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Trailering Close and Far

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How do you prep your boat for trailering to locations close and far?


When I'm close to home I want fast set up times. I'd like to eliminate as much rigging and set up as possible. I'd even keep the sails on if I thought I could safely get away with it. What do you do to minimize your set up time? What lines do you leave in place? How about the sprits?


When I'm far away I want to minimize future set up but protect the boat from wind, bugs, gravel, etc. On my current boat I secure the mast in a crutch forward and aft and wrap it, the furler extrusion, the stays, and any lines together with a generous amount of stretch wrap. I also wrap the crutches, the, shrouds, the pulpit, etc. so I don't have to scrab the bugs off later. Unwrap and she's ready.


I don't have a Core Sound yet but I'm working on it. My Catalina 18 has too much draft and is time consuming to rig. Help me learn the tricks to trailer a new Core Sound home.




Thanks to Ted Johanson for his video on Setting up the Core Sound 15 Norma T.




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I don't change a single thing when I trailer; doesn't matter how far I go (I have a CS 20.3).


I've trailered from Virginia to Florida with no issues.  I leave the rudder on, leave all the lines on, leave the anchor on its sprit.  I worried a bit about the lines slapping the first time I drove to FL this way, but they didn't as they mostly align with the wind, and I put some tension on them when I cleat them off.


I can get the boat rigged and in the water in 20-30 minutes (depending if my wife helps or not).  I use one very wide strap across the back of the boat.  The one thing I need to improve is reefing lines; this summer I'm going to figure out a way to leave them semi-attached.

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The reefing lines are a big hassle, especially the ones on the sprits.  I’m renovating an old CS17 this spring/summer.   Since most of my sailing is daysailing, I’m gonna have two pairs of sprits.  One will have the reefing lines on it, and the other will be plain for “normal” daysailing use.  The reefing sprits will have detachable fittings, similar to what I did on PadrePoint’s Core Sound 17 mark 3, Avocet.  Yes, he has two Core Sounds!


When not in use, the reef lines (the ones for the leech of the sail) are bundled on the sprits, and not attached to the sail at all.IMG_8093.thumb.jpeg.231fc717e916a58617dc8b502e46d6d4.jpeg


Instead of passing the line through the reefing grommet, it takes a turn around a small block.  Richard Johnson first did this.  Richard was the owner of Avocet before Ted Johanson (PadrePoint).IMG_9087.thumb.jpeg.ab2d6984c0bdcfe93c33ecc8f3874039.jpeg


By lashing the block to an eye strap, it can be attached or unattached from the sail easily.  IMG_9086.thumb.jpeg.01d6755edf84b3b707a2142b260b7346.jpegIMG_9088.thumb.jpeg.40039e081f7c071754a4d1793a470bf9.jpeg

If it is a mild day, you can choose to hook up one, two, or no reefs as you decide.  For a cruise, you would connect both, of course.IMG_8621.thumb.jpeg.d7e6c33976eab23b0493dcb34acd6fd6.jpeg

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When I trailer on the highway I remove the rudder and insert a mast crutch that is outfitted with pintles. The crutch has a back plate on it so the masts can’t slide backward.


I also hook the downhauls over the main and mizzen crutches and snug them down and keep the masts from lifting the crutches up in the wind, which they want to do.



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@Captain Tim— Hah!  Calling me out on my knots!  Good for you!  You made me get out my Ashley’s.  He calls it a Scaffold Knot.



Animated Knots calls it a Poacher’s Knot.


I use it in many places, especially to fasten up my lashing blocks (which I love).  I see people using bowlines a lot for this, but they are ugly (in this application).  Sure, you can untie them easily, but the bitter end comes off at a right angle, which is U.G.L.Y.  My Scaffold/Poachers Knot is a solid knot, which I’ve used for years.  Sure, it is nasty to untie (I cut it off), but I don’t use it for those applications.  I’ll use a bowline for that.


Then, there’s the Halyard Hitch.  

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@Captain Tim-  Yes, I start by making two full circles around the eye strap and through the block.  Then, I tie a knot at both ends.  Just make sure the one on the eye strap is tight enough that the eye strap doesn’t fall out.  The line I like to use for this is tje stuff that comes packaged with the Ronstan Orbit 20 blocks.  I believe it is FSE Robline’s Dinghy Control Line in the 1.7mm size.  It has a Dyneema core.  https://www.fisheriessupply.com/fse-robline-dinghy-control/dc-2blu

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Avocet is locked away for another 2 1/2 months. One of these knots on the second reef started loosening and I’ll need to fix it… by learning how Don made them. They seem effective and I’m sure my fiddling around loosened them a bit. 

