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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Largest keelboat lauched/hauled-out by trailer?

When I bought my 27' Aloha I was asked how I intended to get it in and out of the water. Considering I live 10km from my cruising area I planned to use the trailer to get the boat to the lake, but thought I could use a boom truck or crane to place her in the water. That was, until I realized there was nowhere to get the crane close enough to deep water. I'd have to use the trailer for launching too.

People told me I was nuts. That launching a fin keeled boat with 4.5' of draft from a trailer was going to be difficult at best and that hauling would be even worse, and the first couple times, it was.

The ramp I use was designed for power boats or sailboats with variable draft and the concrete pad does not extend far enough into the water to float my boat, so I have to use an wheeled extension trailer and drive off the end of the pad onto an uneven bottom, which causes the trailer to "rock" and quite possibly sit unevenly.

The first year I hauled the boat I actually had a diver in the water who, because of the mud being stirred up, had to feel to see if the keel was centered over the center beam of the trailer.

In the years since then I have modified the trailer and worked out ways to make things easier, to the point two of us can haul the boat very quickly. I only launch and haul once a year.

Obviously I proved the naysayers wrong.
Does anyone else use a trailer to handle their "non" trailer sailer?

 

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Captain Obvious
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I'm glad you feel you have done it successfully. I doubt anyone said it is impossible to trailer a 27 footer, but they probably said it was too much work.
As far as naysayers, count me as a firm one and I don't think I am wrong. Here is why; Having trailered sailboats and power boats for decades, I never miss it when I simply step onto my dock and start untying lines. I sail 3 or 4 times a week so trailer sailing would be an extra 5-8 hours of heavy work. I work enough. I'll take a dock anyday.


Fair winds to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm glad you feel you have done it successfully. I doubt anyone said it is impossible to trailer a 27 footer, but they probably said it was too much work.
As far as naysayers, count me as a firm one and I don't think I am wrong. Here is why; Having trailered sailboats and power boats for decades, I never miss it when I simply step onto my dock and start untying lines. I sail 3 or 4 times a week so trailer sailing would be an extra 5-8 hours of heavy work. I work enough. I'll take a dock anyday.

Fair winds to you.
Put a dock in my lake that will accomodate my draft along with parking and permission to use it and I'll be there May 15th. lol
And my point is, it's NOT much work anymore.
 

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Freedom isn't free
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Hobie 33, and Hake (Seaward) 32 RK are pretty big trailerables.
Sometimes the solution is easier than buying a new trailer (by the way, trailrite has the coolest solutions for large keelboats)...

But here is my 4'2" keel on my Capri 25, that I launched myself.

And...


System worked pretty flawlessly. The key to fin keel boats is getting the bow to rise up enough to mate up with the winch when you retrieve. Hence why I added a winch post backward to my trailer, with a roller on top. The shape of the bow was such that it'd bump into the roller, I'd winch on it, and the bow would rise out of the water, and straight into the winch post.... worked great. Without it, it was painful to retrieve the boat... Launching, was no problem.

Trailerables are limited by A) depth of keel as it pertains to length/depth of ramp Our ramp is for all intents continuous (former road across the lake), it drops off stupid quick which can be a hindrance believe it or not. B) type of mast step... Keel stepped is WAY harder to setup than deck stepped (unless you have a crane too). Some deck stepped masts are flanged (Catalina 27 for instance), and you must create a specialized hinged step to make it work.

A fellow club member worked with Triad years ago to perfect their deep fin keel launch trailer for his Catalina 27... What they came up with was genius, a long extension that pivots up and down and landing gear for a dolly with rubber tires so the extension only needs to be strong forward and back and not have to support the business end of the front of the trailer. Very slick design indeed... But strap launching is a poor mans version and it works great, as long as you don't need to "push" your trailer down the ramp.

To give you an idea how steep our launch ramp is, I launched my Capri 25 without straps, still attached to the hitch of my pickup (note hitch is only slightly forward of the bow eye), the first time I launched... Bumper was somewhat under water, on my 4x4 2500 Crew Cab Long Bed, but it worked!
This rig:


The next question is how do you raise the mast yourself... done that too.

Many people said I couldn't "self-launch" my Capri 25 too... yep, they were wrong. I did it a dozen or so times, and got good enough I could do the whole shebang in about 2 hours, myself.

I was VERY close to buying a Beneteau 285 on a trailer, and I was going to ALSO rig that to self-launch, and raise. It had that crappy flanged mast step, but it was still deck stepped.

Get this a fellow club member has a Hunter 27, inboard, keel stepped mast, fin.... He owns an electrical service company... brought his own bucket truck, raised the mast on the hard with the truck... then strap launched the boat. When there is a will there is a way!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have a friend who drives a boom truck. He helps me out twice a year during launch and haul. I often considered making a tabernackle and pole set-up, but for a bottle of rum he takes care of business.

