Boat Trailer Bunks for the Fish

Thread starter #1
Good morning all and Happy Monday,

I have an older Cox Boat Trailer that I am looking to convert for the use of my '81 SF along with the alternate ability to haul the family's 12ft & 14ft Jackson Kayaks. Two part question for this post:
  1. Does anyone have a contour profile that they can send over? I have read my posts that locating support bunks out toward the sides of the SF is one of the preferred ways to travel, but cannot find a contour profile template; I would rather not just use a flat board, as I am concerned with contact points on the rounded hull.
  2. Does anyone else dual-purpose their trailers? Please share photos and ideas... I would really like to be able to haul these two yaks when the SF is not on the trailer to make it easier for my parents to enjoy them without car-topping them.
As always, thank you in advance for the idea sharing and advice.
 
#2
I have a trac 14 catamaran that I carry with my sunfish. You might be able to set up something like that for kayaks on the side. The SF rests on pool noodles wrapped in carpet in the center and bunks on each side. The nose rests on the bow stop and the roller on the front only touches the hull when sliding the boat forward or backwards.
 

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Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
#3
OP, if you're handy working with wood, you can build a custom cradle for the Fish, then have a couple of add-ons to slide into place for the 'yaks. All hull curves---boat & 'yaks---can be copied exactly by using a technique called "spiling." All cradles would be padded before use as well, no worries about contact points or damage. You could also rig a trailer the way Paintboy did for the Fish, then slide in or otherwise affix small dual cradles for the 'yaks when you're not hauling the Fish... just a thought, there's nothing wrong with wooden cradles, not when they're properly constructed. :rolleyes:
 
Thread starter #4
Thank you very much for the replies Paintboy and Ghost Rider, I really appreciate it. I like the setup you have there Paintboy, I think I will try and layout something similar on my trailer! Smart thinking with being able to trailer your SF and Cat at the same time, pretty cool, haven't see that before. Combining that setup with the method "spiling" that Ghost Rider mentioned will be perfect. I was having a hard time determining how to transcribe the hull shape, spiling seems to be it. I will do some searching on how to use the method, great recommendation!

Thanks again, and I hope this thread helps out someone else with a similar question. Happy sailing.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#5
Got a picture of your trailer, that might help.

Keep it simple, I don't think contoured bunks are needed if padding is sufficient. Try to support the boat where it is stiffest, like keel, under mast step, under blocks, under cockpit tub vs areas that are hollow underneath. And don't strap boat down too tight, seams can be popped, deck edges cracked or keel crushed down onto rollers.

Jetski trailer with two sets of trailer guides and crossbeams added. Has made a lot of picker trips, 1100+ one way miles on one of them.

Double trailer.jpg

IMG_2379.jpg

Here's our Sorg 15 Runabout trailer with temporary crossbeams. Keel has good support and outer bunks are basically there for balance. Fits the 1959 Runabout and the hull geometry just so happens to match up with a 1953 Sunfish, nice of Sorg to build their boat that way :)

IMG_1338.jpg
 

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
#6
Spiling isn't rocket science: any sailor with a steady hand can use a pencil or marker taped to a stick to approximate the curve, which will eventually be sanded smooth & padded anyway if the job's done right. Line each transverse cradle member up directly below the hull (or above it if the boat is lying topside-down), make sure it's level, and carefully trace the hull curve onto the wooden beam. The curves are specific, since they vary along the length of the hull, so be sure you have the transverse cradle members in the right place... sometimes it's easier to build the entire cradle, gently trace the curves where ya need 'em, then make your cuts. Double up beams if you want the extra support, you can cut each beam separately, then nail 'em together and sand 'em smooth till they fit the hull exactly. Padding can be strips of closed cell foam (sleeping pads for camping), thick neoprene, vinyl flooring material, etc., etc., glued on or secured in such a way that no nails or staples can scratch the hull. Paint all exposed wood for long-lasting protection, and use large stainless steel eye screws for tiedown points. Nothing wrong with well-designed & constructed wooden cradles, they are functional and offer a cheap alternative to welding, plus you can usually find all the wood you need in a jobsite dumpster, clean lumber scraps just begging to be used for the purpose. :rolleyes:
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#7
Worried about a flat surface?

