Trailers / Trailering

Catalina Direct Discussion Topics / Catalina 22 Discussion Area / Trailers / Trailering / Towing With A Wrangler?
Author Towing With A Wrangler?

Boat Name:


Hull No.

Hailing Port:
02/12/2009 5:55 PM Pacific Time

Hello All,

I am not Yet a C22 owner, but that will hopefully change soon! I was wondering if anyone has any experience/advice/warnings, etc for towing a C22 with a 1999 4.0 V6 Jeep Wrangler? Im only about a 30 minute drive from my nearest ramp, but one of the boats im looking at is located about a 4 hour drive away...

I have a considerable amount of towing experience...just not with this Jeep and a boat. Also, it has body and suspension lift of about 4 inches.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

R. C. Luiken
Milford, DE

Boat Name: Ricochet

Model/Year: C-22 Swing Keel/1986

Hull No. 13560

Hailing Port: Milford, DE/St. Michaels, MD
02/13/2009 7:06 AM Pacific Time

IMHO your Jeep is not enough vehicle to tow the boat 4 hours. The 4" lift is not a problem because you can design your hitch receiver to accomodate that. The problem is that the Wrangler has such a short wheel base. It almost becomes a picture of boat, where are you pushing that Jeep??

Not knowing where you live I cannot speculate about the terrain you might encounter. Flat terrain for a 30 minute dirve may be okay. Hilly terrain would be problematic. I live in flat terrain and did fine with a Ford Explorer, but that is considerably more substantial than a Wrangler. Apologies to our Wrangler owners ;>}

Maybe you could borrow or rent a pick-up to go the 4 hour journey
David Torrisi
Santa Clara, CA

Boat Name: Dumbo

Model/Year: 1975 C-22

Hull No. 4330

Hailing Port: Santa Clara
02/13/2009 9:50 AM Pacific Time

I agree with R.C. It's pretty dicey. You'll likely be fine, but in an emergency situation, bad things could happen. I used to tow a 14' Boston Whaler from time to time with my CJ7. It's just too short a wheelbase and not enough vehicle weight and that rig didn't weigh near what our boats weigh. I bought my C22 when I had a 4Runner and even that was uncomfortable but I towed with it for a few years, mostly local and no hills. The 3.0l engine was a joke too, but that's a different story. I now have a full size Chevy 3/4ton and that feels right.
Greenville, SC

Boat Name: Kemo Sabe

Model/Year: C-22 , 1973

Hull No. 2229

Hailing Port:
02/13/2009 10:35 AM Pacific Time

I disagree. Best place to observe towing vehicles is at a C22 cruise/regatta of some sort. You'll see everything!

I think a 4.0 L Jeep Wrangler will have NO PROBLEM towing.

If the Wrangler is a 4.0 and automatic, you will have NO problem TOWING a C22. If it is 4 wheel drive, you won't have problems at a ramp, and even two wheel with auto will do just fine.

Just make sure you are smart in planning stops and keep distance between you and the car in front, if there are no trailer brakes. MOST trailers do not have brakes. I'm not talking legalities here. Trailer brakes are a pain.

In 1993, we went to the C22 Nationals in Tulsa. Like many of you here, I have been to many regattas and cruises, so we have seen some tow vehicles in our times. MANY of the tow vehicles had 4.0L engines; some were Chevy vans, pickups, Jeep, whatever you can name that might have smaller non-V8 engines. And, that included some V6 sedan cars with hitches. I remember Tulsa so vividly in two vehicle perspectives because the ramp was LONG AND STEEP, and there were so many tow vehicles clustered on that tough ramp.

As a matter of fact, my former Chevy V6 4.3 L had almost as much torque as the next sized larger engine which was a V8. The vehicles in Tulsa dragged boats from all over the US, and talking about a steep and long ramp!! I forget the name of the club right now, but it was sure nice.

I towed a C22 many places in Ga, SC, NC, & Tn with a 1991 Ford Explorer two wheel drive, two door,4.0 engine. It had straight drive. I never had a minutes problem in towing the boat, but on the ramps, auto would have done a better job.

Good luck! I'll bet you may check with the person who owns the boat to see what they used, but you DO NOT have to have a large gas guzzling pickup to tow a C22.

If I were serious about buying the boat you mention, I'd try the towing and stipulate the sale is conditional on your vehicle towing the boat. You'll know as soon as you retrieve the boat from the launching ramp if it's going to work or not. Drive it around with the rig attached, or have a friend do so and get his opinion. Personally, I would just tow.

And, that is what I think! :)
Larry in SC with thousands of tow miles under my belt since my first C22 in 1976, #6991. Two more: 1973 #3101 and 1973 #2229.
Lynn Buchanan
Nevada City, CA

Boat Name: SAILYNN

Model/Year: SWING 1984

Hull No. 11994

02/13/2009 1:27 PM Pacific Time

I would not tow it with a wrangler for all the reasons previously stated. yeah you can tow it, but is it a mistake waiting to happen. besides being illegal, check your state towing regs. you will have no moral recourse for yourself and others you my injure if anything goes wrong in the process. it is so easy to borrow or rent a truck (home depot) for the four hour trip if the boat is a good deal to get it home. just my opinion.
Greg Baker
Charlotte, NC

Boat Name: Sea Sharp Minor

Model/Year: Catalina 22 - 1984 - Swing Keel

Hull No. 11823

Hailing Port: Lake Norman Sailing Club
02/13/2009 5:52 PM Pacific Time

Ryan, as you have already seen, the tow vehical debate is always a lively one. I think the answer need not rely on conjecture. The vehical has towing specs. They should be in the owners manual. If not, a quick search online should find them for you. Then get the boat and trailer weighed, put in some safety factor and check your state laws. The data will give you the answer even if it is not nearly as much fun as seeing us all debate with no data.
David Torrisi
Santa Clara, CA

