Questions (and answers) about how to sail C-15s fast and safe

Questions (and answers) about how to sail C-15s fast and safe

Coronado 15 Forum: Questions (and answers) about how to sail C-15s fast and safe

By John Payne on Saturday, April 25, 1998 – 07:48 pm:

How do you jibe a C-15 in heavy air without capsizing

By Marisa McCoy on Wednesday, April 29, 1998 – 11:02 am:

Q: Does anyone have any ideas on improving the non-slip surface for the crew? I’m not particularly happy with the standard non-slip surface on our boat, but I also don’t want something that will tear up clothes and/or body parts.

By John Payne on Wednesday, April 29, 1998 – 07:59 pm:

I have tried some rubber edges glued where the crew stands, and that seems to help. Actually, the best thing I’ve personally found is wearing wetsuit slippers. They grip extremely well — good for skipper too. Any other ideas out there?

By Chuck Emer on Saturday, May 9, 1998 – 11:05 pm:

I would appreciate any input I could get on trying to use 3/4 in. exterior plywood for a center board. I wouldn’t have any trouble shapeing it. I just have some reservation about it deforming under a load. I realize that glassing it would stiffen it sufficiently, but I’d like to try it with just a good coat of urithane.

Thanks for any help…Chuck

By Richard Dickerson on Monday, June 1, 1998 – 11:05 am:

I use my C15 for day sailing with the family as well as for racing. Is there anyway to depower the boat other than buying the smaller day sails from Catalina. The children (ages 10 and 8) are very leary of trapezing and the west Texas winds typically range from 10 to 20 mph at the lake where we sail. I am afraid that too much excitement may dampen their interest in sailing.


By John Payne on Wednesday, June 3, 1998 – 10:40 pm:

Richard, the usual ways to depower are to have at least a 16 to 1 boom vang and crank it on hard when going upwind and let it off when going downwind. Also pulling the board up a bit helps.

I’ve seen the ads for the small sails but I’ve never actually seen them. Might not be a bad option for you until the kids get used to it. 10 to 20 really is what these boats were designed for. I’ll bet it won’t be long before they love it. Consider capsizing as simply part of the fun.

Any other ideas out there?

By Tom Forgue on Saturday, July 11, 1998 – 05:03 pm:


The rubber material for the edge of the boat John memtioned is available at Mariner Sailmakers in Dallas. It is also available at most catamaran shops as it is the standard for this application. It comes in bulk lengths or cut to fit most Hobie catamarans. It is installed with contact cement and is really comfortable on the feet and doesn’t tear stuff. Most C15ers use non skid tape for this, which is available at Home Depot, etc. This is great also, lighter and cheaper, however, it is not as soft on the feet and is abrasive on the seat of your pants/harness.

By Tom Forgue on Sunday, July 12, 1998 – 09:38 pm:

Chuck Emer-Honest, my advise is “write a check.” The time, effort and expense of building your own boards is far more than “trimming” a stock board or even purchasing a Waterrat or other custom board.

Has anyone out there tried building a timplet from a waterrat or other custom board and modifying a stock board to match? For that matter, has anyone thought about the bending characteristics of centerboards (other than Scott Craven in Houston), and how all boards “fall off to windward” under preasure. Comments welcome.

By Tom Forgue on Sunday, July 12, 1998 – 10:33 pm:

Richard Dickerson, just how far in west Texas are you? Some where out there, there stops being water!!! Are you the only C15 out there or is there an unknown fleet we need to contact? Depowering, let me ask some questions. Does your boat have a mast partner? Does it have tubular spreaders or the swept back foil type? Stern sheeting or travelor?

A mast partner (“for the purpose of limiting forward or athwartships mast movemnent only.” “…shall act no higher than 15″ above the fiberglass mast step base.”), along with the spreaders, help keep the mast in column, and therefore help flatten the mainsail and depower the rig.

The tubular spreaders that originally came with
C15’s, were not swept back much at all. Swept back spearders, under rig load, induces prebend, flattens the sail and depowers the rig. (Very general rule.)

Next, stern sheeting allows the mainsheet to pull from the weather rail as if the travelor was trimmed to weather. This is optimum 90% of the time, however, in high winds, being able to let the mainsheet (travelor) fall off to leeward, is an advantage, as it means you are pulling down on the mainsheet as well as in, and effectively, pulling on the vang hard. Stern sheeting is the coolest thing since sliced bread, but it really puts a premium on the vang. (A 16 to 1 cascading vang is easy to build (see Mark Elliots great tuning manual). RUN IT TO BOTH SIDES!!!!

Most important, of course, is your attitude towards the wind. If you can handle it, the kids will love it. How cool is being out on the trapeeze!!! Pinch, luff the sail, hike hard, go slow, whatever it takes, make it fun and exciting. A win is far less important than the bonding experience. Several years ago, I had a young (8 years) crew whose Mom didn’t really like us to go out in big wind (even though she was a C15 sailor). Bobby and I found ourselves at the lake with the wind blowing 15-25. Looking for guildance, I asked a fellow sailor if he thought we should we go out. Dick Grigsby looked at me and said, “I wouldn’t let a little wind stop me.” I knew I could handle it; I knew my boat could handle it. Bobby’s 70 lbs. was not much of a help on the trapeeze, but I could not tell you now if we finished 1st or 100th. I can say, that was one of the funnest sailing days of my life.

By Terence Gallagher on Friday, July 24, 1998 – 03:36 pm:

I bought a brand new C-15 about a year ago (hull #3744) and am always working to refine my boat speed. I have few questions about some of the refinements I have read and tried in the tuning guides.

1.When I measure the distance from the top of the mast to the transome, is the measurement to the top of the mast or where the sail is locked in when in the halyard lock? If the measurement is made from the “sail clamp”, is the measurement made at where the head of the sail would be?

2.On the stern sheeting, should the “Y” of the tail meet just where the sheet enters the boom block, half way up, two inches from the block, where?

3. I’ve heard that cutting a notch out of the back of the centerboard gasket will “suck” excess water out of the centerboard tank. True or false?

