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Old 03-07-2015, 11:21   #1
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Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

Hi Everyone,

I was wondering which sailboat size is easy to haul and self launch. Also the size making it easy to drive on the road without taking up two lanes or being oversize.

So far I have read 22-23 ft is good. What do you think? I want to still have a sleeping cabin in it and as much space as possible, but still be able to haul it and store it at home on a trailer.
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Old 03-07-2015, 11:27   #2
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

I wouldn't go much bigger than 22 or 23. Part of the problem is masts start getting hard to step if you go any bigger. Your truck might tow something bigger but launching and setting it up is a nightmare.

There are 22's and 23's that have nice sleeping cabins.

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Old 03-07-2015, 11:28   #3
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

You're right. Once you get above that size, width and weight become more than a simple issue.

We had a Catalina 22 for a handful of years, towed it up to a lake for the summer and sailed here during the winter from the trailer. It became a PITA to rig it and unrig it, so we moved up to a 25 which is towable but not something you'd want to do regularly. We never towed the 25 and left it in the water here for 12 years. Much more fun.

Good luck.
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Old 03-07-2015, 11:32   #4
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

But leaving it in the water, you pay dock fees year around and algae and other microbes can start to build. I was trying to avoid this especially the fees and for bigger boats fee for having it pulled out of the water and stored is outrageous. But I am also not looking for a status symbol (i.e., shiny boat made of gold). I am just looking for functionality and having a good time on the water.

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
You're right. Once you get above that size, width and weight become more than a simple issue.

We had a Catalina 22 for a handful of years, towed it up to a lake for the summer and sailed here during the winter from the trailer. It became a PITA to rig it and unrig it, so we moved up to a 25 which is towable but not something you'd want to do regularly. We never towed the 25 and left it in the water here for 12 years. Much more fun.

Good luck.
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Old 03-07-2015, 12:33   #5
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

I owned a 25 Catalina with a swing keel and hauled it all over with an Astro Van (4.3l engine). Boat and trailer about 5500 lbs. Anything bigger would require more of a tow vehicle. It was enough of a boat to go from the Keys to Bimini and to dive off of.
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Old 03-07-2015, 13:06   #6
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

I'm selling my 1992 Macgregor 26S which with trailer has a tow weight under 3500 pounds, so even my Rav4 V6 is capable of towing it.

This is the older swing centerboard water ballasted Macgregor which sails well, not the newer "motorsail" boats with their huge 50HP+ outboards. It only draws 15-16" with board and swing-up rudder up,

It has an easy to use mast-raising system so it can be rigged and launched by one person. Lazy jacks and 150% roller-furling genoa make single-handing easy.

This particular boat was stored indoors for 18 years and only sailed 1 week a year during that time, so it is in exceptionally good condition.

It has large new porta-pottie in private head compartment, sink, 2-burner alcohol stove, large double foreberth, queen+ sized aft berth, lots of storage, staning room with pop-top up, 8HP honda with less than 200 hours on it. Includes smaller jib, 22# Lewmar Delta on SS bow roller 50' 1/4" chain and 200'+ rope rode, 2nd anchor is Danforth-type with its own rode, and a Magma BBQ, etc.
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Old 03-07-2015, 13:09   #7
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

I agree with the above, 22-23 max. Light spar to setup, light enough to tow without a big truck. Of course there are some exceptions that are bigger.
I had a 26 with fairly deep keel and my F250 diesel pulled it ok but not great. Not something you wanted to do much. The 21 I had was much easier.
BTW, launching, rigging etc a sailboat is not a quik task. You wont be wanting to do that for a day sail.
I think the best of both worlds may be a boat with a trailer that you can launch for the cruising season and store the rest of the year.
One thing to look for in a small trailersailor is that the head is not under the V berth where you can smell it!
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Old 04-07-2015, 08:55   #8
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

I M O nothing can beat my current boat, a Catalina 22 swing keel.
With over 150,000 produced, still in production, most popular boat in that size, a national org, a boat specific fourm, and a factory parts distributor.
Do yourself a favor and check these out.
Catalina Direct:
Catalina 22 - SailboatOwners.com
Regards, James
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Old 04-07-2015, 10:31   #9
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

Quote:
Originally Posted by solarwindsailor View Post
Hi Everyone,

I was wondering which sailboat size is easy to haul and self launch. Also the size making it easy to drive on the road without taking up two lanes or being oversize.