As I see it, concerns about trailers revolve around fiberglass damage by rollers and "oversprung" trailers knocking the Styrofoam blocks loose inside.

I'm lucky to have a bunk-bed, from which I can rest the Sunfish on a comfy mattress "nest". Alternatively, roll-up mattresses are available at Amazon. They compress while rolling them up, later expanding for use.

'Course, swim-noodles come in five-inch diameters.

What did we do before swim-noodles?
 
Thread starter #8
Spiling isn't rocket science: any sailor with a steady hand can use a pencil or marker taped to a stick to approximate the curve, which will eventually be sanded smooth & padded anyway if the job's done right. Line each transverse cradle member up directly below the hull (or above it if the boat is lying topside-down), make sure it's level, and carefully trace the hull curve onto the wooden beam. The curves are specific, since they vary along the length of the hull, so be sure you have the transverse cradle members in the right place... sometimes it's easier to build the entire cradle, gently trace the curves where ya need 'em, then make your cuts. Double up beams if you want the extra support, you can cut each beam separately, then nail 'em together and sand 'em smooth till they fit the hull exactly. Padding can be strips of closed cell foam (sleeping pads for camping), thick neoprene, vinyl flooring material, etc., etc., glued on or secured in such a way that no nails or staples can scratch the hull. Paint all exposed wood for long-lasting protection, and use large stainless steel eye screws for tiedown points. Nothing wrong with well-designed & constructed wooden cradles, they are functional and offer a cheap alternative to welding, plus you can usually find all the wood you need in a jobsite dumpster, clean lumber scraps just begging to be used for the purpose. :rolleyes:
After I looking up what "spiling" was, I recall using the method several times while remodeling my house, just was not familiar with the term or how it could be used for the boat! Big "DUH" moment.... and I appreciate you bringing the method to light.

Worried about a flat surface?

As I see it, concerns about trailers revolve around fiberglass damage by rollers and "oversprung" trailers knocking the Styrofoam blocks loose inside.

I'm lucky to have a bunk-bed, from which I can rest the Sunfish on a comfy mattress "nest". Alternatively, roll-up mattresses are available at Amazon. They compress while rolling them up, later expanding for use.

'Course, swim-noodles come in five-inch diameters.

What did we do before swim-noodles?
There literally are 100+ uses for a pool noodle! Definitely going to pick up a few, although unfortunately the cheaper ones do not hold up to the UV as well as one expects. To your point of an oversprung trailer, I think mine is too stiff; but from the looks of it, I can unshackle the leaf and drop 1 or 2 of 4 springs to lighten the ride a bit.
 
#10
I built a 4'x8' box on a jet-ski style trailer, with an A-frame attached to that to carry my 2 boats (Sunfish and Minifish).
for side support, there is a 1x6 cedar boat that just flexes to match the hull shape when I set the boat up on the trailer... seems to be working well for now.

 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#12
For those perplexed with moving empty trailers around, this car-topping alternative (coupled with a smooth ride) appeared here a few years ago. Adding some lines to the photo, I attempted to show an idea to mount a winch to the trailer ball, and run the line through a series of blocks to pull it up. Our contributor's inventor says he can push it up there by himself. (I dunno…) :rolleyes:

'Course you could always run your bow-line to a tree, and back up the car! :cool:

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.
 

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
#13
What was the contributor's name? Hulk Hogan? LOL... lifting the bow of the boat up there and then pushing the entire hull atop the vehicle would certainly build muscles, and I say that as one who cartopped for decades. Easy enough to push the hull up there when first loading, but after a long day of sailing & hiking out, when your body is beat and your muscles feel like wet pasta noodles, well, that's another story... ;)
 
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