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Old 31-12-2012, 18:16   #1
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Anyone self launch and haul 28'+ sailboat on trailer or rail system?

Hi Folks,

Like most here, I normally pay my local marina to launch and haul my 30' sloop (draft just under 5 ft)
Then I use my 32' tandem axle trailer to take it to and from my father-in-laws large garage for heated indoor winter storage.

I previously owned a 23' sloop, which I launched and retrieved myself, the only year I owned it. The PO launched himself, but had a crane haul the boat and place on the trailer.
I modified the trailer, adding an extendable tongue and adding long carpet covered cedar boards over the hull pads, as the pads were very difficult to keep in position, under water, while trying to place the boat above the trailer.
It could have definitely benefited from additional guide poles / markers to tell when the boat was postioned correctly, with the trailer completely submerged, before starting to pull the trailer out (this bringing the boat and trailer closer together and finally having the keel and pads/bunks touch down). I was able to haul the boat with it, but it was not easy. (there were no tides where I sailed it then)

I have never yet bothered to self launch the 30' boat, as I did not want to prematurely rust out my trailer, wheels and electric brakes.
Eventually my father-in-law will sell his shop and I will likely just store the boat on our waterfront property. As I have a nicely graded slipway, and 5' tides to aid with launch and hauls, I may decide someday to launch and haul myself, as I did with the smaller boat, either using my trailer or a spare cradle i have, and building a small marine rail.

I would like to hear from anyone who hauls their own boat, and would love to see any pics of the setup, if possible.

I am also building a small mast crane, so I can step / unstep the mast myself.

I built docks last year, so I have put the yearly $2K slip fee towards my cottage and docks instead of paying the marina, and am now considering doing the same thing for the launch/ haul and mast step fees.

Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 31-12-2012, 18:30   #2
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Re: Anyone self launch and haul 28'+ sailboat on trailer or rail system?

Sorry no pics. But used to launch my 33' 11:Meter on a boat launch ramp. About a 5 foot draft. Trailer preparation is everything. Most people had guide rails for the keel. But they made them guide from the rear. In practice the keel comes down from above so mine were vertical Y shaped. Worked far better.

Usually launched with the self-serve marina hoist.

Mast up and down took about 2 hours each way. It was a tall one, maybe 40'. Again takes careful preparation, bridles, etc.
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Old 31-12-2012, 19:55   #3
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Re: Anyone self launch and haul 28'+ sailboat on trailer or rail system?

Daddle - Thanks for the input and advice.
When I retrofitted the homemade trailer for my 23' sloop, |I added what I thought would be a great keel guide, and exactly as you said, it was really set up to guide from behind, instead of above. If the trailer would have been near level, on the ramp, it may have worked. But the ramp I used was very steep, and therefore the back end of the trailer, and keel guides, were much deeper than necessary to guide the boat. In fact, the boat floated over the whole trailer, and keel guide, and it was a real chore to get it aligned, while a friend moved the truck and trailer ahead.
If I try it with this boat, I have to get and keep it aligned for hours, as the tide goes out, letting it rest down into it's proper placement.
If something goes wrong, and it isn't sitting correct, the tode will keep going out, and the boat will be left in an incorrect and possibly damaging position.

Just had an idea. Rather than fitting out the trailer to allow the boat to settle into correct position, I may consider adding 4 strongly reinforced uprights, which would allow me to essentially lift the boat on straps a few inches, and then wait for the tide to go out. Then, with a clear view of the trailer, keel rest and hull pads, I could lower the boat onto the trailer.
This is the old school type setup that my marina uses, marine rail with heavy uprights, and 4 sets of chain falls to lift the boats with straps and haul out. Then they place your trailer, or cradle (on their moving trailer) under the boat and lower.
I would not require the very large uprights that they have, as they are set up to lift much heavier boats. My trailer outside frame is 6" channel, with 5" channel crossmembers. I will have a look at the boat and trailer tomorrow, and see if this looks feasible.
Boat weighs 10,000lbs loaded so each upright would have to safely lift about 2500 lbs. The uprights could be heavily gussetted and cross braced on diagonals to middle of trailer, so the maximum unsupported length of upright could be kept to a few feet. I would require some engineering advice on what size tube or channel would support those kinds of loads, once I measure.

