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Thread: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

  1. #1
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    Default advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Hello Everybody, I hope some of you with trailer using experience can make some suggestions as to how to deal with the following situation. In addition to a very pleasant old half tonner which for forty years has been our main boat (and which we do NOT trail!), I have three others, a Gartside Jessie, a nondescript catboat, and Laser. I used to have two trailers, but one of them was crushed by a falling tree...Ugh! I wonder how some of you deal with a similar problem, more boats than trailers. How do you do the actual transfer of boats? Do you have skids for each of the boats onto which you slide the boats? If so, how do you get the trailer over the skid? Do you just let the boats slide off onto old tires? I suspect that there are elegant solutions to the problem, and I should really appreciate the benefit of your experiences.

    Cheers,
    John

  2. #2
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    First: Boats, even small ones, can be heavy enough to hurt you. Use caution; slow and careful is the word.

    OK So, I move boats off of trailers all the time. Its easier with a roller trailer, but I suspect you will have bunks. Get a jack and raise the forward part of the boat off the trailer. Block it up. Remove the jack and move it aft. Jack up and block up the boat, placing cribbing/ blocking at the transom corners.

    Move the trailer until an axle or crossmember almost hits your pile of blocks. Jack up the boat and move the blocking behind the crossmember.

    Move the trailer again.

    And so on, jacking and moving piles of blocking, until clear of the trailer.

    Some poppets ( boat stands) make this job easier and quicker. Use those for the transom corners.

    Be careful.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    I slide Peerie Maa off of her trailer for maintenance.


    I built roller chocks out of spare keel rollers

    They are sized so that the roller is higher than the rear cross beam of the trailer.
    I push the boat off the trailer until it tips, putting the stern onto a pad of timber. With my trailer I have to chock the trailer wheels so that the boat goes off of the trailer.
    I continue pulling the trailer out until I can place the roller chock under the boat, in front of its tipping point, where it takes some load off of the trailer. By using the trailer tongue to push down and lift the boat, I create the space needed for a helper to position the roller chock. I can then continue to pull the trailer out.
    You will need to sort out some stands to keep her upright. Peerie leans against a fender between her and the garden wall until I can get her bilge chocks in.
    To put the boat back on, I winch it on, rolling the boat over the roller chock.

    If you find the bunks give too much friction, a stake in the ground and a hand winch might be needed.
    Last edited by Peerie Maa; 05-02-2017 at 04:28 AM.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    I have rollers on my trailer and I simply pull the boat aft a bit and raise the front of the trailer, when the boat touches the ground I simply pull the trailer forward until the boat rest on the ground.
    Add a plank or two for the boat to rest on as the trailer moves forward (I let the boat sit on it's side, if you want to block it upright I suppose you could do this as well)
    You might want a helper or two to steady things, my boat is only 20' long and rather light so I usually manage alone.

    When it's time to load I connect the winch cable and snug it up so the first keel roller touches the stem and then I just winch the trailer in under the boat.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    I'm going to be the guy who gives the advice you didn't ask for. Get another trailer.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage


    Sometimes, the solution is too obvious.

    Besides, you don't trailer the laser do you? We carried mine on a roofrack throughout me teens
    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    Probably the greatest thread in the history of the WoodenBoat Forum.
    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Gibbs View Post
    Probably the greatest post in the history of the WoodenBoat Forum.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Hello all, Thank you very much for the ideas. Several avenues to pursue. And yes, Ryden, I trailer the Laser. When I was younger, I used to dolly on foot up the hill to a launching ramp, then I used a roof rack, but now that I'm 77 and have a rather unfortunate heart, I trailer it. I'm simply happy to be able to still sail!

    Cheers,
    John

  8. #8
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Quote Originally Posted by jpaz View Post
    Hello all, Thank you very much for the ideas. Several avenues to pursue. And yes, Ryden, I trailer the Laser. When I was younger, I used to dolly on foot up the hill to a launching ramp, then I used a roof rack, but now that I'm 77 and have a rather unfortunate heart, I trailer it. I'm simply happy to be able to still sail!

