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Old 11-09-2015, 11:23   #1
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Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

I know we have a few people on the forum who have been/are (sometimes simultaneously) dedicated trailer campers as well as sailors. I've been thinking about doing a little inland adventuring with my white water kayak, and was leaning towards a tear drop trailer. However, looking at the prices of 19-22 ft trailerable boats, they're very nearly the same, and often cheaper. As I see it, the purchase price will likely end up being a wash, so what do people think of using a trailer-sailor as a 'Boaterhome' at the RV campground or in wild spots? Some issues to consider are below, but please let me know what I'm missing:

Pros to the boaterhome:
More versatile-if the spirit moves you, launch her on a lake!
Probably better construction quality over the teardrop trailer
Modular-if something's wrong with the trailer, get the boat off of it and it's an easier fix
Conversation starter

Cons to the Boaterhome:
Will the constant vibration from a road going trailer shake any fittings on the boat loose?
Less volume for equivalent length-potentially higher overnight cost if one is in an RV park or possibly some places one can't get into
Harder to maneuver with a long mast sticking out the back
Possibly different holding tank pump out fittings (but a portapotti is universal)
The boat will be heavier and less aerodynamic, so likely an mpg loss ( but oil is cheaper than water these days...)
Less comfortable than a trailer (standing headroom, narrower beam, etc.)

I've known more than a few people who camp out in their boat while trailering it to their put-in destination, but how about for extended use as a camping trailer?

Thanks!



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Old 11-09-2015, 11:37   #2
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Re: Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

Used to have a San Juan 23, trailer sailer, and tried that once. Didn't really work very well. For one thing, getting up into the boat is kind of a pain when it is on the trailer. The boarding ladder that I had on the back definitely did not work for that, so I had to carry along another ladder. Also, I had no place to leave the mast, so it had to come along, and got in the way of the cockpit.

Just generally a pain. Ended up getting a pop-up camper, which worked a whole lot better as a camper than the boat did. I already had the boat, so trying to use it as a camper was cheap and easy.

Your choice, of course. I certainly would not recommend buying a boat to use as a camper, unless you are absolutely going to buy the boat anyway. I guess I would not recommend it, but you can probably make it work if you really want to.

Good luck!
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Old 11-09-2015, 12:37   #3
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Re: Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

Generally going to be a pain and hard to get in and out of on land and you still wind u with a tiny space. For the space of a tear drop, you need a boat that will need a much bigger tow vehilce.

Now I have thought at times a pontoon boat would be a good idea. Still needs a bigger tow vehilce than a teardrop and not good for rough water. But plenty of interior space. Wouldn't be hard to set up steps for easy access on land and would be easy to stabilize.
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Old 11-09-2015, 12:50   #4
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Re: Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

At least a Catalina 22 has sitting headroom and a nice little dinette. A MacGregor 21 doesn't even have a decent place to sit upright.

As noted by others above, a camper is much more accessible and comfortable for general land use. But I like the idea of boat-camping across the country with the goal of, say, plunking the boat into the briny in Seattle and going up the Inside Passage. Or down to Baja, etc. . . .
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Old 11-09-2015, 13:14   #5
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Re: Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

Do you have a pickup? If so, you can get a tent arrangement designed for the bed or a pickup camper. Then you could easily tow a small boat. Or get the boat a comfortable tent and a couple of cots. Use the boat as a trailer to store things like lawn chairs or whatever.

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Old 11-09-2015, 13:18   #6
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Re: Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

Worst thing you can due to a hull is trailer it, reason is of course is it's only supported in very few, very small places and it goes over bumps that no boat in the water will ever get, but to me it's access, getting in and out would be a real PIA, personally I'd rather pitch a tent. Then most boat trailer axles aren't really up to extended long highway miles, add in the you regularly submerge the whole axle and bearing and you see frequent failures, even with bearing buddies.
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Old 11-09-2015, 13:29   #7
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Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

Sounds like this may not be a great idea, then! I have a trailerable cuddy cabin day sailer already that is an easy pull with the pickup, and I don't necessarily want to use the sailboat as a sailboat when I'm going places to whitewater kayak-I just figured that if I was going to get a trailer, it might as well sail! Then it could be used for some other fun trips that don't involve the kayak, like sailing the albemarle.
I think to cut down on the number of toys I have, I might just go pickup camping as suggested by cabo. Either with a cap on the bed and a mattress, or a tent and a bedroll. I'll only be out for about four days at a time so certainly not a hardship.
One other possibility-how about a small motor cruiser like a c dory 22 (similar to valhalla's pontoon boat idea)? Take the outboard(s) off when used as a camper, and I'm left with a pretty compact, lightweight trailer. And at home, I have a zippy little boat for times when there's just not enough time to sail there. No mast in the way, easier to get on and off, but still bad for the hull? And of course there's still the trailer issues, maybe solved with frequent maintenance? The boat would mainly be launched in fresh(-ish) water.
Thanks for the thoughts!



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Old 11-09-2015, 13:41   #8
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Re: Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

Try looking at RealTruck.com. The have a number of spiffy tents that set up in the bed for maybe a few hundred bucks.

I'm occasionally tempted myself but considering a toy hauler so we can take our motorcycles. Just casual window shopping, don't have enough money at the moment ......sigh.

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Old 11-09-2015, 13:43   #9
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Re: Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

Have thought about doing the same. Good to hear comments from others who have been there before.