So far I have read 22-23 ft is good. What do you think? I want to still have a sleeping cabin in it and as much space as possible, but still be able to haul it and store it at home on a trailer.
Hi SolarWindSailor,

We used a trailer sailboat for several years while landlocked and between cruising sailboats.

We had a MacGregor 26M which we would go out on weeks at a time [2 adults] in protected Alaskan waters. It is a great little boat that retains it value (ours sold quickly) and is easily towed by any vehicle that can handle ~4,000lbs.

You can read a bit about ours on our blog post from earlier this year. That post also has a link to a very detailed website we created and have been asked to keep alive even though we already sold the boat.

Good luck with your search!
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Old 04-07-2015, 10:42   #10
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

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Originally Posted by rgesner View Post
I'm selling my 1992 Macgregor 26S which with trailer has a tow weight under 3500 pounds, so even my Rav4 V6 is capable of towing it.

This is the older swing centerboard water ballasted Macgregor which sails well, not the newer "motorsail" boats with their huge 50HP+ outboards. It only draws 15-16" with board and swing-up rudder up,

I.
I have a 1988 Macgregor 26d, basically the same boat with a daggerboard instead of the centerboard. (They are often lumped together as a 26C for "classic" to set them apart from the powersailors.) It pulls nicely behind our Denali and we really like it. Unfortunately they have been out of production since 1995.
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Old 04-07-2015, 13:23   #11
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

The first thing you need is the tow rating in lbs for your tow vehicle. You have to include the trailer weight in this equation. Then you have a max width which is 8.5 ft in most states. Then there is draft. Too much draft & you need a tongue extension & a high tide plus you are dealing with a lot of windage & stability issues. Lastly you have to deal with rigging so you want a relatively simple set up. There are a lot of sail boats, typically under 25', designed to be trailered. If you plan to sail in salt water I recommend finding something with an aluminum trailer.
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Old 04-07-2015, 13:38   #12
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

+1 on the McGregor 26c. We dragged one all over and launched it any place that a small powerboat could be launched. Our 6 cylinder Cherokee towed it like a dream.
The 26d sails a little quicker than the 26s but the s is easier to load onto the trailer in a cross wind. We added an extra pair of "goal posts " to the trailer to make cross wind loading easy.
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Old 04-07-2015, 15:21   #13
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

Ideal depends on where you are going to use the boat and what you have to tow it with.

We used to have a Hunter 23.5, and now have a Seaward 25. The Seaward is a big 25 (close to 27' l.o.a.). The trailer on the Seaward is double axle and has brakes. Other than the extra weight, it tows better than the Hunter did. It takes about the same amount of time to rig either boat (the Seaward maybe a little longer). That said, it gets old fast (for me, at least) to rig a sailboat every time I want to sail, so we kept both boats in slips for the summer. We also trailer the boat to other places, but unless it's for at least a week's cruise, it's not worth the effort for me. The slip makes the difference whether we use our boat or not (and we use it a lot).

The pluses of the larger boat is that it has an enclosed marine head, a diesel inboard, it handles the wind and waves of the Great Lakes better when we sail there, and the extra room (the 23.5 was cramped for 2, on a trip). The down side is that it is a more complex boat, and things such as winterizing and maintenance are more involved.

For us, the larger boat is more ideal. The Hunter was a fun boat to sail, though.
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Old 04-07-2015, 15:41   #14
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

Ours is 9.3metres (30.5ft)and can be launched and retrieved by a minimum of two people but lives on a launching trailer and is kept in our boat club's secure boat storage yard. Could not tow it on the road legally due to width but to drop the mast or raise it would require a crane. If you really require a boat with larger accommodation than the average 22-23 footer then I suggest you seek a facility that will accommodate a similar storage system with access to a boat ramp such as we have. It costs significantly less to keep a boat in a storage yard than in the water and antifouling the bottom in our case is every 6 years.
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Old 04-07-2015, 20:02   #15
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Re: Ideal sailboat size for self launching and hauling?

We bought a 23 Paceship (shallow keel & centerboard) with the understanding it would become tuition money when the first went to college. In the 5 years we had it we sailed most of the New England coast one week at a time, and even sailed it from Portland, ME, to Yarmouth ,NS and back. Loved it. Dragged it over to Lake George in New York, too.
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