First off, I've realized that your first brew is very much a learning experience. I'm really looking forward to my second batch so I can avoid some of these issues and have a little more fun.
Bottling batch #1 last night and everything was going fairly smoothly until racking time. I hadn't practiced starting the siphon as I had planned so I just kinda of winged it. I sanitized everything and dropped the cane in the bucket.
(Side note, those little clips to hold the racking cake are useless. The cane kept slipping out or tilting all over the place. Are they all like that or does my just suck?)
Back to the story, the cane and tubing were empty at this point and I tried to use part of my sanitized turkey baster as a mouth piece to start the the siphon. It worked and I didn't inhale any beer, but the flow was slow and there was a large air bubble in the middle of the tubing causing all of the beer to oxygenate. After about a half gallon I decided to stop the siphon and figure out a better way to start it.
I covered both buckets and did a little YouTube research.
Seamed easy enough so I followed the directions and it worked great. I had the siphon started and it was flowing fast and smooth. A few gallons go by and start noticing bubbles gathering in the tubing and top of the racking cane. Eventually these built up to the point where there was not enough fluid in the siphon system to hold suction and the flow stopped. I removed everything, cleaned / sanitized, and started the process again. Another gallon went by and the same thing happened. I started the siphon a total of 4 times before I finally threw in the towel and left the last 1/2 gallon or so in the fermenter. I ended up with 46 12oz bottles so I think the amount of priming solution I used should still be OK. The bottles are in boxes just in case.
To me it looked like the small amount of CO2 suspended in the beer from fermentation was releasing in the tube and causing the gas buildup. I searched and didn't find any other posts about this so I imagine its not a normal problem.
My kit didn't come with any hose clamps and I just pushed the fittings together. Was this just a small leak?
In any case, I think an auto siphon is in order.