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Steve W

Trailer for Core Sound Mark 3 boats.

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I'm always reluctant to start a new thread, but I researched and couldn't find anything that brought this subject all together. Amos and I are both at the "find a trailer" stage. I'd like to start with a few observations and then get your input and hopefully I can then make a selection from the vast selection of available trailers out there. For me anyway, price isn't really a concern. I'm a cheapskate by nature, but this is such an important detail it is more important to get right.

 

Trailer length. I t seems most of the CS boats I have seen use trailers made for shorter boats. I am looking at "Skiff" style boat trailers and I think mos of them are expecting a heavy outboard at the stern. I'd think a boat made for a 17' skiff would hold a 20' boat just fine (My 21' Sea Peal sits on a factory trailer made for a 17' Skiff). Some of the available ones have adjustable axles and many don't have the winch post very far forward. Please discuss.

 

Trailer Width.  I've noticed two trends. Trailers where the boat sits over the fenders (Example: Graham)  and trailers where the boat sits between the fenders (Example: Pete M, Doug C) .  I'm leaning towards the former just because of the narrow profile of these trailers. The downside is the trailer sits a bit higher on the trailer. Please discuss.

 

Load Range.  Many trailers look like they would fit the CS20.3 but seem to heavily built. I had the misfortune of having to tow my Sea Pearl on a powerboat trailer made for a Sea Ray 180 powerboat trailer. I had to cinch the hull down really hard because the whole boat was bouncing like crazy. I'm thinking a trailer set up for 1000 pounds would be ideal, with 1500 being the max. Please discuss.

 

Tilt Tongue.This is an option I have on my sea Pearl trailer. I really think if I buy a trailer I want this. I've had a few trailer-able boats with these and you could launch at the edge of the water in water as shallow as the trailer frame. I threw this in here for others in case they haven't considered this. Please discuss.

 

Wheel size/Quality. In reviewing the archives I've seen a preference for larger tires. My take is that quality tires, good air pressure and serviced bearing are more important. Please discuss.

 

Galvanized/Aluminum. I won't consider just a painted trailer. I plan on occasional salt water dunking.  So that leaved Aluminum vs. Galvanized. I've owned many galvanized trailers but never an aluminum one. Please discuss.

 

Anything Else?

 

 

 

 

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Steve,

 

This is a good idea to keep the trailer talk in one place.

 

As has been discussed, dealers are used to big heavy boats with a big outboard on the transom. This trailer will cost more, add a heavier load on the tow vehicle and result in lower gas mileage and give the boat a harsher ride not to mention being a lot harder to man handle.

 

My trailer has been under many boats. It was originally built for a 20' cat which meant that it had to have a narrow wheel base to fit inside the hulls. The advantages are maneuvering is tight spaces is great and the trailer is long and supporting more of the boat. The main disadvantage is that the boat is high for climbing on board.

 

I used to have 13" wheels but found that 12" rims fit on the same hubs. This does not seem like a lot but the tire thickness reduction as well as the smaller rim lowered the boat about 3". Carlita was towed 13 -14 k miles last year without any wheel or bearing issues.

 

I prefer to not put the bearings and electrics in the water. This means that the boat needs to roll off the trailer easily. To achieve this, you need lots of smooth running rollers down the keel line. I watched Joe launch his EC22 at the messabout and she rolled off perfectly. At least 5 sets of keel rollers. This is also kinder to the boat. 

 

The next consideration is the bunks. They need to be set at the lowest point of the hull which is about midships on our boats at their transverse position. This is not always easy on powerboat trailers as they are usually set too far aft. If the bunks are not at of the lowest part of the hull, they will lift the keel off of the rollers causing lots of friction as the boat rolls aft. The transverse position for the bunks is not that critical in the mk3's as there is plenty of structure above the bunks. I would just locate them above the trailer frame. I like all of the boat to be carried on the keel follers and use the bunks just to stop the boat from tipping. I do not think that roller bunks are necessary on a boat this light but I am going to switch my carpet to starboard.

 

I think that properly set up you do not need a tilt trailer.

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There are lots of things to consider with trailers, though most are geared for outboard powered craft, which causes issues with small sailors.

 

Length can afford a bit of sailboat hanging off the aft portion of the frame, without harm, assuming fitted bunks that'll stick out an inch or so past the transom. More important than length is axle adjust-ability. Most trailers have a angle iron type of frame for the leaf springs. These can be unbolted and slid fore or aft. In most cases for a CS series size boat, you'll likely move them all the way aft. This will offer some tongue weight and the boat will ride better underway. These boats are so light, you'll want as much tongue weight as practical.

