The Capri line has always been the performance side of Catalina Yachts. The Capris are designed in house by the Catalina design group. The new Catalina Capri 23.5 is aimed at pure sailing speed as captured by the growing group of what we now call sport boats. These boats have filled the niche between high-performance dinghies, smaller racer-cruiser types and older one-design keelboats like the Etchells and the Soling.
Maybe the sport boat classes have been designed to appeal to the older sailor who's not willing to go swimming during a race but is still looking for unadulterated sailing speed. The most telling difference between sport boats and racing dinghies is that the sport boats have keels and should be self-righting. The difference between sport boats and their racing-cruising brothers is that the sport boats have very high SA/Ds and, due to the lack of engines and interiors, very low D/Ls.
For the Capri 23.5 this translates to a D/L of 66 and an SA/D of 32.76. This is very much on the high-powered side for a family daysailer. While you may not end up swimming while racing the 23.5, you will get wet and you had better be ready to move quickly. The other obvious advantages to sport boats are trailerability and good one-design racing with highly monitored class rules.
The Capri 23.5 hull has a fine entry with gently hollow waterlines forward and arclike sections aft. The bottom never goes truly flat at centerline. There is a good firm turn to the bilge amidships that gives the 23.5 some form stability. The topsides are flared, placing the crew weight outboard.
The keel retracts for trailering, but is locked in the down position for sailing. The keel is a fin-and-bulb type with an interesting elongated root chord and trailing-edge fillet. Note how far aft the keel is on the boat. There is a kelp-cutting device built into the leading edge of the keel. The outboard carbon-fiber rudder shows some balance area forward of the pivot line. Draft with the keel down is 5 feet.
The rig features a carbon-fiber mast and retractable carbon-fiber bowsprit. The jib sheets' 2:1 ratio makes winches unnecessary. The jib halyard runs back down inside a luff sleeve to an adjusting tackle at the furling drum. This provides the convenience of a furling jib without having to remove any hardware if you want to remove the jib. The asymmetrical chute is flown from the masthead.
Construction of the 23.5 uses unidirectional and bidirectional E-glass over a closed-cell foam core. Hull and deck are hand-laminated with vinylester resin.
Obviously this boat is laid out for ease of handling by a crew that will spend its time on the weather rail. There are footrests for the helmsman. The tiller is carbon-fiber. Lifelines add to crew security, and if an outboard were fitted, this boat would be PHRF-ready. This type of racing would tide you over until your local fleet was established.
Trailerable one-design sport boat.
This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.