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How deep to launch

ShawnL

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Jul 29, 2020
6
Catalina 22 Calumet Mi
As yet another person who just purchased a new-to-me Catalina 22 one of the things I've been trying to figure out how deep the water needs to be at the boat ramp.

There's a lot of ramps in my area, though there's a lot more power boaters here than sail boats. Maybe I've just read too many horror stories of people backing too far down the ramp, or having the trailer tires drop into a hole at the end of the ramp, etc. I thought that before splash-day I'd go scout a couple of the likely ramps and look for potential gotchas. My main thought is (obviously) the water needs to be deep enough to float the boat off of the trailer. But., are there other things that more seasoned pros look for? The only thing I've trailer launched is a small power boat so it's never been something I've though of.. until now.
thanks
 
Sep 15, 2016
487
Catalina 22 Minnesota
No big trick here just know that you have to be able to float the boat on and off so as to not over stress the bow eye. Take a tape measure or wear waders if the ramp is questionable for the drop off and if really shallow beware of the powerloading berm just beyond the ramp that is often created by the ski boats over the years. I have the wing keel so I need about 3-3.5 feet to get off the trailer but then only about 2.6 to float away. The rudder is the deepest point on a wing keel. I also marked the float point on my trailer guides (a nice addition if you don't have them) so I know when i'm deep enough to begin centering the keel (black tape in picture).

The real trick is if you do fall off the end of the ramp. Don't panic if this happens. Take a ratchet strap of spare line of suitable size and wrap it from port to starboard under the trailer and back up to the cockpit winches. Tighten the lime and use the boat to "float" the trailer so you can pull out. I have come within 6 inches of the end a few times but thus far i have not needed this trick. However my day may be coming as i too launch at dozens of rams in any given year.

IMG_8072.JPEGIMG_8073.JPEG
 
May 23, 2016
973
Catalina 22 #12502 BSC
obvious, but sometimes overlooked.....if a kick-up rudder, make sure it is "up". If not a kick-up, launch with the rudder OFF the boat. (also, be sure the outboard is tilted fully up).

((Friend has a wing keel, his FIXED rudder draws more than the keel....launching his can be problematic as you may imagine with the rudder deployed.))
 
May 22, 2020
42
Catalina 22 Iowa
If you do fall off the end of the ramp. Don't panic if this happens. Take a ratchet strap of spare line of suitable size and wrap it from port to starboard under the trailer and back up to the cockpit winches. Tighten the lime and use the boat to "float" the trailer so you can pull out.
I've never had this happen but what a great way to rescue yourself!

I have found the trick is not getting in but getting back out. I have learned to make sure the trailer is not in too deep or the boat will float over and not align itself.
 

Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
247
Macgregor 26S near Vancouver, BC
I have found the trick is not getting in but getting back out. I have learned to make sure the trailer is not in too deep or the boat will float over and not align itself.
I had this very thing happen on Monday. I stopped a bit short, decided to go further before engaging the bow hook, and went too deep. The boat ended up crooked on the trailer--though no big deal.

Yes, going too far on launch is no big deal. The trailer will come out easily without the boat on board. I've never gone too deep on recovery but I can imagine that it could be a problem if the trailer wheels went off the end of the ramp. Still not a big deal, though. Worst case scenario you push the boat back, pull the trailer up over the hump, and try again.
 

T_Cat

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Aug 8, 2014
332
Catalina 22 1987 New Design. 14133 "LadyHawke" Modesto CA
Ready to launch. Fully extended....backed down till she floated off.
 

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Sep 15, 2016
487
Catalina 22 Minnesota
obvious, but sometimes overlooked.....if a kick-up rudder, make sure it is "up". If not a kick-up, launch with the rudder OFF the boat. (also, be sure the outboard is tilted fully up).