Thoughts?
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Old 31-12-2012, 21:58   #4
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I launch and retrieve two 32' sailboats. One 4800 pounds displacement on a six wheel trailer and a 7500 pound displacement on a four wheel trailer.

The hull pads are a huge pain in the A@@ if they are too loose. Snug them up and they don't flip wrong under water.

I use small pvc tubing tied to the pad supports to see where the trailer is under water.

The whole job is easier if the sailboat came off that trailer. For a new marriage of a larger boat and trailer, it is a long process of trial and try again as you move pads up and down, going in and out of the water.

Don't pick a busy ramp day, or you will be disliked by all those waiting to get their boat moved.
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W.I.B. Crealock when asked what he thought of the easily trailerable Clipper Marine sailboats by a naval design collegue, Gentelman Bill responded, "I am very proud of them".
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Old 31-12-2012, 22:01   #5
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Added pics. The four wheel is homemade. Built like an army tank. No brakes. The factory trailer is surge brakes, which don't have the electrical issues of electric boat trailer brakes.

Both trailers pull great going down the road. You want 10% of your trailer weight on your tow vehicle, which means you need a sturdy HD tow system. Safety chains to your frame, not the tow receiver. Tow setups break, so putting your safety chain on the same thing holding your trailer ball is not being careful enough.

Everyone on my lake launches and recovers themselves, no other facilities available, only boat ramps. Largest boat on the lake is a Hunter 33. That owner got the notion to go bigger from his 30, when I brought in my 32's. Mast envy is a terrorable thing. Lol

People get together, that slip their boats, and help one another with the task of doing the work.

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W.I.B. Crealock when asked what he thought of the easily trailerable Clipper Marine sailboats by a naval design collegue, Gentelman Bill responded, "I am very proud of them".
www.clippermarine.org & www.clipper-sailor.net
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:04   #6
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Re: Anyone self launch and haul 28'+ sailboat on trailer or rail system?

Hi Gary,

Thanks for the info and great pics! Very encouraging.
I like the ladder at the front of the homemade trailer.

Can you explain a bit more how and where you attach the pvc tube to, near the pads, to help guide the boat in place. i thought bout doing this, but it looks like the hull would interfere with the poles, unless they are outboard a bit.
I could certainly weld some short pipe on the trailer frame, or pad frames, where I could then temporarily place long pvc pipe, as guides. Likely could even use light gauge steel or alumium pipe guides, as my boat has a very practial rubber rub rail.

Do you use an extendable tongue on either trailer? (looks like there may be a bracket for one on the non- homemade one)

How steep is the ramp you use, and do you find it easier on a less steep ramp?

If you have a minute, you can see pics of my boat and trailer in my gallery - just click on northeaster, the gallery.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:21   #7
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My beam is 8' so the pvc was able to be duct taped to the pad supports. The boat did bend the 1" pvc some as it entered the trailer, but we were still able to use it as a reference.

Both trailers have extensions.

My truck has a 17" lift on it, so I did not use the extensions.

Our ramps are pretty gradual and my draft is 3.5', so I don't need in the water very far.

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W.I.B. Crealock when asked what he thought of the easily trailerable Clipper Marine sailboats by a naval design collegue, Gentelman Bill responded, "I am very proud of them".
www.clippermarine.org & www.clipper-sailor.net
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Old 02-01-2013, 17:50   #8
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Re: Anyone self launch and haul 28'+ sailboat on trailer or rail system?

Thanks Gary, for the additional info.

I may focus on stepping / unstepping the mast mysleft this year.

Still not sure if it is worth it for me to self launc hand retrieve right now, as my trailer has never been in the salt water, and I may wait until I can set up a small marine rail, next to my dock. That way, it woudl only be my cradle on the rails that gets wet, and I would look at selling the trailer.
The trailer only has about 1000 miles on it, on new axles, tires, wheels, and only has a bif of surface rust. My savings of self launch may not be worth it if it devalues my trailer alot, in a short period, from the salt water on all parts, including electic brakes. I know I can rinse them off, but the salt does quite a number.
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