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Thread: Somes Sound 12 1/2 trailer launching

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    ontario
    Posts
    2

    Question Somes Sound 12 1/2 trailer launching

    Hi all,

    I am looking for my next boat project and my heart is set on a Somes Sound 12 1/2. My head says I should ask those who have experience what it is like to trailer and launch that type of boat vs say a 17' dinghy. My situation is that i do not have access to a mooring, so would need to launch off a ramp each time i want to sail. I am looking for any words of advice as part of a sanity check.

    thanks
    Peter

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    PNW, an island west of Seattle
    Posts
    2,748

    Default Re: Somes Sound 12 1/2 trailer launching

    Hi Peter. I'm sorry to have to tell you that wishing to own a wooden boat (or any boat for that matter) means that you've left sanity behind. The road ahead is, in fact, crazy. Nevertheless, you need to proceed. There is a certain sublime satisfaction that comes with the embrace of a wooden boat. I built and sail a Somes Sound. Emily Ruth was first launched in 2015. Since then I've spent each summer sailing her several days a week. I am fortunate in that I have a mooring for her and that does make it a lot more convenient to sail. But she launches and retrieves easily. I usually have help at the launch ramp but that is more because of the ramp than the boat. Our local ramp does not have a dock so it is impossible to do it by myself. Usually a friend helps me set up the boat then backs her into the water with me aboard. I sail away and my friend drives my van and trailer back home. The retrieve is similar. At the ramp in Port Townsend there is a dock. So there, I can do the whole thing solo.

    I won't kid you... the setup goes faster with help if the helper knows what he/she is doing. The guy who usually helps me knows what to do so we can have the boat ready to launch in 30 to 40 minutes. Sometimes a little longer if there are a lot of people asking questions about the boat. She draws attention.

    I made a 5' tongue extension for my trailer in order to get the boat deep enough to float free. This works quite well. There is nothing more inherently difficult about launching an SS than a sailing dinghy. I had a Wayfarer before the SS and other than needing more water at the ramp, everything was more or less the same. You might not be able to launch at a low tide. It depends on your ramp.

    Feel free to ask any specific questions. By the way... I absolutely love sailing my boat. She is everything I expected and hoped for.

    Jeff

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    ontario
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Somes Sound 12 1/2 trailer launching

    Hi Jeff
    thanks for the speedy reply!
    I am glad for the encouragement - i just need that nudge to get into gear. Yes I expect a tongue extension for the trailer will do the job.
    I really enjoyed your build thread btw. and i expect I will be quite shameless in asking for other tips along the way!
    Peter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Guerilla Bay, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: Somes Sound 12 1/2 trailer launching

    Hi Jeff, I too am thinking about a Somes Sound - I have built 2 glued clinker boats so far. Just 1 question for you - do you find the boat heavy to trail with that big lead keel ? I have a AWD 2litre diesel Vw Passat with about 400 nM of torque which tows my other boats fine - my larger boat is 17' long with a diesel inboard. I must admit the Somes looks like it might be ideal for me as my legs seem to be losing spring as the years progress!

    Regards Neil

    p.s. did you make your own spars? And how long is the SS mast - is it easy to step by yourself?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    PNW, an island west of Seattle
    Posts
    2,748

    Default Re: Somes Sound 12 1/2 trailer launching

    Quote Originally Posted by neil.henderson View Post
    - do you find the boat heavy to trail with that big lead keel ? I must admit the Somes looks like it might be ideal for me as my legs seem to be losing spring as the years progress!

    Regards Neil

    p.s. did you make your own spars? And how long is the SS mast - is it easy to step by yourself?
    I find that the boat tows quite well. I pull it with a VW Eurovan, a vehicle that is not known for it's great towing capability. Quite the contrary, actually. But, the boat/trailer combo is below the 2000 pound limit that VW puts on the vehicle. I don't have brakes on the trailer and have never had an issue. I carry the mast on top of the van.

    I did make my own spars and the build blog here depicts the process. http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...es-Sound-Build
    The mast is fairly light and I can handle it by myself. However for some strange reason I've noticed that it seems to get a little more difficult as it ages. Each year it seems a bit heavier and more cumbersome. I don't think it has anything to do with my own self. Has to be the wood. Anyway.... I have the marconi rig. I suspect that the gaff rig mast, being 4 feet shorter, would be even easier. I chose to use dyneema for the shrouds and forestay to keep the rig as light as possible.

    The boat is very comfortable to sit in and I can easily get up a stretch my legs if desired. My tiller tender device will keep her tracking well enough for me to walk forward to adjust the jib or whatnot. I've never come close to being pitched out of the boat. But I'm very mindful about it!

    Happy to answer any and all questions.

    Jeff

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Guerilla Bay, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: Somes Sound 12 1/2 trailer launching

    Thanks Jeff - I agree that long things get heavier as the years go by - I blame all that co2 in the atmosphere, it must be making things heavier with all those extra atoms swilling around............... Even so I can raise the mast on my Gannet fairly easily and its abot 15 feet made of Sitka Spruce which we hollowed out. I wasn't brave enough to try birdsmouth yet.

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