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Old 08-30-2012
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Beach launching outer limits?

Hi all,

I would like to ask what all you experienced sailors think would be the maximum weight of a boat to beach launch. I am looking at small sailboats from about a Penguin to a 18' Buccaneer and am just wondering if it would be unrealistic to beach launch a boat over 14 feet. From looking at boat launching carts online I see that one advertises a maximum of 600 pounds. That sounds a little over the top to me unless you had a very heavy duty cart made specifically for your boat that you were able to keep on the beach. I have no such luxury.

I will be trailering my boat to a local lake and while I have no problem with using a boat ramp I really want to have the option of beach launching. What I am starting off with as a carrier is a pretty heavy duty contraption made of welded up 3/4" pipe and two pnumatic (sp?) wheels that are around 10" probably. A little bit bigger than a serious wheel barrow. What it was used for previously was as a Sunfish cart. They would walk a sunfish from the house to the beach that was a few hundred yards down a paved road. It looks like a Sunfish weighs in at about 150-180 pounds depending on how much of the rigging is on. My cursory review of length to weight of sailing dinghys is about 300 for a 14 footer and 500 plus for boats up to 18 feet. 500 pounds being on the lowest end of the scale.

The reason I am interested in this is that I have pretty much decided that I want to get as 'dry' a boat as I can while at the same time keeping the size to a minimum. What I am finding is that these semi-dry to dry boats start out like the AMF Puffer (around 12 feet) and for me go up to the 18 foot (~500 pound) Buccaneer. Something like a Pirateer or Mutineer (13 and 15 feet respectively) would be dry enough for me BUT I think what I am really wondering is if a Buc or a Thistle is 'beach launchable'. I have a truck and will have a trailer for the boat so I should have room in the truck bed for a decent sized cart/contraption.

Thanks very much,
Jim Lee
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Old 08-31-2012
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Re: Beach launching outer limits?

This sailing camp I sent my daughters to launched JY14 and JY15 (275#) on the beach using Dolly's with fat pneumatic tires. The little kids struggled with them but were able to get the boats out of the water, up the beach to the lawn. It matters how loose the sand is, how far you have to go, etc. it helps if you can have long rubber mats that can be laid down for the wheels to roll on, moving them forward as you go.

Bayfield 36
Sailing out of Rock Creek, Chesapeake Bay
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Old 08-31-2012
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Re: Beach launching outer limits?

Loose beach sand is very difficult to roll wheels over, even large diameter ones. I can't imagine moving a 500# boat... up a slope... on sand... by hand.

Beach launching? probably.

Beach retrieving? meh.
Zen Again

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Testing a mother's love since 1962
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Old 08-31-2012
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Re: Beach launching outer limits?

Depends on how many people you have to help. I would imagine that on grass, very little slope, with two people, and a cart, you could move a pretty big boat. We have a sunfish that we launch with two people. We just each grab an end and carry the boat to the water and throw it in. I don't think you could go much heavier with just one person and a cart.
Bristol 27
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Old 08-31-2012
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Re: Beach launching outer limits?

I used to beach launch my Hobie 18 in loose sand. As mentioned above launching is the easy part. That boat weight ~400#. I used Cat Trax with pneumatic tires that only had a few pounds of pressure. I am a sizable guy (~250#) and fairly strong. It was exhausting getting the boat up the slope of the beach. Once the boat is rolling it helps get over bumps, but you loose so much energy through your feet sliding in the sand. It took three of us to be able to move the boat reasonably well.

Doing it solo, I felt like an ox pulling a plow.
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