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Matto 06-13-2009 09:31 PM

Sailboat Launching -A newbie's inquiry
Hi all,

This is my first post here and likely not my last if all goes well in the next week. I am on the verge of purchasing my first sailboat (C&C 24, 4 foot draft, fixed keel) and am in the midst of making arrangements to have it shipped to my town. My question stems from the fact that none of the local marinas have their own boat lift and are dependent on seasonally renting a crane to launch the boats that require it. I am forced with renting my own crane and apparently no crane operators here in town work on a pro bono basis. What gives? Just kidding but it is expensive (minimum 3+ hour rental). I have found one gentleman who says that he can launch it directly from the trailer but he is the only one after much searching and he lives pretty far away. Is this something that is really rare?

Siamese 06-13-2009 10:00 PM

Hmmm. How far out do you have to walk out into the water at your ramp before you find yourself in water that's deep enough to submerge the trailer enough to float yer boat? Maybe take a stick out there and see?

How long of a trailer tongue extension would it take to get the trailer that far out?

If you have a paved ramp, and you know how far out the paving goes, I'm wondering if a stout line attached to the normal tongue could be slowly fed out from the back of your parked tow vehicle, allowing the trailer to make it to where the deeper water is.

If I didn't know for sure where the water is deep enough I'd be worried about the trailer getting hung up somehow and being difficult to retrieve...such as if it's wheels go past the end of the ramp's paving...ugh.

This is assuming that the deeper water isn't all that far out.

Definitely to be done when it's calm calm calm.

Also assuming you have a plan for raising the mast.

paulk 06-13-2009 10:03 PM

What's really rare is for a yard that needs a travellift not to have one. You don't say where you are, but it seems that your local outfits don't really need one and they make do as you describe. You've obviously missed the local launch date, but you'll be able to improve your timing for haulout. (Make sure you're on the list at the yard, though, so they don't let the crane leave before you've been pulled!). To get spashed for less, what about having the boat delivered to a yard, even if it's farther away, that does have hoisting facilities of its own? You can then sail to your home port, which will send your yard the message that perhaps they'd get more business if they had their own crane.

Matto 06-13-2009 11:55 PM

I live in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. I plan on putting the boat on Lake Nipissing:

No marina on the lake has a proper lift. One has some kind of hydraulic trailer but they said the boat wouldn't have enough beam to fit.

A guy I know through work apparently had a 26 foot Kelt with a 3.5 foot draft put in directly off the trailer a few years ago and the water right now is substantially higher so I'm crossing my fingers that this guy who told me he could put it in directly will come through and not be too exorbitant in price.
The guy says he'll put the boat in right off the cradle mounted to his trailer.

I was just curious if anyone else has been through a similar experience. Thanks for your input!

sandsailor 06-14-2009 02:30 AM

self launching trailer
i've got a 27' on a trailer at the lake we launch it every time we sail no sweat but the trailer has a 12' extendable tongue that allows us the room we need to keep the beer from floating out of the truck when launching. you can see it here - P.W.T. Engineering¬*¬*¬* millwright & field fabrication:D

Mipcar 06-14-2009 04:24 AM

I don't want to be a wet blanket but maybe your setting yourself up for some potential pain by keeping a keelboat at a marina not geared up for easy launching and lifting, what happens if you need to do urgent maintenance on your boat at short notice?

Of the two Marina's/yacht clubs I associate with one has a travel lift and the other has yacht cradles, a long concrete ramp and a tractor.


timangiel 06-14-2009 09:40 AM

It may have been wise to consider a boat with a swing keel, but good luck.

Do you see many other sailboats on your lake?

farmboy 06-14-2009 09:44 AM

We have launched our Shark24 off the trailer a couple of times, and it hasn't always gone well. We dropped the wheels off the concrete ramp into the mud, and got really stuck. Luckily our sailing guru was able to get a line around the axle and tie a bowline. This took several dives. Siamese has really hit the nail on the head here. You're going to need a long tongue extension and a steep ramp with lots of concrete. Don't forget to check for leaks before you release the boat from the trailer. Best of luck.

sailingfool 06-14-2009 11:00 AM

54 Attachment(s)
Many boat owners around Boston winter their keel boats in their backyards, a boat hauler with a hydraulic trailer pulls the boats out in the fall, then launches them in the spring. Works like a charm, given the boat haulers know the ramps and their depth considerations. For example, my boat can only be launched at high tide.

So if the gentleman in question is a boat hauler with a hydraulic trailer who knows the area ramps, it should work just fine, and be considerably cheaper than renting a lift.

Siamese 06-14-2009 12:21 PM

Now, wait a minute. Is your boat on a trailer or is it on a cradle? Cuz you refer to "the trailer" in your original post and you also say that a guy will launch it from a trailer "off the cradle from his trailer". Which begs the question of how he's going to get your boat from it's trailer to a cradle.

If it's on a cradle, the poster who suggested a swing keel boat on a trailer may be a wise man. He made the point of what happens if you need to haul the boat for an emergency. That's a very real consideration. What happens if you decide to do extensive work on the boat one Spring, like Awlgripping the decks...and you miss the date for the crane?

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