Type/Size of Automobile needed to tow various boats - SailNet Community

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Old 09-17-2006
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Type/Size of Automobile needed to tow various boats

Hi all:

Title says it all. What kind of car or truck is needed to tow various size boats. I know I could look up the weight of the trailer and towing capacity of vehicles, but I'm curious if the reccomendations hold in the real world.

Feel free to comment on all trailerable boats, but I'm most interested in smaller (<20') sailboats.

Sunfish? Cat 14.2? Hobie? Laser? Flying Scot? Others?

I'd like to know the minimum requirement. I'd imagine a sunfish could be strapped to the roof of a lot of small 4-cyl. sedans. But what about a Cat 14.2, Hobie; could 4cyl sedan safely move these about.

You get the gist by now.

Thanks in advance
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Old 09-17-2006
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I tow my 13' sailing dinghy with an Audi A4 1.8L and a custom hitch. It probably weighs 300lbs including trailer and gear. The car has no problem but I think anything over 500lbs would scare me.

Check with the car manufactuer for towing capacity. I think most small cars will be rated up to 1000lbs with a proper hitch.
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Old 09-17-2006
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Like the Sunfish, the Laser can be put on top of almost any car.
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Old 09-21-2006
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I use a V8-equipped Ford Explorer to tow a 3600 lb. boat on a 1200 lb. trailer.
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Old 09-22-2006
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On my Grampian
I use a Ford P/U V8 Diesel w/Dual tires (9K GVW)
to pull Her at 6200 lb on a 1500 lb trailer (10K GVW)

My AMI 7.0 (its on the for sale list)
I have pull with a Ford Ranger P/U that I
installed a class IV hitch on. (7k GVW)
Just say NO to bumper hitches.
Boat and trailer weigh approx 32-3400 lbs.

This being said - the primary concern should be the
ability to STOP the combination. (tow vech + loaded tlr).

I support what IslandExp said - check w/your mfgr.
as to towing capacity of your car/truck/suv
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Old 09-22-2006
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I tow my 10,000 lb boat/trailer with a Chevy Express 1 ton van.
The range of trailerables is so vast that there is no good answer.
I will say that if there is a choice, go with more axles on the trailer rather than less.
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Old 09-22-2006
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Most subcompacts are rated to carry something like 750-1000 pounds "tongue weight" on a trailer hitch but you've really got to decide what is the biggest boat you might want, and then size the trailer and car to it. Or, if you aren't going to sell your car, find out the specs on IT and then pick your boat.

Probably 14-16' on a trailer is going to be the limit for subcompacts. But there are also different hitches (with different limits) and what is suitable for short trips in a flat town, is not going to be good enough for cross-country hauling up the Rockies in the heat.

Besides brakes and axles...trailer tires are important. The smaller ones are simply NOT able to run at highway speeds for sustained times, the larger ones will also mean a much larger and more expensive trailer. You've got to look at the whole thing.

Saw a big (Ford F350?) pickup towing a big (40'?) go-fast boat on the interstate last year. Zoomed up the express ramp, zoomed out of sight doing maybe 85....Saw it again, spread across all four lanes, the ditch and the cloverleaf where the express lanes came back down a mile or two later. Yeah, he could TOW the boat...he just couldn't turn it or stop it. Not a pretty sight.
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Old 09-22-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
Most subcompacts are rated to carry something like 750-1000 pounds "tongue weight" on a trailer hitch but you've really got to decide what is the biggest boat you might want, and then size the trailer and car to it. Or, if you aren't going to sell your car, find out the specs on IT and then pick your boat.

Probably 14-16' on a trailer is going to be the limit for subcompacts. But there are also different hitches (with different limits) and what is suitable for short trips in a flat town, is not going to be good enough for cross-country hauling up the Rockies in the heat.

Besides brakes and axles...trailer tires are important. The smaller ones are simply NOT able to run at highway speeds for sustained times, the larger ones will also mean a much larger and more expensive trailer. You've got to look at the whole thing.

Saw a big (Ford F350?) pickup towing a big (40'?) go-fast boat on the interstate last year. Zoomed up the express ramp, zoomed out of sight doing maybe 85....Saw it again, spread across all four lanes, the ditch and the cloverleaf where the express lanes came back down a mile or two later. Yeah, he could TOW the boat...he just couldn't turn it or stop it. Not a pretty sight.
I believe you mean trailer weight, not tongue weight, which is typically 8-15% of the weight of the entire trailer and load. I don't know of any subcompacts that can tow 7500+ lbs. BTW, I'd highly recommend getting a trailer hitch, as opposed to using a bumper hitch, as the separate hitch is generally far stronger.
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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
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Old 09-22-2006
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"I believe you mean trailer weight, not tongue weight,"
But if you were my friend, you would have corrected that BEFORE I posted it.
Yeah, trailer weight. Heck, a lot of subcompacts only payload (for the entire car, all occupants and luggage) 750#. And a lot of the REAL MACHO SUVS on the market today...just can't handle a whole lot over 1000# either. (They wanted an IMAGE, they got an IMAGE. Fair's fair.)
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Old 09-24-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
"I believe you mean trailer weight, not tongue weight,"
But if you were my friend, you would have corrected that BEFORE I posted it.
Yeah, trailer weight. Heck, a lot of subcompacts only payload (for the entire car, all occupants and luggage) 750#. And a lot of the REAL MACHO SUVS on the market today...just can't handle a whole lot over 1000# either. (They wanted an IMAGE, they got an IMAGE. Fair's fair.)
Hellosailor-

Sorry, my psychic abilities are range limited. Some of the new "luxury" SUVs are definitely not SUVs, except in appearance. My Explorer can tow over 7,000 lbs.
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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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