 

For short trips and/or flat ground any wheel diameter will do, but most of us doing any serious towing will prefer a larger diameter. I consider 12" a minimum, but I've seen some with smaller go a long way. These boats are so light, I don't think it matters that much and a smaller wheel means you're in the water quicker at the ramp.

 

Construction would be: aluminum structural "C" channel, galvanized steel structural "C", Box or rectangular rail or lastly stamped steel rail as the preferred types and materials, in descending order. Finding an aluminum C channel or I beam would be hard in this size, but lots of steel ones are around, though the box or rectangular tube type are most common, along with the much more flimsy stamped steel stuff. The stamped steel ones are also commonly bolted together, which can make them portable, but also cause them to rattle loose and rust quickly. I have a 28' aluminum I beam tandem, that I wouldn't surrender without a serious gun battle, but good luck finding anything in aluminum for less than 20'.

 

Trailer width is a two edged sword. I prefer a higher mount on small craft like the CS series, but a lower mount on larger craft, where the extra depth can make launching easier. A higher mount can also carry things, like spars on the trailer, instead of on the boat and other things like trailer boxes for spares. These also can make getting loaded and unloaded easier, because you're higher off the water, before it floats. I consider anything less than 20' pretty darn small, so treat them as such, so the low mount, maybe with a tilt tongue can be justified, if you're in really shoal waters, like I am.

 

Suspensions are typically leaf springs, but if you do serious towing, consider upgrading the a torsion spring. There's few different types, but the spring rates are more geared to smaller, lighter craft. Spring rates for most trailers you find will be too heavy for a CS series. If it has multiple leaves consider pulling one or two out of the leaf stake. It's easy and they usually just fall apart once the thing is unbolted and unpacked. Replacement springs of the appropriate length, just lighter weight are also available. 

 

The best trailer I had and wish I still had was a "truck arm" setup with a set of motorcycle shocks on it. Two long, slightly diagonally set arms came back from the front cross brace and were bolted to the axle. The spring over shocks were mounted on the frame outboard and of course to a bracket on the axle end. Nicest single I ever owned and I don't know who made it.

 

Support is the biggest thing with trailers. Centerline rollers, as many as practical, even if you need to install an extra cross brace. Bunks are the usual route, but I like stands on heavier boats. Bunks works fine, but cause a lot of friction loading and unloading. Stands don't, as they simple submerge once you back in, getting the back of the boat free and floating faster. Floppy top stands are what I use and their sole role is to prevent the boat from flopping over when cornering over the road. They carry little weight underway. The rocker on boats of this general size is usually shallow enough, that bunks are just fine for most.

 

If you like your boat, don't ever consider rollers on the bunks or "roller bunks". This is the easiest way to pop seams and fasteners in wooden boats. 

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Hi Steve, I built my trailer out of light 4 inch C channel, I wanted the axle far enough forward to balance the tongue weight and I wanted the trailer to protect the boat from Buffy in her SUV so my trailer frame is all the way to the transom. I used a 4 inch drop torsion axle rated at 1500 lbs to give the boat a softer ride.  It is a 8 ft axle, so the boat sits between the wheels and the fenders become boarding steps when on the trailer.   I used 14 inch rims because we seem to drag the boat around a lot, I calculated we have pulled Southern Express over 22,000 miles since we started sailing her. (Notice I didn’t say finished) .  My plan was to build the trailer and tweak it till perfection when have the frame hot dipped galvanized.  We have/had several places along the gulf coast that had huge vats of hot zinc because of the oil industry.

 

 Some success some failures.  The environment concerns have made galvanizing business has just about become to expensive to have my trailer blasted and coated.  I currently have it primed with primer and paint fugitive of the offshore industry and top coated with bed liner. Call that 38% effective. The full perimeter frame has done a great job of protection,  at the expense of easy loading.  43% effective.  14 wheels reduce bearing speed and with the soft riding drop torsion axle mid trailer,  78% success.   I have gotten almost 4 years and anticipate 2-3 more before I replace the entire trailer.  Pulls great!  92% success. 

 

There is a firm that builds or assembles aluminum frames in Waveland Ms that I plan to have an aluminum trailer assembled “next” year.  Looks like a mondo erector set!  Aluminum with stainless hardware with dissimilar metal protection might be the most cost effective over a longer period when used in saltwater. 

Edited by Jknight611

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Steve,

Thanks for posting such a well laid out and thoughtful query. And thanks to Jay, PAR and Graham, for responding with such great detail and experience. I'm trying to figure out trailers myself, and this discussion has really helped shape my thinking about it.

