• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Minimum Depth of water for wing keel trailer launch

Mar 15, 2017
Hi All,

I'm looking into buying a Capri 22 Std rig Wing keel. Newer >2001 version. I plan on trailer launching each time.
The ramps on the Potomac River in my area are pretty long with a 12 degree grade. 4ft depth at low tide. Leesylvania Park and Pohick regional Park ramps.

Based on some measurements I've been able to do, the Capri 22 on a trail-rite trailer sits about 45" from the ground.
So assume Length down ramp to where the tires put the water at the waterline is = to Height/tan(12) = 45"/0.2125 so about 17.6' down the ramp.
I measured 15' from trailer wheels to hitch and the trailer has a 4' extension. So that seems OK

This only gives a 3" margin from 45" to 48" of water.

I don't have any experience launching winged Capri 22s.
Would this be doable at low tide?
Have others had similar situations launching in shallow water.
I have read that the high rear bunk pads can be an issue especially with recovery.

Thank you for your comments
Jan 22, 2008
Catalina 310 278 Lyndeborough NH
I have launch my wing keel Capri 22 in four feet of water before. BUT I have done everything possible to lower the height of the boat on the trailer. 12° ramp is good and within the recommended range for boat ramps.

As the boat is backed down into the water, the stern will enter the water at an effectively lower height due to the 12° slope. The stern will begin to float first. The boat will begin to "hinge" at the forward hull support then be able to slide off.

The bottom of my keel is 12 inches off the ground. The bottom of the transom is 3' 3" from the ground. I use a tongue extender that has the bow almost 12 feet from the trailer hitch. My Jeep's rear wheels get wet.

You can also strap-launch rather than use an extender. The trailer jack can be used. Crank it down to its lowest position so that the tongue is almost on the ground.

Yes, it can be done.
Jan 22, 2008
Catalina 310 278 Lyndeborough NH
Red Squirrel said:
Thank you John for your detailed response.
It is much appreciated.
Keep in mind that four feet of water is about as shallow as you want to be and still have some "extra" under the keel. The Capri 22 does ride higher than the 2'-8" draft unless you have loaded it down with lots of "stuff".

Since you specified "low tide", you do have a little extra depth if you wait for the tide to come back in. In may area though, the tide is 10-12 feet. Yours is much smaller range.

Like I said, it is doable. You have been making the right types of calculations. Be willing to be "creative" the first few times you launch. I went and measured the depths myself at various tide levels. that gave me the extra confidence.

Good luck and let us know how it works out for you.
Sep 25, 2018
Catalina Capri 22 Capri EXPO 14.2 1282 Stony Point
For years I launched a Hunter 23.5 at high tide with wheels in the water. When I got the wing keel Capri 22 I bought extensions to help keep the car out of the water. One day I had to get the boat to the marina at low tide thinking I would return the next day to launch. The marina owner came over to me and showed me the unusual launch ramp. The ramp gets very steep at and beyond the low tide line. You can't see the bottom in the Hudson river because of things living in the water (diatoms in the Hudson). I always assumed that what I saw at low tide was the extent of the concrete ramp. The concrete extends another steep 30 feet beyond in quite deep water. At low tide the wheels stay dry and I do not need extra extensions. Does any one else have such an unusual ramp configuration at their launch site?