By Ann Turner
For many years, the Sabot has sailed the waters. This eight foot dinghy is often seen with a young skipper on the tiller as it is easy to handle with only one sail. The US Sabot, with the distinctive wooden shoe insignia, is considered the perfect first boat for the beginning sailor.
The US Sabot is popular with junior sailing programs. It offers all the sail controls of a larger boat, so sailors can develop a full range of sail trimming skills. The US Sabot allows the basic sailing fundamentals to be learned and develop water safety skills. The more experienced sailors learn "go fast" sailing techniques, advanced "right of way" rules and racing skills.
Sid Blinder was the first designer and builder of this particular centerboard designed fiberglass sabot over thirty years ago. Sid Blinder is senior statesman of the fleet. Many of our racing sailors in Marina del Rey remember that their childhood ambition, as Sabot sailors, was to "beat Sidney!" on the race course. When Sid retired, Catalina Yachts began building the boats, now called US Sabots.
The objective of the US Sabot Association is to promote and maintain a national US Sabot Class racing under uniform rules and regulations. The 1998 US Sabot Association has over thirty-five junior members under age 18 and ten regular members over age 18. The annual meeting is held at the National Championship Regatta.
The Class National Championship and Hi Point Series Regattas are sanctioned by the Association. The Hi Point Series consists of nine regattas held in Marina del Rey, Long Beach, Westlake and Santa Barbara, CA. The series begins in February and concludes in September. The sailors enjoy racing their Sabots and traveling to new venues. The Sabot Nationals are also moved each year to a different host yacht club. In 1998, Del Rey Yacht Club of Marina del Rey will be the host for this event in August.
When you start your child sailing in a Sabot, here's a checklist for sailing equipment, accessories and gear. Sabot accessories are mainsheet, boom vang, out haul, down haul (cunningham), traveller, painter (dock line), sail with battens, rudder, tiller with extension, center board, mast, boom, bailer (cut off juice bottle with rope leash), paddle and protest flag. Sailing gear consists of a large duffel bag with lifejacket, sailing shoes, hat, visor, sunglasses, sun-screen with high spf, towel, change of clothes, watch with count-down timer, coins for phone and of course a roll of duct tape.
When looking at the recent list of Olympic hopefuls, most began in a small eight foot pram type boat. A few of them sailed sabots. Who among the young sabot sailors will be joining them in 2000 or 2004 Olympics?
What was it the water rat said in Wind in the Willows? "There is nothing, simply nothing, better than messing about in boats." The US Sabot is the perfect fun boat for sailors of all ages.
By Ed Jones
When Frank Butler designed the Capri 14.2 in the early 80's, his goals were as follows: Build a modern family dinghy that uses a simple rig suitable for beginning sailors, one that is comfortable, stable, and has a clean, open cockpit. It should be safe (self-rescuable), and designed for mass production in order to keep the price affordable for young families. It must have honest-to-goodness seats, and have enough form stabilty to sail flat in a breeze by using simple hiking straps.
Frank wanted a wide market, and he found one. Over 4700 Capri 14.2s have been sold since its introduction in 1984. It was an immediate hit, with over a thousand sold in the first three years. A map of current registrations shows owners distributed across the entire U.S., with an amazingly uniform distribution. True, there's a high density in Southern California, but it's also true that Capri 14.2s are found in numbers in every state. Other high-density areas are Minnesota/Wisconsin, New England, and Florida.
Catalina Yachts has never pushed the Capri 14.2 to the one-design racing market, but in spite of this several racing fleets have flourished across the nation. The center of gravity of racing activity is in Southern California, with three active fleets. A strict adherence to the keep-it-simple philosophy by the Capri 14.2 National Association has assured that the rig stays simple, and that wins can't be bought by expensive go-fast hardware. The hull form and weight distribution has remained remarkably consistent over the years, with the result that there is essentially no difference in the racing performance of older boats compared with newer ones.
The Capri 14.2 Nationals are usually held each September in San Diego, but this year's event will be in Marina del Rey in Los Angeles, with the racing managed by the California Yacht Club. (The dates are September 12-13. Contact Jim Ach, the National Commodore at 310-822-0294, for details. Or e-mail at ANNMACH@aol.com)
The boat is a joy to sail, with a well-balanced rig that is optimized for a two-person crew, although three or four people can comfortably day-sail without feeling cramped. The high freeboard helps keep the crew dry. Some owners opt for a self-furling jib, and others have added outboard brackets, using small (2-3 hp) motors for auxiliary power. But in spite of its comfort, it will hydroplane on a broad reach in winds of 15-20 knots. And the retractable centerboard and rudder allow for easy beaching.