4. I’ve done the refinements to my centerboard but I’m having trouble getting the centerboard to gybe. I’ve put a new gasket on, could the gasket be so tight it won’t let the board move? How much should it move? Any suggestions?

5. Any tips on trimming the jib cunningham?

Any help, or comments on any of these questions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Terence Gallagher (310) 821-5262

By Tom Forgue on Friday, July 31, 1998 – 08:59 pm:


Great questions. I hope this will help. Remember, Mark Elliot’s Cook Book is the source for everything you could ever want to know about C-15’s. If you follow his guide, your boat will be fast. There are some rigging things I do differently (external jib halyard, more purchase on outhaul, etc.), but when it comes to measurements, and how to sail the boat, my answers will just mirror what we have all learned from Mark.

1. To measure rake, put the main halyard shackle pin though the hole in the tape measure end and lock the halyard in place as if sailing. Lay the tape across the transom, with a little pull, and measure where the tape meets the transom. Around 23′ 6″ works great. This measurement is not rocket science however, as the distance between the shackle pin and ball varies some from boat to boat. I think 13″ from the pin to the far side of the ball is best. (Many have slipped to 14″.) In addition, the placement of the mast step may vary. Many of us have moved this base farward to its legal limit (15’2 3/4″ +- 1/2″ from the outside of the transom to the back edge of the base). Though I measure my rake at 23′ 6″ as before, my mast is actually raked back more than it was. (Rake is the angle, we measure distance as a convenience.)

2. The Y in the stern sheeting should be as close to the block as possible. This allows the mainsheet to pull from the weather rail as if there was a travelor pulled to weather. In 90% of our sailing conditions, this is optimal. It pulls in, rather than down. If the Y is low, the mainsheet pulls down, like a boomvang, depowering up wind. A split mainsheet where the Y can run through the block a few inches is ideal. Some people have built travelors into their stern sheeting that allow the Y to fall off to leeward and pull down more from the leeward rail for use in extemely high winds. Personaly, with a 16 to 1 vang, I don’t think the travelor is much of an advantage.

3.) Never heard of cutting a notch in the gasket. I guess the concept is somewhat like a Lazer bailer or an Elvstrom Bailer like in 420’s 470’s and many other boats.

4. Are the jibing stripes wide and flat? Maybe they are not pivoting on the flat surface. I doubt if the gasket is holding it that tightly. Is the hole in the board for the hanger too tight or flat?

The rule for jibe is that the movement in the front cannot be more than 1/4″ more than the movement in the back. If your jibing stripes are on the back edge of the board and the back edge then moves basically none, the front should move 1/4″. If you have figured out how to move the stripes forward with out the problem of the stripes hitting the hanger and consequently not allowing the board to be raised completely, then you can measure the amount of movement in the back and let the front move 1/4″ more. This does mean that the jibing angle is increased. (Please everyone, let’s not get into this again. That is how the rule is written, and as Association Measurer, that is how I interpret it.)

5. If you have Mark Elliot’s Tunning Guide, read the section on Sailing the Boat. It talks about setting all of the controls in different wind conditions. Basically, too loose is better than too tight.

By Jim Vogel on Friday, August 28, 1998 – 11:08 am:

I have an older C-15 which I recently hit an underwater obstruction with (hard), damaging the centerboard as well as the metal fitting the board sits in that is visible on the sole of the boat. Does anyone know where I can get repairs done, especially in the Denver area, or where I can order new parts? Thanks.

By Tom Forgue on Sunday, September 6, 1998 – 10:57 pm:

“Sole of the boat?” Do you mean the floor you stand on is damaged, or is the centerboard hanger (metal fiting) just bent? First, just about all c15s are “older,” so let’s define the term. If your boat has an alumimun and rubber rub rail around the perimeter of the boat, it is “old.” If it has a “roled” parimeter with a plastic looking rub rail, it is “medium old.” If it has a “roled” parimeter with no rub rail, it is “new.” Do you have a wooden center board (old) or a composite board (new). The metal fiting, or centerboard hanger, you can get from me, I have several. (email me or call me at 214-398-4276) If the wooden board is damaged, replace it with a composite board, about $150 and worth it. You can get these from your local Catalina dealer, Catalina or Small Craft Advisory at 1-800-354-7245.

So what caused this damage? The centerboard should be held down with a bungie, so if you hit something, it comes up then “springs back down” rather than causing big damage. I’m guessing yours was held down with rope? Hey, let me know if I am right.

By Terence on Wednesday, December 9, 1998 – 11:14 am:

What is the correct measurement from the transom at the back of the boat to the mast correctly set in the mast step? From what I can find, it should be around 114″. Is this true?

By Bj jones on Thursday, December 17, 1998 – 09:04 pm:

I recently got the sailing fever and purchased a C15.
Medium old. It has wooded Centerboard and Rudder. I’ve never sailed before. Been a powreboater for years. And had no idea I was buying such a cool boat. Any good books on the C15 ? Parts supply house or catalogs. so I can set this boat set up for safty and fun and speed.

By John Payne on Thursday, December 17, 1998 – 10:36 pm:


Check out the tuning guides on this website. They tell all!

By John Payne on Thursday, December 17, 1998 – 10:51 pm:


You have made a great choice in a very cool boat. You may not know it but it’s a very modern design. You’re gonna have a ball in it.

It’s basically “just a sailboat” so whatever books you read about basic sailing absolutely and directly apply to C-15s. Also read very carefully and closely the tuning guides on this website as they contain extremely good and well written advice on how to sail C-15s at all levels. Good to review even if you’ve been sailing them for years.

Another very good thing to do is to find other C-15 sailors in your area. Check the “Local Contacts” on the website. Also — JOIN THE ASSOCIATION. Mainsheet magazine (which you get with membership) is another great source of info.

Parts are pretty easy to get. Your local Catalina dealer probably carries most of what you need — and can easily order whatever else.

Good luck BJ. Feel free to ask any and all questions here. Lots more people read this forum than actually contribute. Your questions and other’s answers will probably help lots of people you don’t even know.