If you go more standard camp style, you could still buy a little sailing dink, or something like an inflatable windsup. Even a kiteboard. Anything to see some wind

It would be pretty spectacular to do something like the boundary waters out of a lightweight sailing dink.
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Old 11-09-2015, 13:48   #10
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Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

Haha, yeah, Rich, I feel you. I'm selling my 28' sailboat now so hopefully that will help pay for some of the fun Regarding the toy hauler, that is a big issue. I've never seen trailers daisy chained together so I guess sometimes one has to make a choice between taking the boat and taking the cycle, more's the pity! Of course you could ramp the cycles in and out of the pickup truck ... We use to just back the liftgate up against a hill and ride them on and off. Of course, you'll want the gate chained, and then you have no choice but to sleep in the boat!
-Dan

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Old 11-09-2015, 13:53   #11
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Re: Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

In addition to the issues with the boat and trailer themselves, I have heard stories of such arrangements being unwelcome at campgrounds. You might be able to check in with the trailer sailor forum for details.
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Old 11-09-2015, 17:11   #12
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Re: Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

Quote:
Originally Posted by brownoarsman View Post
Haha, yeah, Rich, I feel you. I'm selling my 28' sailboat now so hopefully that will help pay for some of the fun Regarding the toy hauler, that is a big issue. I've never seen trailers daisy chained together so I guess sometimes one has to make a choice between taking the boat and taking the cycle, more's the pity! Of course you could ramp the cycles in and out of the pickup truck ... We use to just back the liftgate up against a hill and ride them on and off. Of course, you'll want the gate chained, and then you have no choice but to sleep in the boat!
-Dan

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Dan,

I'm in Florida. We don't have even "little" hills. When my wife bought her Harley 1200, we had the devil of a time unloading it from the trailer I borrowed. I don't know how I would have got it out of the truck bed.

Rich


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Old 11-09-2015, 17:13   #13
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Re: Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

Florida's got a great many little hills-they're all just man-made, on golf courses, and called land features

Sorry-should check the locations next time!


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Old 11-09-2015, 19:25   #14
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Re: Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

Actually sounds like a good idea to me, especially if you leave the mast behind but have a short stick so you can set up a boom tent/awning with headroom or have extra length/height mast crutch/s. The trailer shortcomings are just that, use of bearing buddies or similar & correct springs make more reliable, rollers can be replaced with fitted bunks that support the hull correctly and a launching wire can let the boat float on/off gently especially with a couple of guide posts.
I reckon you could save some bucks launching and cruising as you go on usual camp ground fees, at least here in Aus, we been paying around 35-45 a night
Around 20 years ago we met two families fro Victoria who would cruise via road then launch in Whitsundays Queensland & sail/camp around the islands.... saved all the time & low speed of sailing a yacht all the way.... a few days on the road & tropic sailing

Jeff
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Old 12-09-2015, 00:05   #15
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Re: Trailor sailer as a camper? The Boaterhome

Quote:
Originally Posted by brownoarsman View Post
I know we have a few people on the forum who have been/are (sometimes simultaneously) dedicated trailer campers as well as sailors. I've been thinking about doing a little inland adventuring with my white water kayak, and was leaning towards a tear drop trailer. However, looking at the prices of 19-22 ft trailerable boats, they're very nearly the same, and often cheaper. As I see it, the purchase price will likely end up being a wash, so what do people think of using a trailer-sailor as a 'Boaterhome' at the RV campground or in wild spots? Some issues to consider are below, but please let me know what I'm missing:

Pros to the boaterhome:
More versatile-if the spirit moves you, launch her on a lake!
Probably better construction quality over the teardrop trailer
Modular-if something's wrong with the trailer, get the boat off of it and it's an easier fix
Conversation starter

Cons to the Boaterhome:
Will the constant vibration from a road going trailer shake any fittings on the boat loose?
Less volume for equivalent length-potentially higher overnight cost if one is in an RV park or possibly some places one can't get into
Harder to maneuver with a long mast sticking out the back
Possibly different holding tank pump out fittings (but a portapotti is universal)
The boat will be heavier and less aerodynamic, so likely an mpg loss ( but oil is cheaper than water these days...)
Less comfortable than a trailer (standing headroom, narrower beam, etc.)

I've known more than a few people who camp out in their boat while trailering it to their put-in destination, but how about for extended use as a camping trailer?

Thanks!



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I trailered a MacGregor 26M for 8,000 miles and got 17mpg in my 3.5L diesel SUV. They're not nearly as bad aerodynamically as you'd think.

Maneuvering in reverse is not a particularly big deal, once you learn how to do it.

Nothing comes apart on a trailer sailor from trailering any more than sailing it would cause.

The space issues are what they are, but they do make reasonably good campers. The big issues are entry/egress. With the mast strapped down over the cockpit and spreaders and shrouds akimbo, you have to be really limber to get through the cockpit and into the cabin. The fore hatch usually can't be opened either.

Even with a swim ladder, it's not easy to maneuver yourself or any cargo into and out of the cockpit while on the trailer unless you've got two people.

A surprising number of RV parks won't allow boats. Be sure to call ahead and check. They're great for street parking in industrial areas however, because there's nowhere for cops to knock and thieves generally can't get into them if you pull the ladder up.

We even parked our boat on the curb in Downtown Philadelphia. Had people pointing and laughing at us as we went about our business.

Oh yeah, there is all the pointing and laughing to deal with. You've got two options: Hide and pretend nobody's home, or sit out in the cockpit with a beer and laugh right back at them.
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