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Old 20-04-2019, 17:47   #1
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Trailer launching sailboat

I am not sure this is the right forum, but I didn't see a section for trailering sailboats so I figured that "auxiliary equipment" would be close. If not, move to where this applies.



I need a dolly for another boat to get the trailer pushed way away from the truck when launching. I think I need about 20 feet for it. I have a smaller sailboat (25-28ft) in my sights later on. How much extra reach do I need for trailer launching a boat of that size?



The dolly will either be sectional or telescoping so I can break it down for storage. I suppose if I build it as sectional I could add sections to it if I need to, I'm just thinking from the start what I might be up against with other applications for what I'm after.



Also, if you have any wheel/axle suggestions I'd be all ears. I don't want a wide trailer axle - it needs to come apart to throw in the bed of my truck. Stub axles might work, if I need to go with a higher rated road tire, or if I go with wheel barrow style wheels or something that would be easier (not sure they would hold up to the side loading for how I will be using the dolly now - steep off road lake launching of a utility boat).
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Old 20-04-2019, 19:10   #2
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatLakeSailor View Post


I need a dolly for another boat to get the trailer pushed way away from the truck when launching. I think I need about 20 feet for it. I have a smaller sailboat (25-28ft) in my sights later on. How much extra reach do I need for trailer launching a boat of that size?

If I understand the question correctly...


Depends on the boat. My one ton, 20 foot Austral was designed to be beach launched and so you did not even need to let the trailer tyres get wet, so would not need the dolly. Dad’s 3/4 ton 24 foot Robb Legg needs the trailer to be completely submerged to retrieve and launch, a dolly would be a big help.

I suggest you find the owner groups/forums for the boat(s) you are considering and find out more about how the boat is taken on and off the trailer. You may not need a dolly.
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Old 21-04-2019, 09:55   #3
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

GILow -



You are on the same page, thanks for the thoughts.


My purpose now is to be able to drop a utility boat down an embankment to remote lakes without needing a winch and disconnecting from the trailer (well, in a way - only to put the dolly between), as well as to push the trailer out away from the truck so I can launch on very shallow angle beaches/launch ramps. I had all 4 tires of the truck in the water in one of the lakes and still had to have someone wade out behind the boat to pull it off the trailer (roller trailer at that - not a bunk).


As far as the sailboats - submerging the trailer was right in line with what I was going after. I've seen methods where people will put a dolly under the hitch, chock the trailer wheels, disconnect the tow vehicle, put a tow rope/strap on the hitch, pull tension in the tow rope/strap, unchock the trailer, and roll the whole bit down the ramp to get the boat/trailer in far enough to clear the keel.


I am not sure I like the rope/strap method - it surely won't work for a shallow launch where you need the push from the tow vehicle. You can't push a rope/strap like you can a rigid dolly.



I got to thinking about the wheel idea also. Northern Tool has some solid lawn tractor/trailer wheel/tire combos that are ready with bearings to mount on an axle. A lawn trailer/ATV trailer application would be far more abusive in terms of side-loading and terrain than what I'd put them through in my application so I think I'm good with those. Solid, non-pneumatic means I'll never have to worry about the tires deflating or coming off the rims, either. Huge plus... Tubless tires and I don't tend to get along... and the last thing I need is to throw a tire with the boat stuck in the water 2 hours from help.
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Old 21-04-2019, 11:33   #4
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

I am not sure if this video link will work, but this is what I envision for a launch. Although, this is a pretty tall keel boat too. It is the size range I would want.


I would say the dolly they used is about 10 feet or more too short as the whole truck goes in the water.



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Old 21-04-2019, 23:21   #5
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatLakeSailor View Post
I am not sure if this video link will work, but this is what I envision for a launch. Although, this is a pretty tall keel boat too. It is the size range I would want.


I would say the dolly they used is about 10 feet or more too short as the whole truck goes in the water.



Well, that was painful to watch! People really need to do more trig at school. The four guys frantically hanging on to the bow rope could have been replaced by one guy sitting on the back of the towing vehicle with a block down at the base of the winch stand. By the time the boat is in the water, only 10% of their effort is in the correct direction, and it shows.

But really, it doesn't change much of what I said. It depends on the boat you are launching.

Have a look at the photo I have attached, it's an Austral 20, designed to be beach launched. Basically, you release the aft bolts on each of the wooden side support blocks so they did not cup the boat. Then you backed the trailer up to the water's edge, if you were really keen you'd let the trailer tyres get a bit wet. Release the trailer tilt lock, give the boat a bit of a shove, which causes the trailer to tilt at a point just below the forepeak and the boat rolls along the trailer rollers on its flat skeg, straight into the water. People launched them on sand with 2WD sedans. Retrieval was the reverse, you just brought the bow up to the aft roller on the trailer, attached the winch and got cranking. It's a heavy little boat, over a ton, so I fitted a two speed manual winch.

