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InlandGirl 07-10-2007 09:04 PM

Trailer-sailing by myself - is this realistic?
I'm in the midwest, and have access to a large lake (10,000 acres) about 10 miles from home. I'm a pretty new sailor -- I've had some lessons in Boston, at Community Boating, and a couple of vacations' worth of dinghy sailing on inland lakes. I'm thinking about buying a (very) small boat, just for day sailing. It would be easy enough to get a local mooring, but I would also want to trailer up to northern Michigan every summer, again, mostly for inland sailing, but possibly also on Grand Traverse Bay.

My question is about single-handed trailering: apologies if this is a really dumb question, but until now I have always had people around to help get the boat of the day rigged and launched, and trailers have just not come into it. Is it realistic to think I can trailer, rig, and launch, say, a 15-18 footer from a ramp on my own? I am a reasonably fit woman in my mid 30s, but I would not call myself an athlete. I might be able to call on friends to help occasionally, but there is no permanently dedicated tote-and-carry crew/s.o. that I can depend on.

Any advice welcome!

sailingdog 07-10-2007 09:28 PM


You shouldn't have a problem with that... I've done much the same with a 28' Trimaran. A 15-18' trailer sailor should be a breeze for you... given your description of yourself.

Tartan34C 07-10-2007 10:17 PM

You won’t have any problems especially if you get a boat that has a tabernacle. That makes it very easy to step the mast yourself.
All the best,
Robert Gainer

poltergeist 07-11-2007 07:59 AM

I agree with the others that you should be able to handle this by yourself, and think it's great that you want to take it on.

For point of comparison, I'm a 60-year-old man and not what you would call "strapping." I launch, sail and retrieve my 19-foot 850 pound Flying Scot by myself. Getting the boat back on the trailer if there's a cross wind can be something of a wrestling match, but you'll be surprised at how often someone at the ramp will be willing to help out if asked ... or even volunteer. A simple "Hey, would you mind pulling the stern line so I can get lined up on the trailer?" and the offer of a beer afterward has led me to meet some nice people.

Also agree that rigging the boat solo may be a bigger issue than launching. Just be sure the type of boat you're looking at has a deck hinge for stepping the mast or some other system for doing that by yourself. Most small boats will ... but be sure.

Have fun!


pluscard 07-11-2007 08:15 AM

You can do it!
You can definitely do it.

However you should put some thought into getting the right boat, the right trailer, and developing a routine at the dock. I learned to launch a J/24 mostly by myself, but ultimately it was too much work. You don't want a fixed keel or keel stepped mast. I have a 14' hobie cat which is an order of magnitude easier to rig and launch. The J/24 took me about 4 hours to rig and launch, the Hobie takes about 15 minutes.

Actually, I'd suggest a cat as one possibility for you. You can go fast, and they don't weigh much - so you can pull it completely up on the beach yourself if needed. You're more likely to get wet however. I paid $1000 for a used Hobie with trailer and sails.

sailingdog 07-11-2007 08:34 AM

I'd recommend something more like a Compac Legacy, which is 16'6" LOA, and has a small cabin, so you can overnight in it in a pinch. It's about 1000 lbs and has a draft of about 16" with the board up, 3' 6" with the board down. Here is a link to the brochure about the boat. LINK and one to the website. LINK

The boat is designed to be quickly and easily rigged. And the boat has most of the features you'd find on a larger sailboat, so that when you move up in size, you're not going from a cat-rigged or lateen-rigged boat to a sloop, as the Legacy is sloop rigged.

USCGRET1990 07-11-2007 08:58 AM

It sounds like too much for you! Tell me what boat ramp, and I'll meet you there ;-)

sailingdog 07-11-2007 09:06 AM


Originally Posted by USCGRET1990
It sounds like too much for you! Tell me what boat ramp, and I'll meet you there ;-)

At his age, he probably needs your help more than you need his... :D

USCGRET1990 07-11-2007 09:09 AM

Yes but, serious supervision will be required!

sailingdog 07-11-2007 09:11 AM


Originally Posted by USCGRET1990
Yes but, serious supervision will be required!

LOL... you just want to be out sailing with a PYT... ;)

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