By Frustrated on Friday, February 12, 1999 – 10:27 am:

SOS!!!! I hope I can find some assistance in the following areas: (1) We (myself and the driver) usually have good starts, however, we always end up getting rolled because we are not pointing as high and have (it seems) slower boat speed. What can be done?[Note: the rigging is set up “correctly”] (2) What is the correct placement of the crew on the wire? Should I be close to the mast? Close to the driver? (3) Are there any textbooks on C15 sailing/racing? Thanks.

By JJ Rogers on Sunday, February 14, 1999 – 12:25 am:

I bought an old C-15 (hull #135) last year and have this column and the Tuning Guides to be the best resource for my dumb questions. But I still have a few left. For instance, there is a bracket on the inside of the transom with large hole and two smaller holes on either side, What is it for? Another question, there is a “eye” fitting on the wooden deck in front of the mast, any suguestions?

By Jay Merry on Monday, February 22, 1999 – 10:46 am:

Does anyone know how large of seas a C-15 is capable of handling well? I’ve always sailed mine on freshwater lakes, which of course have small waves if none. I’ve going to visit an aunt who lives in Panama City Beach in May and I’ve decided to take my C-15. She owns a parasail company in which she makes runs from the gulf to the bay. I’ve been with her on numerous occasions and have observed 10-15 ft swells that result from the bay and tide meeting the gulf. While her 33 ft runabout handles the large swells fine, I question the seaworthiness of a small sloop like my C-15. Although I am an excellent skipper on flat water even with high wind, I am concerned with the seas. Any comments are welcome…

By Tom Forgue on Tuesday, March 2, 1999 – 04:44 am:

JJ Rogers,

Hull 135 is indeeed an older boat. I’m guessing 1970-71. No telling what previous owners have tried and abandoned. It is amazing the stuff I find on old boats that I have no idea what they were used for. The bracket on the inside of the transom? Is it through bolted to the bottom guegeon on the outside? Your boat originally had a bracket there that had two slots and a hole. The slots are for the hiking straps and the hole is for the centerboard bungie. But I’m not sure that is what you are discribing. The “eye’ infront of the mast? The trapeeze wires are attached together with a bungie that ties to a trapeeze ring, goes through an eye on the deck very close to the shrouds, then forward through an eye that is usually attached to the wooden splash rails then to the other side. Is that it?

By Tom Forgue on Tuesday, March 2, 1999 – 05:02 am:

Jay Merry,

No guts, no glory. I will say, if your boat is an old boat and does not have bulkheads under the shrouds, I think I would be aprehensive. A mast partner to keep the mast in column and reduce some of the pumping, is a must also. Keep the shrouds fairly tight (to very tight) with a jib halyard lock so as the mast pumps, it doesn’t pump the shrouds as much. Work your way up to the big stuff. Go out on calmer days. Stay close to shore. Then, after the boat explodes and you have been rescued and are safely ashore, let us know exactly where the breaking point is.

By John Payne on Monday, March 8, 1999 – 08:02 pm:

To Frustrated.

Going lower and slower than others could be a boat problem or a sailing problem. For boat problems make sure the boat is set up by the “numbers” you can get from the tuning guides on this website. Good sails and good blades are also important. Also check your centerboard jibe.

As for myself, when I’m not sailing as fast/high as others it’s often my impatience. You need to get the boat going fast fast fast by keeping both inside and outside tailtells flowing smoothely. Then (when the conditions are good) you are getting good smooth water over your blades you can begin pointing up higher, lifing that inside tailtell.

Another extremely important aspect is to keep the boat flat — flat — flat — flat. Did I say that enough? Flat, that is. Flat is when the crew on the wire is awfully close to the water.

Try this, and let us know what’s happening.

By Terence Gallagher on Monday, March 15, 1999 – 04:37 pm:

I need PRECISE details on what angle the centerboard should be as comes out of the centerboard trunk at full extention.

Where should the crew stand when out on the wire? Close to the helmsman? By the shrouds? Somewhere between?

By Tom Forgue on Monday, April 5, 1999 – 06:00 pm:

Terence ole buddy, call me you got my number.

Remember, it ain’t rocket science. PRECISE in sailboat terms is very relative. Take the boat off the trailer with the mast up. (Just pull it off the back of the trailor) Turn it on its side leaning on the mast. Put the centerboard down all the way. Take a large carpenter’s square and lay it on the boat where the you can check the leading edge of the board with the square facing the back of the boat. The board should be as close to straight up and down as possible. Now turn the square around in front of the board and check the leading edge again. Of course the boat is not flat, so just work on it untill it is as close to straight up and down as you can get without there being any doubt that it is not forward of staright. With that wooden board you have, most likely, the positive stop will be in about the right spot. If not, move it to keep the board from going forward of straight up and down. I think we talked about using an aluminum dowel instead of the stop you have and about putting two aluminum strips on the boat where the stop will hit.

By the way, Corinthian Sailing Club is having it’s annual “Splash Day” thing on Saturday, April 10. This is our C15 Fleet fund raiser. We cook burgers and dogs and have all the fixin’s for Club members and guests. I think it’s like $5.00. We start serving food as the second race ends (4:00-5:00), unless the weather doesn’t cooperate, then we start early. Anyway, you sure are welcome to come and eat and sail, or help out if you want. Hey, ya’ all come, ya hear.


By Tom Forgue on Monday, April 5, 1999 – 06:10 pm:


To start, put the captain’s weight just forward of where your travelor bar is/was and the crew, on the trap close to the captain. This will need to be fine tuned acording to point of sail, wind and wave conditions, but that is a good place to start.

The first adjustment is in big air, plaining on a reach conditions. MOVE BACK before your boat turns into a submarine. I think I am right to say, keep the captain and crew weight close together all the time when trapezing.

