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Old 20-04-2019, 17:47   #1
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Trailer launching sailboat

I am not sure this is the right forum, but I didn't see a section for trailering sailboats so I figured that "auxiliary equipment" would be close. If not, move to where this applies.



I need a dolly for another boat to get the trailer pushed way away from the truck when launching. I think I need about 20 feet for it. I have a smaller sailboat (25-28ft) in my sights later on. How much extra reach do I need for trailer launching a boat of that size?



The dolly will either be sectional or telescoping so I can break it down for storage. I suppose if I build it as sectional I could add sections to it if I need to, I'm just thinking from the start what I might be up against with other applications for what I'm after.



Also, if you have any wheel/axle suggestions I'd be all ears. I don't want a wide trailer axle - it needs to come apart to throw in the bed of my truck. Stub axles might work, if I need to go with a higher rated road tire, or if I go with wheel barrow style wheels or something that would be easier (not sure they would hold up to the side loading for how I will be using the dolly now - steep off road lake launching of a utility boat).
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Old 20-04-2019, 19:10   #2
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatLakeSailor View Post


I need a dolly for another boat to get the trailer pushed way away from the truck when launching. I think I need about 20 feet for it. I have a smaller sailboat (25-28ft) in my sights later on. How much extra reach do I need for trailer launching a boat of that size?

If I understand the question correctly...


Depends on the boat. My one ton, 20 foot Austral was designed to be beach launched and so you did not even need to let the trailer tyres get wet, so would not need the dolly. Dad’s 3/4 ton 24 foot Robb Legg needs the trailer to be completely submerged to retrieve and launch, a dolly would be a big help.

I suggest you find the owner groups/forums for the boat(s) you are considering and find out more about how the boat is taken on and off the trailer. You may not need a dolly.
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Old 21-04-2019, 09:55   #3
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

GILow -



You are on the same page, thanks for the thoughts.


My purpose now is to be able to drop a utility boat down an embankment to remote lakes without needing a winch and disconnecting from the trailer (well, in a way - only to put the dolly between), as well as to push the trailer out away from the truck so I can launch on very shallow angle beaches/launch ramps. I had all 4 tires of the truck in the water in one of the lakes and still had to have someone wade out behind the boat to pull it off the trailer (roller trailer at that - not a bunk).


As far as the sailboats - submerging the trailer was right in line with what I was going after. I've seen methods where people will put a dolly under the hitch, chock the trailer wheels, disconnect the tow vehicle, put a tow rope/strap on the hitch, pull tension in the tow rope/strap, unchock the trailer, and roll the whole bit down the ramp to get the boat/trailer in far enough to clear the keel.


I am not sure I like the rope/strap method - it surely won't work for a shallow launch where you need the push from the tow vehicle. You can't push a rope/strap like you can a rigid dolly.



I got to thinking about the wheel idea also. Northern Tool has some solid lawn tractor/trailer wheel/tire combos that are ready with bearings to mount on an axle. A lawn trailer/ATV trailer application would be far more abusive in terms of side-loading and terrain than what I'd put them through in my application so I think I'm good with those. Solid, non-pneumatic means I'll never have to worry about the tires deflating or coming off the rims, either. Huge plus... Tubless tires and I don't tend to get along... and the last thing I need is to throw a tire with the boat stuck in the water 2 hours from help.
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Old 21-04-2019, 11:33   #4
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

I am not sure if this video link will work, but this is what I envision for a launch. Although, this is a pretty tall keel boat too. It is the size range I would want.


I would say the dolly they used is about 10 feet or more too short as the whole truck goes in the water.



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Old 21-04-2019, 23:21   #5
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatLakeSailor View Post
I am not sure if this video link will work, but this is what I envision for a launch. Although, this is a pretty tall keel boat too. It is the size range I would want.


I would say the dolly they used is about 10 feet or more too short as the whole truck goes in the water.



Well, that was painful to watch! People really need to do more trig at school. The four guys frantically hanging on to the bow rope could have been replaced by one guy sitting on the back of the towing vehicle with a block down at the base of the winch stand. By the time the boat is in the water, only 10% of their effort is in the correct direction, and it shows.

But really, it doesn't change much of what I said. It depends on the boat you are launching.

Have a look at the photo I have attached, it's an Austral 20, designed to be beach launched. Basically, you release the aft bolts on each of the wooden side support blocks so they did not cup the boat. Then you backed the trailer up to the water's edge, if you were really keen you'd let the trailer tyres get a bit wet. Release the trailer tilt lock, give the boat a bit of a shove, which causes the trailer to tilt at a point just below the forepeak and the boat rolls along the trailer rollers on its flat skeg, straight into the water. People launched them on sand with 2WD sedans. Retrieval was the reverse, you just brought the bow up to the aft roller on the trailer, attached the winch and got cranking. It's a heavy little boat, over a ton, so I fitted a two speed manual winch.

The point is, there's no point thinking about the dolly until you know what the boat needs. If you get something designed like the Austral, you will either need a very short dolly, or maybe no dolly at all.
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Old 22-04-2019, 20:28   #6
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

Thanks for the info on the Austrail. I will look in to those a bit more.



Yea, I was thinking the same thing about that crew not knowing what they were doing. However, they got a lesson on how hard it was the way they did it so my guess is that process got easier as it was perfected in time.
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Old 23-04-2019, 02:30   #7
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatLakeSailor View Post
Thanks for the info on the Austrail. I will look in to those a bit more.



Yea, I was thinking the same thing about that crew not knowing what they were doing. However, they got a lesson on how hard it was the way they did it so my guess is that process got easier as it was perfected in time.


Don’t bother looking for an Austral unless you live in Australia, they are very much a “local” boat. I just used it to illustrate one (VERY easy) extreme of trailer launching. The other extreme to the video you posted.

As a counter point to the dolly idea, I would personally prefer a semi rigid extension bar on the trailer. A bit more control and less to go wrong.

Maybe a photo or diagram of your proposed launch location would help.
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Old 24-04-2019, 06:03   #8
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

A ridgid extension on the trailer frame won't work - I need the trailer to go down the road, not to use at a single location that never goes on the road. I need the dolly to maneuver a utility boat right now - all over the place, not one location, either.
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Old 24-04-2019, 06:31   #9
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatLakeSailor View Post
A ridgid extension on the trailer frame won't work - I need the trailer to go down the road, not to use at a single location that never goes on the road. I need the dolly to maneuver a utility boat right now - all over the place, not one location, either.
One club we belonged to had trailer dollies - a 2 wheeled assembly with a ball on top and a handle. Only useful for moving an empty trailer, or a dinghy on its small trailer. And because of the size and weight, not something you'd want to travel around with.

Most people who need extension have either a telescoping trailer tongue or a separate extension bar with a ball on one end and a receiver on the other. The latter is not hard to make or have made.

On our boat the keel is fully retracting so we can launch anywhere a motorboat could, without requiring any extension.

You're not going to get really useful answers until you name and describe the boat & trailer you need the extension for. Photos would be even better.
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