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  #1  
Old 08-26-2007
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Kentucky Lake showed me I'm a beginner

I took a sailing lesson earlier this year on a Colgate 26 so I decided to buy a boat. I bought a Capri 18 and I've taken it out a couple of times. I am a total beginner and other than the lesson, I've never sailed. I don't have any friends that sail so I have to teach myself. So far everything has been pretty smooth but I've never been thrown into a bad situation until this past weekend. I was sailing on Ky Lake for about 5 hours and everything seemed to be going smooth. I had a friend with me who pointed at some white capping waves so we sailed into that direction since it would seem that would be fun. I had a regular jib up and an unreefed main. I was on a port tack and when I hit the white caps my boat immediately felt like I was going to capsize. I had been heeling earlier but nothing like this. The stanchions were starting to go underwater. I lost control of the boat and started to panic. My main sail was pulled into the center. It felt like I was being tossed around with no control. Seems like no matter what I did the boat just kept heeling over to the starboard side. I won't tell you a lie, I was scared. I thought for sure the boat was going over. I told my friend to go to the bow and drop both sails which let me regain control. Then we just motored in. Looking back I was trying to figure out what was wrong other than me being inexperienced. It all happened so fast I can't remember if I tried to point into the wind. I guess my main should have been let out and reefed. Can someone tell me what could I have done. I'm not very good at guessing the wind speed so I could not tell you what it was. How easy is it to capsize a Capri 18?

Sorry for the long post but I'm just looking for some advice..

Thanks

Mike
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Old 08-26-2007
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Let the main out!
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Old 08-26-2007
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Yikes!!.......
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Old 08-26-2007
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I was out on a Capri 22 earlier this week, fun boat. You also could have released the sheets to regain control. That could be your "brake", when you feel things are getting a little out of control.
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Old 08-26-2007
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Let out the mainsheet and jib sheet some. That will let the wind "dump" off of the sail more, and the boat will flatten out some. Sit on the high side to help right the boat some. Head up directly into the wind and that'll definetly end it, just be sure you don't over steer and head on a new tack, or you're back where you started.

You could even let the sheets out and head downwind, that'll bring a flat ride. If the wind is blowing good and you head downwind, the apparent wind speed will be reduced because you are now going with it.


By the way, according to Surf you are now a sailor, congrats.
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Old 08-26-2007
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Letting pressure off the sails—by easing the sheets—or in an extreme case, letting go of them... will generally help prevent the boat from doing anything really bad if the wind picks up unexpectedly.
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Old 08-26-2007
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Good Advice from others.....other things to consider

A small boat like a that and a newbie like yourself should try to initally avoid winds and waves like that until you acquire skills and gain confidence in your and your boats ability to sail in them.

I have no idea where Kentucky Lake is, it's size, depth or how far away you were from shore/port you were, or how big the waves you were in were, but when I see whitecaps where I am (MA North Shore), it usually means big waves and big wind. Even if I was a super confident sailor, I'd be reluctant to purposely go into conditions like that.

If you get caught in stuff like that another option is to reduce your sail area by heading into the wind and dropping your jib or main. You then can sail on one sail. On a Capri, I am assuming the headsail is much easier to drop than the main. Where we are moored, the wind is sometimes very different than the Big Ocean. I like to sail out of the harbor under jib alone if possible with the main ready to go up for low wind. If the wind is really strong, we sail under the jib alone. If no wind, we hoist the main. If we have both sails up and the wind picks up to speeds more than I like for two sails, we either: drop the main, roll in the jib some, reef the main, or sail on the main only. Last resort is to drop everything and turn on the motor and head in.

Others have said that going on another point of sail broad reach or run will reduce heel, but the sailing in following "seas" sometimes is a rolley poley feeling as you can surf down a wave and then back up the backside of the next wave.. When I kayak, I'd much rather head into the waves/wind as I have better boat control and steerage. When I "run" with waves and wind, I do a lot more work keeping the boat upright and at a steady pace. In big waves, if I am not careful I can bury the bow of the kayak, which is a uncomfortable feeling. It becomes a problem if it doesn't pop back up. My kayak is the same length as your sailboat.

Now that you have made it through your first "scary" moment without harm, hopefully you gained some confidence in yourself, your boat, for situations like that. We all go through those "holy crap, this is scary stuff" conditions. Welcome to the club.

DrB
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Old 08-26-2007
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Mike I think allot people new at sailing, go out with the main locked down and centered. It seems to be a common thing (yeah I did it too ) I had a hunter 23 and had a knockdown one time but she rounded up on her own anyway. Then just before Isold the boat we went out one day, got hit by a quick moving thunder storm and got laid over too, but that time I let out the sheets and boom and she still was dipping the boom, but sailed to the shore and found shelter on her own even though my son I were still trying to get her pointed into the wind LOL. I don't think I would sail towards bad weather for fun LOL. although sometimes you can't escape it. everytime you go out you gain a tad more experiance and comfort so don't give up!

good luck

Denise
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Old 08-26-2007
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"blow the main" or release it - is good advice - OR depending upon how fast you need to react - just pinching the boat to windward (so you are almost in irons) works fine too - i have done that when winds have gusted to 25-30 knots (when they were at 18-20kts steady) and pinching to windward worked for me.

re reefing - the old saying goes - reef BEFORE you leave port - but that is only when 1) you know its a BLOW; 2) winds are very gusty; 3) you aniticpate heavy weather.

dont feel bad about what happened - its part of the learning experience.

Other point to learn as someone mentioned above - when you see whitecaps - it means the winds are picking up in that area. As such - you need to pay attention and be prepared. Also, you may want to determine if that area of the lake tends to get puffy during certain wind/weather situations.

Where I sail in long island sound, there are a few spots where I know the wind or waves become tricky under certain circumstances. So I try to be prepared.

Best advice - GO OUT AGAIN TOMORROW!
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Old 08-26-2007
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Here, this will make you feel better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDToL593cmU
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