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Selkie60 05-04-2009 12:36 PM

Trailer vs Haul/store/launch
I'm considering buying a pocket cruiser to be moored in So. New England. I don't have a tow vehicle or storage space, but I'm wondering if I still might save money by getting a trailerable boat. All else being equal, would it be cheaper to pay someone to do the annual haul/store/launch using a trailer & ramp vs paying a yard to do it with a lift?

JimsCAL 05-04-2009 01:44 PM

You will probably save something, but not as much as you might think. Call a couple of local yards and ask what the rate is for winter storage and what they would charge to store a trailered boat. I would try to find a friend with a truck with a trailer hitch. If then have to pay someone to do the trailer haul and launch, there goes the savings.

scottyt 05-04-2009 01:48 PM

if you dont have storage it will be close to a wash. here in maryland its 100 bucks per month for a parking space at a self storage lot. and you cant just get these for 6 months a year you have to pay for the whole year.

figure 200 to pay a truck and driver to pull and haul the boat or rent a uhaul for 50 to 100, plus storage. if you have some where to store it, but the storage is the key.

tommays 05-04-2009 01:56 PM

I keep the boat on a trailer in my yard and think its the way to go BUT if you have no space it may not work out

Down here you cant even do you own bottom paint so it really cuts down on the bills and your free to work on the boat when you want

I have a friend that has a 35' moved home every season and its about a tie BUT he can work on the boat a LOT more

sailingdog 05-04-2009 04:09 PM

The only way it will really save you any money to have a trailer, is if you store the boat at your home on the trailer for the winter. Storage prices for winter storage between a boat boat on stands and a boat on a trailer are about the same. Many marinas will launch a trailered boat at a cost less than using their forklift or travellift, but will often charge you for trailer storage. :)

BarryL 05-04-2009 04:53 PM


IMHO you have a few other things to consider as well. First of, most trailerable boats use a swing keel, water ballast, or something like that to make the boat trailerable. That compromise usually has a negative affect on the boat sailing ability, or requires more maintenance, etc. For example, the Catalina 22 trailer sailor has a swing keel. The swing keel is great if you trailer sail the boat (don't leave it in the water). The swing keel is NOT recommended for extended use in salt water (the keel pendant and other components wear much faster in salt water). It also hums and bangs when sailing.

Also, most boats bigger than 22' will require a crane to step / unstep the mast. Sure you can rig up a gin pole or something else, but the mast gets real heavy and can get dangerous pretty quickly.

With a small boat, like anything designed for trailer use, and under 25', doing it yourself (with your own trailer and tow vehicle) is OK. Get bigger and I think you're better off paying the yard.

For me, the cost of having my 35' boat hauled, mast removed, transported to a 'you do it' yard, stored all winter with access to water and electric in the spring, then transported back to the water, mast stepped, and boat splashed, is about $2000.00.

I pay it without complaining.


Selkie60 05-05-2009 09:47 PM

Thanks for the info. It appears that a trailer won't save me a significant amount of money if I have to pay for someone else to haul and store it. On the other hand, it does sound like it might save a fair amount of money if I rent a truck to haul/launch and convince a friend to store it in exchange for sailing privileges.

I agree that I want a permanent keel. I had assumed (uh-oh) that I could find a boat with a shoal-draft keel that I could float on/off the trailer at a convenient boat ramp. Now I'm wondering if my assumption is valid. Is there such a thing as a 25'+ cruising boat with a proper keel that I can float on/off a trailer?

I had also assumed (!) that the mast on a 'trailerable' boat could be stepped/unstepped w/o a crane. I don't mind investing in some hardware to simplify the process.

scottyt 05-05-2009 10:14 PM

a late 70's early 80's hunter 25 is a trailer boat with a real keel

this one is sold but has some good pics

JimsCAL 05-06-2009 12:13 PM

Launching a boat from a trailer becomes more complicated as the keel draft becomes deeper. Many ramps will only have enough water at high tide. You need to disconnect the trailer from the truck, support the front end of the trailer with a STRONG wheeled trailer jack and then use an extender bar or rope to back the tralier into the water. Trailerable boats all have deck stepped masts usually with a pivot to assist in raising it. My wife and i used to raise and lower the mast on our Oday 22 by ourselves, but it was not a trivial operation.

christyleigh 05-06-2009 01:24 PM

I did the marina slip, self haul, launch, and store in my back yard with a couple trailer sailors with a Chevy 1500 pickup for a few years. Neither required a tongue extension or relying on the tides....... BUT.... Every ramp is different. The ramp in E. Greenwich RI on NGBay was steep enough so floating off was always ... interesting.... but quite doable.
One boat was a water balasted 26' with a swing keel for a year and the other was a 25' Nimble Arctic Pilothouse Sloop with a 4' * Edit * Draft (may have been only 3' 6" Draft not Keel) fixed keel for 2 years. The Nimble also had an excellent Mast Tabernacle system for reasonably easy raising and the other much lighter built 26' had an A-Frame setup to also fairly easily raise the mast. Back in the 80's Catalina had the 25 with a 1000lb swing keel that was a reasonable sailor and now I beleive the newer fixed keel version is also trailerable.

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