    Cheers,
    John
    This:
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Get another trailer.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

    The power of the web: Anyone can post anything on the web
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Quote Originally Posted by jpaz View Post
    Hello all, Thank you very much for the ideas. Several avenues to pursue. And yes, Ryden, I trailer the Laser. When I was younger, I used to dolly on foot up the hill to a launching ramp, then I used a roof rack, but now that I'm 77 and have a rather unfortunate heart, I trailer it. I'm simply happy to be able to still sail!
    77 and still sailing a Laser. Respect!
    I gave it a try last summer, but I can't keep up anymore.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    Probably the greatest thread in the history of the WoodenBoat Forum.
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    Probably the greatest post in the history of the WoodenBoat Forum.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    My thanks to all who contributed to this thread, even the wise old soul with unsought advice. I'm the latest "master of a Sea Pearl built in 1983 based on a design by the esteemed gentleman who dubbed her construction material "frozen snot." Her hull is sound, but the trailer needs some TLC. Now I've got some ideas about how to get to that. Grazie!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Make a couple of dollies with casters, or get a couple of Harbor Freight dollies and modify them a bit. Then just pick a nice sunny day, use a couple of jacks and the trailer jack and winch. Take your time, you'll see it's not at all hard. Like most jobs, just getting started is the hardest part.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wright View Post
    Make a couple of dollies with casters, or get a couple of Harbor Freight dollies and modify them a bit. Then just pick a nice sunny day, use a couple of jacks and the trailer jack and winch. Take your time, you'll see it's not at all hard. Like most jobs, just getting started is the hardest part.
    Dave, it looks, from your photo, like you've got your act worked out in this department. I'd sure like to see a more complete description of how you go about it! I've got a 600 pound hull to move around, and would regret damaging any appendages in the process...
    Last edited by Chris Noto; 05-03-2017 at 09:53 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Not sure how much the other boats weigh but for your Laser you could place some carpenter benches next to the trailer and just move over one end at a time.



    For the other boats you might build a sawhorse (with skids on it?) to put under the transom and ease the trailer forward, then block up the bow etc....

    My buddy built a travel lift, steel gussets at the corners, lift powered by a cordless drill. He pulls it with his lawn tractor and has a horizontal marine railway that goes out over his beach. He is in his 70s as well.

    Last edited by signalcharlie; 05-03-2017 at 09:56 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Noto View Post
    Dave, it looks, from your photo, like you've got your act worked out in this department. I'd sure like to see a more complete description of how you go about it! I've got a 600 pound hull to move around, and would regret damaging any appendages in the process...
    That boat is 21 feet, probably 1800 pounds with the motor, I'm 70 years old. To get the boat off you untie all side lines to trailer, leave the bow line to the trailer winch attached to boat, but with slack, tie a line from the stern to a fixed point ( tree anchor in the ground, etc), put a dolly aft on the ground, pull the trailer forward until the stern begins to tilt downward, move the dolly forward into position under the boat, adjust tension on bow line to winch, controlling boat tilt, continue. Get second dolly ready and into position. At this point I usually get a couple of folks on the trailer tongue to weight it down, tie line on trailer tongue to hitch, release ball hitch, carefully let trailer tongue tilt up, depositing boat on second dolly.

    Someone mentioned on another forum that he doesn't tie the stern off to a tree. He puts a pulley on the trailer rear cross bar, runs the line from the winch aft, through the pulley and back to the boat bow eye. He then winches the boat aft and doesnt have to move the trailer forward I will use his method next time.

    Loading the boat is easy. Disconnect trailer from tow vehicle. Jack forward section of boat up until trailer can slide partially under boat. Winch boat on, letting trailer tongue carefully rise in air. Continue winching, aft dolly moves forward with boat. Eventually tongue crops down and boat is winched fully forward. I lube my bunks for these operations.

    It's easier to do it than explain how. I'm a former Laser sailor. I'm a little guy and used to car top it on a wooden frame on top of an American Motors Gremlin. So moving a Laser is not an issue.If memory serves me right, I remember once seeing Laser champion Dick Rose driving by with two Lasers, one on top of the other on a Volvo sedan.

    Just get out on a nice sunny day, be careful, and move whatever boat you want around.

    I like the home made travel lift idea.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Taking photos uses too much valuable time, so don't have a lot. In this photo you can just notice that the trailer is tilted ( tongue up in air a bit), boat is on the bunks and also riding on the aft dolly. One person is winching it onto the trailer, the other person giving it a little push forward (Trailer wheels were blocked).


  16. #16
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    That's the first time a 77 year old has called me a wise old soul. Not sure how I feel about that. But I hope you work out something that keeps you getting out on your boats.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    The Jamestown Distributors catalog came in the mail yesterday. For $900 they have their "Total Boat Lift System." 900 bucks is a lot of money for amateur boaters, and if your trailer bunks extend underneath the transom as they should on an outboard, then you're going to have to fiddle with this system too. But there are some potential low cost ideas evident in this system. It's always good to remember that you can crank the forward and rear sections of your boat up using the trailer tongue jack alone.





