Port of Edmonds

Coeur d’Alene, ID

Why BackBeat?  Because I’m a musician.  The backbeat is one of the things that drives music along and gives it energy.  Have you ever heard nice folks clap on the one and three of a 4/4 rhythm while the hip folks try to get everyone clapping on the two and four?  All of a sudden people are clapping on every beat and you get the (excuse the non-pc adjective here) whitest musical experience possible.

A little history:  Frank Butler, of Catalina Yachts, designed the Capri 25 to compete with a class of racing yachts that includes the J24,  the Merit 25, the Kirby 25, and other popular boats in that category.  Catalina’s Florida factory built about 450 Capri 25s, mostly from 1980-1982.  Production ended permanently in 1988.  Each of the boats in this class has similar specs; the Capri is probably the beamiest, but it also has the most comfortable cabin.  She’s a fast boat, especially on a spinnaker reach, and will plane downwind in good conditions.  When I’m on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, she’ll surf down the face of the larger swells.

I bought BackBeat in 2007, in Norfolk, VA,  from a fellow who had raced and cruised her since he bought her in 1982.  The boat had been burglarized in 2006. The hatch was left open, causing damage to the cabin sole and the companionway step.  Repairing that damage motivated the owner to undertake a complete re-fit, with the result that the boat was almost as-new when I bought it.

A Few Interesting Facts About BackBeat:

  • Her hull is actually only 24’7″ long, and only 19’2″ of that is in the water when she’s at the dock.
  • She’s 9’2″ wide, the mast is about 31′ high, and she needs about 5′ of water to float in.
  • The keel weighs about 900 pounds.
  • The whole boat weighs about 3,000 pounds empty.
  • The cabin does not feature standing headroom, but it’s pretty good-sized for this type of boat.
  • It has a fresh water tank, a water pump and sink, a one-burner stove, and a porta-potty.
  • It could sleep four people if they were friends, or family who liked each other.  Otherwise, it provides a camping-out level of comfort for one or two people, and more than enough for a singlehanded racer.
  • For the sailors out there:  SA/D = 21.47, 100% foretriangle.  D/L = 187, light, but not ultralight.  Hull speed = 5.87, though she regularly exceeds it, even without planing (maybe I’m doing the math wrong).  She’s a little tender initially, and likes to be sailed relatively flat, but her stability angle is about 157 degrees.  Once she settles into her groove she feels pretty solid.  When I’m alone I drop the 150 at about 12 kts and use the jib.  At about 20 kts, when I’m alone, I reef.  If I have some ballast on the rail I’ll leave it all up a little longer.  As it gets windier I’ll switch to the main alone, then a reefed main alone.  This has worked for any weather I’ve been in so far.  Flying the spinny when I’m alone is fine once I get it rigged, which seems to take forever.  More practice required.  Gybing it is another story.  This may seem lame, but when I’m alone it’s easiest to drop it behind the main and re-hoist it on the other side.  I’m going to stick with this for now–at least until I can work out something faster.

Well, that’s my little boat.  So far, I’ve learned that she can take a beating better than I can.  I’m discovering where I need to improve her, and am confident that with close attention to safety, reliability and redundancy, she’ll make a fine partner in my 2014 SHTP adventure.

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