The Cyclone 13…NOT A Capri 14

The Cyclone 13

A couple of weeks ago we wrote a review post about the Capri 14.2. Nothing was wrong with the review or the post, except that when we thought we had owned a Capri 14.2 fifteen years ago, when in fact we really owned a Cyclone 13. The good news is, everything we said about the Capri 14.2 now applies only to the Cyclone 13. One of our readers was good enough to point this out and we appreciate the correction. Below you will see our review for the Cyclone 13. Interestingly enough, both the Cyclone and the Capri are made by Catalina Yachts and were considered almost “sister boats” when both were in production. Although structurally they are different boats, there are similar features between the two. Here is the corrected post.

Cyclone 13 review

This is it. Our first family sailboat. It may not look like much and honestly that’s a bold but true statement. When it comes to simple dinghy boats, the Cyclone 13 is just that. A simple, easy to use, easy to manage sailboat.  No complicated rigging, no complicated anything really.

The Cyclone 13

 

It was a Saturday morning in June, I was driving down to a charity yard sale for community program I was involved with. They had some interesting stuff lining the sidewalk, but as I looked around the corner, my eyes were fixed on the Cyclone 13 just sitting in the backyard. It was partially hidden under a large, shady tree. 20 minutes and a soft negotiation later, I walked away the proud owner of this boat for just $500. The real negotiation was with my wife when I drove home with a boat. Thankfully, she came around to the idea pretty quickly and we were up and sailing in no time.

This is a review of the Cyclone 13, and since you probably want less of the background story and more of the nuts and bolts behind this sailboat, let’s get down to business.

Specifications

Length: 13 ft.
Beam: 4 ft. 11 in.
Draft: 2 ft. 10 in. scaled
Weight: 148 lbs.
Sail area: 74 sq. ft. (U.S. Sailing’s handicap listings also indicate another larger sail)
Hull: fiberglass reinforced plastic
Spars: aluminum
Crew: one or two
Rating: D-PN 96.3
First built: 1972
Number built: 2,350
Designer: Frank Butler

Pros

This boat is exactly what it looks like. A simple dinghy boat. The mast isn’t that heavy, so it’s easy to raise. The rigging on the boat isn’t too complicated. All you need is a mainsheet. It’s a nice boat for kids to learn on. My kids were able to pick it up really quickly and I think this boat is what started their love of sailing. It’s lightweight and easy to trailer.

Cons

Honestly, this boat was a little squirrely. Part of that could be due to my inexperience at that point, but it wasn’t the easiest boat to manage in really windy conditions. It was also really small. Our Hobie Holder (also a small dinghy and our current dinghy of choice) is the same length, 14′ but feels, and looks much bigger. The Capri only sat 2 comfortably, and with all four of us in the boat it felt squished. On our Holder, we have fit 7 of us on the boat at once!

We had an older model, and ours had several cracks in the fiber glass on the top of the hulls and in the deck. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but didn’t affect the performance of the boat. I also replaced all the lines and refinished the hatch to the cubby/storage compartment.

Cyclone 13

We had some fun times and great adventures in this boat. If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive sailboat, that is easy to trailer and learn on, this is a great boat to start. It won’t give you the speed like a laser or a Holder, but the Cyclone 13 is worth taking a look at.

Can you buy this boat new? No, but here is what we do know…

The Capri 13 (or Catalina 13) took the place of the Cyclone 13 in the product line, though it is no longer listed on its web site. It appears the closest Catalina boat in size still in production is the Catalina Expo 12.5, one of the newer and less demanding wider-hulled boats with simplified rigging.

Thanks for reading and happy sailing! Let us know if you have ever sailed a Capri 14.2.


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2 Comments
  1. kevin says

    i live on a man made lake and had a capri cyclone 13 float to my dock. its full of water and all the drain plugs are gone. no sails, or rudder and its been this way a while from what i can tell. even the rope that once held it is rotted away. im going to try to find the owner which shouldnt be hard, and if he dosnt want it im thinking the easy solution is toss an electric trolling motor on the back and call it good. any thoughts or suggestions?

  2. Richard McManus says

    Worth a try. IF you have the sail I am interested, as I have a Capri 13. I found the boat to be very battered and there is a lot of delamination in the deck. On the other hand it is light and fun to sail, so I will hope to make it til September and then plan on repairs over the winter.

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