larger rudder, and reduce the sail plan, (as members of our forum suggest), but you can't do anything about the hull or the standing rigging.

In short, if you want to have a great day-sail and a relaxing afternoon, you better get a different boat. I learned the hard way. I bought a brand new 2007 14.2 only to find how sensitive the boat really is. I did not believe that Catalina would sell a boat like this and market it as a "Family Daysailer". I tried to contact the factory about my concerns three (3) times without any response. Odd, because when I had questions about a possible purchase, they contacted me in a matter of hours. Fact is, they know about the capsize ratio being poor, (3.58). Why do you think they introduced the fixed weighted bulb keel model? Even that did not do much good.

I am so convinced of this problem that I am selling my new boat. If you think otherwise, and are looking for a new 14.2, then check the classified section of this website. I can give you a great deal on aboat that will keep you busy.

Moosman, I am amazed as to how experience you are with the 14.2 considering you are trying to sell you brand new boat that has never been in the water! Sorry, but I just had to say something about you claiming to be an experienced sailor after reading your postings since earlier this year. Maybe you know something about sailing, but what do you really know about the 14.2 since apparently you have neve been on one, at least not on the water? No, I do not want to buy yours. I have had a mod 2 since 2000 and have never capsized, although I have had it out in winds over 20 mph. And I do not even have hiking straps. In my opinion the 14.2 is not a beginner boat, but is not a hard boat for any experienced sailor. Since you apparantly are not getting any bites at your attempts to sell it, perhaps you may want to give it a try on the water.
Thread starter #3
Reply to Capsize problem

I have recently tried a Capri 14.2 Mod 3. here in Colorado. Being an experienced sailor of 33 years I know daysailor characteristics, and I immediately identified the 14.2s handicaps. The 62 year old gentleman who provided the C 14.2 demonstration sail claims he will be selling his as well. He says he is "too old to be dumped in the cold lakes of Colorado".

I have sailed Shields, Rebels, Precision 15s (also a bad mannered boat), Thistles, Americans, Sunfish, Seawards, West Wight Potters, Chryslers, Starwinds, Stars (beautiful boat), Penguins, Snarks, Odays (17s and Javalins), Blue Jays, Montgomery 15 &17, (Sailed to Cuba in a 17 in 1993), MacGreagors, and a lot more than I can't remember. I sailed the Great Lakes and the Ocean. So I think I know something about sailing. If you are happy with the performance of the Capri 14.2, then perhaps you should try other boats and find out what you are missing. The official "Capsize Ratio" of the Capri 14.2 is 3.58. Not good. The mathematics of the calculation confirms the bad manners without any human's opinion. I'll think I'll pass.

Have a great time with your boat.

Perhaps you should have passed before you bought the boat. If you have so much experience, it must have been a really good salesman to get you to buy the 14.2 without you investigating or trying it first. So, you may not want to brag about how smart you are. Why don't you sell you boat on Craigslist or Ebay and hope no one reads your comments on this site about how much you hate the 14.2. If you have something constructive to add or about your "real" experiences, please share that with us. Otherwise, please take your whining elsewhere. BTW, I have been sailing since 1969 when I was 16.
Thread starter #5


But you are just uninformed. You need to experience other boats with lower capsize ratios, AND you need to read all the capsize and turtle stories posted within your own Association's log.

Have fun, and keep that mainsheet well-in-hand.
The Catalina 14 is a dinghy sailboat....what did you expect?

It amazes me how anyone would be surprised that a dinghy sailboat could be a bit tender in a blow....my gosh if you want passenger stability go to a deep keel 30 footer and spend 80 to 120k. I have a C 320, sail it regularly, but I love my C 14 for the sheer fun factor and because it demands my attention! Sailing experience can be a good teacher or it can be an excuse for not learning new techniques.* Why don't you trade your C 14 for a pontoon? BTW I have 33 years of sailing experiences!
Thread starter #7
C 14.2

"Well the big boats may get the glory, but its the small boats make the sailor ".

I'm sure you love your C 14.2. As you say it demands a lot of your attention......

I am surprised on how many C-14 owners on this site are unaware of how nice and relaxing it can be to cruise in a predictable daysailer. Maybe it's because they all own C 14.2s. Again, read your own association forum comments. I did, and its loaded with capsize and turtle stories. Keep your C 14.2, I'm getting rid of mine.

