Last Wednesday I took the Capri for a little ride out of the Santa Barbara harbor. Marlene vlolunteers Wednesdays at the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network so I went along for the ride and picked up the boat along the way.
I have been prepping my utility trailer for use with the sailboat for the last week or so by adding a plywood floorboard and wooden frames. When I got to Andre’s place and loaded the boat up, it seemed to work fairly well. I didn’t want to relegate the trailer to be only a boat trailer but making it too custom so it was not custom fitted to the boat’s hull. It did fine on the freeway and around the neighborhood streets of Santa Barbara on my way to the launch ramp.
Capri 13 atop the utility trailer.
Launch at the ramp was fairly easy. I just slide the back of the boat into the water until it floats and the rest comes down without a fuss. Rigging everything at the dock took maybe 20 minutes and I was ready to roll. Andre met me there and took some photos of the Capri in action.
Rigged and ready
Off I go
With the wind coming directly at the launch ramp, it took me a few tacks to get her out of the harbor.
Trying to tack out of the harbor
Away I go
Once I was out and about, the wind picked up outside of the protected area. The sailing got a lot more exciting. I continually trimmed and ease sheets to prevent capsizing but a couple of times I did. I haven’t capsized in this boat yet so I knew I was in for a wet ride today when I decided to leave the harbor. You can push the boat quiet a bit without any risk of turning it over but its falling off from up to down wind course that gets a little insane. These little dinghys love sailing downwind. It picks up speed extremely quickly and if you are not use to it, a capsizing is almost a guarantee. Luckily it was fairly easy to right her by applying some force and weight against the daggerboard. You have to make sure the mainsheet is uncleated or you will be in for a surprise recapsizing to the other side when she comes back up.
On my way back to the harbor I was confronted was a speeding powerboat coming out of the harbor. We were in a collision course about 1/4 mile away from each other. As all educated mariners should know that a motor boat shall always yield to a sailing vessel under wind power. Unfortunately many power boaters do not find it necessary to educated themselves with the proper right of ways of the sea such as this idiot. As I was moving along on a port tack and this guy was getting closer and closer to colliding with me, I finally had to turn to windward to stop the boat so he wouldn’t run me over. I shook my head as I looked at him drive by with his entire family at the bow. He clearly saw me the entire way but apparently his method of determining right-of-ways is “survivial of the biggest and blackest engine smoke”. As he motored by he threw his arms up as to say that he had done nothing wrong. I just kept shaking my head and thinking what ignorant idiots are allowed out in the water.
There really ought to be a requirement for boating licenses. As much of a hassle as that may sound, it really would make sense. A lot of sailors have at least had some form of formal sailing instructions at one time or another. It’s just the nature of this sport. Sailboats requires more know how and understanding as compared to power boats. I have never encountered another sailboat that was not awared of their right of ways. That also seems more apparent to me that more power boats get boarded by the coast guard for inspections than sailboats for the same reason.
I know there are a lot of you that enjoy all types of boating. Many boaters own or have access to both powerboats as well as sailboats. I am not saying that all powerboaters are one way and all sailors are another. I would like to at least see people take the time to get to know the rules of the water before they get themselves out their and potentially cost someone their life.
For those of you that need a refresher on the proper right-of-ways, here are just the basics:
1. Sailing vessel not under power always have the right of way over another vessel under power (regardless of size or type!)
2. Sailboat on a port tack should give way to another on a starboard tack
3. Windward sailboat should give way to the leeward sailboat on the same tack
4. A boat overtaking another should avoid the boat being overtaken and stay to starboard
General rules of thumb:
1. Boats that have more control should give way to boat with less control. This should explain the right-of-ways of a windward versus leeward sailing vessels as well as the power versus sail.
2. When giving way to another vessel make your course changes early and obvious to the other vessel and stay with you decision
3. Do not change course at the last minute if you are not on a collision course
Feel free to add more right-of-ways to the comments if I missed any.