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northoceanbeach 03-23-2008 06:41 PM

this thing won't tip over?
I don't know. It seems that I'm in danger of capsizing in any wind over 20mph. I've got a cal20 and it has no reef points, and the last week and a half it's been gusty, up to 25 mph and i've only had the storm jib up because I'm just learning, but it really seems like I'm going to capsize? My rail touched the water twice and several times my window was in. Is this normal? Is this just how you sail? Something that should be fun and I should get used to or is it actually dangerous? I had my neighbor out with me once and he drove like a madman, keeping that rail close to dipping and telling me that's the way to go, and his boat sails best with the rail in.

eMKay 03-23-2008 07:30 PM

A Cal 20? If it does capsize it's going to come back up pretty quick :) You can just let out the main a little to keep the rail out of the water, but that's a pretty stable boat from what I hear. I'd like to find one myself.

eMKay 03-23-2008 07:35 PM

Have you looked at the bottom of your boat? Look at that keel! You could keep that rail buried all day long :)

Alden68 03-23-2008 08:07 PM

Generally speaking, a well designed keel boat cannot be capsized by the wind alone. Breaking wave energy is required to get the boat to "roll." Most keel boats are stable to at least 90 degrees of heel, and your rail probably gets wet at around thirty so no worries! However, when sailing at high angles of heel be sure all hatches and ports are closed so if you get "knocked down" by the wind (roughly 90 degrees over with the sails in the water) your boat will not take on any water before the keel rights her.

You will learn how to control the angle of heel through various sail handling techniques which you will learn over time, and you will also learn at which angles of heel your boat feels comfortable and fast. Sailing her like a wild man, like your neighbor, while maybe not the most prudent in terms of crew comfort and gear wear, will not put you in the drink.

Enjoy!!!! And welcome to Sailnet!

Stillraining 03-23-2008 09:45 PM

Alden68...does a good job describing your sailing situation and terms a bit but dosent quite hit on your use of terminology enough...As he said a Knock down is basicly mast in the water ( Main sail ) ..A capsize is turning turtle or 180 rotation or close to it where the keel would be in a more vertical then horizontal plane...which can be harder to self right from...Most knock downs are wind induced and most boats will recover very well from them..It is part of a sailboat design to do so...Some sailors like to push that envelope others do not..As your confidance in your boat increases so will you find yourself pushing that envelope as well...Its not a bad idea to know where that point is for your boat IMHO and there is only one way to find out...The bigger the boat the scarier it gets to experiment with though..and things can break...$$...:D...Best to have experienced help and a safty plan if intentionally finding out..

FarCry 03-23-2008 10:06 PM

Good info from the previous posters. When I was learning one obvious fact, that wasn't obvious to me, was that as your boat heels and your mainsail gets closer to horizontal it is actually catching less wind and makes it even harder to go all the way over. Until you get more familiar with how to control your sails during gusts, you can always make a quick turn towards the wind as you sort things out. That will instantly get you more "flat" and give you a chance to think through what you want to do with your sheets and or traveler so that you can resume your original course with more comfort/control. If the gusts are of short duration it may be over by the time you decide to return to your original heading and you can continue on without easing your mainsheet and then having to trim back in. That is my lazy method;) when there is a cockpit full of guests that I don't want to crawl over to grab sheets.

Welcome to Sailnet and don't hesitate to ask for help. Happy Easter.

sailaway21 03-23-2008 11:13 PM

As emKay relates, you've got yourself one of the more desirable boats in that size range. They're very popular for racing particularly on the west coast.

The previous advise is correct and you'll find that you may have water rolling right into the cockpit and still not close to going over. Keep your hatch closed! You'll have to play around and see what your best combination of sails are for conditions. My Cal 21' benefits from a reef in the main while stilling flying the genoa. You'll probably find that she moves best at around 15-20 degrees heel. You're going to have a lot of fun finding out. Sail it like you stole it!

rtbates 03-24-2008 11:40 AM

looking at the drawings of the Cal 20 I'd be very cautious of sailing with the rail buried. Why? Because there is no space between the cockpit coaming and the rail. IF you get a big puff while the rail is dipping you certainly could take on water in the cockpit and with no bridge deck and I see no cockpit scuppers you could start taking water below. IF the mast gets slammed down 90 you'll most certainly take lots of water in the cockpit and most likely below. Keep you lower hatch boards locked in place and if you don't have good sized cockpit scuppers keep a bailing bucket of two in the cockpit.

Happy sailing

Giulietta 03-24-2008 11:50 AM

OH my God!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stop sailing right now....are you nuts???? tilting the boat like that????

We're all gonna die......we're all gonna die....HELPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

sailingdog 03-24-2008 12:19 PM


I think Gui is channeling your wife. :)

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