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  #1  
Old 05-01-2008
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Big-Trailerables - Tell us your Nightmares!

As I was responding to Hartley's thread on big trailerables I could not help but reminise about my trials and tribulations that drove me to seasonal slip/moorage.
First of all, I had never pulled a big trailer before, especially a honkin big boat, add to that, backing up one those monstrocities before an audience was an unexpected circus. Imagine the state of mind a newbie is in upon arrival - Stressed to the Max - after having towed through a busy city, being cut off and cut in front of by every jerk motorist on the road who has no patience for a long load. Add to that the fear and apprehension of your first experience towing, set-up in the driveway, planning the easiest route, arriving in time for the tide and allowing time for rig set-up, then the stress of making sure you did not forget anything and can safely back down the ramp and not make a fool of yourself. You have to check and re-check everything and still you make a few mistakes. You finally arrive at the parking lot and set-up the boat in the lot away from the ramp so as not to inconvenience others. Mast is up, fenders down, lines ready, electronic equuipment set-up, straps are off and the heart is pounding now, so hard I can hear it. Sweat is pouring off me as I wait my turn and then it comes, I try to back that thing up, first it goes one way, then the other, then where I don't want it to go, others are waiting for me to get out of the way and start to get impatient. Next thing I know someone is backing down along side me, too impatient to wait for me to get out of the way and so now I am feeling crowded and more stressed. Finally someone says something they shouldn't and all hell breaks out, hollering, swearing and fisticuffs. Man, what a circus! So after much ado we finally get in, tie up the boat to the dock and park the truck/trailer. We are not happy, only somewhat excited, mostly angry and not on the best of terms because I lost my temper. The day wears on and we forget about the dock ordeal as the pleasures of sailing take over and we make our apologies and enjoy our lunch.
So later we look at the time and realize some got away on us and we'd better hustle back or miss the tide at the ramp. As we close in on our target we douse the sails then slowly motor down the channel towards the ramp and discuss the reverse procedure for haul out. Well, things start getting out of hand before even getting to the dock. Harried powerboaters take one look at us and assume the 30' stick in the air means we are bypassing the ramp and heading to the marina, so there I go blasting my air horn and hollering at them to quit cutting in front of me, meanwhile still being a rookie it is all I can do to maintain my position against the current and again tempers rise. The yelling starts all over again accompanied with threats that "I'll see you on the ramp", and yes that is me in the avatar, I can be intimidating. I finally jockey my way through all the boats as everyone is heading back at the same time, so the dock is even busier than at launch time. Another circus ensues and the onlookers are getting their days entertainment. We finally get her on the trailer and pull up into the parking lot where we can take down in a more civilized manner. Talk about loosing ones cool, you never know how hot tempered you can get until severely provoked. You also learn how inconsiderate and ignorant other boaters can be not to mention the drivers I will encounter towing back home as I mentally prepare for some of the worst behavior from other motorists. We discuss alternatives on the way home and my wife realizes that towing is not an option and promptly anounces that next year we are getting a slip and that is final, end of story. I shut up after agreeing, yes dear, yes dear.
So is it really worth it to trailer? All the aggravation, stress and effort for a few hours sail? I say nay, what ever it costs to avoid the circus I will pay it. Besides, it only takes one summer season of slip/moorage to appreciate the benefits and even if it is a bit pricey we do sail a lot more and relax a lot more. It finally becomes a part of sailboat ownership, you factor in the cost of moorage and eat it.
Trailerable???? What's that mean?
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Old 05-01-2008
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My only problem was when my first wife took out a stop sign with our 18' SolCat, tore up the hull and trailer.

One trick to backing up a trailer is to put your hand on the bottom of the sterring wheel and push it the direction you want the boat to go.
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Old 05-01-2008
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I remember the power boaters cutting me off. It really sucked when I didn't have an engine and had to paddle around. Glad I got the big boat.
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Old 05-01-2008
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I used to trailer a 7000 lb power boat. We very much loved the flexability to go far afield and enjoy other cruising areas.

I had a weight distribution hitch rig. Followed the instructions to the T and talked to the manufacturer to verify what I'd rigged. I was going down hill in a light rain and a vehicle stopped at the bottom of the hill to turn left. I had no trailer brakes! I blasted the horn & thank God the guy heard me and saw me in the opposing lane passing him. If he had made the turn I would have plowed into him. And very luckily there was no oncoming traffic!
Pulled that rig off right away. DO NOT use a weight distro hitch with surge brakes. Just do not do it.

