Can I launch my boat from a ramp? - SailNet Community

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Old 10-07-2007
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Can I launch my boat from a ramp?

I have a 1982 Catalina 25. It has a 4' draft with a fin keel(fixed). I keep it on Cayuga Lake but would like to trailer it to the east coast for vacation next year. From what I have read, you can trailer it(so say the original brochures). The problem to me seems that the only way to get it on the trailer is with a travel lift. This I think will be cost prohibitive.
Has anyone used a ramp to launch a similar boat? Is there another way that I may not know about? Has anyone tried to launch a 25 foot boat from a ramp? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old 10-07-2007
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You need to get a tongue extender for your trailer that allows you to put the trailer far enough into the water that the boat can be floated on and off of it.
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Old 10-07-2007
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At my marina using a travel lift to place a boat on a trailer would cost around $150.00 for a boat your size. Have you checked prices ?
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Old 10-07-2007
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I don't see why one couldn't. I've trailer launched some R22s (much lighter, but 4.5 foot draft) and a C&C 24 (4' draft, 3,200 lbs) amongst others. Depending on where you are, finding a ramp that's deep enough can be an issue, but if you call around you can probably find one. You will need some sort of tounge extension for your tailer or you can just use tow straps or chains (or both, don't really want to lose it) to get it deeper without taking your tow vehichle for a swim. Having 4wd is nice, if not essential. There is a member at my yacht club who has a Catalina 25 fin keel he keeps on a trailer sometimes.

Not something I think you would want to do all the time, but it certainly can be done.
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Old 10-07-2007
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You'll also need to find a fairly steep ramp, since you'll need the ramp to drop off enough so that the boat will float off the trailer.

BTW, it does depend quite a bit on the trailer you have. If the trailer isn't designed to launch the boat, you're going to need a travel lift to put the boat in the water.
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Old 10-07-2007
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We have an extension on our 26 but I forget to use it sometimes. I have seen people attach a wheel/spare tire to the side of the tongue just for launching and then backing it down the ramp with a chain hooked to the trailer hitch on the truck. It seems to work well. I didn't check the depth of a ramp once and ran into big trouble. The end dropped off two feet . . . and so did my Axles. It took an hour to get the trailer off the ramp (without the boat on it) and made a lot of waiting people angry. ALWAYS walk and check the depth of the ramps end. Your boat would need neck deep to be safe.

We love trailering! It's not a big deal for the larger trailer sailors.
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Old 10-08-2007
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Given a suitable trailer it's certainly doable. The nicest way to do it, as some have mentioned, is to have a tongue extension (ideally telescoping rather than one that has to be fitted in place). But it's nearly as easy to do it by using a tow strap. I use a couple of quick links - one on each end - to make sure that the hooks don't come loose from either end. It's also critical to have a tongue jack with a wheel that actually rolls rather than the kind that are mostly for decoration. It can be pretty scary to watch the trailer sink below the water like that, but as long as you know the strap won't come loose and you can get it back, it isn't too bad, and it allows you to launch from almost anywhere that's at least somewhat steep. Getting it back onto a fully submerged trailer is a bit of a challenge too - mine has a couple of side guides (pipes that come up about even with the gunwales) and that serves as both a positioning guide as well as a depth gauge.
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Old 10-08-2007
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You'd also need to check out the ramp where you plan to launch to make sure you have enough manuvering room both for the larger-than-typical car/trailer setup and for the boat when in the water and check that there are no overhead powerlines that you might fit a stinkpot under but not your rig when an extra 5-6 feet off the ground..

Many boat ramps over here are after-thoughts designed only to be used by fishermen with their 12' dinghys...

--Cameron
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Old 10-08-2007
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You will also need to watch the tides. Launching and pulling a boat in tidal waters is different than a lake.
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Old 10-08-2007
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You guys are awesome. thanks for the advice. I am going to get a trailer.
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