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Old 01-12-2009, 05:47   #1
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Location: Burlington, Ontario
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Hauling Your Own Boat on a Trailer

Can anyone advise if it is a good idea to buy a trailer (for a 27ft sailboat) and haul the boat from NY city to Ontario myself?

I am desperately weighing out my options on either paying a transport company to do this OR buying a trailer (good one) and hauling it back ourselves.

Just curious if this is pretty easy to do......or not worth the hassle. I like the idea of having a trailer to keep afterwards....where if i pay the transport company, i have nothing to show for after the haul.


THANKS in advance for any suggestions or comments!

Katie
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:58   #2
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A decent trailer for that boat is going to cost some serious bucks. Plus you are going to need a heavy duty tow vehicle. And some experience at hauling heavy things that sit high on a trailer and are therefore quite unstable.

A C&C 27 is about 5500 lbs, add close to a ton for the trailer and you've got 7500 lbs plus whatever fluids and water the boat has absorbed over the years. That is pickup truck sized towing. Don't underestimate what a job this can be. Way back in the dark days I used to haul a 26' powerboat around and it was a lot of hassle and stress. I can't imagine hauling a keel boat around.

Not sure why you would want a trailer after the move, keel boats are really hard to load onto trailers and usually you end up needing a crane to load and unload. You could maybe save storage costs by keeping it at home if you have room, but you are going to have some significant bucks tied up in a trailer.

Most of all, if you don't have experience towing things like this I would advise against it. There's just so many things that can go wrong and the consequences of same could be truly catastrophic to ones health and bank account. But if you've got the equipment and experience, go for it.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:12   #3
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I have a factory trailer for my F-31 and do my bottom maintenance my self by borrowing a truck and parking it in my yard. Any long distance hauling I would have to contract. I don't insure the boat so that is one more expense to overlanding it myself. I can pull at almost any ramp but you'll need a travel lift. Plus the damn trailer is always in the way and costs about $50 yr to license. I'd add up all the costs and hassels carefully before buying a trailer. Dave
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:52   #4
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If you decide to go with a trailer, make sure you get the correct brake controller and that the trailer brakes work. Nothing is more reassuring than to feel those trailer brakes engage. The weight should not be a problem for the right pickup. I used a 2009 Tundra to tow a load of new machinery (very top heavy design) 5,000 miles round-trip to a trade show. Truck has a towing package rated at 10,800# with 380 hp (gas). Had no trouble running 70mph on cruise control, temp gauges on trans and engine never moved, no swaying, no problems at all. My engineers estimated the total towed weight was 11k# with the trailer. Scales at the show (and later a truck stop to confirm) indicated 14,000+# total towed trailer weight. Truck sure impressed me. I'd llke to have a trailer to drag my boat home every two years, but trailers rot and I don't need one more thing in the yard to mow around and maintain
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:05   #5
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Katie

I purchased a Tanzer 7.5 (25 ft) a few years back in Annapolis and trailered it back home to Ottawa. Finding a used trailer suitable for the shape of your boat can be a challenge. For the trailer, I purchased a used dual axle boat trailer for $1100 and then spent about $1000 on materials to add on adjustable support pads and keel support. I was able to take the measurements off of other trailers in Ottawa that had Tanzers on them. It was a fair bit of work though. Also, I already had a Jeep that could tow the boat, but added a transmission cooler.

For me this was worth the effort because I have the room to keep the boat at my house and I ramp launch it myself in the Ottawa River, so I have no ongoing expenses. I have also towed it may times to the Thousand Islands and once to the North Channel, so having a trailer and tow vehicle can really open up your cruising grounds.

One of the main things to think about is what are your plans once you get the boat back to Burlington. If it is going to a marina slip and they have reasonable winter storage rates, then a trailer may not make sense. However, you are going to probably need a cradle for it, which will cost $1000-$1500, unless you can find one used.

However, if you wish to take it up to Georgian Bay, a trailer may be worthwhile, assuming you have access to a tow vehicle. You can't just go out to Budget and rent a pickup truck for the weekend. None of the major rental companies allow you to trailer a boat. The only options I found were U-Haul and Penske, both of which would be very expensive for a trip to NYC.

