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Old 18-10-2009, 17:17   #1
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Launching and Retrieving Alone

Hello,

I would like to know if anyone has any steps on how to launch a 14' motorless sailboat (daggerboard) alone?

I haven't done it, and i really don't have any sailing friends nearby to ask.

Im guessing when i launch it, after detaching the winch from the bow eye, i could give the winch a good shoving with a paddle to launch her, but any better / safer suggestions are absolutely welcome.

Then the recovery. I guess im just nervous doing it by myself. But i really want to sail even though noone else does. So i need to figure this out. I'm not as comfortable with trial and error when im in water.

Any thoughts are welcomed.

Thanks
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Old 18-10-2009, 17:26   #2
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Do you mean launching as in off a trailer at a boat ramp?
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Old 18-10-2009, 17:29   #3
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launching

Yes, i have a trailer for my boat.
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Old 18-10-2009, 17:29   #4
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launching

and yes at a boat ramp.
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Old 18-10-2009, 18:01   #5
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I used to have a small boat as you are describing. It is pretty common sense type stuff, you have got the right idea, get that trailer in the water so that the boat is just beginning to float, have a line tied to the bow and to the trailer so when you push the boat off the trailer after removing the winching line from the boat, you do not have to go swimming for the boat. Walk the boat over to the nearby dock, tie her off, then go move the trailer. If you are rigging the mast before you put her in the water, make sure that there are no overhead power lines to run into as you manuever the trailer to the water. Do the same in reverse when you are bringing her out of the water.

I remember vividly the first time I launched mine years ago, I forgot the bowline so I had to go for a swim! Then when I pushed off from the dock, I realized I had forgotten to mount the boom to the mast. I provided quite a bit of entertainment that day for the yacht club!

Have fun
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Old 18-10-2009, 18:09   #6
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Ok. Then here's how I launch my 19' motorboat solo.

1. First know the boat ramp. How far the pavement goes, how deep it is, is there a drop off at the end of the paved ramp, etc.

2. Back up to the top of the ramp, car in park, parking brake on and get the boat ready to launch.

3. VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!! Don't forget to put the drain plug in the boat if it has one. Many boats get launched with the plug out and sink at the ramp.l

4. Unclip the winch, any straps, tie-downs, etc.

5. Tie a line to the boat: bow cleat, eye, anywhere on the front of the boat that is handy and sturdy and the other end to the trailer. Use a line about as long as the boat, depending on the boat, trailer and the ramp.

6. Back the trailor into the water until the boat is ready to float and tap the brakes so it slides off the trailer.

7. Put the car in park, apply parking brake, go back and untie the line tied to the trailer and walk the boat over to the dock or shore and tie it up. Try to tie it so the ramp is clear for the next guy if it is a busy launch point.

8. Go park car and trailer.

9. Go sail.


To reload.

1. sail boat back to the dock/shore/whatever and tie up out of the way.

2. go get the car and back the trailer down the ramp and into the water far enough that the boat will float most of the way onto the trailer (assuming the ramp is long enough).

3. sail/push/paddle/whatever the boat up onto the trailer as far as it floats and attach the winch to the eye, winch the rest of the way onto the trailer. Attach safety hook if trailer is equipped.

4. slowly pull the boat out of the water and out of the way of the ramp.

5. park car and finish all tiedowns, straps, final check the winch is tight, etc.

6. if the boat has a drain plug pull it out and store carefully or loosen to drain the bilges and rain water if the boat is stored outside.
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Old 18-10-2009, 18:12   #7
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Glad Tom mentioned the mast and power lines. I'm used to launching a motorboat and didn't think to mention that one, probably the most important warning of all. A mast shorting out a power line might ruin your whole day.
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Old 18-10-2009, 18:20   #8
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I am glad Skipmac remembered the drain plug! And mentioned the parking brake.

I have never liked the idea of the brake tap, later in my life, while living on my previous boat in oak Harbor, Washington, we were in a slip where we had a great view of the launching ramp. I have seen guys miss judge where they were, give the brakes a tap and had the boats end up on the hard and not on the water! But lots of folks do this brake tapthing without a problem.
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Old 18-10-2009, 18:27   #9
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the braketap thing

I agree with Tom 100%! I used to do the braketap thing to launch, solo, a 20' Hurricane RIB. The system worked real well until the day a kid ran out behind my trailer while I was backing down the ramp and I hit the brakes, only to have the boat come off the trailer and leave a trail of gelcoat all the way down to the water.