I loved jockeying that rig, the trailer was 32' long overall. I was definately 'the show' at many a boat ramp. I was used to trailering because I also pulled a large equipment trailer.
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Old 05-01-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptKermie View Post
...
So is it really worth it to trailer? All the aggravation, stress and effort for a few hours sail? I say nay, what ever it costs to avoid the circus I will pay it. Besides, it only takes one summer season of slip/moorage to appreciate the benefits and even if it is a bit pricey we do sail a lot more and relax a lot more. It finally becomes a part of sailboat ownership, you factor in the cost of moorage and eat it.
Trailerable???? What's that mean?
Yes and Amen, Capt'n.

I'm not intimidating and we don't have a big boat, but after two years of tangling with stinkpotters, my wife has lead me to the same conclusion ...and I thought it was just me and our pretty little Hartley!

Being able to go and launch someplace else an hour or so drive away is really the only thing holding us back.
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Last edited by Classic30; 05-01-2008 at 11:29 PM.
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Old 05-02-2008
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Great post. The launch ramp is a high stress area.

Advice?

Realize the launch ramp guys are always looking out for themselves. Even if it comes to the dummy (me) who helps them tie up, they only care for themself. Period.

Use your boat more than yelling to get in line at the ramp. It will only piss you off if you yell. Point to where you should go rather than yell. Handle you're boat well. Be prepared. Be agressive without saying anything.

GET A SLIP. Done Deal.


Thanks for the balls to tell your story the way it was.



BT
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Old 05-02-2008
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Exc. thread I don't mind the slip fees...It's the winter storage and lift that bugs me. My house is 800 ft from the launch I intend to wheel my cradle.
AL

Last edited by LaPlaya; 05-02-2008 at 01:26 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-02-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaPlaya View Post
Exc. thread I don't mind the slip fees...It's the winter storage and lift that bugs me. My house is 800 ft from the launch I intend to wheel my cradle.
AL
800 ft? Lucky beggar.. some of us have to drive for an hour just to get that close!

I'll tell you a story that didn't happen to me, but to a friend of mine:

He'd had his eyes on a particular Hartley TS21 and had spent the day with the PO on a sea-trial on Westernport Bay prior to handing over his hard-earned cash.

The PO helped him hook up his Ford Falcon station-wagon (probably a bit light-on for the job) to the trailer and retrieve the boat, and with a kindly wave he pulled out of the Hastings boat ramp and was soon on the road taking his new-found prize back home to Melbourne.

Well.. the Dandenong-Hastings road is very pretty drive on a two-lane country road with a 100km/h speed limit, but is a bit hilly in patches. Apparently the trailer wasn't loaded correctly and he was going a wee bit too fast in his eagerness to get home. Coming down one particular hill, the trailer started to sway and, never having towed anything that size before, he gently applied the brakes to slow down.

At around 40km/h, the boat/trailer decided he was going too slow and tried to overtake. The entire rig, car and trailer, did a 180-degree spin in the middle of the road and ended up off one side with the boat upside down with the trailer on top, still attached to the car. He was lucky - it's usually a very busy road - but he had to wait for a crane to rescue him and the road was blocked for quite some time whilst they got him unstuck...

The only damage to the boat was a broken main hatch! Try doing that with a Plastic Fantastic and there'll be bits of it all over the highway. Hartley's rule!
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Old 06-28-2008
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My Dad and I towing a 30 foot Shetland on an old four wheel trailer.
Dad says "look round and check the wheels will you son?"
Im peering through the back window at a wheel as we go over the Orwell Bridge.
"its kinda wobbing" I get a chance to say before the wheel pops off, bounces neatly and bumps the rear window as it makes its escape.

"...err... Dad...!"

I had an eventfull childhood.

Another towing adventure on the A1 near Welwyn Garden City.
A twin fin Caprice 19 on an old farm trailer.
We'd left the outboard on the back and the damn thing set up a wicked snake till it was JUMPING from one wheel to the other. Dad managed to guide the little Rover 213 into the hard sholder.
When I got out i noticed score marks on the rear wheel hub caps had made contact with the trailer. Neat driving Dad. How the boat wasnt matchwood Ill never know. Dad had to leave me by the roadside to nip home for the biggest rock hammer to beat one of the wheels back into alignment.

Got lots more (but then havnt we all).
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Old 06-28-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
I remember the power boaters cutting me off. It really sucked when I didn't have an engine and had to paddle around. Glad I got the big boat.
The worst is the windy days with no motor. You have to sail back and forth, so it isn't obvious that you are trying to be in line for the ramp. Fortunately I have found ramps that are used largely by sail boats.
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