By John Campbell on Friday, April 23, 1999 – 03:49 pm:

I am considering a Coronado purchase for use as a family day sailer in the SF Bay Area in lakes and such. Would be used with a spouse who sails and smaller children ages 8 and 5. Is this a relatively stable boat if the smaller sails are used? I don’t want to frighten the kids off with something that seems very tippy.


By Rogere Churley on Thursday, May 20, 1999 – 09:33 pm:

Just bought a used c-15 (built in 1984 – dont have the hull # handy right now as I type). We are beginning sailors, taking sailing classes in a few weeks from a community college, and an ‘aquatic center’ at Mission Bay, san Diego. We seem to have a ‘travelor’ – never saw one before on a sailboat. what is it for, what are advantages/disadvantages? We dont intend to race, will daysail in Mission Bay/San Diego bay, pretty smooth water. Is this a good beginner’s boat (we were told it was) – paid $750 on a really good trailor, sails, PFDs. Also, has a wood centerboard with a ding – can I fix this with ‘bondo’? Cool-looking boat – red interior matches my wife’s convertable, seems in great shape…

By John Payne on Saturday, May 22, 1999 – 08:20 pm:

Rogere, sounds like you got a great deal and are in for lots of fun on that C-15 in San Diego. I pretty much learned to sail in a C-15 also. Learning on a boat as small and responsive as that C-15 will likely develop you into being an excellent sailor as you will quickly learn to sense the differences subtle changes in sail trim and balance really make.

The traveller is fine, just put it into the center and leave it alone. If the wind is really honkin you can release it down to leeward to help you depower a bit. Actually, most of us have removed the darned things. It makes the boat much more roomy and easy to move around in. I think there are instructions for how to remove it in Mark Eliot’s tuning guide in this website. If you have any questions — just ask. Good Luck.

John Payne

By Jay Merry on Monday, May 31, 1999 – 12:05 pm:

Can someone give me some pointers on how to correct weather helm without sacrificing performance? I have a small problem with it and have tried the standard remedys with little success. Probably the best thing I’ve tried was moving the centerboard aft slightly, but I fear that performance may suffer as a result. When I slack the main to reduce push on the aft end of the boat, it becomes backwinded by the jib and I feel that I’m not getting maximum performance from it. Can anyone send me some pointers, or is slight weather helm normal?? Thanks for the advice…

Jay Merry

By Geoff Smith-Moritz on Thursday, June 24, 1999 – 12:21 pm:

My local yacht club has Wednesday night beer can races. We would like to participate. Does anyone know if the C15 has a PHRF rating?

By John_Payne on Monday, July 5, 1999 – 07:51 am:

To Jay Merry

I’m no marine architect, but it seems to me that relocating the centerboard back would tend to create even more weather helm. My reasoning goes like this: when the center of effort (the single point force representing the sum of all the wind/sail forces pulling the boat forward) is ahead of the boat’s center of rotation, then the boat tends to rotate into the wind. This rotational force produces weather helm. When the center of wind effort is behind the center of rotation, the wind forces make the boat want to rotate off the wind, producing lee helm. When the center of effort is lined up with the center of rotation you have no rotational force, thus neutral helm. A little weather helm is considered good — but I really have no idea how much is “a little”.

There are several factors affecting the location of the center of rotation but it seems to me it must be greatly affected (perhaps dominated) by the position of the centerboard. If you already have weather helm, moving the centerboard back would probably make it worse as the distance difference between the two centers acts like a lever amplifying the weather (or lee) helm forces.

On a C-15 there are many ways to affect both the center of rotation and the center of force while you are sailing. For instance simply hiking harder and sailing the boat flatter changes lots of things positively in terms of performance. Moving crew weight, such as moving the skipper forward changes the boat’s net center of gravity — which moves the center of rotation forward. For older C-15s, many of us have moved the barney post (where the mainsheet cleats) forward to allow the skipper to sit right next to the crew.

Jay, I’m not sure exactly how to help you with your weather helm problem. The reason I waited so long to answer this post is that I was hoping someone with more knowledge that I would respond. I’m still hoping.

By Thedukes411 on Sunday, July 22, 2001 – 12:57 am:

Hello All,

I am looking at the possibility of purchasing a C-15 from a neighbor… he paid $400 for it, and that’s what he’s asking “OBO”… Only has ONE sail (main) it needs a Jib… I’ve been sailing on a Santana-23 (or something like that) for about 3 years… got a FJ13 this year for $300 w/o trailer, fixed it up, built a trailer… LOVE sailing, just starting to get “the hang” of it!! :~) I am curious what a Jib sail (used) would sell for?? Does anyone have one available?? ALSO, the fiberglass on the wooden centerboard AND rudder is falling off (I’ve done glass on my FJ, not a problem there!!)

ANY advice would be GREATLY appreciated… ALSO I will PROBABLY end up needing photos of the riggin’… is this avail. in the Tuning guides in “Lehman” terms?? :~) Ya’ll enjoy your sailin!!

Thank You,
Michael Schenck

By Steve Cornwell on Monday, August 6, 2001 – 07:35 pm:

Hi Michael,

Check through the postings in all areas of the Forum for ideas and pointers on the C-15. The For Sale Forum will give you some ideas on sail prices. You should post a “wanted” there for a jib.

$400 is cheap, so if the boat is in good shape, get it! Sounds like a fixer upper. The C-15 is a lively boat and great for a beginner/intermediate sailor in moderate winds. It’s a boat you’ll never tire of sailing.

Look through the tuning guides on this site, and post more questions if you need help.

Steve Cornwell
Coronado 15 Association

By Pete Brigaitis on Tuesday, August 21, 2001 – 12:43 am:

Hi there,

I too am the proud new owner of a used C15. Like many of the other posters here, I have an old wooden centerboard that is suffering from delamination and wood rot. I’m building a new centerboard from a cedar core with a couple layers of fiberglass and I’m hoping someone out there has templates for the foil shape. Is removing the old centerboard fairly straight-forward or are there any tricks?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


By Trentw on Wednesday, August 29, 2001 – 03:48 pm:

Pete where are you located? The reason I ask is there may be a few C-15 owners near you looking for sailing partners.

