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


Staff member

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.
Thank you for the background. I just purchased a mint Mod 1 and will share the story with my grandson as I teach him to sail this classic.
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I believe I have a Mod 1, serial number 450. Is there a download of the manual? This may seem like a silly question, but the spar does not seem to have any evidence of spreader brackets, did the Omega's have spreaders and if so, do you know how I can obtain them?

Thank you for your time.
Suggest that you look at sailboatdata.com website for Omega. The info. which I found indicates no spreaders. Great site as a source for preliminary info on many sailboat models.
Late response but a Mod 1. The Mod 2 has a small molded storage space in the bow and a snap on cloth cover. Mod 3 has a water tight hatch and regains access to the the full bow space.
Take a look at oceanwavesail.com, The data which I observed indicates the absence of spreaders. An excellent website for finding data and information on a broad range of sailboat models.
Just curious... Why doesn't anyone call the latest version of the Capri 14.2 (with the Selden mast and boom) a "Mod 4"? Well, I'm going to start. The differences between the Mod 3 and the Mod 4 are considerable:

1) The position of the gooseneck is fixed (does not slide up and down the mast
2) The outhaul control is at the gooseneck and the outhaul line runs inside the boom
3) The mainsail uses slugs rather than the bolt rope
4) The mainsail is loose footed rather than using a bolt rope
5) The shape, length, weight, and design of the rudder is completely different (longer, narrower, about 7 lbs heavier, and spring loaded

Additionally, the hull feels much heavier (~100 lbs more) and stronger than a mod 2, but I have no definitive proof that it's heavier than a mod 3.

CrAzY jErRy
Hueston Sailing Association
2022 Capri 14.2 - Sail# 5528
1992 Capri 14.2 - Sail# 3916
1984 Capri 14.2 - Sail #411
Probably, unless the structural design is changed the model designation doesn't change. And, my guess is that the rudder has the same square inch surface area in order to meet class specifications. Tanzer 22 went through a major rudder overhaul years ago which vastly improved weather helm and other tendencies. Since, I had not owned a 14.2 until I purchased hull #5497 new in 2015 the changes were not apparent to me. I very much liked the Selden rigging and the other items which you listed. It meant that the rigging etc was comparable to my previous Tanzer 22 except for the loose footed main. My 14.2 was ordered with a fixed keel so I am not able to compare weights with center boarded models. This boat has been a wonderful replacement for both my Tanzer 22 and Cape Dory Typhoon; similar rigging, roller furling jib, reef points with jiffy reefing, etc. I almost always single hand and keep the boat at my dock for the sailing season; the stability of the keel version is perfect for my use. Good sailing!