Fred

 

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Thanks Steve,

 

This is a subject almost everyone can appreciate. And having all the comments consolidated on one thread is a great idea. 

 

For the the couple of small boats I have built, finding an appropriate trailer has been a challenge. I have several miles of gravel road (yup, warshboard) just to get to the highway, so any trip is rough from the get-go.  The comments about rollers, bunks, etc. and their placement are helpful.  I haven’t removed leaves from any springs to make a softer ride yet; but that’s something worth trying. 

 

I’m not all that close to putting my OB20 on a trailer (it’s still upside down), but it’s fun to think about it. I’ve always thought i’d buy a used trailer and modify it to fit the boat, rather than having a new one built for it. Comments on that plan please. 

 

Carter

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I recently replaced my old, modified gal steel trailer with an aluminium trailer. I really like it so far. Like Graham I hate putting the hubs in the water but because I have a sizable overhang of the stern at the rear of the trailer I now submerge the trailer to reduce stress on the frame. My wheels are fitted with bearing buddies and I rig the boat before launching to let the hubs cool before hitting cold water. I also pump a bit more grease after each retrieval. I took the hubs apart last weekend and no sign of water getting in.

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   I bought a new galvanized steel trailer that was surplus to someone else's requirements for my CS17 (Mark I).  It cost $800 in 2005ish if I remember correctly.  The trailer was built for a 14' powerboat and the major components were bolt-on and the positions were adjustable.  The adjustability was the major reason I bought that particular trailer.  I think it had 14" wheels on it.

   The trailer was available in galvanized steel or aluminium construction but the springs were the same regardless of the material.  Since I bought the heavier steel frame, the springs were a bit more pre-loaded and the ride was smoother for the boat.  I didn't do that on purpose, though, the last aluminium frame trailer sold an hour before I got there. :)

   To set the trailer up I first hooked it up to my truck (without the boat) and adjusted the vertical post with the bow chock as close as I could and still allow a good turn radius (go to an empty parking lot and drive forward in a couple of circles with the steering wheel turned all the way - Then stop and adjust the post accordingly).  The reason I did that was to minimize the overall length of the rig and make it easy to maneuver around a boat ramp.  Then I set up the rollers and bunks to support the boat as per Graham's recommendations.  Once the boat was sitting nicely on the trailer I moved the axle (forward) until the tongue weight was positive but light enough to lift fairly easily (30 lbs/13kgs?)*.

   I added bearing buddies, a jack and a spare tire and I followed Graham's practice of rolling the boat on and off of the trailer.  I would only back the trailer until the tires touched the water.  I didn't put the axle, bearings, or lights under water.

 

* This may sound light but with a properly adjusted trailer hitch, the trailer never fishtailed even at 70mph (110kph) in varying wind and rain conditions.

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Lots of good thoughts so far.

As mentioned earlier one of the challenges in finding a suitable trailer is that trailers designed for a twenty foot boat are also designed for much heavier boats.

I ordered my trailer with an extended tongue.  This allowed me to move the winch post further forward and fit a longer boat on the trailer. The tongue was longer than I needed so I cut it off to the desired length. ouch. I also removed one of leaves from the springs. Having an axle that can be moved fore and aft to adjust tongue weight is almost mandatory.  If you are storing in a confined space make sure the total rig length will fit.

 

A wide wheel base can allow the boat to sit a little lower. The fenders can make a convenient step for entering exiting the boat. However it is easier to drop a wheel off the pavement and negotiating fuel stations, curbs, becomes more challenging.

 

I adapted Graham's launch technique.  I have six keel rollers. Five should be plenty. I back until the tires just kiss the water and the boat rolls off. The trailer never gets wet. Six years of salt water and no indication of corrosion problems.  Winching up does take a little effort. Also be mindful of what the boat will contact when it inadvertently comes off the rollers. Not much is required of the forward two or three rollers and your average roller will do. The stern roller must carry a significant portion of the boat weight and roll freely. After the first couple of launches I installed a Stoltz roller back there and no problems since.

 

I never considered trailer brakes. I figured the tow weight was low enough and besides trailer brakes would soon be rusted and useless.  If you are launching off the keel rollers and keeping the trailer dry, brakes may be worth considering if you a towing with a small vehicle.

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Great info from all. I am now thinking that an adjustable axle fore and aft looks pretty important. I like the idea of not getting the trailer wet, but I'm up in fresh water where that doesn't matter much but I do go to salt at least once a year.  Most new trailer I've looked at are either "roller" or "bunk" and not a combo. If any of you (Joe? Graham?) have a picture that would be great.

