The first sail on our new (used) Capri 14.2 by Arthur Cayer

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    The first sail on our new (used) Capri 14.2 went like this...

    Arrived at the boat ramp around 10am. There was lots of activity; fishing boats, ski boats, a 30 ft power boat, and one good-ole-boy in a chalk green 70s Glastron. The good-ole-boy was having engine trouble, and thus, one of three ramps was down for the count.

    After rigging, Pam and I put the Capri in the water, only to realize that the ramp we chose was a bit shallower than the others. No biggie, I'll just pull the centerboard up about half way. While doing this, the wind forced Pam to lose her grip on the dock. The on-shore wind spun the boat around, and pointed her toward the "quickly approaching" concrete ramp. Luckily, I was able to thwart impact, get the boat pointed in the right direction, pull the centerboard up a bit more, reposition the kick-up rudder, hand paddle to wife, instruct to paddle like mad, man tiller, avoid impact with $500,000 thirty foot Fountain transom to right, avoid rocky wave break to left, and wave good bye to a smiling good-ole-boy whose engine just came to life in a cloud of blue smoke.

    Not knowing if the jib would overpower the rudder, sending us back into boat ramp traffic, hull damage, and bad language, I elected to paddle through, and away from all of it. I needed a bit more power, so took over the paddle, and persuaded Pam to take the tiller. Having never manned a tiller, she was understandably not comfortable, and a bit of tense trial and error ensued before achieving desired results. Once away from the dock, I unrolled the jib, and talked Pam (still on the tiller, and still understandably not too happy) through her first tack. Hey, good tack Dear!! No problem!! Let's raise the main!!

    The wind was forecast for a steady ~5 to 7 mph from the east. It was more like 0 to 10, and variable. I had Pam head up just a bit, and I started raising the main. The main sheet is loose and uncleated, so it should just ease out unpowered - right? The stern end of the boom was tangled under the hiking strap and centerboard bungee. So as I raised the sail, it just powered up and started heeling over the boat. Wife seemed frozen on tiller. Somehow I was able to, cleat main halyard in place, take over tiller, untangle boom, explain to an understandably-not-too-happy Pam that we are not capsizing, and redirect traveler that somehow got routed on underside of tiller !! My Bad. No wonder she couldn't steer the boat........she was nauseous, and wanted to drop the sails.

    All the above took place in the span of about seven minutes. The surreal site of a chalk green Glastron motoring past in a cloud of blue smoke and cacophony of sounds emitting from a 70hp Evinrude running on one cylinder was enough to distract Pam temporarily from impending hurling. Eventually we got the main up completely, and the rest of the outing was relatively (relatively) uneventful.

    I haven't sailed in over twenty years; my last boat being a Hobie 16. With that said, I would have thought the Capri would be a cinch to sail, but my tacks and jibes were awkward at best. We're nowhere close to mixing it up with other boats in a race.

    We sailed for about 1.5 hours. Pam eventually got use to the heel of the boat, but unfortunately her nausea never subsided. Time to call it a day. Again, the boat ramp was full of activity: a ~20ft sailboat, a very long Scarab, boats waiting to dock, boats waiting to trailer, and another good-ole-boy in a Chrysler powered puke red tri-hull that wouldn't fire. My thought process went from sailing in under main, to sailing in with jib only, to dropping both and paddling. Pam suggested I buy a motor for the boat. A motor? OMG !!! This broke my heart. But, she had a point.

    In the end, we entered the fray uneventfully and trailered the Capri with no issues. Somehow I talked Pam into giving it another go next weekend. We talked about the huge number of unknowns that we worked through, which shouldn't be a problem during the next outing; that in spite of her nausea, and my ham handed boat skills, we eventually began working more as a team; that we never capsized (once, we heeled to ~ 45 degrees in a botched tack when one of us (OK, me) sat on the main sheet); that we maneuvered the boat back to the ramp without ramming into 30' Cigarette Boats. We have a long way to go, and I'm looking forward to the journey - but I'm not the one with nausea issues. We'll see how it works out.

    As we pulled away from the boat ramp, the ole Chrysler tri-hull finally came to life in yet another cloud of blue smoke. Something about a gas hose not plugged in.

    Arthur Cayer

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