Happy Sailing, am keep that mainsheet well-in-hand.
I just read Mooseman's original post a couple times and to be honest, I can't find anything I disagree with. I just wish I had the extra dough to buy his boat. The C-14 might not be what he likes or the type of sedate daysailer which inspires the confidence of his buddies, but that's OK, isn't it?

Personally, I like the C-14's spirited demeanor. Although I've been sailing for 40 years, it's still fun to live on the edge a little. Given the C-14's sail area, I even thought it would be a hoot to hang a trapeze on her so my 12 year old daughter could really help me hold her down in a stiff breeze. When we go out, everyone wears a PFD and their bathing suit, not khakis and topsiders.

Is she easy to capsize? I guess that depends on your perspective. I like to sail when it's windy, and yes, one day we got in over our heads. If you take chances, occasionally you're gonna lose. If you don't, then the C-14 poses no innate design hazards. What I didn't like was how quickly she turtled. A Hobie Bob has fixed that. We don't leave the harbor without it.

Is a C14 easy to capsize? I am into my 11th month with my C14 a mod 1. The first time out I capsized it and even turtled it. the wind was 14 gusting to 22. The 22 got me. Filled the mast with foam and never got to test it until this weekend. The rest of last year was winds calm to about 7 knots.

This year I have had the boat out solo four times all in gusty conditions. I have really been working hard to learn to control it. Though I had it figured out. This last weekend, the wind was blowing 12 gusting 18, I was tied to the dock, not tight, about 5' of line, dropped the center board, secured everything, put up the sails all sheets loose. The boat was just setting there luffing into the wind, like a boat should. Someone on the dock asked me a question, I looked up to answer them, got hit with gust of wind and over it went. The foam in the mast worked, we didn't turtle, but I really would have rather capsized out in the lake not tied to the dock. Only thing hurt was my pride, and now everybody in the sailing club knows me as the one with the tippy boat.

Thread starter #10
You did nothing wrong tippy


Interesting story. I suspect you did nothing wrong. It is the nature of the boat. I have sailed an ODay 17 in lake Michigan on several occasions with 25 knot winds and 3 -4 foot seas and it remained under control. You know as a sailor, you can adjust trim and attitude to a variety of wind conditions, and still be in control. The forum feedback, both here and other sites, seems to suggest that there is very little time to make those critical adjustments on the C 14.2. That's the repeated comment I read everywhere: Bam...and you're on your side.
I have looked at the hull and rigging, time and time again, and I can't figure out why that is the boat's characteristic. May never know.


I still have a lot of fun sailing it. When I tell non-sailors about it I compare it to a sports car vs an Buick. They both can get squirrelly at times. I would just like to get things figured out so my wife will go sailing with me.

I've sailed 40 of my 48 years. I have owned several C14.2 to day sail and race. The boat does a good job for both but its a dinghy that needs your attention in breeze. I have never capsized when sailing one but have come close. My two young sons learned to sail and race on C14.2s and never capsized one either. I have capsized in my Laser and a friends Lightning (hard chined) and also a Thistle. Dinghies can capsize and thats part of the game. I understand that this Capri is not suited to your needs and by selling it you are doing the right thing. You might want to try a Vangard Nomad as its a fun boat that is more stable.

Good luck Mooseman, its hard to find the perfect boat.


PS: Be safe and always wear your pfd !
Thread starter #13
Don't tip the Wife

Thanks for you comments, and the suggestion of the Nomad. I think I can still manage a spill or two in the drink while sailing, but my wife would not. Gotta go the stable route. It's a shame, cause I will drop some bucks in the transition.

Happy Sailing......Mooseman
I understand 100%. My wife is a golfer and hated sailing because her father took her and her brother sailing when she was a child. Dads a nice guy but a scary sailor. Decades later she wanted nothing to do with sailing. At first we'd only sail in light wind late in the day. Lots of easy going confidence building stuff. Also gave me a chance to better learn the boat. Long story shorter, years later she loves to race.

The boats do day sail quite well in the below 10 knots stuff, easy to do in here in San Diego. Bummer about your boat.

Probably a better choice would have been the keel model.

Probably a better choice would have been the keel model. But going to something bigger, and with a shoal keel, in general would probably more suit you.

I too have sailed a decent amount of boats. Precision, Designers Choice, Oday 15, and DS models, force 5, Montego, Catalina 22, etc.

