Plugging the Drain Holes

Thread starter #1
On October 5 I posted an item entitled, "Capsizing, Boarding, and Drain Holes". I appreciate the useful comments that resulted. But these dealt only with the first part, namely that it is hard to get back on board after a capsize, and that a boarding ladder is very helpful in such situations. My last point was perhaps not stated clearly enough as there were no responses to it. This was about an alternative to using a ladder.

My idea is based on the fact that the reason it is hard to board a Capri is that it rides quite high in the water. If there were a lot of water in the boat it would ride lower and therefore be relatively easy to get back into. In my previous boat, also a 14-footer, after being righted following a capsize, there was enough water in it to lower the deck to within a foot or so of the surface so that it was easy to get back in (and then bail it out). Under normal conditions, it was as hard to board from the water as a Capri. So my idea is to sail the Capri with both drain holes plugged. If it takes on water under normal circumstances, I would pull the plugs to drain it and then put them back in. Should the boat capsize, I would right it as usual, but the plugs would prevent the water from running out, so the boat would ride low in the water, allowing easy boarding. I would of course pull the plugs after boarding to let the water out.

This seems reasonable to me, but I haven't actually tried it (and won't at least until next summer). Has anybody ever tried something like this? I would appreciate any comments about this idea.

One way to plug those holes is to do what I do: wrap a piece of PVC pipe with duct tape and stick it in the holes. This cheaply does the trick.

I've never tried to intentionally make our capri sit low, but sometimes I sail in cool temperatures and water in the cabin freezes my feet and drives me crazy. The PVC pipe invention keeps the inside nice and dry. Maybe in your case it will keep the water in.

Hope this helps,