"New, New, New"

Thread starter #1
Please allow me to introduce myself: I am 62, new at sailing and the proud new owner of a previously enjoyed "1992 Capri 14.2". .....I previously intended to build a sailboat but could not pass up this deal so here I am, instant boat. I am also not a spring chicken so go easy on me please .
I expect most of my sailing will be done on Cameron lake which is in the Trent/Severn passage in Ontario. I will probably need all the advice and support I can get and I look forward to enjoying the company of this forum for many years to come.

Best regards,
Welcome. I am also 62 years old and live in Southern California. I have been sailing for over twenty years, the last 3 with my Capri 14.2. My boat is a stock 1987 model, so any questions you might have, either myself or many others on the site are ready and willing to help you, just ask. Greg
Thread starter #4
Thanks Greg!

This a very unique opportunity, to be able to communicate with and get advice from actual Capri 14 sailors. I am as excited as a kid in a candy store and look forward to this great experience!
George. Hull#4042
Good luck to you. Now is always the right time to start something you have been meaning to in my opinion. I am a brand new sailor myself and hoping to go on my second outing this weekend.

Let me warn you now, this is a long post, so hit the bathroom, grab a drink then continue:

Here is the advice I can give as a fellow neophyte. If you can find somebody that can show you the ropes (or should I say sheets...) the first time that would make things much easier. Knowing that, and going out solo my first time anyway led to some "interesting" experiences. I didn't capsize, but I think I came as close as possible without going into the drink. I got into what I believe is called a death roll, where I would nearly capsize one direction, scramble up the side of the boat, then it would recover, only to go over the other way. Rinse and repeat a few times to each side.

Can you guess my mistake? The main sheet was cleated off. During one of my scrambles from side to side, trying to keep the boat from going all the way over, I was able to snag the sheet and yank it out of the cleat. Then everything calmed down and I went into irons intentionaly just so I could catch my breath! I was exhausted and hand skinned up my knees. :eek:

I'm telling you my experiences so that hopefully you can have a smoother first outing. That day, the winds were about 15 mph with gusts to the low to mid 20's. That was definitely too much for a complete newbie in hindsight. My boat doesn't have any reefing points so take that into consideration if yours does. My next outing I am going to shoot for a day in the 7-10 range, but hey, we don't always get what we want.

If you don't have anybody to go out with you, I'd suggest shooting for a tame wind speed. I sailed on only main, so that I would have less to think about. Definitely put on a life jacket, so that if you go over, you don't have to tread water and you can take your time to fix the situation. Hopefully the boat doesn't turtle on you... read some threads about that. I'm honestly thinking about strapping a few empty gallon jugs to the top of my mast or a life vest, because I don't feel like spending $120 on a baby bob.

Here is another extremely simple epiphany I had during my outing: Remember, that since you switch sides when you tack, always push the tiller away from you to head up into the wind. Conversely, pulling it towards you always bears away from the wind. Simple as that sounds, it took me about 30 minutes to realize that if I start getting into trouble and want to head up into the wind, the tiller ALWAYS is pushed away and I didn't have think about it. That realization freed up a bit more mental capicty to focus on other things.

Before I had drilled that into my thick skull, I was close hauled and the wind started gusting. I correctly started heading up into the wind, but the boat only started tipping more and I assumed I was moving the tiller the wrong direction and jerked it the other way. Needless to say, much to my surprise at the time, the boat really heeled over at that point as I turned almost perpendicular to the wind with my mainsail sheeted in tight and I was looking almost straight down at the water. :confused: What was actually happening, as I realized later, is that if you are heeled over close hauled, and you head up, the boat initially heels even more, but then will recover when the sails begin to spill air. Best advice is just to have the main sheet in your hand, and if you start tipping too much, ease the sail out.

Cliff notes:

Don't sheet your main.

Wear your life vest.

As you can tell, a couple hours on the water = several months of reading!

Most importantly, have FUN and let us know how it goes!
Thread starter #6
Thanks Aaron!

Wow! you actually jumped in the deep end ......all by yourself and managed to stay upright! .....Congratulations! it appears you are ready for the big surf. Although I am not timid; I am very cautious by nature so it will be a while before I go solo. I also tend to memorize the manual before I even open the toolbox ...so to speak ....and I intend to make this forum an integral part of my manual; How can I go wrong?.

