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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Flat-bed trailer & keel boat: cradle, supports or bunks?
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Thread: Flat-bed trailer & keel boat: cradle, supports or bunks? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
03-05-2011 08:04 PM
knotted 100+ ft seems like a long way to go get wet! And for that kind of distance, and a draft deep enough to cause problems for the truck, chains make sense. So long as there is equal tension on the chains, I'd think it shouldn't be too, too bad - just go slowly enough to keep control and not get the trailer slanted or sideways.

For the rest of us who, hopefully, hit deep enough water before the truck submerges, extension bars should do.

I like the idea of a pull out bar from alongside or underneath the main bar - makes it difficult to lose, and is somewhere to stow it. Chain just gathers up into a locker or bag, of course.
03-05-2011 05:28 PM
thehardaground I've had built in extensions on my trailers as well with built in dollys, but it seemed that there was some previous confusion as to what was being done with chains a couple posts ago. I've seen a couple of pics of people ramp launching deep draft boats that needed 100'+ of heavy line to get the boat/trailer into deep enough water to launch then pull the empty trailer out.
03-04-2011 09:21 PM
jaalex
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehardaground View Post
You don't muscle the trailer up the ramp with the chains. You attach chains to trailer and truck and pull out that way. At least that's what I would do.
One of the guys in our club had the extension built right into his trailer. Would sit right next to the main hitch and then he needed it he would pull it out. His trailer also had a built in dolly. Based on my experience I wouldn't use chain between the truck and trailer. In our setup the trailer had to be at a specific depth. If it wasn't the boat wouldn't go on right.

Jason
03-04-2011 09:19 PM
jaalex
Quote:
Originally Posted by knotted View Post
Thanks jaalex, a super system! With a 40 ft extension, you'd need that dolly for sure. Sounds very straightforward, the way you describe it. It would open up a lot of water access for those of us with fixed keels, who, in time, might want to sail other than home waters. (and no, I'm not talking of straying...) Your wing keel might have complicated a little the 'landing' on the trailer, but something you just work with after the first time, I expect.
Actually the wing keel makes things easier. It's got a bigger surface on the bottom to sit down on the trailer. It is also more forgiving in it's placement when the boat lands on the trailer as your pulling out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by knotted View Post
So your basic technique was to pilot onto the trailer and then in coordination with the truck, part way up the ramp until you ran out of water, while the truck pulled ahead with the trailer, which eventually took up the boat? As long as the coordination is good; it would seem to have worked fine for you. Could you have winched the boat onto the trailer, even with a line from the deck round a sheave on the trailer and back to the deck? or just too much trouble and effort to do that compared with a little 'iron' help? I can see that piloting it on you'd need guidance and possibly other help. Do you think that a boat could be winched onto its trailer without using the engine as you did? Winch on until secure, then drive up the ramp. It would be great to be able to single hand.... but maybe I'm dreaming/wishing! Getting help just twice a year wouldn't be too bad in a club setting, when everyone is helping each other. And as with most other things, the buddy system is valuable and safer.
Yes you have it correct. The power from the boat is to keep the keel push up against the stop. The combination of the guides on the side and the keel stop keeps the boat in the correct position. As the back set of stands comes up out of the water it catches the boat and that's what keeps the boat from sliding backward into the water. We occasionally had an issue of the trailer getting back heavy and make the joint between the dolly and the trailer start to rise. In that case someone would just sit on the extension bar to add more hitch weight until the boat was further out.

I suppose you could winch the boat up to keep it in place but I guess in my opinion I would rather use the engine than use a which. I also don't think that I would ever try this alone. I think if you were alone and doing the winch you would want to get into the water and check the location of the boat. The first year I pulled out like that we had to try three time and I was in the water adjusting the pads and stop position.

Two issues that we did experience was that sometimes the boat would jump the stop and be to far forward. This would cause the trailer pads to miss where they should be. The other issue was that some years when the boat was very slimy the boat would slip backwards a bit on the trailer. In that case you would have to back up the trailer and set the position again and try coming up again.

As for help I was in a club and help was easy to find. We would often all plan to do it the same day and would pull 4 or 5 of boats out in this fashion in about 2 hours. As I said we did this with boats up to 32 foot in size and it worked well.
03-04-2011 08:40 PM
knotted Sorry for ambiguity in use of 'muscle'! Of course, two or three manpower to get onto trailer, and two hundred or three hundred horse power to pull trailer up the ramp, whether hitched to bumper with or without extension, or attached at the end of chains. Wouldn't try moving loaded trailer without at least a battery powered dolly to help, although it likely could be done (but not by me ).
03-04-2011 07:53 PM
thehardaground You don't muscle the trailer up the ramp with the chains. You attach chains to trailer and truck and pull out that way. At least that's what I would do.
03-04-2011 06:56 PM
knotted Thanks, Jim, I figured that guide posts (very tall guide posts ) would be a minimum, with perhaps a 'chute' or some kind of entry guide to direct the leading edge of the keel into the keel slot.

