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Old 08-24-2009
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Minimum Vehicle To Retrieve/Launch A 2600# Boat On A Trailer

I have read some of the threads on this subject at SAILNET but did not see my specific question addressed.

I own a 26' Trimaran weighing about 2600 pounds. The trailer weighs about 700 pounds. So, total weight is 3300 pounds.

I live a quarter mile from the boat launch so that is the distance of the tow. I do not tow this boat elsewhere but sail only in local waters.

So, the main stress on the vehicle is in retrieving the boat and trailer from the water. Launch, of course, is easy since the trailer is backed down the ramp and, after the boat is launched, there is only the lightened trailer to pull up the ramp. It is the retrieval that needs a more powerful vehicle. As for the retrieval, the ramp has a moderate grade so much so that the trailer, even with a tongue has to be disattached to get the boat fully in the water to launch.

So, basically, I want the minimum vehicle to do this short tow, launch and retrieve.

Presently, I own a 1995 Ford Explorer which I bought three years ago to tow the boat and trailer here from 1100 miles away. I use the Explorer now only locally for the boat launch and retrieval and would like to get rid of it. I also own a Honda Fit as a passenger vehicle. I am thinking of one vehicle that would do both jobs. I would also consider winching the boat on retrieval but there is no point near the ramp to deploy the winch it would have to be fixed on a vehicle.

One vehicle I am considering is a Hyundai Santa Fe, manual with a 2.7 liter engine.
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Old 08-24-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petertribo View Post
I have read some of the threads on this subject at SAILNET but did not see my specific question addressed.

I own a 26' Trimaran weighing about 2600 pounds. The trailer weighs about 700 pounds. So, total weight is 3300 pounds.

I live a quarter mile from the boat launch so that is the distance of the tow. I do not tow this boat elsewhere but sail only in local waters.

So, the main stress on the vehicle is in retrieving the boat and trailer from the water. Launch, of course, is easy since the trailer is backed down the ramp and, after the boat is launched, there is only the lightened trailer to pull up the ramp. It is the retrieval that needs a more powerful vehicle. As for the retrieval, the ramp has a moderate grade so much so that the trailer, even with a tongue has to be disattached to get the boat fully in the water to launch.

So, basically, I want the minimum vehicle to do this short tow, launch and retrieve.

Presently, I own a 1995 Ford Explorer which I bought three years ago to tow the boat and trailer here from 1100 miles away. I use the Explorer now only locally for the boat launch and retrieval and would like to get rid of it. I also own a Honda Fit as a passenger vehicle. I am thinking of one vehicle that would do both jobs. I would also consider winching the boat on retrieval but there is no point near the ramp to deploy the winch it would have to be fixed on a vehicle.

One vehicle I am considering is a Hyundai Santa Fe, manual with a 2.7 liter engine.
No, you do not want the 'minimum' vehicle to do this, or one day soon you will be getting a professional to retrieve your 'minimum' vehicle from the water. The Explorer is pretty minimum for this. I don't know why you want to get rid of it, unless you just want to go with one vehicle.

Unless you have some experience pulling loads on slopes, you won't enjoy starting a load on an upslope with a manual transmission. As for the size of the engine, it doesn't really matter. Gear ratios are what matter.

I am concerned that you have to unhook the trailer to launch the boat. That has Americas Funniest Home Videos written all over it. Since you have such a short trip to the ramp, I would see about getting a local welding shop to fabricate a longer tongue for the trailer. Long trailers are easier to back, harder to turn around, and harder to store. Best of all, you won't be unhooking the trailer on a slope at the waters edge.

Good luck. I'm sure you will get a lot more advice here, and most of it will be from experience.
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Old 08-24-2009
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My Catalina 22 weighs about the same as your boat, and I tow it just fine with my 1987 Volvo 740 Turbo wagon, but I did a lot of upgrades to the brakes and drivetrain to make it handle the load safely, and I drive it very carefully. I can list the mods I did if you're interested. It still drives like a car and is much more comfortable and fuel efficient than a truck or SUV.