Use the old centerboard as a template and check the class rules page for measurements. Outside of having the correct length/width and depth you just sand the leading and trailing edge to create a nice foil shape.

As for removing the centerboard there are four screws two on each side of the centerboard screwed through a metal plate. If you unscrew these four screws the centerboard will slide right up and out of the boat with the metal bracket.

I had a new Mahogany centerboard made using 1 1/2 inch wide strips running full length of the board. Looks like a chopping block and basically built the same way. I used West Marine 5200 marine glue to glue the strips together with large furniture clamps holding the board together. Then I shaped it. Very strong! I decided not to fiberglass the board. I sealed it using a marine quality clear wood sealant then put a few layers of lacquer on it. When I ding the board I simply sand off the chipped lacquer add some filler if needed and slap some lacquer back on it. Simple easy not so messy. I don’t normally beach my boat and when I do I’m very careful about putting the board all the way up.

By Michael Schenck on Wednesday, August 29, 2001 – 09:15 pm:

Hello Steve,

Thank You for the follow-up info!! Just YESTERDAY I purchased the C-15 I spoke of earlier… The harder I look at it, there has been quite a bit of work done to it… The hull looks and sounds solid though!! :~) I WILL be in contact with ya’ll as I progress through my adventures with this boat! Take care, and Thank You again!

By on Monday, September 3, 2001 – 04:32 am:

Hello All Trapeze Artists,

With the upcoming “Mayden Voyage” of our C15, my wife (and I) are a little leary of her hiking out on the trap lines… any advice (other than LEARN the boat, THEN trapeze!!) Sounds like we’ll be fine in light – moderate winds w/o trap’ing… I DO NOT want my wife to feel uncomfortable!! I bought this boat because it seems more comfortable, and flexible compared to our FJ that we STARTED in!!

Thank You for ANY and ALL advice!

By TrentW on Tuesday, September 4, 2001 – 06:15 pm:

By all means make sure everyone is comfy and wearing wetsuit type gear before you hit the trapeze. However once you try it you’ll be fighting over who drives and who traps out. For the most part the trapeze is easy except when the lake winds shift 90 degrees in a split second then things get interesting. The boat is 10 times more fun than the FJ and you dont get the center board box in the shin:-) Twice as fast too.
Have fun!

By on Sunday, September 9, 2001 – 12:37 pm:

Hello Trent,

THANK YOU… We’re working on fixin’ her up for the coming summer… In the mean-time I got a THIRD boat… got a FREE Force 5 from my father… a little fiberglass, and “Lil’ Betsy” is ready to hit the water… this boat will allow me to learn to sail w/o having to sacrifice the sanity of my wife!!

Take care,

By on Sunday, September 9, 2001 – 12:38 pm:

Hello Trent,

THANK YOU… We’re working on fixin’ her up for the coming summer… In the mean-time I got a THIRD boat… got a FREE Force 5 from my father… a little fiberglass, and “Lil’ Betsy” is ready to hit the water… this boat will allow me to learn to sail w/o having to sacrifice the sanity of my wife!!

Take care,

By Jeff monnich on Wednesday, September 12, 2001 – 08:57 pm:

just bought a c-15 it seems to take on water when the centerboard is down but when its up no leaking – when we sailed it sat. it almost sank on monday- i bailed it out and it hasnt taken any more water, could this be the centerboard or something else? thank you

By Jeff monnich on Wednesday, September 12, 2001 – 08:57 pm:

just bought a c-15 it seems to take on water when the centerboard is down but when its up no leaking – when we sailed it sat. it almost sank on monday- i bailed it out and it hasnt taken any more water, could this be the centerboard or something else? thank you

By Trentw on Friday, September 14, 2001 – 05:52 pm:

Jeff the centerboard on the C15 is hung on a two-piece metal bracket with four screws (two on each side) screwed into the floor of the boat. Take the four screws out and pull the centerboard up and out of the boat (takes about 5 minutes to do) Look down into the centerboard box. Check the flange around the top part for damage or wear. A common problem with all retractable centerboard boats is either the centerboard wears a hole in the box or the box gets damaged due to grounding. You may need to apply a fiberglass patch or re-glue the deck to box joint using something like West Marine 5200 glue.
Hope this helps

By Trentw on Friday, September 14, 2001 – 06:05 pm:

Two other sources of water. The screws holding the gasket that seals around the Centerboard when put down might need to be re-set with a sealant. Last possible leak in a solid hull could be the plug fitting. You may need to remove the plug fitting and re-set it with new sealant.

Was the boat in the water overnight? For the most part you want to avoid leaving your C15 in the water for extended periods of time. Boats left in the water for days/weeks/years need an additional bottom sealant to prevent gel coat damage. A day or two isn’t a big deal, but it can have an effect on your boat not to mention scum lines. Since the C15 is so small and easy to pull out of the water I recommend beaching your boat on an old piece of carpet

By Michael McAnallen on Wednesday, October 3, 2001 – 03:11 pm:

Wanted C15 Located N California.

By Jon Jackson on Sunday, November 18, 2001 – 10:47 am:

Winter use for a C-15???…..
Looks great in the front yard covered with Christmas Lights!!

By Trent on Monday, November 26, 2001 – 01:13 pm:

Re: Winter use for a C15 in California.
Looks good sailing every weekend:-)

By Langsner on Tuesday, December 25, 2001 – 10:14 am:

I recently bought an older C-15 in very nice condition. One thing I would like but didn’t get is a beaching rudder. The former told me that there’s a kit or a simple modification for doing this. But when I called Catalina they told me that I have to buy a complete new (and slightly different) rudder.
Does anyone know how to make this modification. Or is there a used beaching rudder for sale out there?
I’m also looking for a good used trailer. The one i have is really for smaller boats. (I live in western North Carolina)h
Drew Langsner

By Scott on Tuesday, March 5, 2002 – 02:13 am:

Lets talk center board gasket material. I am currently remaking mine using the seal you use under garage doors ($14 at home depot for 20+ ft). It is a little thick, but I think it will have enough flex & rigidity to do the trick. I am still in the process of cutting them to fit & making metal strips to retain them with. Just wondering if anyone has tried anything similar? As soon as I get them in, I’ll swing the board to see if they actually work and post back with the results.