Although the hull shape hasn't changed, Jerry Douglas and his team of designers at Catalina Yachts have worked hard at continual improvements to the boat above the waterline. Every two to three years the deck, hardware, and cuddy configurations have been modified to make the boat safer, stiffer, and more user-friendly. The current version, introduced in 1996, has a couple of good examples of incremental improvements.
The new centerboard arrangement uses control line routing in the center that is far simpler than the original, and no longer has cleats on the seat fronts, making for a cleaner cockpit. Because the control line uses only two blocks instead of seven, line drag is greatly reduced, making it far easier to raise and lower the board. The cuddy is an open design, with a stout, watertight plastic door. It features a full-width bulkhead which separates the cuddy from the under-the-seat compartments, thus creating two large, separate watertight compartments. The forward deck is arched somewhat. This, along with the new bulkhead, makes the boat structurally stiffer and stronger.
A little history is in order here: The first Capri 14.2s, starting in 1984, also had an open cuddy arrangement, but the door was a little wooden one, with a clumsy latch. And it didn't seal very tight. Thus, if you capsized, you were likely to take in a few gallons below by the time you got back upright. If the door was open, the entire interior would flood. This happened to a boat that went over in rough seas off Los Angeles. The Capri filled with water. It didn't sink, as it had flotation under the seats, but it made for a difficult rescue. So difficult, in fact, that the rescue craft inadverdently damaged the boat beyond repair. To remedy this problem, the factory, in 1989, revised the cuddy. Instead of an open cuddy, a plastic box was inserted into the opening. This permitted only limited storage, as the box was only three feet deep by about 18 inches wide. It kept any water from getting below if the boat capsized, but it severely limited any useful storage. For those who wanted to do an overnight camping trip, for example, this didn't allow adequate space for sleeping bags, etc. Now the designers have got it right. The new cuddy is huge, with a big, watertight door, with easy-operating, but very muscular latches.
This dedication to sweating the details in an unending quest for perfection is a major key to the success of the Capri 14.2. And it's one reason why owners show such loyalty to the line and frequently stay in the Catalina family when it's time to graduate to a keelboat. Even then they often keep their 14.2 after getting a big boat. They just can't stand to give the little guy up!
For more information on the Capri 14.2 and the national association, visit our website at: sailingsource.com/capri14/
The Coronado 15 is Thirty Years Young
By Dick Ohst, First Association Commodore
Frank Butler, then owner of Coronado Yachts, conceived and created a fifteen foot family daysailer/racing sloop called the Coronado 15 a relatively short time ago. This became an outstanding small boat racing Class for young or old, male or female, married or single people who enjoy the fun and competition of small boat sailing and racing. The C-15, as it became commonly known as, attracted many adult and junior sailors who became very enthusiastic and skillful racing sailors. Some have become Olympic Sailing medalists and some have excelled in other Class Championships and US SAILING Championships. The C-15 Class has not only provided a wonderful recreation outlet for many people but, even more important, it has helped develop outstanding character and sportsmanship qualities in all who became involved in the Class activities. Over the years many C-15 competitors have become successful in occupations such as sailing editors, sail makers, professional sailors, and many others. The C-15 is now a nationally recognized One-Design Class. These are wonderful tributes to all who have supported and participated in the Class activities that have made it an attractive One-Design Class.
The birth of the Class began sometime in 1968 when the C-15 was launched. It looked like a sloop rigged Finn with 140 square feet of dacron power. This was a lot of boat to handle, even without a spinnaker, especially for husband/wife teams, but loads of fun to sail. After a few months of sailing and racing, a couple of design improvements were recommended by the sailors for consideration by Frank Butler, the builder. Several on the water tests and consultations with top sailors including Peter Barrett, an Olympic Finn Class medalist, the improvements were approved and implemented. The mast spreaders were made flat and allowed limited movement rather than round and fixed, also, a mast partner was added at the lower part of the mast. Both helped prevent permanent mast bending in high winds and better mast control. The trapeze was not original equipment and was added to help keep the boat flat in even moderate winds. These early design upgrades made the boat safer and exciting to race. Other small changes over the years have further improved the boat while retaining its "one-design" features. The older boats and newer boats are equally competitive and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to keep them in top racing condition. The winning teams are those that sail and race together often and that is what one-design racing is all about.