I don't think people who have never trailer-launched a non-trailer-sailor have any idea how many things can trip you up or go wrong. Good to see someone else has it worked out :)

PS...doesn't the Seaward have a lifting keel?
 

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Superior Sailor
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27', yes it's a shoal Keel, but I launch it every weekend, takes 20 minutes, $80 a month to store mast up on marina land....

I don't hang around the dock much, too busy sailing, so i never saw the point in renting one...



 

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Water Lover
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Would it be useful to separate "trailerable", which is reasonably do-able on one's own, from "transportable", where you might need outside help and have to deal with mast cranes, wide-load permits and signs and flags, specialized trailers and professional towing rigs, etc.?
Otherwise, we might be talking about everything from trailering a Sunfish behind a bicycle to the upcoming move of this little baby in a couple of months in San Diego (all 126-plus tons of her!):

 

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One of None
Hunter 34
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We have about 16 boats 30 ft up to 32 that we ramp in and out every season. My cradle (designed by moi :D) uses 6 ford "twin I beams" It used to steer at both ends but we added another set of wheels about 2 yrs ago.

it's not road worthy but works well, BUT is still nerve racking! retrieving the boat! Launch is quite simple and equal to launching a power boat. We have a big old tow truck with big winch and cables. Also we use a long strap that I think came from a travel lift sling that lets the wheeled cradles, or trailers down into 6/7 ft of water. Our tides run about 6 ft here so it's always necessary to time it with incoming high or slack tide.



 
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Old enough to know better
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There seems to be a big difference in what people view as trailer sailing. To me if you keep the boat at the marina and keep the mast up it is more like dry storing, and if you seasonally trailer the boat to the lake and it says at a mooring, that is more like storing the boat at home off season. It is the bringing up the mast and rigging that to me seems the most work. Now that woudl be a pain and woudl prevent most from sailing often. Though some of the above setups seem pretty slick.

I see a mooring ball on your trailer so I assume you keep it in the lake all summer just hulling it in and out for the winter? To me the bigger thing is the rig, as the Aloha is not exactly designed to have the rig come up and down is it? How do you get the rig up?
 

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Freedom isn't free
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I can, and have trailer sailed my boats... even though I prefer to launch/retrieve once a year. I have a slip because it's faster... there is no mast up dry storage for me, Although, I'd have no problem with it.

Now my lifting weighted daggerboard in my S2 7.9 facilitates launching/retrieving quite easily, and the biggest issue with it is getting the mast up and the rudder on (that rudder is like 75-80 lbs)...

My Capri 25, I launched in 2 hours and retrieved in 2 hours myself. I didn't trailer it anywhere but my own lake, but it was on the agenda. I only had it 2 years.

In my mind trailerable is any boat rigged to launch and retrieve at a whim. Just because I don't doesn't make it any less trailerable.
 

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Daniel - Norsea 27
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I have a trailer transportable boat, a Nor'sea 27, but I have not attempted to launch/recover by a ramp at this time. I've only towed it a few times about 1hr each time and it does tow smoothly.

Another owner launched his on a ramp shown in this video by Greg (a SailNet member as well) to show that it can be done.


Considering how ramps are made, it might be good to scout out the ramp locations to make sure one is long and deep enough for your particular boat.
 

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Definitely have to agree that the launching part, is going to completely depend on the ramp and depth when doing so. Hauling is incidental, aside from any width restrictions/permits and if you are willing to do any of that stuff yourself. But once you get to the water, it's a different story. Any boat that's deep enough to require that much work, you're probably not day sailing. So you're looking at rigging up and all that, which is a few hours total between launch and sail, for boats that are capable raising without assistance.

For me, there's very few ramps around that would offer enough angle and water depth to launch my Ex26 from the trailer. I found it just easier since I had a slip, to pay for the in and out hauls at the beginning and end of the season, than it would've been to find a ramp, find an extension method, hope to hell I don't have issues getting the trailer back up onto the ramp after it loses concrete (though I've been told to use some floatation of sorts). I DO plan on making the permanent trailer I'm building come springtime for it, able to extend and launch in such a way, but again, the rarity of a decent enough ramp in my areas of travel make it unlikely that I'll be launching off wheels instead of having it hoisted in. (the mast is hinged, that's the easy part for me.)
 

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One of None
Hunter 34
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No matter what draft or keel ALL sailboat trailers need a "cattle chute" to guide & center the keel.
 

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I met a guy that hauled his 37' O'Day back and forth on a really nice trailer. 5th wheel type. Obviously he couldn't launch it, but it saved him a butt load of money. No winter storage fees. Did alot of mods at home. He was able to take it south/north at will. NY to FL.
 
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