The point is, there's no point thinking about the dolly until you know what the boat needs. If you get something designed like the Austral, you will either need a very short dolly, or maybe no dolly at all.
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Old 22-04-2019, 20:28   #6
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

Thanks for the info on the Austrail. I will look in to those a bit more.



Yea, I was thinking the same thing about that crew not knowing what they were doing. However, they got a lesson on how hard it was the way they did it so my guess is that process got easier as it was perfected in time.
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Old 23-04-2019, 02:30   #7
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatLakeSailor View Post
Thanks for the info on the Austrail. I will look in to those a bit more.



Yea, I was thinking the same thing about that crew not knowing what they were doing. However, they got a lesson on how hard it was the way they did it so my guess is that process got easier as it was perfected in time.


Don’t bother looking for an Austral unless you live in Australia, they are very much a “local” boat. I just used it to illustrate one (VERY easy) extreme of trailer launching. The other extreme to the video you posted.

As a counter point to the dolly idea, I would personally prefer a semi rigid extension bar on the trailer. A bit more control and less to go wrong.

Maybe a photo or diagram of your proposed launch location would help.
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Old 24-04-2019, 06:03   #8
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

A ridgid extension on the trailer frame won't work - I need the trailer to go down the road, not to use at a single location that never goes on the road. I need the dolly to maneuver a utility boat right now - all over the place, not one location, either.
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Old 24-04-2019, 06:31   #9
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

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Originally Posted by GreatLakeSailor View Post
A ridgid extension on the trailer frame won't work - I need the trailer to go down the road, not to use at a single location that never goes on the road. I need the dolly to maneuver a utility boat right now - all over the place, not one location, either.
One club we belonged to had trailer dollies - a 2 wheeled assembly with a ball on top and a handle. Only useful for moving an empty trailer, or a dinghy on its small trailer. And because of the size and weight, not something you'd want to travel around with.

Most people who need extension have either a telescoping trailer tongue or a separate extension bar with a ball on one end and a receiver on the other. The latter is not hard to make or have made.

On our boat the keel is fully retracting so we can launch anywhere a motorboat could, without requiring any extension.

You're not going to get really useful answers until you name and describe the boat & trailer you need the extension for. Photos would be even better.
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Old 30-01-2020, 13:07   #10
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

I was going back in my threads here for something else and realized I never posted an update to this.



The dolly was built - with front and back main sections (front = hitch to the truck, back = axle and ball for the trailer), then 5ft extension sections in between. Combined the whole thing extends from a bit over 5ft (just the front and back) to just over 25ft (the portion longer than the 5ft increment is between the coupler on the front an ball on the rear - they are further than 5ft, maybe 6.5ft or so).

The dolly is heavy duty and will handle any size boat I'd ever run it with. It is set up with a 2" coupler and ball for now (likely all I'll ever use) but I can swap it to a 2-5/16" set up just as easy.


I don't have a host site to link a picture to, however I have a build thread on FTE that has all my construction progress and finished product pictures for reference. There is a video of it in use also - from the boat vantage point on the trailer.



https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1...o-problem.html
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Old 30-01-2020, 14:35   #11
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatLakeSailor View Post
I am not sure this is the right forum, but I didn't see a section for trailering sailboats so I figured that "auxiliary equipment" would be close. If not, move to where this applies.



I need a dolly for another boat to get the trailer pushed way away from the truck when launching. I think I need about 20 feet for it. I have a smaller sailboat (25-28ft) in my sights later on. How much extra reach do I need for trailer launching a boat of that size?



The dolly will either be sectional or telescoping so I can break it down for storage. I suppose if I build it as sectional I could add sections to it if I need to, I'm just thinking from the start what I might be up against with other applications for what I'm after.



Also, if you have any wheel/axle suggestions I'd be all ears. I don't want a wide trailer axle - it needs to come apart to throw in the bed of my truck. Stub axles might work, if I need to go with a higher rated road tire, or if I go with wheel barrow style wheels or something that would be easier (not sure they would hold up to the side loading for how I will be using the dolly now - steep off road lake launching of a utility boat).
I bet you find that attempting to launch from a natural beach is difficult with anything heavier than a laser.

(I have launched 20' and 26' trailerable sailboats in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Chesapeake, Pamlico Sound, Florida Keys, and Pensacola.)