Boat Name: Dumbo

Model/Year: 1975 C-22

Hull No. 4330

Hailing Port: Santa Clara
02/13/2009 8:44 PM Pacific Time

Ah Greg, the voice of reason.... that's no fun! Looks like the max is 2000lbs w/brakes and 1000lbs w/o brakes according to one website. We're, what, 3000lbs and up fully loaded? Yikes!
Greenville, SC

Boat Name: Kemo Sabe

Model/Year: C-22 , 1973

Hull No. 2229

Hailing Port:
02/14/2009 7:18 AM Pacific Time

Ask a former national commodore in the early 90's what he towed his 22 with. 4 hour journey ought to be a cinch with a Jeep Wrangler.
Mike Bracket
Clinton Twp, MI

Boat Name: Gunsmoke

Model/Year: 1979

Hull No. 9150

Hailing Port: Lake St Clair MI
02/14/2009 10:50 AM Pacific Time

ahhh yes - a lively discussion. All very valid points.
as for the simple act of having enough ummmph to haul the boat around, the Jeep Wrangler would be OK. If the trailer does not have good, operational brakes, you have a problem stopping. The Wrangler simply doesnt have enough of its own weight to stop the boat, especially if you need to stop in a hurry.
I gathered from your initial email that once the boat is 'home' the towing would be much shorter distances and infrequent (until you learn how much fun it is to go out of town...)
When I bought my boat, I towed it about 4 hours to my home (at the time) lake on a trailer with no brakes. Tow vehicle was a Ford Courier PU, 2.3L 4 cyl, 5 spd. with a Step Bumper - no fancy hitch!! All highway/interstate so I was able to control the situation somewhat. I could make 60 MPH on the highway.
That little truck actually had better "ramp performance" than my next truck because of the gearing in the differential.
As someone said in here earlier - if you can get it up the ramp, you can tow it down the road. Safety is a whole different issue.
Greg Guenther
Belleville, IL

Boat Name: Magnificat

Model/Year: 1970

Hull No. 473

Hailing Port: Belleville, IL
02/15/2009 4:50 AM Pacific Time

I just have to add my two cents worth to this discussion. Most of the discussion focuses on the ability of the vehicle and driver to manage a C22. Let me delve into the legalities of the situation. Most if not all states have acceptable weight ratios between tow vehicles and trailers. The Jeep Wrangler does not even come close I don't think to being legal to tow a C22. If you were involved in an accident, this would certainly be an issue. In the litigious society that we live in today, I would be very concerned about being "legal" in every respect when I am out on the road. There is too much at stake to take any chances. There is even the possibility that your insurance company could refuse to pay out any claim and you would be totally on your own financially.

Just a thought.

Mark Parent
Blue Eye, MO

Boat Name:

Model/Year: 1977

Hull No. 6912

Hailing Port: Branson, MO
02/16/2009 7:24 AM Pacific Time

I use my 1995 Wrangler (4 cyl.) with a 4" lift to tow my C22 out and up a very steep hill to my house for maintenance/upkeep and launch as well. I use gears extensively because I don't trust my brakes to handle the load. I would not trust my Wrangler to tow the C22 on the road. I believe the weight of the boat and trailer completely dwarfs the Wrangler. I suggest a robust pickup with a tow package.
Dean Hunt
Spirit Lake, Iowa

Boat Name: Stayin' Alive

Model/Year: C-22---1992

Hull No. 15239

Hailing Port: West Lake Okoboji
02/16/2009 11:21 AM Pacific Time

The weight of the boat being towed could potentially overwhelm the stability of the front end, as well as the steering.
The Jeep Wrangler has the towing capacity to haul up to and no more than 2000 lbs., due to the fact that a Wrangler towing more than 2000 lbs., forced to brake suddenly, can't avoid having its two front tires lift off the ground.
The Wrangler Unlimited has the ability to tow up to 3,500 lbs. due to having a longer wheel base, showing that the ability to haul comes not from the vehicle's size or weight, but from its length.

Dallas, TX

Boat Name:

Model/Year: 1985

Hull No. #13125

Hailing Port:
02/16/2009 12:50 PM Pacific Time

As stated the Wrangler would be fine from moving it around the marina and launching but for traveling long distance you are better of renting a u-haul or similar truck. Or finding a buddy with a good pick up/SUV.

I have a '99 Jeep Cherokee with the 4.0 auto and 4wd with a 5000lb tow rating, very close mechanically to yours. I can feel the boat quite a bit, specially vs driving the Suburban. The cherokee is supposed to weigh ~3000lbs empty and the boat probably about the same or more. Even with trailer brakes it is a large mass to move around.
The 4" lift would probably have changed the geometry of the steering on yours and will have a greater length of springs to sway with.

Good luck


Boat Name:


Hull No.

Hailing Port:
03/22/2009 6:43 AM Pacific Time


First off, let me thank everyone for contributing their advice on the subject. I really appreciated the different viewpoints.

So far, zero towing has occurred. Sadly, I am still boatless.

Given many of the issues that were raised, along with the fact that my poor jeep has recently developed some new mechanical problems that will need attention, I have altered my plan.

Find cheap dock space. Leave the boat in the water. Only trailer it when I have to, ie storm.

While this raises my month costs, i think its a whole lot easier (and safer) than towing, and rigging the boat every weekend or so...

Again, thanks alot to everyone for the help!

Trailers / Trailering
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