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Converting a trailer for 2 fish?

gd_nc

Member
So, I went to buy a Sunfish...

.and the guy had several nice fish to choose from. I got a little too excited and came home with a matching pair!

So, now I need to figure out how to convert my trailer to carry two fish. Looking for feedback for trailer rack suggestions. Anyone tried these products...

http://ep.yimg.com/ay/yhst-32154317745271/dynamic-2-boat-trailer-rack-for-laser-sunfish-1.gif

http://shop.tackleshack.com/http:-122912prodlightspeedwebstorecom-sailing-laser-aluminum-racks-double-laser-420-rack-only-alrack2/dp/9111

http://www.landfallnavigation.com/stbw2latrra.html

Other easy DIY suggestions?

Thanks for the help!
 

sailcraftri

Well-Known Member
I went to a metal shop and had a steel rack made that was made so I could take it apart. It cost me $400 all welded and primed and bolts for the assembly. This was up in New England. There is also another thread here that showed pictures of various double and triple trailers for Sunfish posted by signal charlie (Kent Lewis).
 

tag

my2fish
Do you need to remove them separately? I don't know that my method is ideal, but I've gotten into the habit of just stacking them on top of each other. For a while, I was using a frame/box made out of 2x pine boards with padding like this picture:
doublefishtrailer1.jpg

lately, though, I put my Sunfish on the bottom, position a couple of the fat pool noodles (3" diameter?) as required, and then just put my Minifish upside down on the pool noodles. I fiddle with the position of the upper boat to make sure there aren't any fiberglass parts touching the lower boat, and the mainsheet blocks, etc aren't getting all bent over. I then strap it all down and get on the road!

cheers,
tag
 

gd_nc

Member
That's how i got them home, but I'm worried trailering like that on a regular basis will cause too much stress on the bottom boat. I went out of my way to find good stiff boats that don't oil can. Ideally I'd like to keep them in good shape.
 

gd_nc

Member
Thanks for the rack ideas. I just ordered some 1.5" Aluminum tubing cut to the right lengths for about $200. I'm going to try to rivet it together with monel rivets and U-bolt it to my trailer. If I can't get it sturdy enough with the rivets, I'll take it to a welder. Will post pics of the results. Wish me luck.
 

gd_nc

Member
That is very nice! I'm jealous...
Thanks! Honestly it wasn't that hard to build. I did the whole thing in one day. I ordered the metal pre-cut and had it delivered UPS. I did trim a few of the cross braces with an angle grinder, but really didn't have to. I used a big'ol rivet tool from Northern Tool and an old-school corded drill to put it all together. The only hiccup was burning through 4 drill bits. (Although I killed one of them by dropping the drill. ) - Total cost$220 for aluminum parts including shipping, $35 for rivets, $20 for drill bits, $20 for U bolts, $3 for pool noodles. All in for just under $300. I'll probably order some nice rack pads to replace the noodles in the future.

If you have a trailer with more support in the front, (mine had none) you could probably reduce the number of cross braces and save some on materials.
 
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Mashmaster

Active Member
Resurrecting an old thread. I really like the double stack and need it now with being a two boat family :) I need to figure our if I can modify mine to hold the double stack.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Welded or riveted, aluminum is poorly suited to the flexing it would receive as a rack.

While I personally don't have a need for such double-trailers, I'd suggest a look—from the side—as someone else drives the trailer slowly over a speed bump. :oops:

.
 

tag

my2fish
Resurrecting an old thread. I really like the double stack and need it now with being a two boat family :) I need to figure our if I can modify mine to hold the double stack.
I did the pool noodle method for a while and it works okay. but last summer, I did my major trailer upgrade to carry 2 boats, plus a bunch of extra gear and storage as well.

more details here: Double Sunfish Trailer
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Some notes to add:
1) My boat trailer guy wouldn't sell me aluminum guides, he insisted on steel, said the aluminum wasn't strong enough. Obviously there are ways to brace aluminum to make it strong, but not with the design I came up with.

2) Hull down or hull up? Our buddy Howie who worked at Alcort 1960-1978, then spent 10 years repairing damaged Alcorts, said the important part was to put support under where there is structure inside. So under the mast step, daggerboard trunk and cockpit area. We like bunks to run fore and aft under the edges of the cockpits or sideways around the same area. We pad bunks with pool noodles. We also like heavier trailers that don't bounce a lot unloaded, they ride smooth with a couple of Sunfish on them. Some folks prefer to keep the trailers as light as possible so they can move them around the yard, there is a happy medium somewhere. Keep in mind we primarily use our trailers for picking, not for storage or local trips.