The Class became formally organized in 1968 as the Coronado 15 Class Racing Association with a documented Constitution and Bylaws. Many long hours were spent on Brett Page's living room floor while wording and rewording all the Bylaws, Rules, and Regulations. They are essentially the same today having an objective to promote C-15 racing under uniform rules and regulations while maintaining the One-Design features of the boat. The word "Racing" was removed from the title later and the Bylaws continue to be massaged periodically but the basic intent to keep the acquisition cost and upkeep within modest limits is being preserved. Initially there were only about 300 members and seventeen sanctioned fleets located primarily in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and Texas. Now there are members nation wide and sail numbers are in the thousands. The C-15 Class always welcomes new sailors and offers exciting racing and good times for all.
Good times with the C-15 Class takes many forms. Meeting new and old friends and sharing the secrets of sailing techniques, sail trim, and discussing allowable go-fast gadgets always takes place before, during and after racing. As with all sailors, there are endless after race war stories about success and failure, close calls and capsizes, mark roundings, collisions, first and last place finishes, protests and many more. You can be sure that camping, outdoor cooking and camaraderie go hand in hand with many C-15 events. Old times and new times aren't very different as the skipper/crew combinations continue to consist of friends and family members of all ages piling up tons of wonderful memories. After each regatta there is always another one to look forward to. You just cannot find a better recreation sport than sailing a C-15.
The C-15 in Canada
By Michael Riemann
Appearing in the late 70s, the C-15s came to western Canada. The sporty good looks, very reasonable cost and outstanding sailing performance, especially in light air, didn't go unnoticed where the boat mixed it up with other classes at regattas. In 1981 a fleet at Cranbrook, British Columbia formed and shortly thereafter a second fleet at Calgary, Alberta was granted fleet a charter.
To this day the Kootenay fleet 44, at Cranbrook, remains active and has played an important role in the Pacific Northwest in Coronado 15 Class activities as well as having hoisted sails at many North American events. We know of other C-15s in various other regions of the country, but they appear to be rather thinly spread.
Recently, we have seen new interest in the western part of the province, older boats being recycled on to the racing scene. We are now considering holding our '98 District Championship at the Southern Okanagon Sailing Assoc. Regatta in south central B.C., an attractive location reasonably close to these new interests and established fleets. We are exited!
By Jim Holder
The C-15 expanded to the East Coast in the early '70s, when Gordon Hunter moved from Fresno, California to Atlanta, Georgia. Things started slowly for Gordon but within one year there was a full calendar of C-15 activities. Before long, Florida had become an active venue along with Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Washington state. By 1976 there were five viable districts covering most of the United States. I attended every district champion regatta that year with my red, white and blue hull "Free Sprit" #1776, the first colored hull produced by Catalina. By the early '80s the National Championship Regatta had been held all the way from Florida to Seattle, Washington, with stops in Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon and California.With the inclusion of several boats from Canada, it was time to change the name of the championship regatta from National to North American. Although fleet activity has waned somewhat, the C-15 class still remains relatively strong in many areas. It is still the highest performance double handed trapeze boat available for under $5000. The most famous skipper to ever sail a C-15, is without a doubt, Allison Jolly. Allison sailed with her husband Mark Elliot for seven years. During that time she won every North American Championship she attended, four straight. When she wasn't sailing the NAs, Mark was crewing for another winning skipper, making Mark the all time winningest crew with six NA titles. Meanwhile Allison with off to Korea to represent the United States as the first woman sailor to compete in the summer Olympics. Her crew was Lynn Shore. Lynn and Allison won the gold medal with room to spare. In fact they only had to finish 15th or better in the last race to win the gold. As luck would have it, their job halyard failed about half way through that race. In 20 plus knots, 9 foot seas, they turned the boat over and jury rigged the jib, righted the boat and finished 13th. They did not know they had won the gold until Mark greeted them with the news as they reached the shore, some half-hour later. Other famous skippers to win the Nationals and or the Nas are Dave Ullman, Tom Linskey, Henry Sprague to name a few. The largest championship regatta ever held was at Lake Huntington, California, in 1981. There were 91 boats on one line for qualifications. 1998 North American Regatta will be held in Atlanta, Georgia this September.