Wind and waves can cause difficulty with most any activity in sailing, but I'd think it only needs just a very little of either to cause much cussing and swearing when trying to get the boat onto its trailer. Another penalty for leaving it late in the year to haul out: the onset of gusty weather!

The front wheel(s) on your trailer must have been bolted on, I doubt that a hitch attachment would stand up to the strain. Chains seem a good way to go for launching, at least they can be packed away easily afterwards! Although trying to muscle the boat onto the trailer and the trailer up the ramp using chains, with wind and or wave 'assistance', might try most people, I'd think. But it worked at your club for large, deep boats, so it's proven and effective; and for twice a year per boat, bearable.
03-04-2011 05:54 PM
JimsCAL As I noted, the trailer we used had removable wheels that attached to the front. You need that or a dolly like jaalex used to suppor the front end of the trailer. jaalex gave a good description of getting the boat on the trailer when hauling. Since the trailer is under water you can't see where you are so battens and blocks to guide the boat into position are essential. And don't try it on a windy day with and kind of wave action.
03-04-2011 02:00 PM
knotted Thanks jaalex, a super system! With a 40 ft extension, you'd need that dolly for sure. Sounds very straightforward, the way you describe it. It would open up a lot of water access for those of us with fixed keels, who, in time, might want to sail other than home waters. (and no, I'm not talking of straying...) Your wing keel might have complicated a little the 'landing' on the trailer, but something you just work with after the first time, I expect.

So your basic technique was to pilot onto the trailer and then in coordination with the truck, part way up the ramp until you ran out of water, while the truck pulled ahead with the trailer, which eventually took up the boat? As long as the coordination is good; it would seem to have worked fine for you. Could you have winched the boat onto the trailer, even with a line from the deck round a sheave on the trailer and back to the deck? or just too much trouble and effort to do that compared with a little 'iron' help? I can see that piloting it on you'd need guidance and possibly other help. Do you think that a boat could be winched onto its trailer without using the engine as you did? Winch on until secure, then drive up the ramp. It would be great to be able to single hand.... but maybe I'm dreaming/wishing! Getting help just twice a year wouldn't be too bad in a club setting, when everyone is helping each other. And as with most other things, the buddy system is valuable and safer.

I, too, will be on a flood control lake, with water levels that drop in the fall; they must be monitored or it's crane time. Apparently, a 'cherry picker' will lift my boat (only 3,100 lbs dry) according to the builder, who used one in the past. At least a mobile crane rig mightn't be needed, at great expense.
03-04-2011 01:06 PM
jaalex
Quote:
Originally Posted by knotted;705036
Did you look at the photo of [I
jaalex's[/I] trailer? Maybe your set-up was similar with a dolly at the hitch and chains instead of the extension bar?

@ jaalex That's a decent trailer, with stands permanently attached. Is the padded part that appears to be running front to back, a guide for the keel? It looks like it's open at the hitch end, but that might be perspective or viewpoint.

How long was the extension? Obviously, long enough to get to deep water, which in turn depends on the slope of the ramp, water levels, etc, etc, but wondering about yours.
You would have to have a dolly with the setup that we used. Otherwise there would be nothing to support the front of the trailer.

It was a great trailer. I say was becasue I sold that boat and have moved on to a Catalina 320. The boat went to Canada and I had a bidding war on my hands for the trailer. We used this trailer on an inland lake in Iowa. There was a guy that did boat works in the area that actually figured it out. He would take the trailer and then weld the stand in the correct place for the boat using his crane to lift and set it the first time. When I left he had done about a dozen of them for boats as big as 32 foot. Acutually a Catalina 320 went on and off in the same process as you see in my pictures every year.


The extention and dolly was about 40 foot long. The lake we sailed on was a flood control lake so the water level fluctated a lot. The ramp that we used was very long but I don't remember at what angle. At the end of that extention at 40 foot the trailer was deep enought that you could float onto it without hitting any of the stands. The padded area you see is as you guessed a keel guide. Because the trailer was completely under water you needed to have the boat line up without being in the water. What you don't see clearly in those pictures is there is a block that stops the keel at the right place moving forward and backard on the trailer.

Once your over the trailer as evidenced by the thud the truck got as the whole thing bumped forward. The boat pilot would just put on power and the driver would start to pull out. We had two spotters that would watch the boat to make sure it was in the right place and that the pads had landed correctly. Some years we would have to back down a bit to get the boat in the right position.

But overall it was a very nice system. It would take us about 15 minutes to get the boat out of the water. Now we only did it one a year. But I don't see why you couldn't do it more.
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