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Old 07-11-2006
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Swing Keel or Fixed Wing Keel? Catalina 22 or 25?

Hello all,

I'm brand new to the board, and to sailing. For some reason, the sailing bug has bit (though to be honest, I have wanted to do this since I was a teenager). I am beginning to look into a small pocket cruiser type of boat to sail on inland lakes, and/or Sandusky Bay/Lake Eire. I live in the Cincinnati area.

I have been looking at the Catalina 22 and Catalina 25 more and more. I have eliminated the MacGregor 26X, and the Hunter water ballasted boats from my list of possibles. What I am really looking for is a trailerable boat that can be launched and retrieved relatively easily. What would be better, a swing keel, or a fixed wing keel for ease of trailering (launching and retrieving)? Both the C22 and C25 have a swing keel option, or a wing keel option. Or, are they both equally trailerable?

Next question: Which is the better boat for day sailing and short multi-day trips, the C22 or C25 (given the trailering requirement above)?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 07-11-2006
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In my oh-so-limited opinion, you take a big step up in trailering requirements in the difference between a 22 and a 25. Make sure you pay attention to what you can pull and how often you will be doing it.

Why don't you start smaller? I have a 13' and a 14', it's my first season as a real sailor. I'm learning a LOT about what I like and what I don't.

Best regards...
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Old 07-11-2006
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I own and sailed a 1976 Catalina 22 for four years (my brother-in-law is using the boat now). It had a swing keel. The draft with the keel down is five feet, which is pretty deep for a 22-foot boat. I have previously posted regarding how I came by this boat, but that is not relevant. If I were purchasing a C-22 today, I would get the fixed wing keel. The reason would be much less maintenance.

(If anyone can describe this better, have at it.) The swing keel attaches to the hull by means of a bar that is bolted into the bottom of the boat, and it pivots up and down on this bar. There is a winch just inside the companion way below the cockpit that houses a steel cable that attaches to the trailing edge of the keel near the bottom. The keel is raised and lowered by the winch and cable combination. The cable exits (or enters) the boat through a molded fiberglass "cone" that is part of the bottom of the boat. The top of the cone contains a ball into which a pin is inserted to keep it in place. All of this is covered by a foot-long piece of radiator hose that is held in place on the cone by a hose clamp. One also puts some sealer around the bottom of the hose. This is to keep entering the boat. I have seen the cone described as a "volcano" and the water does flow out like lava if the hose is loose.

I replaced the winch once and the cable twice in four years. I finally learned to keep the cable taut instead of with some slack, as the slack can cause it to "whip," become abraded, and snap. When the cable snaps the keel is in the "down" position, which is OK for sailing (unless you are in a shallow slip) but may present some problems getting it on and off the trailer. You can only replace the cable when the boat is out of the water.

You have none of this with a fixed keel. Of course, you also get a 3.5-foot draft with the wing, so this may affect performance.

Getting the boat on and off the trailer is not the biggest issue you have. The biggest issue is raising and lowering the mast each time you launch and haul out. The fore stay and at least two of the shrouds had to be detached to lower the mast and reattached to raise it. The 22 had a device that one could buy that allegedly allowed one person to raise and lower. I did it with one other person and found that three people are better. Two can raise the mast but you need the third person to attach and do the other things to secure the mast while the others are holding it steady.

As far as which boat is better for day sailing and short trips, I can't really say. The 25 is three feet longer and thus the berthing arrangement is probably a little better than the 22. The 22 has a small V-berth and two singles in the main cabin, but is very cramped.

There is a Catalina owners web site, www.catalinaowners.com, as well as e-mail lists for the various Catalina models. Current owners should be able to answer any questions you have on these two boats.
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I do have a Jeep Liberty. I am not certain how much it is capable of pulling, however the difference between a 22 and a 25 with respect to towing on a trailer is noted.

I want to start with at least a 22 ft. boat like the Catalina because of the possibility of overnighting onboard. While the cabin space is small and cramped, it is possible, while a 14 ft or 16 ft. boat does not even have a cabin, and does not offer that possibility. I have also read many reviews which stated that the C22 was an excellent first boat.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRCincy
I do have a Jeep Liberty. I am not certain how much it is capable of pulling, however the difference between a 22 and a 25 with respect to towing on a trailer is noted.

I want to start with at least a 22 ft. boat like the Catalina because of the possibility of overnighting onboard. While the cabin space is small and cramped, it is possible, while a 14 ft or 16 ft. boat does not even have a cabin, and does not offer that possibility. I have also read many reviews which stated that the C22 was an excellent first boat.
I'm still rather novice myself, but my 24' fixed keel (San Juan 24) could present a bit of a towing dilemna with a Jeep Liberty. Even with a full size chevy 3/4 ton truck, towing it is uncomfortable. It's not so much the pulling it that presents the challenge as it is stopping it. That's a LOT of weight to have pushing you from behind.

Not saying it can't be done, just be careful. I've seen too many ugly situations arise from people who think just cause a vehicle is capable of connecting to a trailer and making it go forward that they are safe towing it.
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Don't these trailers have brakes? I have towed trailers before. I used to pull a bobcat behind a Ford 1/2 ton pickup, but the drag had brakes which made it very managable. My Dad's powerboat trailer has brakes, and he pulls his 19' Monterey powerboat with a Jeep Grand Cherokee with no problem. I will have to look into weight and mass limits for the Liberty, and whether these trailers have braking systems.
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OK, after a quick look at the specs, the Jeep Liberty can tow 5000 lbs. The Catalina 22 weight is 2600 lbs aprox. It should work, especially if the trailer has brakes. If it doesn't, couldn't brakes be added?
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Is the 2600 lbs. the dry weight of the boat, or the weight of the boat loaded with equipment, gear, food, gas, and water? If the former, then you're probably about 800 pounds light on the weight.

The trailer is probably about 1000 lbs. as a rough guess based on the size and weight of my trailer. That means you might be as high as 4400 lbs for the trailer and boat.

Yes, surge brakes can be added to a trailer, but you're much better off having them installed by the trailer manufacturer. The surge brakes need to have a different trailer yoke installed and the brake drums still have to be added...which might be more than you want to do. It is also significantly cheaper to have the factory add brakes than it is to do it as an after market modification.
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The 2600 lb figure is the dry weight of the boat. The 4400 lbs fully loaded on the trailer is probably a good guess. Jeep should be capable of doing this, however, since it is under 5000 lbs. But it is borderline. Probably not wise to attempt it. I suppose one could rent a larger vehicle to pull a boat and trailer, for the longer trips. I know this, I can't afford a boat and a new car.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRCincy
The 2600 lb figure is the dry weight of the boat. The 4400 lbs fully loaded on the trailer is probably a good guess. Jeep should be capable of doing this, however, since it is under 5000 lbs. But it is borderline. Probably not wise to attempt it. I suppose one could rent a larger vehicle to pull a boat and trailer, for the longer trips. I know this, I can't afford a boat and a new car.
Especially with gas prices as high as they are... renting a truck to tow the boat and trailer with, or using a friend's larger SUV might make a lot of sense.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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