If you want to find out what a new trailer ( or cradle) will cost, these guys do most of the work in your area. However, don't be surprised if the price of the trailer is more than what you paid for the boat.

Marine Cradle Shop - Trailers & Cradles, Boat, Boat Trailers, Marine Equipment, Custom Trailers, Snowmobile & Motorcycle Trailers, Boat Cradles, Snowmobile, Motorcycle, Markham, Toronto, Ontario

You can PM me if you want to discuss specific local issues.

Paul
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Old 01-12-2009, 07:59   #6
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I currently have a C&C 24 (3200lbs),a Lindenberg 26 (5400lbs) and a Aloha 8.2 (5400lbs) and have hauled all of them over the road.The Lindenberg i bought on e bay with no cradle or jackstands and went to pick it up with a borrowed cradle,a borrowed 7000lb tandem axle flatbed trailer and a 1997 chevy Tahoe with a 350 v8,we put aftermarket overload springs on it,went through the brakes and wired it for electric brakes then picked up the boat from 500 miles away doing the 1000 mile round trip in 24hrs with no problems at all and the Tahoe,even though its only a half ton worked out very well and got 15mpg with just the traiker and a credible 11mpg for the return trip.Its not as unstable as folks make out as much of the weight is low down,other issues are of course over width,9ft 6 in my case and height,i later bought a really nice custom sailboat trailer where the boat sits much lower but on the flatbed the Lindy sat quite high,in fact we had to take the mast off the cabin top and lay it along the side deck and thru thebow rail to get it comfortably under the 13 1/2ft bridge clearance required,even at that height it was plenty stable.I wouldnt own a boat under 30ft i couldnt trailer,i have hauled boats from Socal to MN and Seattle to MN also.One thing though is that as long as you dont have a trailer yet i would look for one with more like a 10000lb rating,the one we used was marginal at 7000lbs as with5400lbs for the boat and 1650lbs we were just over and it really needed high pressure tires.Another thing to watch is that with the flatbed the tongue is shorter than a dedicated trailer would have and in order to have enough tongue weight the boat needs to be fwd with the trailing edge of the keel about in line with the rear axle and the bow over the tongue so the best tow vehicle would be a 3/4 ton pickup WITHOUT a topper,we were a little close to the top of the Tahoe but never hit but a boat with shallower draft may haave been a problem.As far as experience towing,no one has it until they do it so just use common sense,leave plenty of room in front for long stopping distances and you dont need to go fast.
Steve.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:16   #7
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Hi Katie,

I built a heavy duty trailer for my 30' sailboat. It likely weighs twice that of a new "engineered" trailer, and therefore is heavier to tow. It cost me about $3500 in materials and alot of work / welding.
It would have been about $8-10K to buy one new. That would have been hard to justify for a $14K boat (have much more into it now)

I have free indoor storage, with a wood furnace, so it was worth it for me to haul it each year (2 hours each way).

When considering buying a trailer, here' a few thoughts:

If I left the boat at the Marina for the winter, on a cradle, stands or trailer, the storage cost would be $450 (mast left up).
Since I have to pay to have the mast unstepped in the fall, and stepped in the spring ( so I can tow it home) - about $300, plus gas to tow it, it works out about the same. This year I had to pay $350 to tow it, as my father-in-law was away (it's his 3/4 ton diesel that we normally tow with), so it cost me a couple of hundred more to get it home.

Something seems wrong with paying $8K to hold a $10K boat (20-30 years old), when the same trailer could hold a new $100+ K boat (only a fraction of it's value)

Mine tows very well, mostly due to a long trailer / tongue.
My boat weighs about 9,000 - 10,000 lbs + likely 3,000-4000 lbs for the trailer. We are right around the max rating for a diesel 3/4ton (about 13,000lbs). I have electric brakes on both axles, and all new tires, axles, brakes, etc.

Mine is overwidth at 10 ft beam, so I "should" get permits, but normally tow it at 5am Sunday morning, and have yet to have problems.

Your boat would likely not be overwidth, but make sure as some states rules maye be different. It could be a big hassle to get various permits.

I have some welded uprights, and a few regular jack stands, with heavy U-bolts attaching them to the frame.