By Steve Cornwell on Wednesday, April 24, 2002 – 10:56 pm:

Hi Scott re: gasket material. I have centerboard gasket material which looks to be pre-made for the purpose. It has a flat plastic band (about 1″ wide?) which seems to be wrapped in dacron cloth. I would assume it’s available from West Marine or Layline or similar. How did your custom job work out?

By Scott on Thursday, April 25, 2002 – 01:55 pm:


Took the boat out for the first time last night, and the stuff worked great. No water in the cockpit, and was able to move the board without difficulties. The pieces just touch, so I might trim them back a little to give me some more room around the board. After I got the boat back on the trailer , I did a quick visual inspection of the gasket and it appeared to still be in good shape (held it’s form). I’ll let you know at the end of the summer if it still survived.

I haven’t had a gasket on the boat since I bought it last summer. I must say, it was sure nice not to get my feet wet.


By Trevor Craog on Saturday, April 27, 2002 – 07:38 pm:

I am learning to sail a C-15. I have two questions.

1. I have difficulty trimming the mainsail in strong
wind. I have to use two hands to pull in the mainsail sheet, or have my mate pull the boom in. I have rigged the mainsail sheet as shown in the manual. Any ideas?

2.I read in the manual that the traveller is to be left in the center position. Is the traveller the block on the bar that goes across the boat in front of the barney post? If so, mine slides completely from port to starboard when I change directions. Is there a way to keep it in the center of the bar?

By Trent W on Monday, April 29, 2002 – 03:52 pm:

Trimming the main. You need to check a few things regarding your main sheet setup.
1. Make sure your main sheet is running through your rachet block in the correct direction. The block mounted to the deck is designed to spin free in one direction and lock in the oposite direction.

( When you pull in on the mainsheet the large block mounted to the floor should run free. When you let the main sheet out the large block should lock and not spin.) If your block spins free in both directions check and see if there is a switch on the side of the block. Flip the switch and check to see if the block only spins in one direction.

If the block/pulley bolted to the floor of your boat spins free in both directions and lacks a locking switch mechanism you should buy a rachet block and replace it. You can find them at Ronstan or This will make your life much easier.
You can also check

You might check the rest of the blocks located on the boom to see if they have the locking switch as they may have been switched around for some reason. The blocks on the boom should run free in both directions.

If you have the traveler bar running through the middle of the cockpit you should have at least two blocks on the Boom. The traveler should have a place to tie the fixed end of the main sheet. Run the main sheet up through the first block on the boom back down through a block on the traveler then up through the second block on the boom and through your main rachet block. The line coming out of your rachet block is the line you pull on to trim.

Your traveler should have one or two lines on it tied to both sides of the traveler, they should lead to each side of the boat where they cleat down. As long as both lines or single line are cleated down your traveler should stay where you put it.

Good luck

By KathySenft on Monday, May 27, 2002 – 09:50 pm:

We just saw a used Coronado 15′ for $2500. We have been sailing a butterfly on a small lake and are ready for a step up. We have an 8 and 4 year old and would like to take the family sailing. Is this a good sailboat for a family? And what about price?

By Steve Cornwell on Wednesday, May 29, 2002 – 11:10 pm:

Hi Kathy,

I’d say outstanding, considering we raised our kids on a C-15 and they loved to go sailing. Getting towed using a stern line and capsizing were highlights. Above 15kts of wind, I’d suggest using the smaller set of sails made by Catalina. Price is right for an older boat in excellent condition, or a newer boat.

Loads more fun than a Butterfly!!!!!!

By Anonymous on Friday, June 7, 2002 – 07:08 pm:

Does anyone have experience trailering a C15
behind a compact car? I have a Honda Civic EX
and wonder if this is a REALLY bad idea or not.
Any thoughts?

By Trent on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 – 02:02 pm:

Towing? Well I had a neighbor that pulled his waverunner all over the place with his Honda civic hatchback. I cant imagine the C15 with trailer weighing much more than one of those loud abnoxious things.

Figure 380 lbs for the boat and the weight of your trailer plus gear. If your looking at more weight than 4 large guys and a trunk full of beer then you might want to reconsider. Trailers can very in weight quite drastically. New small boat trailers can weigh as little as 200lbs.

Trailering the boat short distances with just the sails and lunch for the day you would probably be OK. Add camping gear for the weekend and two of your big buddies to the back seat and Honda would probably try to sell you their CRV.

I pull with my Subaru Legacy Sedan 2.5 liter. The boat plus camping gear for three for Memorial Day weekend was reaching the limit. The car is rated for 2000LBS towning capacity.

By Trent on Thursday, June 13, 2002 – 02:54 pm:

I had a neighbor that trailered his Wave Runner all over the place with his Civic hatchback. Unfortunately he never seemed to miss a weekend buzzing around the lake.

Not sure what the wave runner weighs, but it was probably comparable to the C15.

One way to figure:
Throw three of your big friends in the car with a trunk full of beer and drive around town for an hour.

If your car appears to go along with the test without any complaints then start adding up the numbers.

The C15 weighs 380 lbs. Now your trailer could be another story. Old trailers can get really heavy. Newer trailers can be as light or lighter than 200lbs.

One of the biggest misnomers about boat trailers is that they are expensive. If you have a 4000lb boat yes. Trailers for the C15 are cheap I have friends who purchased used trailers that needed a little attention for as little as $100.

Add your trailer weight to your boat weight. Are you close to what your 3 buddies and the beer weighed?

Chances are as long as you have one of the trailers sold with the boat in the past 20 years you’re probably OK towing the boat short distances to the local lake and back. You might keep a closer eye on your transmission fluid and other vital fluids in your car. Change the transmission fluid at least once a year sort of thing.

Don’t drive your three big friends with their beer and camping gear to the lake with the boat in tow. It probably wouldn’t go over well with your mechanic or your local peace officer.

