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Moosemiester 07-17-2007 08:57 PM

Question for you trailer-sailors out there
I have a "big boat" (36 ft) on Lake Erie, but live near smaller lakes and am thinking of a trailerable sailboat for those spur of the moment trips as the big boat is 90 miles away. There are plenty of smaller lakes with public ramps literally minutes away from my house.

I'm thinking of a Cal 22 or similar. My question for those of you that own one of these is whether or not one person can put the mast up, and how long it generally takes from "on the trailer" to "in the water". I'd like something big enough to have room for a porti-potty and an ice chest, but small enough that I could take a non boater to the lake and set it all up myself.


Freesail99 07-17-2007 09:04 PM

Just this past Friday I helped someone put up there mast on a cal 22. If he were alone, he may be still trying to get it up. I think you need a second person, just to keep you from banging and maybe damaging things on the boat. It wasn't very heavy but it was awkward. The wakes from boats passing by also didn't help matters.

sailaway21 07-17-2007 09:06 PM

I've got a 21' Cal. Stepping the mast is best done with two, but do-able solo. Check out Goose's recent thread on the subject of stepping the mast alone.
First time rigging time-1 hour. After that, it's no problem getting it down to 30-45 minutes. All you need the second hand for is to pull the line attached to the forestay, no sailing skills required. My wife does that while I lift the mast and guide everything. It's not a strength issue but one of leverage.
Cals are well built boats with a turn of speed, great in light air.

p.s. put the mast up while the boat's on the trailer!

sailingdog 07-17-2007 09:06 PM


It depends on the boat and how it is rigged. Most trailerable boats can be rigged with a gin pole or A-frame mast raising system easily enough, and then it is pretty simple for a single person to raise or lower the mast. The A-frame systems are easier than the gin poles...and a bit safer IMHO.

Once you get a system of rigging and launching the boat, you can probably go from on the trailer to ready to sail in about 30-40 minutes.

WuWei 07-17-2007 09:17 PM


Having previously owned a Holder Vagabond 17'er, it took the two of us and a lot of cursing to raise the mast. We ended up paying for dry storage at our marina so we would no longer have to incur this nightmare. So, realistically, I am horrified to think of one person masting a 20'er. It can be done, I guess, but screw that noise! Either take a couple friends with you each time you sail, or leave her in dry storage with mast up close to where you launch.

US 30' Wu-Wei
DIY Sailor, US Yachts owners group

Moosemiester 07-17-2007 09:37 PM

Wow I'm glad I asked. A very long time ago I had a 14' Chrylser Lonestar that I could rig myself in 15 minutes with practice.

As I already own a 45' slip and a 36' boat 90 miles away having another boat stored is not an option!! Need something I can trailer to the ramp five minutes away, but not so small/tippy that the wife will never do it :-)

Reccomendations on a smaller trailer sailor, day sailing only, smaller in size but big enough to hold a porti-potti in the cabin and a mast short enough I can set her up myself?

This is a size of boat I'm just not familiar with.


sailaway21 07-17-2007 09:55 PM

Some boats, such as the Compac, have a tabernacle, that makes raising the mast easier for one person. Trust me, once you've done it a few times you'll have it down to a science. Practise in the driveway with a buddy so that you know exactly how things should go. Then you'll have enough experience to tell a rookie, 'here, pull on this'. You rig everything but the forestay ahead of time, so you step the mast, and you lift it from aft while your compatriot pulls on a mooring line bent onto the forestay. Once the strain is off you and they're pulling all you're doing is steadying the mast. Get it vertical and attach the forestay. This mast is A LOT lighter than what you are used to on your "big" boat. Probably best to visit the owner of the Cal and raise and lower it together. As I mentioned, do this on the trailer. Doing it on the water can be a receipe for disaster, but doable if absolutely necessary.

sailingdog 07-17-2007 09:58 PM


I can raise or lower the mast on my boat, which is a 35' 6" mast, in about 10 minutes by myself. :D I've helped setup A-frame based rigs on several dozen boats, and once they're setup, it is pretty easy to raise the mast single-handed.

BarryL 07-17-2007 10:16 PM


My first boat was a Catalina 22. We trailer sailed it for the first year, but not the second year. Even after practice, it took two people an hour to go from arriving at the marina, until we were on the boat and motoring away from the dock. It took two people to raise (and lower) the mast.

If you want a trailerable boat I would look for something smaller like a Catalina 18, or maybe an O'day Daysailer.

Good luck,

dodgeboatguy 07-17-2007 11:28 PM

I have a 22' macgregor and trailer it to the lake every weekend and have no problem stepping the mast solo I do it on the trailer. I slide the mast to the step plate bolt it in with it still resting on the support used for towing make shure all stays shrouds and halyards are where they will fall into the right place the hook one end of my boom vang to the ring on the mast for cliping unused halyards and the other end to the bow cleat so once I stand it up I can hold it in place while I hook up the forstay.

total time pullingup to the boat dock to in the water a best of about 15 min and a worst of about an hour and a half last week 95 degrees and no wind had to grab a cupple of beer so setting the boat up for a day of motoring around and bsing would sound like a better idea.

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