  18. #18
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    I have a 4x4 strapped to the rafters of my boatsho...er...garage, and use a Harbor Freight chain hoist to lift my boats off their trailers and on/off my cheap 2x4 rolling boat cradle. Use a lifting beam and lots of caution.

    Since you obviously had trees on your property, if any are left standing consider using strong nylon straps to tie a chain hoist to a strong branch, then you can lift the boats off trailers and onto stands / old tires / whatever.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    I have a 4x4 strapped to the rafters of my boatsho...er...garage, and use a Harbor Freight chain hoist to lift my boats off their trailers and on/off my cheap 2x4 rolling boat cradle. Use a lifting beam and lots of caution.
    Now we're cooking with gas! I'll have to paint the beam in the carport to match the ceiling, but other than that, I'm home free! 😁

  20. #20
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Nothing to add to the discussion that hasn't already been said, but I do like this trick deal. First I've seen a homemade travel lift.

    -Dave

  21. #21
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wright View Post
    The Jamestown Distributors catalog came in the mail yesterday. For $900 they have their "Total Boat Lift System." 900 bucks is a lot of money for amateur boaters, and if your trailer bunks extend underneath the transom as they should on an outboard, then you're going to have to fiddle with this system too. But there are some potential low cost ideas evident in this system. It's always good to remember that you can crank the forward and rear sections of your boat up using the trailer tongue jack alone.






    This last photo has a number of things wrong with it . For one thing, boat stands should never be used to support the boat. The boat should be supported by keel blocking and the stands provide balance.
    This is for safety and for the good of the boat, which isn't meant to span supports like that.

    Secondly, boat stands should be chained together.

    Kevin


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  22. #22
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    This last photo has a number of things wrong with it . For one thing, boat stands should never be used to support the boat. The boat should be supported by keel blocking and the stands provide balance.
    This is for safety and for the good of the boat, which isn't meant to span supports like that.

    Secondly, boat stands should be chained together.

    Kevin


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Perhaps they've depicted it this way, not for storage, but temporary support just prior to rolling the trailer under it.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Nothing to add to the discussion that hasn't already been said, but I do like this trick deal. First I've seen a homemade travel lift.

    I have an uncanny feeling I've seen that picture before...
    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    Probably the greatest thread in the history of the WoodenBoat Forum.
    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Gibbs View Post
    Probably the greatest post in the history of the WoodenBoat Forum.
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    in the yard at a local boat shop we had a yard trailer for moving townies around (16'x 6' sailing dories) we used a trailer with a jack and third wheel on the toung.

    lower the toung, block the transom, hold the boat from tiping over the blocking, raise the toung and roll out the trailer untill the last roller is 2+- ft from the bow, lower the toung, you will need to be sitting on the toung at this point, have the other guy block the forward part of the hull, usually about at the front of the centerboard box... done


  25. #25
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Hello Everybody, Except for the facetious, I've enjoyed and found thoughtful all of the suggestions and illustrations contained herein. I especially like Daniel Noyes suggestion...elegantly simple and useful. A question, if I may, Mr. Noyes: Could you please describe the reverse process of loading a Townie on the trailer?

    Thanks all and Cheers,
    John

  26. #26
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    sure, it's just the opposite... run trailer under bow, back to first supports, lower toung to lift boat with rear roller, remove supports, hold boat securely... this can be done buy taking up tension with the winch when putting the boat back on, roll trailer back/winch boat on, lower toung again to lift transom off back blocks, roll boat away.

    the key to this method is the trailer axel as the fulcrum and using the rear rollers and lowered toung of the trailer alternately at stern and bow, to lift the boat higher than the level trailer and blocking it up there.

    it helps a great deal to have a stable platform to set the boat on and off, we used cinderblocks, two piled on top of each other side by side alternating orientation with each layer.

    If you have to do this alone a couple-4 cinderblocks can be tied together and used to counter weight the toung but it really is a operation that works better with two people... there is really very little heavy lifting involved if done right... hardest part is shifting the cinderblocks around.

    the end result of this method is a fairly heavy small boat on blocking a few inches higher than trailer height, just high enough to be able to paint the bottom, it is a little too hight to do any work inside the baot from the ground though so not very convenient for repairs, but ok if stable to climb inside to paint or do simple projects.
    Last edited by Daniel Noyes; 05-05-2017 at 09:21 PM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: advice sought on small boat trailer usage

    Thank you, Mr. Noyes...an elegant and simple solution to getting my Gartside Jessie, named Hope, off and on the trailer...the Laser I can still manhandle (carefully!). I suspect you already know that at 15' X 5' 10" and 600lbs, a Jessie is not too dissimilar to a Townie, although the Townie's flat bottom would be more easily blocked.

    Cheers,
    John

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