My boat is not top heavy at all, and tows well, as the keel sits low to the ground and most weight is concentrated there.

Not sure how the guy towed 14,000 lbs with a Tundra (gas engine, I assume), but I would have wanted a 3/4 or 1 ton diesel for that load. We have lots of hills here, and you need some power getting up them, with that weight behind you.

Even when towing with a truck that is powerfull enough to haul it, it can still be dangerous. Two co-worker friends of mine were in a bad accident a coupleof years ago, towing a heavy telecom cable reel, wit ha 1/2 ton truck. They swerved to avoid another car, and the weight of the trailer/ reel was enough to toss their truck around like a toy. One was killed, and the other permanently injured. Don't think they were wearing seatbelts, which didn't help!

You can see a few pics of my trailer setup in this forum. I you could find a sturdy trailer, and buy stands, you could make it work.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:06   #8
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Do a little research on trucking companies before you hire one. Bent roller furlings and damaged boats are a possibility with one professional trucker.
regards,
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:09   #9
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"Trucker Bent Furling" is a good thing to type in the search engine just aft my signature here.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:12   #10
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Or, Trucker Bent Furling and read to the last entries.
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Old 01-12-2009, 14:15   #11
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I built a trailer for our Cal 2-29. I basically built it out of scrap that I had around and did it in a bit of a hurry so it was hideously ugly! But it was very strong. I used two 5500 lb axles under it and when all was said and done, it was still loaded right to the max. Ok - maybe a tad overloaded. The trailer came across the scales at 11,500 lbs and the truck, trailer and boat came across at more than 18,000 lbs. Where I live, a commercial boat mover would not bring their trailer as it is a very steep, windy , narrow dirt road). I had a lot of work to do on it so it was worth bringing home to work on as opposed to a 1 1/2 hour drive each way to work on it at the yard.
Building my own trailer was the only way I would have considered doing a trailer considering the cost of a commercially built trailer.
When it came time to sell the Cal, the trailer went with it and the new owner towed it up to Washington. It required a minimum of a good, stout 3/4 ton pickup to tow it, but really should have been towed with nothing less than a 1 ton dual wheeled truck.
Oh, yes - both axles of course had brakes! That is the scary part of towing sometimes is trying to stop the heavy thing!
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Old 01-12-2009, 14:52   #12
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Make sure you meet all legal requirements. A lot of people tow wide/heavy loads without a permit or brakes and never get checked but if you get into an accident, you will be liable for all deficiencies.
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Old 02-12-2009, 18:50   #13
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Thanks for all of your replies! I really appreciate all the advice!
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Old 02-12-2009, 22:06   #14
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If you dont want to spend too much money you can probably rent a 10000lb flatbed trailer which will work just fine as long as the boat has a decent steel cradle,a friend of mine bought a folkboat on e bay which was in Seattle sitting on jackstands beside the owners house,we rented a trailer and drove out,bought a bunch of treated lumber at the local Home Depot and built a cradle under the boat,jacked up the front and backed the trailer under the front,then dragged it on with 2 come alongs,strapped it down and drove 1200 miles or so back to Minnesota,its kinda fun really.one thing i cant stress enough is the need to get the boat located rigt on the trailer,you need about 10% of the weight over the hitch so about 700lbs,you do not want to take off down the road and have the boat start fishtailing when you get up to speed(been there,done that,not doing it again).
Steve.
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Old 03-12-2009, 21:37   #15
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I've thought very seriously about buying a trailer for my Catalina 30. I contacted Loadmaster and they can custom build one to fit my boat for $7500.00. No it's not cheap but the one thing I really like is the idea that I could work on my boat all winter when ever I want to. It's a 2 hour drive to get to my boat now and as sure as I need a tool I remember that I forgot it at home. I wouldn't have to deal with all of the rules the marina has when it comes to working on my boat like not being able to spray paint or have to sand only with a sander equipped with a vacuum. I have a large pole barn that would easily fit the boat so it would be stored inside all of the time.

I would save $800 a year on storage plus another $450 a year on shrink wraping add to that the convenice of being able to work on my boat when ever the mood struck me and that $7500.00 price tag doesn't look so bad after all, even for a $20,000.00 boat.
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