sitting on gunwale or seat

st louis sailer

New Member
Where do most people sit on their capri, on the gunwale or the seat? I used to race with crew and we always sat on the seat and shifted our weight around according to the needs. Now I mostly race single handed and find I need to move my weight out onto the gunwale. I find it a little bit more difficult to move up onto the gunwale especially with forever shifting wind.
I'm always in the seat but ready to gunwale it with hiking straps in a split second as needed. Now I had considered moving to the St Louis area but found the opportunities to enjoy Capri down there to be limited at best. Creve Cour was a decent sized lake but had terrible launching facilities. No docks adjacent to the ramps! And the locals told me when heavy rains occur that lake floods out and is not boatable for some time. Also looked at Lake St. Louis, which was at the far west end of the metro area. And didn't see much in the way of launching opportunities there either. I'm based in Des Plaines (Chicago area) at a nice small Park District lake, and there's plenty of other places to drag Capri to. All the facilities up here are great! Where do you sail at down there?
Also forgot to mention that it's just too damn hot down there (compared to Chicago)!
Hello aquaman. I have read and enjoy your posts. I sail my capri at Creve Coeur Lake. We have a small sailing club(30-40 ) and race twice a month. We do have a public dock that we maintain for the park dept during the sailing season. It is a fairly small lake but good for boats 14ft-18ft. I also sail my Hunter 260 at Carlyle Lake in IL. I agree Lake St. Louis is not a good lake to sail on.
I'm pretty familiar with Creve Cour. So you just drop the boat in and climb into boat from the water? Both ramps I saw had no dock next to launch ramps. Just jagged concrete walls with rusty bolts sticking out. Is that lake safe to swim in? On my lakes up here I drop anchor and jump in on hot days. Is it a shallow body of water? Down your way I bet you could sail from the start of April through early November, easily! Now I also had checked out Carlyle down by the state park at the south end. That lake's huge, probably could get dicey for Capri when stronger winds are out of the north. Did you ever sail yours on Carlyle?
Yikes, reminds me how blessed I am to be sailing a Mod3, 14.2K Catalina in southside VA. I single hand always but the keel version makes all of the difference for me. If the wind gets up over 10 to 12 it is about time to get up onto the gunwales or reef the main but mostly because it feels more stable and lets me sit a little higher off of the water. I have said in other posts that this is my alternative boat after sailing and racing a Tanzer 22 and a Cape Dory Typhoon for a combined almost fifty years before I went back to the sailing dinghy mode, which I love, at almost 75 years old. Kerr/Buggs Island Lake is an inland lake along the NC,VA state line of 50,000 acres with about 800 miles of shoreline. about 21 miles east to west and 16 or 17 miles north-south from the dam. Hydro and flood control project from the early 50's with Corps of Engineers control and only about one third of it's shoreline available for development-that includes about nine state parks and three or four COE parks. About twenty vertical feet above the average water level is gov't owned/controlled and what private ownership there is has to be above that curve, about 320 feet above sea level. Depths away from the water line get to between 30 and 100 feet. My small home is built on one of four lots and we have about 3.5 acres of land above the level of the Corps property, two floating docks, and plenty of depth. We are about two miles by water from the town of Clarksville, VA and two marinas, the north side of the lake in our area is a state park and wildlife management area which runs for seven miles or more. Weather is typical VA/NC temperate with mild winters and summers where normal temps in July and then August are mid 80s to lower 90s. Sailing is really feasible almost year round in the boats about 19 or 20 feet in length and up although I tend to "draw the line" on dinghy sailing from Thanksgiving until Easter; putting the boat back on the trailer for that period. Pretty dependable winds except during July and August when high pressure systems keep it usually knocked down from calm to about six or seven at best, not counting during thunderstorms. And, because the lake is formed by the damming of several rivers it tends to be between two and three miles wide except for a wide open area near the dam where the east/west and north/ south fingers come together.
Just wanted to chime in......
I am in St Louis as well and just bought a 14.2. It needs some work but I hope to get it wet this weekend at Creve Coeur. I plan to keep it easy and not interested in racing, so I hope to sit on the seats for most of this maiden voyage. The hiking straps look in bad shape so I hope I don’t need them. Not sure they would hold all of me if I did. I weigh in at 250 so I hope I don’t need too much more ballast. I expect to go over the first few times out as I learn this little boat and the lake.
Yep I'm 193 lb, still strong and agile enough to use that gut to my advantage when sailing. Now I'm still wondering about the launch ramp deal, depth of the lake, etc. See my post from above. Also about water quality and length of the season. The climate's a lot warmer than what we have here in Chicago!
There are no swimming signs everywhere. Although I see people go wading in from the beach all the time. The paddle boarders and kayakers end up all in occasionally. I am not aware of anything wrong with the water, but swimming is still “not allowed.” I am unclear on the boat dock situation. I read your post and it did get me curious about single handing this one on launch and retrieval. I did take a few quick pics as I drove by the other day of the ramps. I figured there is only one way to find out, so I figure I will learn trial by fire this weekend.


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Took mine out on a maiden voyage. To address the topic of the thread. There was barely enough wind to let me get my heavy self onto the seats. Most of the time I had one cheek on the seat and was crouched around the Barney post to keep things level. I rarely got enough wind to heel over and get my full butt in the seats.

I did end up launching from the ramp away from the boat house and not using the docks. I just led it around to the beach and boarded from there.


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Warning, the other day I was out in moderate winds and my mate was sitting in the seat pressing his feet against the opposing wall (of seat). We got a good gust which required him to push back. I heard a cracking noise from that area. Upon inspection there was no visible damage, but I would discourage this positioning as the wall doesn't seem designed to handle much pressure. I bought some 'no feet' stickers online and will put them on as a reminder to use the hiking straps instead!
Some points of interest....
**See that post with the footage marks, I'm sure that's for flood monitoring. I recall on of the locals said that this is a flood reservoir, so if that happens sailing is a no-no.
**On those hot and windless days I enjoy dropping anchor and soaking in the cool water. The lakes I use in the Chicago area are clean enough to do that, I gotta wonder how clean the water is in Creve Cour.
**And yep I saw only one ramp area with a dock in your pics. that's how I recalled. But even that one required you to pull boat along that nasty concrete wall before you could tie up. And the other ramp was worse. Now the 3 lakes I use up here all have plastic floating docks in good condition. You walk boat off the trailer and tie off for pre sailing preparations. Load/unload all your stuff easily. With my launch guides on the trailer I can easily handle the chore. No way could I do those things at the facilities Creve Cour offers.
**The climate down there is much warmer than up here in Chicago. Granted you get probably about an extra month at each end of the season but the mid-summer's brutal! And sailing in early November's fine except that the daylight hours are so short.
There are no other decent lakes for Capri down that way?
This popped up in my feed today on the sailing association FB page regarding the lake water at Creve Coeur lake. FYI.

“We at MSE Racing were incredibly excited to host the Lou Fusz St Louis Triathlon last weekend at the beautiful location of Creve Coeur Lake!

For what it’s worth, we want the public to know we do a water test before each race to make sure the quality of the water is safe for our swimmers. We often get asked, why would you swim in that lake?? Please feel free to tell all your friends and family that while public swimming is prohibited here, the beautiful CCL was one of the cleanest water sources we’ve tested yet. We look forward to hosting again in May of 2022!”