((Friend has a wing keel, his FIXED rudder draws more than the keel....launching his can be problematic as you may imagine with the rudder deployed.))
This largely depends on the trailer. My fixed rudder clears easily so I am able to launch with it installed and not drag the bottom (except that one ramp that one time:)) and yes on the wing the rudder is deeper than the keel by a few inches. Anything under 2.6 feet and your rudder won't make it,without the rudder you gain about 2 inches or so which can at times be just enough. Trust Me on this one as I had to launch last week without the rudder due to depth.

I've never gone too deep on recovery but I can imagine that it could be a problem if the trailer wheels went off the end of the ramp. Still not a big deal, though. Worst case scenario you push the boat back, pull the trailer up over the hump, and try again.
unfortunately if your trailer falls off the ramp into the hole you will not be able to pull it out with your standard F150. The axel will fall off as well as will the springs leaving the frame on the ramp end. pull all you want you wont have the traction to recover the trailer without damage to the frame or axle or both. This has occurred many times on a ramp I have used in the past with a short launch. Many a trailer lost its axel after the driver tried to simply pull out just the trailer. Use the boat as it will easily handle the job it's not worth the risk.

In the end all of this is worst case and likely you'll be just fine. If you have a swing keel you can launch in knee deep water and recover in about the same. If the ramp is steep your boat will settle back away from the bow stop and you'll need a good break check to slide it back forward again (not using an extension) while the bunks are still wet. The primary things to check are this:

1 Keel winched into the full up position and clear of the trailer frame (resting on frame while trailering)
2 Rudder attached and in up position or not attached and ready to install before you go to far. (these boats steer horribly on outboard alone)
3 spare hardware for tiller attachment (you'll drop something at some point)
4 bow strap removed just before you hit the water
5 dock lines and fenders ready
6 Sunscreen and a smile because you in for a great day!!
 

Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
247
Macgregor 26S near Vancouver, BC
unfortunately if your trailer falls off the ramp into the hole you will not be able to pull it out with your standard F150.
You're extrapolating from one fairly extreme case to the general case. I've personally gone off the end of the ramp at two different boat launches, both with only a few inches drop, and pulled it up no problem at all. You're insisting that people to use a complicated technique where a simple solution will suffice, which is poor advice.
 
Sep 15, 2016
487
Catalina 22 Minnesota
You're extrapolating from one fairly extreme case to the general case. I've personally gone off the end of the ramp at two different boat launches, both with only a few inches drop, and pulled it up no problem at all. You're insisting that people to use a complicated technique where a simple solution will suffice, which is poor advice.

Umm perhaps ramps and boats are different north of the border but stateside the drop off the end of the ramp from power loading is generally 2 feet or more. In fact the last one i walked off a few years ago I went in over my head without touching from being waist deep prior to falling off the end. I have launched at ramps in multiple states, in rivers, great lakes, and local "Ponds" (though not in canada yet but hopefully soon for the LOWSA race) so I am simply speaking from personal observation and experience. Your loading a different style of boat with a different style trailer. To call this poor advice is to assume all ramps are created equal. I trailer well over 3000 miles on average a year with many years exceeding that distance and this is my experience. Yous may be different and your choice of ramps with a 26 foot boat may be different so your mileage may vary. This is simply my experience. In the end its your boat, and your choice.
 
Sep 30, 2013
3,147
1988 Catalina 22 central Florida
WOW that's one of the rare times I have seen a swing keel using a extension. How shallow is that ramp?
We rarely get lucky enough to launch without one. I sometimes cannot launch even WITH it. It all depends on how steep the ramp is. That's why I concocted this thing:


IMG_1433.JPG
 
Sep 15, 2016
487
Catalina 22 Minnesota
We rarely get lucky enough to launch without one. I sometimes cannot launch even WITH it. It all depends on how steep the ramp is. That's why I concocted this thing:
So what you saying is if I come down to nationals next year I better have a Long Extension in Florida! Funny I thought only the midwest had those short shallow ramps. Sure would be nice if the various natural resources departments made the ramps a bit better for us sail boaters.

Any issues with the force on your hitch with so long a ball extension and what's your total length there?
 