(There are a few driving skills needed when pulling a trailer heavy enough to push the car. Try not to step on the breaks when turning. If a trailer isn’t strait behind the car applying the breaks can cause the trailer to sway and make the car difficult to control. So slow down on the strait part of the road before the turn and let up on the breaks through the turn. This is why truck drivers and people towing their large trailers really dislike people that stomp on their breaks in corners when there isn’t a reason to do so.)

Have fun, sail fast, keep the boat behind car.


By Elsnecg on Tuesday, July 9, 2002 – 01:21 pm:

Two Questions:

1) Are there any issues with just sailing with the jib only in heavy winds? I’m still learning with the kids and this seems to be a safer, dryer, way of sailing.
2) What are the procedures for righting a capsized c15. I had to get a tow last weekend as we could not get it to right on our own. Do I need to disconnect the forestay in the water to release the mast, and then drag everything into the boat once it is righted? Then reassemble?

Thanks very much.

By Elsnecg on Wednesday, July 10, 2002 – 10:45 am:

Regarding 2 above, someone gave me a pointer yesterday that I could tie a fat line with knots every 6-8 inches to the mast. When I get knocked over, throw the knotted-line over the windward side, grab hold of it and pull myself up on the dagger board. Then use the line to balance on the dagger board and lean out to right the boat.

I may also use this to pull myself back into the boat.

By Trent on Friday, July 12, 2002 – 01:54 pm:

Recovering from a knockdown or capsize.

Avoiding it…
!! 90% of the knockdowns on sailboats occur while sailing down wind or during a jibe!! A jibe is when you turn away from the wind so that it blows the mainsail across the boat to the new side fully powered up. As a general rule you want to avoid jibes until your crew is comfortable and you have a nice flat spot with reasonable wind conditions. Jibes can be avoided by tacking into the wind instead. Turn into the wind and tack over to the new side if your not sure about the condtions and dont want to scare new crew.

Tricks and trips…
(( Couple of suggestions)) { Before you head back out on the lake} Pull the mast foot and head off and seal it/glue them back on with silicone. A mast that fills with water gets really heavy and difficult to lift. This will slow or prevent water getting in the mast during your adventure} {{{Do not disconnect the rigging on the mast after a knock down unless you are out of all options which I will include below. Loosing the mast and rigging really stinks))

(( Make sure you have hiking straps in the front and back of the boat. These are Nylon webbing strips that run across the floor {length wise}of the boat which you can hook your feet under so you can lean over the highside without falling out of the boat. These are great for grabbing when getting back in the boat.))

Recovering from the crash.
This is one of those learn by fire type of things. Believe it or not even the guys sailing the big keel boats go through this process in a very similar way. It is also one of those things you should actually do on purpose in a controled situation now and then so you and your crew know how to recover when it happens out in the middle of the lake under windy conditions.

First off the C15 when compared to other similar boats its size is very forgiving when it comes to getting knocked down. Recovering from the knockdown can go fast and easy or turn into a cold wet adventure depending on your response.

For the most part you can keep the C15 on its feet by playing the mainsheet out. As long as your crew stays on the high side and you can dump the main fast you shouldn’t have many problems.


First off as the boat heals hard you can feel the rudder become ineffective at this point you should have the main all the way out and be leaning out over the high side. The boat will eventually come to a stop on its side and gradually come back. The boat can actually have water coming over the lowside and you still have some control over it with the rudder and sail trim.

If you go all the way over. The mast hits the water your crew might get caught or fall to the lowside. The driver has the best chance of staying on the high side by standing on the mainsheet post with one foot and swinging the other leg over the side of the boat. You can then search for the daggarboard and step fully over the high side to the center board. While you are stepping over the high rail talk to your crew that fell to the lowside. Get them to leave the boat and tread water so their weight doesn’t pull the mast under. Have them swim around to the daggarboard.

This is the ultimate way to recover. If you keep the sails ontop of the water by getting your weight over the high rail quickly then the boat will pop back up fairly fast. Make sure both your jib and main are loose as the boat comes back up. You can release the sheets while outside the boat as it comes back up this makes getting back in a little easier since the boat isn’t going to sail off with you dragging behind.

Now what if the mast and sails are sinking?

Have your crew swim out and hold the end of the mast while you stand on the centerboard. They wont be able to lift it but they can keep it from sinking anymore preventing the “Turtle” When the boat goes upside down “Turtle” it gets hard to roll back over.

Getting back into the boat. If the wind is really shifty it is almost better to grab the tiller from outside the boat and work the boat into a more stable spot in relation to the wind before you climb back in. It also helps to have your crew on the oposite side.

Now there are a few tricks to getting back in the boat. You can grab the jib sheet between the jib and the block and use that to pull your self up as long as the wind doesn’t powerup the jib.

Personally I like to re-enter the boat before the crew from the back corner of the boat. This way I can sort of drive the boat to keep it (pointed into the wind) from going over again, or dragging us. Plus the crew can stabize the boat some from the side as I climb back in. I pull the boat over a little which puts the back corner of the boat close to the water and I grab the Hiking strap and scoot back into the boat. Not a very graceful move, but when motivated you can do it pretty fast. Once in the boat you can control it and help your crew get on board.

As for sailing with Jib or Main only in heavy wind.

For the most part sailing with the main only is better than the jib. For a few reasons. The driver has a better feel for when the boat might go over and can play the main sheet keeping the boat undercontrol.

Also your crew might be inexperienced passengers and by the time you can reach and blow the jib it is too late. Besides your invading your already uncomfortable passengers space at a high rate of speed and stress level which doesn’t bode well with an inexperienced passenger. If your Main sheet is long enough so the boom swings all the way out against the rigging on the mast you can pretty much sail the C15 in 25MPh winds with resonable control. The boat will also sail better with the main than just the Jib.

Last tip. Dont put the center board down all the way. Leave it angled slightly this will reduce the pressure on the boat and make it easier to keep upright. Leaving it down will also keep the boat stable during down wind runs.