 

I got my Sea Pearl rear ended in and accident and a tougher trailer run to the back of the boat would not have helped it. It's on a Continental trailer (Model C-715). If they sold these trailers anywhere near here I'd buy another.

 

Right now the leader is the Venture VB-1800. I'm talking to the manufacturer to see if I can get lighter springs (maybe the ones they use on VB-1300 ) from the factory. The dealer here is a really nice guy, but thinks there is no way a 20' boat goes on a trailer like that and isn't too keen on hearing me out.  I had to bypass him and talk to the manufacturer. They are in Maryland. Stay tuned. 

 

BTW.....a few of my friends said that aluminum trailers get stolen a lot. Apparently they have a good scrap value. FWIW.

 

 

 

 

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I looked at a new EZ Loader trailer today with an oil bath axle.  It had a clear cap on the end of the axle; you could easily look right in and see the amount of oil.  The trailer was expensive ($2,000).  

 

I really liked the ability to look right in the axle and see the state of the oil.  Probably overkill for our uses.

 

1063d.jpg.3fffeef29946d0a37e801b283f3b47fb.jpg

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Launch Day!                  Photos are not specifically of the trailer setup, but I hope it gives you an idea.

IMG_6411.jpg

IMG_6413.jpg

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I have the oil bath bearings on EZ Loader trailers for the Belhaven 19 and CS17.  They have been trouble free for years and still showing oil half full.  Also a big fan of the LED lights.

I'm a lazy "float on", "float off' guy.  I've mounted a 2x12 plank down the middle of the trailers and it works well as a walking ramp during retrieval.  Even with boots on, keeping your feet out of the 50F water is important for winter sailing because you'll never get them warm again.  

On the lighter boat (CS17), I built a simple frame to rest across the cockpit where the straps cross it.  This allows me to strap the boat down tight enough to prevent it bouncing around on the trailer.  The ratchet strap tie-downs stay fixed to the frame which also saves a few minutes each launching.

I say go galvanized and don't spend a moment worrying about getting the trailer wet.

A million ways to do this and they're all right.

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Ken Potts— how is the bow chock position relevant to turning radius?

 

I have been having trouble with my incandescent lights.  LED’s are definitely the way to go.  I’m amazed that you guys keep your trailers totally out of the water.*  If you do that, there’s no need even for galvanized.   My Bay River Skiff does not have the rounded stem/keel entry;  she does not winch up that first roller as easily as the CS designs.  I’ve had trouble getting her on and off the trailer at a shallow ramp, since I do not have a tilting trailer.  Finally, my Bearing Buddies are running nice and cool, in spite of my dunking them every time I launch.  

 

*  I’m a Lake Erie muskrat living in NC.  I will learn about salt water the hard way.

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16 hours ago, Thrillsbe said:

Ken Potts— how is the bow chock position relevant to turning radius?

 

 

   I don't know what the post that holds the bow chock is called, but that's what I meant.

   I wanted to keep the overall length of truck, trailer and boat as short as possible to make it easier to back the trailer into position either at the boat ramp or into a curved driveway (it's also nice to not have to store an extra-long boat/trailer combo).  I've seen some trailers set up so that the weight is balanced nicely but there is a long distance between the bow chock and the back of the tow vehicle.  That's probably a desirable thing if you have an SUV and need to open the back hatch while the trailer is present, but I had a pickup so I didn't need the clearance.

   Having a look at the relative positions of the truck and trailer when turning as tightly as possible was just a way to get an idea of how close I could get the bow chock to the tailgate of the truck without worrying too much about having them hit each other when turning in a tight radius.  Of course it was still possible to jacknife the trailer when backing up but only if I exceeded the turn radius of the truck.

   If I'm still not describing it well I can post a drawing that will clear things up. :)

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By bow chock you mean the notch on the pedestal of the trailer that receives the bow of the boat?  I normally use that term to represent:

 

image.png.4479323f53554fd195fc97f0ca27772a.png

This may be what is confusing some, including me  :P

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Graham is right that I'm talking about the vertical post that sticks up from the trailer frame at the front of the boat.  It holds the thing that stops the boat from moving forward when you brake really hard (maybe the bow chock or maybe another word). :)

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   I think Dave understood me but he posted a picture of something different.  Before I go out sailing tomorrow I'll try to remember to take a picture of the bow-winch-pylon-post-stand-thingy that shouldn't be adjusted too close to the tailgate for fear of damage and shouldn't be adjusted too far away for fear of difficulty in handling and storage.

   I feel certain that now I have confused the maximum number of people possible :)

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