Bad idea.
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Old 18-10-2009, 18:38   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
I agree with Tom 100%! I used to do the braketap thing to launch, solo, a 20' Hurricane RIB. The system worked real well until the day a kid ran out behind my trailer while I was backing down the ramp and I hit the brakes, only to have the boat come off the trailer and leave a trail of gelcoat all the way down to the water.

Bad idea.
Seems like the problem was not from tapping the brakes to launch the boat but slamming them on to avoid a tragic accident.

So what do you do? Wait until the boat is in the water before unhooking from the winch? Seems a bit awkward to me.

In my case my boat is pretty heavy and my trailer has bunk boards instead of rollers (by choice) and it has to be almost completely afloat to get it to slide off the trailer at all. Even then I sometimes have to pull forward and give it another shot or two to get it off. I would bet 19' of gel coat that I could slam on the brakes in reverse, even on a pretty steep ramp and still not lose it.

But different boats/trailers, different techniques. I'll stick to the tapping on my rig.
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Old 18-10-2009, 19:01   #11
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launching and recovery

All,

Thanks for your replies.

The only follow on question i have though, is that i don't think i can walk the boat over to the dock to tie off while i return vehicle and trailer to parking spot. Last time i reconned the ramp, there was a dock that ran parallel to the boat ramp all the way down to a dock. Seems designed to motor over to and then tie off.
I will check again tomorrow to see if there is a way to walk over from the boat ramp and climb up to the dock ramp and then down to the dock.

However, if that isn't possible, do you think it dangerous to get in the boat... unhook the winch from the boat... and then push off the trailer with a paddle?

I also have wooden bunks, not rollers.. if that helps in answering the question.

I guess, in the end, i don't want to be the butt of someone's joke of the day.. or you tube video at my financial expense.

Thanks again for all your advice. I truly appreciate it.
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Old 18-10-2009, 19:17   #12
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An option to getting in and pushing off and rowing, why not take a small anchor with you, After the boat is in the water, take the painter, the line from the bow of the boat that you attached to the trailer, tie the anchot to it, pull the sailboat as far out of the way of the launching ramp as you can, anchor it to the shore, then move the trailer.

Ha, if you are going to worry about being the but of jokes, you will never really enjoy sailing! I think we all make mistakes, and have provided lots of entertainment along the way. The best thing is to not get mad, just fix the problem, smile and take a bow to the onlookers and then go and have fun!
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Old 18-10-2009, 19:44   #13
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Dinghy101,
You are getting very good advice here. I am glad that Tom H. mentioned having an anchor and skipmac mentioned having oars. Tom also mentioned not worrying too much if you make a mistake or two and skipmac mentioned getting in and out quickly so other ramp users do not stand there watching you while waiting to take in or deploy their own boats. Do not tie up the launch ramp if it is busy one.
One caveat for sail boats is the question of whether or not to pre-load the sails or not. I would never suggest that you launch your sailboat with the sails up as this is a recipe for disaster but should you want to set up the rigging for your main sail and bungee it in place on the boom so it is ready to deploy once your tow vehicle is safely parked. Do not pre-load the jib only; this is also a recipe for disaster - don't ask how I know this. When launching in higher winds I would prefer to load and set up the sails once on the boat. Having the sails pre-loaded can make the cockpit a bit of a mess of lines and a bit of a hazard especially if the wind is on shore to the ramp.
Hopefully you have a dock you can tie up to so you can do all the prep work in a leisurely and controlled manner before you cast off; attach rudder, lower some center board, raise the main FIRST then the jib and cast off. Lower the rest of the board when you have the depth as you sail seamlessly off.
Watch out for other boaters looking to use the same ramp. They are not likely thinking about your intentions and it is unlikely that you will know all of theirs.
After a few tries you will become a pro but conditions and wind directions and intensities always vary so try not to get too cocky.
Most of all have fun and if you offer some entertainment to others at the ramp the so much the better!
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Old 18-10-2009, 20:01   #14
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Old 19-10-2009, 17:51   #15
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Thumbs up launch and recover

Thanks Y'all for all your advice. It all makes sense now.

I went and re-looked the ramp over and saw that with a long enough line i could push the boat off the trailer and walk the line over to the dock.
If the wind is blowing like today though S at 20mph, 25 gusts, it was blowing right onto the dock and toward the shore. I might not have made it off the dock with just a paddle. I will have to seriously scout out a calm day.

Again, i want to thank you all for your input. Especially the bit about just take the chance and don't get upset. It is way too easy to be overwhelmed and get frustrated. I truly appreciate the art of patience.

Fair skies.
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