Sounds to me you have more experience than I... With this in mind, it should have be pretty apparent just by looking at the design of the hull, that the Capri 14.2 is a one design racing/planing sailboat.. Designed, primarily as a "go-fast" trailerable. In much the same vein as say a Precision 15.

My first time out, in squirrly winds, I stood her on her side, filled the cockpit, and laughed all the way home (wife wasn't quite as happy). I did not capsize per se', but we got pretty wet... Throwing weight to high side, stood her up, and we learned a lesson... If you aren't moving, than taking a puff with things all cinched tight, is probably a recipe for disaster!

Part of the charm of the Capri 14 is it's Big Boat hardware, and tweakability... And since she's designed to pickup and race, you see/learn from your tweaks quick, both good and bad. Does she capsize.. Yes! Um some lessons are harder learned than others.

Might I suggest, either A Catalina 18, or a Precision 165? If that kind of learning is unacceptable to you. These are both shoal draft KEEL boats, that are notoriously stable, but perform like cruisers.

I used to look on dingy sailboats as newbie fodder (sorry folks)... I now have seen that (and you can tell by this forum) seasoned sailers get WAY more out of these dingy racing boats then they ever did with a keel boat. I suspect many of the members have 14.2s along with larger keel boats... They take the family out on the keelboats, but go play with the 14.2.

I can see why. Sailed with a decent amount of understanding that if you screw up, you're going swimming, these boats can be a blast to sail, in even small amounts of wind.

If I had the $$$ I'd upgrade my mod 1, and buy yours ;)

But alas, even I have to find something that is more "family minded," to get my wife daughter to go with me. I have looked at the Catalina 18, and the Capri 22, and even the Precision 165.

But rest assured if I can find a way, I'll keep the 14.2 close by. It is light and trailerable by even a sub-compact car, and can launch almost anywhere! But most of all, because it is fun!

Sorry you had a bad experience with yours Mooseman... it does sound like you got mis-matched for a boat though.
Thread starter #16
Response to SHNOOL's capsize concern

Sorry SHNOOL to hear about your episode. Seems you're not alone with the " Easy to Capsize" issue. As for me, I will not have to contend with this. I sold my 14.2 and I am done with it I wish you luck on the fair weather days. Just keep that mainsheet well in hand. HEY CATALINA YACHT COMPANY! are you reading and listening to this? There is a trend here and people are starting to catch on. Seems the fixed bulb keel was not a solution either. Back to the drawing board Catalina, and a removal of the "Family Daysailer" comment in your brochure.
Perhaps I miswrote?

I have the centerboard model... I just suggested the keel model might bring the boat into a more mild mannered mode for you. But alas, I think you should avoid catalina.

It should be noted, that I have sailed my capri since her maiden voyage (for me), in winds up to 28knots... and have not capsized it. Including in a few thunderstorms (stupid I know).

I think Catalina, has made a winner of a racing dingy my friend... Please don't include me in your rant.

I merely suggest you steer your purchases to keel boats... now I rescind... I think maybe you need to look at the Picnic Cat, from http://www.com-pacyachts.com

Yup, you are definitely nearing catboat status... Although I pity Com-pac for your abuse of them.
Talk about sour grapes! Mooseman... it's apparent your disatisfaction runs deeper than just your concerns, and I guess you feel dissed by the lack of communication from Catalina regarding your unhappiness regarding the 14.2, and quick communication to sell you... I get that. Did you know anything about the 14.2 before you bought it, or think that you could tame it? Why did you buy one? I'm a total newbie... to the 14.2 and sailing, can't wait to learn to sail, and am alert to the "flaws" of my boat, but not afraid to give it a fair shot. If it's not for me, then that's the way it is, but I'm not going to blame the boat... too many very happy owners! You sold yours, good luck, and adios!
Bye troll

Moose ,
Happy to hear you sold your boat, now move along as you have turned into a troll. No one likes trolls and I suggest to the board members to ignor the moosetroll in the future. Go find an electric powerboat or better yet a soft chair in front of your tv where you can have some cheese with you whine.
This is a pretty old thread but you should know that Catalina makes a 14.2 with a fixed keel that is used in many rental fleets. It is self righting so you don't need a hobie bob and as stable as a dinghy can get. When buying a boat please remember that salesmen will say anything to get you to buy a boat and paper holds anything you put on it whether true or outright lies..