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Old 06-05-2009, 19:09   #1
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Trailerable Seaworthy Boats ?

Hello everyone,

I am looking to buy a boat in the 25' foot range that I can trailer reasonably easy. I would like to sail around the keys and the bahamas for a week or 2, so I don't think a trailer/sailor would be a good choice from what I gather. (macgregor, catalina, ect...)

Does anyone know of a fairly seaworthy names with shallower draft that can be put on a trailer at a standard boat ramp? Weight really is not an issue, i have a 3/4 ton truck. One example I have found is a cape dory 25, which I like a lot. I am just looking for other options. I am open to other ideas as well if anyone has any. Thanks!

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Old 06-05-2009, 19:26   #2
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Trailerable boats are great day sailors. It means you can drive there, sail there, and be home by dark. You can travel across great distances by road to reach places you can sail. Trying to skip across the Gulf Stream isn't so "as designed". You could on a perfect day go across. The next part is on a schedule could you get back? Possible is not assured to be most fun you ever had.

Trailerable boats are great, but don't try to make them into a long distance cruiser. Your car won't take the passages. They don't carry enough crap that you need and in heavy weather could be your worst nightmare or your last nightmare.

Practical and possible are pretty far away. Sailing is mostly about showing up. The more you do the more fun you get. It's not about pushing the limits but instead about doing it more often. The Macgregor 26 seems to have a lot of crusing ability due to it's size, bit it's not up to open ocean sailing yacht.

In a perfect world everything is possible, but don't bet your life on a perfect world. If a trailerable boat gets you on the water then by all means do it! A whole lot of people do. It is all supposed to be fun and having more is the goal. If you're sailing you're already there.

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Old 06-05-2009, 19:38   #3
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The J-24, Express 27, and Moore 24 come to mind as far as well built boats go in that size range. All models have been sailed to Hawaii and back. I'm sure though that it was anything but comfortable. They are raced on the SF Bay frequently in 35 knots of wind. Boats that race on the Bay have to be built better than your typical lake sailboats. As far a durability goes, I would stay away from McGregor boats or any such cheaply made boats. They just wont last in high winds and steep chop.

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Old 06-05-2009, 19:39   #4
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corsair f-27 or f-28 sails big and trailers light. Not much else compares if it fits on a trailer. Im biased
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Old 06-05-2009, 20:24   #5
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Two other possibilities that come quickly to mind are the Flicka 20, built like a tank by Pacific Seacraft (24' with bowsprit), and the Nor'Sea 27 (31' with bowsprit). Both are trailerable, and both have completed circumnavigations.

Here's a link to the Flicka site:

Home of the Flicka 20 Sailboat

And here's a link to Nor'Sea 27:

Nor'Sea 27

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Old 06-05-2009, 20:49   #6
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McGregor 25's are cheap (you can usually pick one up for less than three grand). I had one once and it was a good boat. I only owned it for a couple of months because I could never get over the ice chest/coffin feel of the interior!

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Old 06-05-2009, 21:00   #7
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Taojones is correct: the Nor'Sea 27 is probably the most famous trailerable bluewater boat that normal sized people could live on for an extended period of time.

OTOH, I don't think you need a bluewater boat for one or two weeks in the Keys or Bahamas.

And, for those of you with three hands: No one (with the possible exception of east coast Florida residents who can go frequently) sails to the Bahamas for only one or two weeks.
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Old 06-05-2009, 21:22   #8
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I'm a performance guy (the boat's got to move). You mentioned the Cape Dory which I believe is on the other end of the spectrum which is fine, but you can see there have been a lot of suggestions of functional boats so you need to decide what you want in a boat.
My choice would be the Corsair tri, Express 27 or Moore 24. The tri is relatively pricey, the Express a little more interior than the Moore.
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Old 06-05-2009, 21:27   #9
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Trailables can be pretty sturdy

