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Thread: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

  1. #1

    Default Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    I purchased a 22 foot Moscungus Bay Sloop from a gent in PA, and moved the boat back to my house using a wood cradle and a borrowed flatbed. It worked well enough. Might have been a little tongue heavy.



    Now that the boat is home, I'll need a trailer to move the boat every spring and fall to move the boat from the by house to the boat yard for crane launching.

    I'm thinking of two options:

    Option 1: Get a new Venture bunk trailer and attach a 2x8 keel support with jack stands welded to the corners.

    Option 2: Buy a flatbed car hauler with wood deck, and have jack stands welded to the corners.

    Both will cost about the same. A new venture trailer and a new flatbed car hauler will run me just over $3k. With the boat trailer, I can move the axles forward to better balance the load, but I may need extra cross members welded to support the boat in the middle. The Flatbed is super rugged and will be a good base to add upright supports for the hull. The boat trailer is almost 25 feet long so I may be able to add some sort of mast rack to the side (mast is 25' long).

    I'm not sure how much the boat weighs.

    One other part of this problem, is that boat sales in New England went off the charts this summer due to covid, and boat trailers are in demand. Used boat trailers are selling fast for 2/3 to 3/4 the cost of new trailers.

    Any advice would be appreciated!



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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    For seasonal use as you describe, I would absolutely go the flatbed route.
    whoa, camel. WHOA CAMEL!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    How far do you have to haul to your usual launch point? My initial thought is also "flatbed" as you can the have something useful for moving lumber/stuff while the boat's in the water. Perhaps make the boat cradle removable?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    How far do you have to haul to your usual launch point? My initial thought is also "flatbed" as you can the have something useful for moving lumber/stuff while the boat's in the water. Perhaps make the boat cradle removable?
    It's a two hour drive to where I launch. I was thinking the same. I could use it to move lumber and stuff for 6 months a year, even if I had jack stands welded to the corners the middle would be open.

    One of the downsides to the flatbed is the ride might be a bit more harsh, and it may be a less attractive package should I decide to sell the boat at some point down the road.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    Very good points...especially since you're towing for two hours. I'd guess you're only displacing a couple thousand pounds, so that wouldn't be loading down a flatbed very much, but you could ballast it for the trip to ease the ride. That resale consideration is one I seldom think of, since boats tend to be one direction for me I could have a couple too many (If you ask my wife).

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    Flatbed and a cradle; have something that is useful after you launch. Since the plans are available for the boat, it would be possible to calculate the weight. And BTW do you have inside ballast? It would be real good to get it out when you trail and store the boat.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    You're going to need a weight of the boat which ever trailer you choose. So you might as well get it now. Then buy a flatbed to suit. When I bought a trailer for my small sailboat (1400 pounds) I got a boat trailer only because they are usually available galvanized whereas utility trailers normally are painted. When I asked about a trailer for a sailboat, most manufacturers told me they don't make them for sailboats. Not enough market and too variable in their needs. So I had to essentially build my own using their platform. You will have to do the same so you might as well start with what you want.

    Don't worry about resale. That will work itself out when the time comes. Chances are it won't be an issue.

    Jeff

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    flatbed/car hauler

    all same underneath

    based on the gvw spec'd the ride will be the same

    the distinctions are the side rails(round or square) and the perimeter angle iron bed frame

    the flatbeds will have lighter perimeter angle iron frame getting the additional strength from the side rails

    the car haulers will have heavier perimeter frame angle iron to make up for the lost strength of the side rails

    the better trailers will have wrap around tongues under the frame reaching back to the fenders that are stronger than the standard tongues which are terminated at the 2nd cross member

    many car haulers will also have removable fenders for loading and unloading wider vehicles and for being able to open doors while a vehicle is secured on the trailer

    otherwise size for size they will have the same under carriage which you can choose if you goto the manufacturer

    determine what size platform you want and goto the manufacturer once you have the boat weighed and can tell him what you intend to carry

    you can goto most any truck stop for scaling within 20#

    get a metal cradle/sled made w/ the keel support and balance jacks welded in place that can be slid in n out n chained down at will

    down here this type of project is frequently welcomed at trailer shops w/o hesitation and the guys there may even have a clue and make some specific recommendations that would make the project work even better

    btw, a typical 16' flatbed or car hauler will come standard w/ 2-3500# axles on leaf springs for a 7000#gvw

    axles come in 1000# 2000# 3500# 5000# and 7000# capacities in this market which is the same or at least darn close in yours

    BON CHANCE

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  9. #9

    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    I'm doing more research into details. I can get a wood decked flatbed for $2900 new compared to $3300 for the boat specific trailer. The flatbed has electric brakes on both axles where the boat trailer has surge brakes on one axle.

    The flatbed may be easier to customize to the boat since the deck is wood. I can't weld and would need to hire this out.