Instead of bunching up the reef lines to secure them to the sprits I added some hardware that that works for me for a quick deployment and storage.  I can’t get to them for photos until it comes out of storage. 

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@PadrePoint— Slip a straw into the joint, when you make the knot.  It will give you a tunnel for passing the end through to the other side.  Pull them tight with a pair of pliers.  Then, put a drop of crazy glue (not the gel) into the knot.  I didn’t do that.


While you’re at it, measure the length of the eye strap for me.  I’m going to need to buy some for my Core Sound.

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@Don Silsbe  You mentioned a lashing block. Is that the same as a shock sheaveless block by Ronstan?

If so do you think it would work in place of the single block you show for your reef line?

Or are you using the donut shaped lashing block for something on your boat?

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@Captain Tim— No, I mean these:


I prefer using these and lashing line to the traditional eye straps and stainless screws and nuts, in most cases.  All that stainless is expensive.  When it is used as much as most of us use it on sprits, for example, it encourages the chipping of paint.  It also hurts more, if it whacks you in the head.


I like Ronstan’s Shocks, but you’d need the 3/8” size, due to the size of the reefing lines.  IMG_1433.thumb.png.2fa75e86136f82a1ba300313cc5a2eb5.pngThose cost for these is more than a 20mm ball bearing block!  I do use the 5mm size on the spritsail rig on my nesting pram, for the mainsheet.  IMG_4384.thumb.jpeg.e4de02e9e25aa7fef1c6e919e91ddc34.jpegThey work as well as a standard block for that purpose.  Look, Ma, no stainless steel on my spars!

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Like Amos, my trailering rig is pretty much the same whether I'm going near or far.  Unlike Don, I leave the reef lines rigged all the time.  The reefs are just too valuable to try to estimate when I'll need them and when I won't, I've found.  (Calm wind at the ramp doesn't always mean the same away from shore, for example.)  Rigging the reef hooks in the main seems to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  So does putting the main sail slides on the track.  The mizzen reefing and sail tracking seems much quicker for whatever reason.  I leave the sprits attached to the sails and just sort of scrunch the sails up to the sprits, tie them with some strops and put them in the boat.  I leave all halyards and other mast lines attached.


I have a nice canvas over that goes over everything, but then again that takes some time to go on and off.  But that time is less than the time it took to tie everything down and trailer without a cover.  With cover, I can leave all the equipment loose in the boat.


 Unfortunately, I have not been able to get my solo set up time down much below 30 minutes, and I usually figure at least 45 by the time I get the boat set up, backed into the water, launched, car parked, and back to the boat. (My thought is that a lot of folks tend to ignore the launching, parking and walking back time when they talk about setup time.) 


I'm pretty sure it takes me longer to set up my CS 17 Mk I than it does to set up a Mk III, since the masts on the Mk IIIs are on tabernacles and whip up.


I take the rudder off for trailering and take the motor off, too (goes in the car).  The masts go up pretty quickly; it's all the other fussing that seems to take a while.

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I used to take my rudder off, and lay it in the cockpit of the boat.  That was until I discovered the scratches in the sole of the cockpit.  Now, I leave it and the motor (locked) on the transom.


I set up my Bay River Skiff to be quick and easy setup.  The sails are furled to the mast, so there’s no fussing with bending on sails to a track.  (They’re attached with velcro.)IMG_9331.thumb.jpeg.20968aa4558017b6d766dd3ece851ea2.jpegThe sacrifice is that it limits reefing to moving the mizzen to a central position, as in the photo below.  IMG_2869.thumb.jpeg.ffae7d769365ee54d285b2dbbee79a21.jpegThis is very effective, but nearly impossible to do in the water.  (I have done it, though.). I should add that 95% of my sailing has been daysailing in the Appalachian foothills.  Conditions here are fairly constant.  If the wind starts piping up, I just go home.  That is about to change, however.


My “new” CS17 comes with sail slides and will be set up for reefing like I did on PadrePoint’s boat.  This means hanking on sails, using sail ties, etc., just like the old days.  When I plan to go camp cruising, I will use the reefing sprits, and leave the daysailing sprits at home.

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