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Old 11-10-2012, 14:08   #1
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Sailboat Trailer Snafu....

I learned something today: A little something about sailboat trailers. We towed my little Tanzer22 over to the Clam Shack's Launch site in Friendship Harbor early this morning where the Harbor Master was going to help me pull her out of the water for the season.

As we were coming into the harbor, he called me to redirect us to a mooring - issue with the trailer.

He came out in his skiff and directed us to the mooring and proceeded to tell me about my trailer.

Now, before we go on, you should know that the Tanzer22 came ON this trailer. Granted, it was in rrally rough shape, but, I fixed all that - new axle, struts, rims, tires, welded plates where it was rusted through, new pads, new paint. Nothing was changed (except a stronger axle and better tires) from the original design.

The Harbor Master (Jim - super nice guy, by the way) told me that the trailer is for 'grounding' only. Evidently, it is only capable of loading/unloading a boat by setting the trailer at the edge if the water at low tide and doing the loading/unloading at high tide.

Seems there is another type of sailboat trailer that has an extendable tongue and a winch. That is not the type I have, so, no go at the ramp at high tide.

Over the winter, it appears, I have another project for this sailing obsession.

So now, I have two boats in the water and neither is on my mooring. I think Friendship is a great name for that little harbor. The people are awesome!

By the way, I've got a transport company coming to grab the boats and haul them to my house.
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Old 11-10-2012, 14:32   #2
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Re: Sailboat Trailer Snafu....

I'm surprised the marina doesn't have the extension that converts the grounding trailer into a regular trailer.

The extension looks like a long pole with wheels in the middle and a ball on one end and a reciever on the other. Some are just a piece of 2" tube steel.

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Old 11-10-2012, 14:48   #3
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It's a harbor with no marina. Thanks for that tid bit, though - I'll make an extension instead of trying to make a beefy modification to the trailer. That's awesome!
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Old 11-10-2012, 14:55   #4
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Re: Sailboat Trailer Snafu....

For a one-time deal I have seen a skid and come-along.
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Old 11-10-2012, 15:20   #5
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Re: Sailboat Trailer Snafu....

Providing you have the depth down the ramp you can do as I do to launch/retrieve our Cape Dory 25D, draft 3.5 feet.

I back to the top of the ramp. Place chocks behind the trailer wheels. Remove trailer from vehicle and lower onto it's tongue wheels (I have two as it's a wide goose neck). Attach 25 feet of heavy chain between the trailer tongue and the vehicle. Pull the vehicle forward until the chain is taut. Remove trailer wheel chocks and back down the ramp. Sometimes it's been necessary to have someone guide the trailer as it backs down by pushing on the tongue to keep it straight. I use pvc guides sticking above the water to guide the boat onto the trailer.
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Old 11-10-2012, 15:25   #6
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Re: Sailboat Trailer Snafu....

If you only have to do it a few times a year, you might be better off winching the trailer into the water rather than building a tongue extension. Tongue extensions do work very well but they put very large loads on everything so you need to do a bit of engineering before building one. The good news is that everything happens slowly at a launch ramp and the loads are lower than at highway speeds.

The other method is to actually lower the trailer in the water uncoupled from the tow vehicle. The key to this is a really good wheel on the nose. Ideally, it won't swivel and it needs to be significantly stronger than a tongue jack wheel. To lower the rig, you can use a winch/cumalong/whatever or you can attach it to the tow vehicle with a section of strong line/chain and back up.

To use this setup, you get the trailer onto the ramp so that it naturally wants to go down. Then you chock the wheels, unhitch and pull forward. Attach the line/winch cable and pull the trailer up slightly so that you can remove the chocks. Then lower the trailer into the water by backing up or lowering the winch. As you can see, this is time consuming so don't plan to do it at a crowded ramp but it works quite nicely in most circumstances. In fact, it is basically what a hydraulic boat trailer does.
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Old 11-10-2012, 15:25   #7
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Re: Sailboat Trailer Snafu....

Whoops, I see that rbates posted exactly what I was thinking of while I was typing.
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