Double trailer loaded.jpg

Double trailer.jpg

3) Check out our blog post on trailers, we wandered through the parking lot of the Sunfish Masters a few years back checking out how they like to carry their boats.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Don’t tell that to Dynamic or Seitech! I don’t think I’d rivet mine, but aluminum is widely used in small boat trailer racks.
Due to aluminum's poor resistance to flex at joints, riveting or welding aluminum would start cracking right away. If I were to stack nearly 500 ponds of trailered Sunfish on aluminum racks, I'd secure the corners with polycarbonate clamps, as Seitech has.

But even polycarbonate has troubles:
"The polycarbonate molded parts that hold the Seitech dolly together are not up to the task for supporting the boat over the road. The polycarbonate "elbow/joining" parts get cracked and break."
New dolly trailer for Laser and Sunfish
 

norcalsail

Active Member
I just ordered a Trailex SUT220 from Castle Craft. It is very light weight and can be used as a dolly. It should make things a lot easier when I go out. It is a one boat only trailer though.
 

thieuster

Active Member
Just showing my trailers-trough-time. Perhaps it can help you get inspired...

Fist up: a smallish trailer with a lid, originally to hold an optimist on top - exactly the width and length of an optimist. When my son changed to a Splash (80cm shorter than a Laser) it just fitted... Since a little too small, I sold it.

IMG_1025.JPG

So we went to the next level: a bespoke 3-layer trailer for Splashes, quickly turned into a two-story + box version...

IMG_0258.jpg

Enter the Laser... and my wish for a fitting trailer and box under for stability. So I went back to the builder of trailer #1 who made me this:

IMG_3886-2.jpg

Last year in Plymouth (UK). It's brilliant, but... it can be improved. So it's currently at a friend's carpentry workshop for... box-long drawers! Inspired by YT videos of big American Trucks with 'bed organizors'

IMG_3968.jpg

So... with that trailer in the wood workshop, it's back to my 3-layer trailer - now slightly adapted to the Laser. Mind you: the 'scaffolding' is attached to the chassis with U-bolts. I can lift the whole uprise off and have a single trailer. It's a zinc plated steel trailer, no alloy. Here: on our way to Kiel - Schilksee, carrying a boat another sailor as well.

Why did I remove the box like shown on pic 2? My son has his drivers license and he goes out on his own. He wants to be able to (un)load the boat himself.

IMG_4079-2.JPG
 

thieuster

Active Member
... added to that: we (nearly all trailer owners) use 13" wheels for the trailer. Why? First: 13" tires are easily found when they need replacing. 10" isn't easy to find. Secondly: 13" can handle higher speed easier. Speed limits when towing here in Europe differ from country to country...

  • Netherlands: 90 km/hr - 56 mls/hr. But you won't get fined when you're 10 km over the limit. Don't go over it though.
  • Germany: 100 km/hr - 62 mls/hr. Pretty heavy control on that!
  • GB: 100 km/hr - 62 mls/hr. Lots of speeding cameras next to the roads.
  • France: 130 km/hr. / 80 mls/hr. No-one bothers, but don't exceed the 130/80 mark. (btw: French Autoroutes are a gift to motorists! Brilliant!
I suppose it's higher than the US limits when towing. I've been visiting the US since the mid-90s and have driven on US roads for miles and miles. But not with a trailer, so I have no idea!

Trailers here (loaded) under 750 kg do not need a separate license plate and a special driver's license. Most dinghy trailers are under 750 kg.
 
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norcalsail

Active Member
Most of the time, autos with trailers are required to go 55 mph in the U.S. Most of the time they go much faster. Your trailers are really cool. I remember liking them in a previous post.
 

thieuster

Active Member


This must be one of the nicest around. Built by Heudra, 50 miles from my house. Lightweight alloy box and a 2 or 3 layer scaffolding. Most attach plumbing material (grey or black pipes) for the upper and lower masts as well.
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
I sold an old style Trailex trailer, that didn't have the suspension leaves...just the rubber pads. But, that wasn't the problems, the support bunks would bend going around corners with the trailer...or maybe the metal had become fatigued...idk....? Any rate, great for a beach dolly for sure. I sold it to a guy who wanted something for his plastic kayak...easily half the weight of a Sunfish and it should be perfect for that. I got the trailer with a Puffer purchase and tried it with the Sunfish. After several times of use, I decided one day, the fish may just do the trailer in. All this said, I know people have trailer 1000s of miles with these trailers, so maybe I'm missing something. Lastly, those trailers aren't inexpensive, comparatively. I think the new single trailers go for over $1200. You can easily lift them too, as they are so light weight. I'd fear the accidental "pot hole" too. They seem to me, little more than a Seitech dolly with a trailer ball coupling.
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
That Heudra trailer looks great. Definitely a multi person job to get a boat on the top racks. I'm not a maniac driver by any means, but it sure seems more top heavy than I'd be comfortable with. Not sure I'd be comfortable in the same lane in another car, just behind it either. Must be paranoid in my older age.
 

thieuster

Active Member
Absolutely a multi-person job. But with 3 boats there's always someone to help... I've seen two young lads putting the boat on the top shelf with no other aid. I must admit that it looked like it wasn't their first attempt raising and 'parking' the boat.