    Yes, the boat has 1200lbs of ballast that is removed for transport.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    My brother & I had a 22' sloop that came with a cradle. We used my (already owned) flatbed & it worked a treat. For hauling, we simply chained down the cradle front & rear. Then we added 4 swivel jacks to the cradle. When the boat was off, we'd slide the cradle back 1 ft. drop the aft 2 jacks, slide it further & drop the fwd 2 jacks (mounted just a bit aft of the end so they could be dropped while the cradle was still supported by the trailer). Then crank down the jacks until the cradle was off the trailer by an inch - then pull the trailer away.

    One person could do it - 2 made it a 10 min. operation, and when done we had a fully functional flatbed. The cradle was narrow enough to fit between the wheels of the trailer. And - no, do not try to support the cradle & boat on the jacks!
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    Quote Originally Posted by preserved_killick View Post
    I'm doing more research into details. I can get a wood decked flatbed for $2900 new compared to $3300 for the boat specific trailer. The flatbed has electric brakes on both axles where the boat trailer has surge brakes on one axle.

    The flatbed may be easier to customize to the boat since the deck is wood. I can't weld and would need to hire this out.

    Yes, the boat has 1200lbs of ballast that is removed for transport.
    On a wood bed flat bed you could mount a couple of boxes for your ballast. Just looked at the custom trailer I have for my 2500 pound daysailer; the springs are the tires. It went around the UK some and got hauled from RI to Maine without any problems. Since the boat sits on the trailer all winter, I jack it and block it so the tires don't go flat. And I have a useless trailer in summer, rather have something I can use.

    BTW I made a light bar for my rig so the lights are on the stern of the boat. Not really an issue for you as you figure to launch via straps and crane.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?


    This is from a WBF thread dated 2007 or so.

    Oughtred's Eun Mara on a launch/retrieval dolly, when you order the plans for the boat from Iain he includes a rough sketch. The idea being that with a set of ramps you winch the dolly off the trailer, keeping it nice and salt-water free. It is briefly written up in Watercraft article that talks about the Eun Mara, as I recall it was considered a decent way to get the boat on and off the trailer. One of these days I'll try building one myself, I too would rather have a nice flatbed trailer suitable for hauling the boat out once a year and available for other uses than the too-big boat trailer that currently sits in the blackberry thicket most of the time.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    The retrieval trailer is pretty much standard in the UK. I have one for my Romily. An interesting piece of kit.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    Not sure where you are located or where you are looking for trailers. On The Road in Warren ME do lots of flatbeds, many for lobstering and can customize them. I don't recall which lines they carry.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  15. #15

    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    Thanks for the info everyone, it does seem that a flatbed has the most advantages. Ben, I'm in NH, but Maine trailer dealers have the better inventory.

    That dolly set up is neat!

    I'm leaning towards getting the flatbed, then either getting a cradle made of steel or perhaps continue to use my wood cradle. I was originally thinking of having jack stands welded right to the trailer, but perhaps the separate cradle would be better if not too costly.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    Downeaster in Topsham Maine has nice trailers & good prices http://downeastermfg.com/

    They make 'em there - they're not just a dealer.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    How does one position the boat onto the dolly during retrieval? With the dolly being under the water, vision is greatly impaired.

    Jeff

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    As I understand it, the dolly is built to index with the hull and with slight positive buoyancy. If you look closely in the picture, there is a line running from the bow eye to the dolly, I suspect to limit travel under the hull while setting it in place. My guess is there is a matching one on the other side.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?



    Ed Pearson posted this here a few years ago.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  20. #20

    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    That's a neat system.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Downeaster in Topsham Maine has nice trailers & good prices http://downeastermfg.com/

    They make 'em there - they're not just a dealer.
    I did call Downeaster, they don't make trailers any more.

    https://www.scottsrecreation.com/New...Craigslist|477

    I'm thinking this trailer or the 18 foot version. The thing with these is that the last two feet is angled down like a beavertail. The 20 foot trailer has 18 feet of flat deck. The 18 foot trailer has 16 feet of flat deck and if I get the 18 foot version I'll attach something to the last 2 feet to support the stern post. Ideally I have 16.5 feet of flat deck.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    Bummer on Downeaster - a friend has one of their trailers & it's nice.

    My 20' has a beavertail & while it's nice when using the ramps, it does reduce the flat area. There are flatbeds without the beavertail available. Here's one from that site - dunno the capacity: https://traileroutlet.net/product/f1-60ch/

    The all-flat ones tend to be cheaper too.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Trailer needed for my new boat. Flatbed or conventional boat trailer?

    If you plan to launch with a travel lift the wooden cradle and a flat bed would work fine. No need to spend money on a welded up trailer. If you want to skid the boat and cradle off the trailer for work or some such, a ramp on the back and setting up the cradle so you can jack the ends high enough to get pipe rollers underneath would be good.

    For the trailer that was custom built/ modified at ON THE ROAD to take the 38' Atlantic Challenge gigs, On the Road set it up so it could take jacks at each corner to stabilize the trailer when we worked on boats on it, and to be able to take the weight off the tires in winter.

    I don't know how On the Road prices compare to other dealers or what lines they carry.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

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