I am also fortunate to have my brother as my partner on this boat. We have some experience sailing Hobie 14's together but never a mono hull so this will be new for us. Then, in keeping with my cautious nature, you will never find me on the water without a life jacket; I'm a lousy swimmer! ............And yes, I have no intention of cleating my main sheet!!

Thanks Aaron for sharing your experience and for the advice!
George - Hull#4042.
I'll chime in also... welcome to our Forum. I'm also a newbie, new to sailing and new to my Capri, 2001 Mod 3. And I've got you beat by 2 years, 64 going on whatever. My last day of work is tomorrow, May 21st, retiring after 26 years of teaching.

I agree with Greg: start with Post #1 and read away. Also, download, print and memorize the excellent C14 handbook.

Others will have all kinds of important tips, etc. I have one based upon my discovery the other day: check that all screws and bolts are tight. I thought I done that, but had missed the four on each shroud bracket -- one was completely stripped and the others were VERY loose. I suspect my maiden voyage with her would have involved watch my mast come down.

Oh, and you might want to search this forum for "Baby Bob". ... and don't backwind your jib ... and ...
Thread starter #8
chemprof, ....congratulations on your retirement and may you enjoy at the very least the next 20 years; sailing to your heart's content. I was at the cottage all weekend, so only now catching up with these replies, thank you for taking the time. Thanks for the advice about the screws/hardware etc. I will certainly check them all. I was fortunate to find a boat that had only about 15 hours of sailing on it, I bought from the original owner.

Sounds like you have a good approach and will be just fine. I have never been on a Hobie, but I'm guessing they feel a lot less "tippy" when moving about. (Flying a hull is probably a different story haha).

I tried to go out last weekend. What a disaster. Winds were sustained above 15 mph and I found out later that it was gusting as high as 32 mph. I had a friend with me, and we knew it was a bad idea to even try, but we were already there. Just stepping the mast resulted in a loud whistling through the rigging. Bad sign.

We almost drifted into a wall - yes, fake Arizona lakes have cement walls. Luckily my partner in crime was able to fend it off with the paddle. The wind was blowing so strongly that it was creating a current that I couldn't make headway against. We were stuck drifting with no steerage. Finally I was able to escape the horrible situation and sailed away from danger and then back towards the dock. What made it especially challenging is that the wind would go from near dead to 15-20 mph, back to near dead, back to a huge gust and so on. It was just far too much for me to deal with.

So all in all, about 10 min of floundering helplessly. 2 min of sailing. Then back on the trailer haha.

Fortunately there were some experienced sailors out there. I was chatting with them and they got blown into the wall, had some near capsizes, and also called it a day. At least the people who knew what they were doing confirmed it was another tough day. They decided not to go back out as well.

I sure hope the weather cooperates and delivers easy sustained 10 mph wind (no gusts) on a weekend soon!

Keep us posted on when you make it out for your maiden voyage. I'm going to me a lot more selective on the conditions I venture into for a while....


PS I strapped one of my orange life vests to the top of the mast. Looked horrible, but figured it was better than nothing, especially on a day like that.
Great suggestions so far... I agree with Aaron, see if you can find a friend that lives close by that knows how to sail. Otherwise, see if there is a sailing club nearby, show up and ask around, meet someone and ask if anyone would like to take you out on their boat for a lesson, or if they could take you out on your boat for a lesson. Sailors are mostly very friendly, except during a race. I thought I was a good sailor until I started racing, it took me a couple of seasons to convert from a sailor to a racer. Now, I really know how to sail.

Other suggestions, practice capsizing and recovery. Launch the boat in a shallow area with the sails off the boat. Capsizing and recover and practice getting back into the boat. I have had capsized several times and turtled once. I did find recovering from turtling was not too difficult, as long as the sheets are not cleated. I have also found that capsizing in deeper water is a lot easier than in the shallows. The hardest part for me is trying to get back inside the boat. I ran a strap through an open drain hole and I use that as a rope ladder to get back in after I capsize.

If your jib does not have tell-tales, then buy some and put onto the sail. I read mine all day long while sailing and racing for proper sail trim. Go to your local library and find a couple of books on sailing small boats, I thought I knew a lot until I opened a book.

Wear your PFD, get onto the water and enjoy yourself. Making mistakes and finding the limits of yourself and the boat is part of the fun of learning. I have sailed on local lakes and in the Gulf of Mexico with my Capri and I love it.

1984 Catalina Capri Mod2
1989 Catalina 22