I'm not a fan of trailering a 3-story building like that for the same reasons you mention. And fuel consumption is beyond anything you can imagine. Quality-wise, the Heudra is capable of holding the load. It's heavier than the prementioned 750 kg. So it's mandatory (by law) that it needs heavier underpinnings and its own brakes. That comes with beefier springs and shock absorbers. It's a pretty expensive trailer as well. Around 2000 euros. The one here belongs to a family with 3 good Laser sailors; two boys and a girl. (Go figure what their annual sailing budget is...).

I think that this is the nicest one: two-story trailer, easily adaptable for smaller boats. Note that there's a winch on the top shelf that makes hoisting the boat upon the top shelf a lot easier; you can winch it in position. German-made, so it's checked for roadworthiness before it's on the roads.


(More pics at Dinghy Racing Centre - Yes, the people who will also sell you those eye-watering expensive Finn masts...)


It is not as if you should buy that one. I only show this as an example you could have made at your local ironmonger. All you need for the start is a trailer axle, tons of U-bolts and brackets and that nose-hook (dunno the name in English...) that attaches to the tow bar.
 
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gd_nc

Member
It's been 4 years since I built mine and the whole rig is holding up really well. I used heavy aircraft grade aluminum with lots of support and high quality titanium rivets. It does flex some but I've never had any issues. A couple of years ago I modified the bottom bunks to hold the boat on a sietech dolly. That was a big improvement.
 

thieuster

Active Member
It's been 4 years since I built mine and the whole rig is holding up really well. I used heavy aircraft grade aluminum with lots of support and high quality titanium rivets. It does flex some but I've never had any issues. A couple of years ago I modified the bottom bunks to hold the boat on a sietech dolly. That was a big improvement.
Pics? How did you weigh the balance, making sure that it 'leans' on the tow bar? Both my trailers have a pretty heavy nose weight. It makes them very stable at high speed. When in the US, I spot those U-haul trailers that are idiot-proof: the wheels are so far back that it's nearly impossible to get any load behind the wheels. All weight is directed to the nose.

 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
U-Haul has long posted a 45-MPH-limit sign on their trailers. It wasn't that long ago, the signs were made "better". ;)

Fullscreen capture 4162019 64534 AM.bmp.jpg
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Welded or riveted, aluminum is poorly suited to the flexing it would receive as a rack. While I personally don't have a need for such double-trailers, I'd suggest a look—from the side—as someone else drives the trailer slowly over a speed bump. :oops:.
I'm actually a big fan of aluminum, especially when it's used with curved surfaces.

Although very off-topic :oops: this FeatherCraft runabout is an example of that construction (from 1957) which will be auctioned off in 5 days. Riveted, using the natural curves limited to aluminum, it's even stronger than their legendary rowboats. ( FeatherCraft "folded" in 1969). The only right angles are at the transom.

1957_feathercraft_rocket_1555047212f9f98764daD8O8302-940x627[1].jpg
The engine is a "Mark 55", with a claimed horsepower of about 35—but I suspect more. :eek: (This is a 13½-foot boat!)

On this steel trailer, the fenders are antique Mercury outboard cowls (side panels)—a very clever addition on the part of this trailer's builder. :cool:

.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
'Can't say how good a deal this Harbor Freight trailer is, at $259. 99 :oops:

But the coupon is good for another week:
60a[1].jpg

Just four minutes later, another HF ad for a handy gadget. :rolleyes: Sixty bucks for a Skil saw blade sharpener:

image_25178[1].jpg

Does one really need it?

I sharpened a 7¼" blade recently that was doomed to the trash can. I used that previously mentioned narrow 6" carbide wheel mounted on a 6" grinder, and took small "bites" out of the cutting edge. 'Course, there was no way to tilt the blade consistently for sharpening a cross-cut blade, so I just "touched" each tooth. The result was a good and fast cut, but threw compacted sawdust bits into my face! :confused:

Fullscreen capture 4212019 65906 PM.bmp.jpg
 
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