May 22, 2020
42
Catalina 22 Iowa
We rarely get lucky enough to launch without one. I sometimes cannot launch even WITH it. It all depends on how steep the ramp is. That's why I concocted this thing:


View attachment 183111
I launch using a minivan! Sometimes I have trouble getting the boat in too. Usually that only happens during flood waters on the Mississippi. Since the water is high you can't really get down the ramp to float the boat.
 
Sep 15, 2016
487
Catalina 22 Minnesota
I know just what you mean about the mississippi coming up too high. There is a ramp in there somewhere but no extension would reach it without having the door panels under water!



IMG_4254_50.jpg



There's also a jetty under that water as well! makes it interesting in the spring for launch. And for those refine observers yes that is a windsurfer out in the flood and the ice was just coming off the lake!
IMG_2513.JPG


ok Im done hijacking this thread Sorry @ShawnL
:cowbell:
 
Apr 11, 2017
531
Catalina C22 Solomon's Island, MD
When you 1st launch the boat - back the trailer in slowly until the boat just floats. Look in the rear-view mirror, or side mirror - or from the side of the boat ramp (if you can't see out of the rear-view or side mirror), and find a visual mark (on a vertical trailer part you can use), to determine where the water level must be on the trailer to just float the boat.

Mark that water level mark on the trailer with tape, or paint, and it'll help in the future in judging how far you need to keep backing up on the ramp. Some ramps are more or less steep obviously, but the mark has always been a great help to me in judging where to stop backing in the trailer. When you back the trailer in to retrieve the boat, back it until the water level mark is reached, and the boat should just float on, but not be so deep that the boat gets out-of-whack when the trailer is pulled forward.

When retrieving the boat, have dock lines tied to the bow and stern, and grab one line in each hand while standing on the finger pier - then just walk the boat forward onto the trailer. If there is an option, I like to have the boat blowing AWAY from the finger pier, as it allows the boat to be walked onto the trailer without having to deal with the boat banging up too close to the finger pier when re-loading onto the trailer, or just floating there.

If your trailer doesn't have a pair of trailer guides (vertical 4-6 foot PVC guides bolted to the stern) I'd check them out. Set them up so that the boat squeezes in fairly tight between them. (about 1-2 inches wider than the boat) They really make it easy, and save a lot trouble launching/retrieving - especially on windy days- Good luck-
 
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Sep 30, 2013
3,147
1988 Catalina 22 central Florida
So what you saying is if I come down to nationals next year I better have a Long Extension in Florida! Funny I thought only the midwest had those short shallow ramps. Sure would be nice if the various natural resources departments made the ramps a bit better for us sail boaters.

Any issues with the force on your hitch with so long a ball extension and what's your total length there?
Total length is about ten feet. No issues. I trust it 100%, at parking-lot speed. Surprisingly easy to maneuver in reverse.
 

Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
247
Macgregor 26S near Vancouver, BC
@LakeShark :

Yep, ramps vary from place to place. That's why you have to be careful making absolute statements about how to deal with them.

Tedd
 

T_Cat

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Aug 8, 2014
332
Catalina 22 1987 New Design. 14133 "LadyHawke" Modesto CA
WOW that's one of the rare times I have seen a swing keel using a extension. How shallow is that ramp?
Lol sorry late post. It's so shallow launching my 16' Aluminum fishing boat puts the exhaust underwater

Here's the same ramp, different trip. truck tires in the water with full trailer extension.
 

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Jul 13, 2015
699
Catalina 22 #2552 Kennewick, WA
Very similar to @Gene Neill and @T_Cat; With my 6' extension my back tire is sitting in a few inches of water (full size silverado). A fair amount of spring tension on the extension, but I always always always lock the pin on the coupler and like gene parking lot speed and level (ish) ground fully confident: I had to create a standalone offset extension, but mirror image results:

File_007.jpeg


File_006 (1).jpeg
 
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Likes: Gene Neill

Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
247
Macgregor 26S near Vancouver, BC
Clever idea, @pclarksurf ! I always envisioned a tongue extension being coaxial, but yours is a simpler idea to implement.

Tedd