Natural beach launching is rarely fun.

Far better to go to a proper ramp with docks so you can tie up after launch, while you move the truck to the parking lot.

I have witnessed the strap launching technique work well (using the trailer wheels and folding tongue jack wheel) on steep ramps (esp. Spanish ON up in the North Channel.

I have also seen it botched, and boats skidding down the ramp on their keels, but just due to bad technique.

Another option is a tongue extension for shallower ramps. 2x4" that inserts into the hitch receiver, and a ball on the other end to attach to the trailer.

If a 8' trailer tongue extension won't get the boat in the water, the ramp is just too dang shallow, or the boat too deep draft, to conveniently trailer launch; find a better spot.
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Old 31-01-2020, 09:22   #12
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

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I bet you find that attempting to launch from a natural beach is difficult with anything heavier than a laser.

(I have launched 20' and 26' trailerable sailboats in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Chesapeake, Pamlico Sound, Florida Keys, and Pensacola.)

Natural beach launching is rarely fun.

See the link in the post above for pictures towards the end of it in use - that is at the mid-length level (15ft - 2 of the 4 center frame extensions).


The launch it was used with in the pictures and video was a shallow launch with a big open utility boat (18ft, we have a 16ft just like it too). That launch is the "proper boat launch" for that lake. Its up in the wilderness and that actually is the municipality's designated launch. The lake has been low for a few years, however it is always a shallow launch. That section of the lake gets deeper but that doesn't change the angle of the ramp from what you see.


I can see the point of the bigger sailboats and the "off-road" launches. I probably wouldn't be doing that type of launch with a sailboat, however the launch we use on our lake (not the one in the pictures) might as well be an off-road launch as the concrete ramp stops about 6 feet in to the water (lengthwise, maybe a water depth of 3ft or so at the end of it). Then its the rock and mud bottom of the lake. When the time comes and I have a sailboat I will be curious to see if I can launch there at all. If not - on that lake I can go to a number of launches, but there is only 1 more on that side of the lake. Then its miles of driving and upwards of 100 sailing miles to get around the lake to where we are.



During the early stages of forming the idea - and during the construction even - there were conversations that usually went along the lines of "2 pivot points will be a nightmare to control" or "a tongue extension on the trailer will be a lot easier/quicker to set up and control", and the list goes on.



When it all comes down to it - the wheeled dolly, though it may be less adequate for some of the scenarios others' brought up (more so from a maneuverability perspective), it is absolutely the most versatile tool for the purposes it was built for. After using it I would not change one thing about the overall design and function of it.


From a components perspective (the parts I bought - axle, wheels, ball, coupler, bolts) - I would buy all the same ones again. As for the fabrication - the overall dimensions, wall thicknesses, etc I would do the same exact way. The only fabrication change I would make is that the couplers between the sectional frame were made out of 2 pieces of angle iron welded together. I was not able to source square tubing the size I needed to make a "telescoping" internal section so I got angle iron with flat sides that were wide enough to cut down to just the right size, then weld shut. That was a couple weeks worth of fabrication time to do all that which could have been avoided with proper sized steel...
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Old 31-01-2020, 21:31   #13
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

My mistake.

I thought this thread was about launching a large sailboat.

The system you developed should be more than enough.

Fair winds.
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Old 31-01-2020, 22:35   #14
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

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My mistake.

I thought this thread was about launching a large sailboat.

The system you developed should be more than enough.

Fair winds.

I think Large is a relative term. If it can be pulled with a conventional large pickup (DOT class III or under, thats a 1 ton dually, class II is a 3/4-1 ton with singles) I wouldn't consider a boat "large". Requiring a semi? I'd say that would be larger. Though, the 37 footer I sail with friends is in that class and after spending time on it I hesitate to call it a "large" boat any more. That boat can get small fast with people and dogs on board.
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Old 01-02-2020, 06:47   #15
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Re: Trailer launching sailboat

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Originally Posted by GreatLakeSailor View Post
I think Large is a relative term. If it can be pulled with a conventional large pickup (DOT class III or under, thats a 1 ton dually, class II is a 3/4-1 ton with singles) I wouldn't consider a boat "large". Requiring a semi? I'd say that would be larger. Though, the 37 footer I sail with friends is in that class and after spending time on it I hesitate to call it a "large" boat any more. That boat can get small fast with people and dogs on board.
Of course “large” is relative.

Compared to the 16’ or 18’ boat being launched, I thought the boat was “large”.

I consider any boat over a couple thousand pounds “large” for natural beach launching. Looks like the boat in question is under 500 pounds. Relatively, not large.
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