Good luck and happy crashing


By Trent on Friday, July 12, 2002 – 02:15 pm:

One more warning about capsize recovery. Most mast failures on small boats occure during capsize recovery. If your a fairly large sailor 180LBS+ or you and your crew are on the centerboard the pressure of the water on the sails and mast can actually bend the mast.

Having a capsize rope similar to a Hobie which allows you to hang off the boat using the capsize rope can increase the chances of damaging the mast. If the sails and mast go below the surface of the water the recovery process becomes much slower since you need to gradually shed the water off the sails and mast.

The best recovery is for the driver to simply swing his or her leg over the high side regardless of where the crew has gone. In most cases you dont get wet until the boat rolls back over and even then sometimes you can just step back into the boat with out getting wet.

I’ve had crew do peterpan wire acts around the front of the boat on the trapeze wire and I simply stepped over the high side and had the boat back up before they even knew what happend. The key is to catch it early and make sure the crew isn’t standing on the mast or climbing back into the cockpit from the lowside.

By Greg on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 – 03:08 pm:

Does the C-15 have a Portsmith rating? If so what is it?

By Pete Brigaitis on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 – 05:38 pm:


The US Sailing site list the Portsmouth ratings for the C-15 according to Beaufort number as follows;

Beaufort number 0-1 / Portsmouth Rating = 92.7
Beaufort number 2-3 / Portsmouth Rating = 92.5
Beaufort number 4 / Portsmouth Rating = 91.5
Beaufort number 5-9 / Portsmouth Rating = 90.4

Hope this helps

By Todd_Bankler on Wednesday, July 24, 2002 – 10:14 am:

Are there any experienced C-15 sailors in the Austin, Texas area? I just bought a 1986 vintage C-15 (my first boat ever) and am learning to use it the hard way. I would love to become friends with some experienced who can mentor me. But even if I don’t find anyone, I’ll be out their capsizing some more and figuring this stuff out!!

By Dean Fulton on Friday, July 26, 2002 – 10:33 am:

Based on some of the above posts, I’m thinking that the C-15 is self-rescuing: if I capsize, I can right the boat, bail, then sail. A couple posts discuss righting the boat, but don’t mention getting the water out. Any thoughts?

By Trentw on Tuesday, July 30, 2002 – 05:12 pm:

The C15 has a self bailing cockpit meaning the floor of the boat is above the water line and the back of the boat has drain holes. Now if the internal part of the boat leaks or gets flooded due to a poor hatch seal your options for flushing out the boat are limited.

The boat isn’t self righting. Self righting only occurs with boats with a weighted keel which will eventually bring the boat back to its feet with or without the crew on board. The c15 will eventually go upside down and say that way until it sinks or is rolled back over by the crew.

By John virga on Thursday, August 1, 2002 – 12:16 am:

just purchased a c=15 in new orleans..
looking for others that could show me a few things about sailing it!!

By Paul Marrack on Monday, August 5, 2002 – 09:32 am:

I got a C15 last year. Sail on Lake Sommerville on a regular basis. Met you there some time to exchange experiences


By Paul Marrack on Monday, August 5, 2002 – 09:36 am:

I got a C15 last year. Sail on Lake Sommerville on a regular basis. Met you there some time to exchange experiences


By John Virga on Monday, August 5, 2002 – 11:33 am:

any info on putting some type of floatation device on the top of the mast to prevent it from going under (like yesterday) and digging into the bottom of the lake??
help as to how to make the mast water tight…
and also should I tie an empty bleach jug to the top?? would that prevent it from going under or at least help?

By TrentW on Monday, August 5, 2002 – 12:50 pm:

Putting a bleach jug on the top of the mast is a good idea. It wont hurt anything and it will keep the mast out of the lake bottom.

You can also pop the mast ends off and reset them using a good silicone to help prevent water from flooding the mast.

Remember that the main sheet is your friend. Make sure that when you let it out it will run out free. If you can blow the main sheet fast and let the main all the way out the boat should stay on its feet.

Then again all of go swimming at some point.

Good luck

By Ron S on Tuesday, September 3, 2002 – 02:56 pm:

New vs. Used Sails

Our C-15 is 30 years old. It was my wifes when she was a kid. I just started sailing it. I believe the sails are just as old. I notice that I can sail the club’s FJ’s much faster than the C-15. I have done some of the things in the tuning guide. Would a new set of sails drastically help my speed?

By Trent on Wednesday, September 11, 2002 – 01:37 pm:

A C-15 should run circles around the old FJ. Two things.
First new sails will dramatically improve your upwind pointing ability. Chances are your sails are the original factory sails and have the consistancy of an old T-shirt kind of soft and stretchy? Good sails are stiff and loud when they flap. Thus they hold a better airfoil shape when trimmed. Old sails tend to be more of a bag than an airfoil. The mast and sails on a sail boat work like an aircraft wing. The better shape you have the more lift you get and better speed the boat will have.

2nd. The mast rake on your boat might be off and can dramatically impact your pointing ability. If the mast rake is off and the sails are 30 years old you probably point 5-10 degrees lower than a trimmed FJ. This would result in getting spanked by a good FJ.

Also in light air move your weight forward as far as possible get a tiller extension if you dont have one. Dragging your back side in light air will slow you down. Moving your weight forward will make a dramatic difference in your speed. A whisker pole for the down wind run will also allow you to put the FJ behind you.

Good luck!

By Ron S on Friday, September 13, 2002 – 04:36 pm:


Yes you seemed to have described my sails well.

Thanks for the comments. I have measured the rake and it compares with the guide. I just have not installed the jib lock. I will try to do that soon, along with a mast partner.

I understand North Sails and Ullman are both good. Would I be ok with either? They seem to cost the same. A lot 🙂

By Willie on Sunday, September 22, 2002 – 03:54 pm:

Does anyone use a spinnaker on a C-15, and if so what size works best. Should a spinnaker go all the way to the top of the mast? Should a asymmetrical spinnaker be used?

Thank You,