I did allot of sailing (20 years ago) in an Australian produced 6m (20') trailerable called a Sonata. It had a cast iron swing keel that was 50% of the weight of the boat, but was pretty quick and pointed well. In 40kts (bay sailing so smallish waves) we'd put hand over to George and warm up making coffee inside. I think as boats get smaller the stress and strain goes down exponentially. Its quite possible to have a tough trailerable boat that sails well in heavy conditions. As the length increases the weight/strength compromise that building a boat to go on a trailer requires starts to work against the overall seaworthyness. Perhaps something small and tough could be the answer.
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Old 07-05-2009, 04:07   #10
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Originally Posted by mryan6 View Post
a boat in the 25' foot range that I can trailer reasonably easy...
I divide these size boats into trailerable and transportable… anything that will fit on a trailer is arguable in trailerable, but mostly in my mind this category is left to the lighter boats generally day sailors under 4000# -- some of these doubtless can make the trek you propose under favorable conditions, because they have; however, they don’t generally have the heft of the 5500# and up boats such as the Allegra, Flick, Nor’ Sea etc – Dana, if your state allows that width, as well as the Cape Dory you mentioned… but this later bunch (like the little chunk we have), I’d put more in the transportable category – wouldn’t dream of yanking it out of the water every weekend – in fact it is rarely out… however, as has been mentioned there are several boats that a ½ tone to ¾ ton towing vehicle can handle quite nicely – and a goodly many of them have crossed oceans and even circumnavigated, so “seaworthiness” (which really can have about 50-75% more to do with the crew rather than vessel) isn’t really a factor once one gets away from the day sailors…
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Old 07-05-2009, 05:05   #11
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Google parker dawson 26,they are a well built center cockpit boat with a heavy cast iron centerboard,the aft cabin is very roomy for a small boat.One of these raced in a the OSTAR race back in the early 70s with no drama in a very stormy race so ,yes,they are seaworthy.There are always plenty for sale online and inexpensive.A friend bought one with a yanmar diesel and nice tandem trailer for $3500. PHRF about 219 so not too slow.
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Old 07-05-2009, 06:03   #12
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yup, I own one

The Cape Dory 25 would certainly work. A Cape Dory 25D(diesel) fits the bill, somewhat. The somewhat referes to all up weight plus trailer around 8k lbs. Needs a good size truck, which you have. But, other than that, it draws 3.5 feet and can be ramp launched and retrieved and sailed across oceans, as it's much more seaworthy than a 25 with outboard and no standing headroom.

good luck with your search

Cape Dory 25D Seraph
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Old 07-05-2009, 06:24   #13
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I think there is a difference between trailer-sailors and trailerable cruising boats.

Trailer-sailors are generally designed to be light, easy and quick to launch, but usually are not as robust. It's easy to take them out for day or weekend, but generally they are designed for lake and easy coastal cruising. I think examples may include the water ballast boats such as the MacGregor, Hunter and Catalina and Corsair trimarans (not water ballast). Most of these have swing keels and other features making them quick to launch at most ramps.

At the other extreme there are boats that were really built for open water sailing which are small enough they can be trailered. Typically these much more solid boats with fixed keels that were not designed to be trailered, but someone built a trailer for. They usually take longer to rig and launch off a trailer and you may be more limited in the ramps that are suitable to launch these boats. (deep enough, long enough, etc.) In addition to the Norsea and Flika mentioned by Tao, I'd add the Contessa 26 also known as the Taylor 26, maybe the Dana, Westerly Pageant, Westerly Centaur, Cape Dory and a number of folkboats.

I owned a Centaur which I sailed across Michigan and Superior in and did several trips of a couple months to the Bahamas in. I purchased it specifically so I could have a boat, I could sail locally, but then tow down to Florida and use for Bahamas trips. I really liked that it was of the few 26-foot boats with standing head room. A few have circumnavigated. There are a couple famous stories of Contessa solo circumnavigations and I don't think anyone would question the capabilities of the Pacific Seacraft boats or Norsea 27 .

My Centaur with a trailer weighed in at about 10,000 lbs, so even with a 3/4 ton truck, towing it was no leisurely Sunday drive. Towing a boat like this is nothing like towing a light weight 17-foot sailboat or 6-canoe trailer.

I've seen people in the Bahamas in boats like MacGregors, but I've seen many of these also feel they were pushing their limits and turn around early. Personally, I would not want to cross with a light weight trailer sailor. Cruising the Keys is something all together different. I've done that in a Catalina 22.

Although, I owned a boat that was trailerable and capable, I largely agree with Paul above. Trailerablity comes with some big limitations and costs. You are limited to a fairly small boat and for the costs of buying and maintaining a trailer, tow vehicle and price of towing there may be other options to consider. You could probably charter a few times for the price of a trailer and tow. I'm not trying to talk you out of a trailerable boat - just pointing out some of the trade-offs to consider.
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Old 07-05-2009, 06:35   #14
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You are going to need more than 2 week if you want to do the Keys and Bahamas in a 25 foot boat...Unless you can afford a best time Bimini to Miami was 4hrs 10 mins with 2 reefs in the main...but that was my F31 Corsair which cost $100,000 second hand...
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Old 07-05-2009, 08:52   #15
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Trailor Sailor

I have the MacGregor 26X. I have sailed it in the Bahamas many times. I've also sailed the Keys, the Dry Tortugas, and the Outer Banks. It's a great boat. Easy to trailor and sails well. I've had her out in 15 foot seas with no problems. On my last sail to the Bahamas we had 12 foot seas coming back to Miami even though the forcest was for 3 to 5 diminishing to 1 to 3. We never felt like we were in any danger though it make for a long day.

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