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Old 15-03-2024, 15:50   #1
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Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

Hey all. I'm starting my second season on my Macgregor 26D, and I've been upgrading some rigging. My boat is currently strapped to it's trailer on dry land, ready for transport. I would like to raise the sails for some of the work I'm doing, am I at any danger of blowing this boat off the trailer? I'm assuming this can be done safely, but I wanted to check in with more experienced sailors. First and foremost, my plan is to do this with little to no wind <5kts. The prevailing wind on my property would put the boat in the irons, so to speak. I would not be leaving the sails up for more than the required time, and at no point unattended. Again, the boat is strapped down to the trailer. So, I feel like I should be okay, what say you?
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Old 15-03-2024, 16:05   #2
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

Not a dumb question. As long as there is no wind you are fine. If a little breeze comes along be ready to release the sheets first and then douse the sails.

Welcome aboard BTW!
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Old 15-03-2024, 16:24   #3
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
Not a dumb question. As long as there is no wind you are fine. If a little breeze comes along be ready to release the sheets first and then douse the sails.

Welcome aboard BTW!
Thank you!
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Old 15-03-2024, 17:21   #4
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

I imagine the same rules apply as when on the hardstand, no! ….Except that besides tipping the skinny Macgregor over you have the exciting prospect of it becoming mobile,…. trailer and boat reaching or running out of your driveway if it’s not hooked up to the car. Seriously though , yes you can do it with very slack sheets and no wind but with a high degree of vigilance. I waited a week to hoist the main in the marina to refit the stackpack and only just beat the freshening breeze.
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Old 16-03-2024, 00:59   #5
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

trswem:

It depends:

*If you can park it just a little shy of head to wind, it will probably be okay. [Normally, one would launch first, then hoist sails.]

I would not even attempt it if it isn't essential. It's amazing how fast a boat can get itself into trouble when you hoist at anchor or in a pen. All it takes is one unexpected puff. If the win is extraordinarily stable where the vessel is parked, maybe okay. If you don't feel lucky (as in good luck, not the other kind) on the appointed day, just wait. Even if it means waiting to be out on the water.

What project do you have that you cannot guarantee the boat will be almost head to wind?

Will you be able to do one sail at a time, then fold up and stow? Do not put them on the boat and then drive at highway speeds. That's like subjecting them to a tornado. Will it be possible to do it just after sunrise, when the wind hasn't made up it's mind how hard it wants to blow?? (Dont trust your boat's welfare to a weather forecast; sometimes they're way innacurate.)

Ann
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Old 16-03-2024, 06:23   #6
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

Sure, do it on a calm day and you will be fine. Just don't leave them up unattended.
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Old 16-03-2024, 06:34   #7
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

If there is wind, make sure the mainsheet is loose or unhooked entirely and the boat is facing to windward.

During breaks in racing or before the racing started, we would leave our Beach Cats on the beach with mainsail up, mainsheet loose or unhooked from the boom in winds upwards of 12-15 knots or more.

A Nacra 6.0 has more sail area than a Macgregor 26D and weighs about 400 lbs.

A Hobie 16 has almost as much sail area and weighs about 300 lbs.

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Old 16-03-2024, 07:03   #8
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

I have raised the sails while the boat sat on a trailer several times. Do it on a day with little to no wind. As much as possible, point it into the wind. Leave the sheets loose. Be prepared to douse the sails if the wind shifts around too much.


Otherwise, it really is not a big deal. You just have to keep alert and aware. Good luck.
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Old 16-03-2024, 07:24   #9
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

You can also pick the time of day that typically has quiet wind at your location. Where I am, very early morning is usually best, before the sun warms the land and generates more breeze.
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Old 16-03-2024, 07:32   #10
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

You might get away with it by diligent care, but it is not a good idea. IF an expected breeze comes up it can easily knock an unballasted boat over. Then you will be very sad you did it
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Old 16-03-2024, 08:55   #11
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

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Originally Posted by trswem View Post
I would like to raise the sails for some of the work I'm doing, am I at any danger of blowing this boat off the trailer?
Observe all the advice:
  • pick a low- or no-wind day
  • if possible, position the boat trailer head-to-wind
  • only raise one sail at a time
  • raise a sail only for the shortest possible time
  • don't sheet in and leave it
  • don't leave the boat unattended, so that sheets and halyards can be released ASAP
We've occasionally raised sails on our trailered boat, without incident. We avoid sheeting in hard. At our boat club, people briefly raise their sails at the slip for tweaking, drying, refolding, etc.

So what are you doing that requires sail(s) up on the trailer?
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Old 18-03-2024, 11:15   #12
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

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So what are you doing that requires sail(s) up on the trailer?
Thank you all for the good info!

I've replaced ALL the blocks on the boat, and nearly all the running rigging, and ran all the halyards aft along with downhauls. I'd like to get the sails up and down a couple times to check for function. I moor my boat 90 minutes from my home, so I'd like to do as much testing at home where the tools are as possible! I installed all my halyards and downhauls with extra length, now that they're installed I want to mark them and trim/whip them.

None of these things have to be done now while the boat is out of the water, but it would be nice. I have an area on my property with good tree cover, I'm pretty confident I can tuck in and point up wind and do this quickly and safely. Thanks again all!
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Old 18-03-2024, 13:29   #13
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

Probably if the winds are under 10-15 knots not a problem.

I had sails up on the beach on 300 lb. beach cats many times in winds above 15 knots with more sail area than your Macgregor 26.

Your boat weighs over a ton and is strapped to a trailer!

Just make sure the boat is facing into the wind and the boom is free to move with loose mainsheet or better yet sheet detached.

You are asking people that mostly have never done such a thing.

If this guy would ease his sails, no problem even in the wind he has.

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/InNWWGgJVvw

with sails released and in a breeze

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Old 22-03-2024, 07:25   #14
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

Tie it down well and have at it.
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Old 22-03-2024, 10:47   #15
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Re: Dumb question - raising sails on a trailered boat

I keep my Catalina 22 on a trailer and have inspected the sails once or twice with her on the trailer. As denverdon and others have said, calm day is a must. A gust can ruin your whole afternoon. And as you say, this is a brief hoist and then furl. You should be fine.
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