Next week I plan to take it to big bear lake, which involves towing it up a narrow windy mountain road to the 7,000 foot elevation lake.

The most important thing isn't the vehicle itself, but how well maintained it is (especially the brakes) and how you drive it.
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Old 08-24-2009
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I agree with Sarguy; you don't want the minimum tool for the job.
The minimum is a class 2 tow hitch (2000-3500 lbs), go for a class 3, 3500 - 5000lbs. Most truck frame based SUV's have a class 3 tow capability including some Explorers, 4 wheel drive would be nice too when the ramp is wet. Considering your short distance to tow you could get away with minimal but consider that if you went with class 3 you are opening up a whole new realm of choices for sailing since you can safely tow much further to unexplored lakes. You can also load a whole lot more gear, bigger engine, gas and other provisions in the trailer if you have a better tow vehicle. A long wheel base helps too as it prevents the tail from wagging the dog. A 3.73 real axle ratio is also desireable as is an oil cooler or larger oil pan and transmission cooler, but these options generally come factory standard in the better SUV's out there. You can also get swing out tongue extenders for your trailer when launch time comes to keep from looking like the funniest video.
If the plan is to upgrade your vehicle, go for something that opens up more options, you never know if you might want to tow a 4 - 5000# house trailer one day.
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Old 08-24-2009
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I also agree with others that stated min is not the way to go.
Personally I would not do any launching retreiving with out 4WD.
Ramps are slippery slimely messes and very often your rear wheels are in the water with little or no traction. And don't fool yourself into thinking that retreiving is the only concern. Launching can be just as if no more of a concern. Lets face it, your not always lined up and in a good position the first time around. (yes I have experience at launching boats, that is how I know you may have to be ready to pull her out on the launch) Brakes have to be in good condition as well (as was previously stated).

How do you detach the trailer from the vehicle to launch it?
I would be concerned about detaching a 3300# load like this.
Do you have an extension on the trailer?
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Old 08-24-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailortjk1 View Post
I also agree with others that stated min is not the way to go.
Personally I would not do any launching retreiving with out 4WD.
With my RWD Volvo, I installed a locking rear axle (Eaton G80) which cost $100 used, and are made to fit most any vehicle with a solid rear axle. The tires have never slipped at all pulling up a ramp, even with the back tires down in the water on algae or sand.

4WD costs a lot more, hurts fuel economy, and adds weight to the vehicle over a locking axle. Of course, locking axles coupled with 4WD is the best of both worlds, but for me the locking axle alone permanently eliminates any and all traction issues at the boat ramp.
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Old 08-24-2009
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I think this would be your minimum
http://www.powerwheel-usa.com/images...h/image015.jpg
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Old 08-24-2009
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Thanks for the info.
I guess my statements come from launching heavier loads, I think my buddies boat that I launched and retrieved on a regular basis was more in the 7500# area.
My personal experince.
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Old 08-24-2009
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A lot of the "WHAT RIG" will work depends upon the boat launch too! If it is reasonably flat, you do not need as big an engine, or low gears in the trans, axel or a 4lo to get out with the boat! My step dad had an old IHC with a 3 in the tree, 230I 6 that barely had 120HP if that, and it pulled a 21' trailer sailer just fine, granted at times a bit slow........

I would think for your purpose a Kia would work. I personally would prefer something a bit larger, ie wt of the TV, wheel base etc, but the Kia should work.

Make sure the hitch reciever is a 2" sq tube, and not smaller. The smaller variety would work, but not as easy to find ball mounts etc later on.

If you do go with a smaller motor/chassis rig, make sure you do have a 4lo or equal option, as on steeper ramps you will want the lower gears to make sure you can pull out.

Smaller motors ie in displacement and HP can get the job done, if they are geared correctly. My dumptruck with half the HP and torque as my Dmax pickup, will go up a steeper grade at 50% more wt than the pickup, before they stall out, all due to the 45-1 overall low vs 17-1 in my pickup! Gears help. Altho in 4lo, the pickup might give the dumptruck a run for its money.....

Good luck,

Marty
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