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Double Sunfish Trailer

hankdog

New Member
I just purchased my second sunfish, and I want to modify my trailer to carry both of them. I am considering several alternative designs and would love any feedback or ideas.

1 An "A" frame design that would have the hulls leaning up on their side.
2 A stacked design one on top of the other.
3 A side by side design like a dual personal watercraft trailer.

I am leaning toward the side by side design, but the other two design were my first thoughts on the subject. I would also love any pictures of existing double trailers that anyone has that I can give to my welder. My trailer is large enough to hold any of the above designs.

Thanks,

Tom Harrison
tom@thomasvillecpa.com
 

supercub

Member
Tom,
The side by side design, while feasable and allowing one person to load/unload, may get you in trouble with DOT unless you are careful in your design. Any trailer over 80" wide requires extra lighting and usually can be no wider than 102". Two Sunfish side by side are about 98". Parking a wide trailer can be a pain also. In the Tips and Tricks section of the Class Home page are some suggestions for multible trailers. Also the last article under Bishops FAQs has info reguarding cradles for a SF. Another sailor used garage door track mounted on the center line to slide his two SF (hanging from the track) in and out. It was posted in the old SF Forum a long time ago and I will e-mail you the the picture (can't get it to upload here). Trailex Trailers (http://www.trailex.com/) also has pictures of dble rigs on their web site. Tall trailers, with high center of gravities, can also turn over pretty easy. Tails of woe can be found on the Laser sites and also some ideas. Do a web search for Lasers (Dr. Laser and Rooster are two).
 

supercub

Member
Tom. Tim,

Pictures sent. I believe the track used is the square (or round) kind with the trolly's commonly used for sliding doors on Pole Barns. The round style is available with nylon rollers. The way I see the set up on the trailer: you hook up the bow eye and slide the boat into the carry position (lifting the rear), then adjust the support straps to take the pressure off the bow handle and then strap down for travel. Good Luck guys.
 

supercub

Member
Brad,
The picture has been sent. I do not see why it would not work with a lumber rack on a Pick Up. Maybe a bolt on extention to the lumber rack to support more of the rail would work. A full size truck (8’ bed) would work best. A bunk type rack in the bed extending over the tail gate would hold the lower boat with out using a rail. The upper boat would use the rail (14' +/-) and webbing for support, although the rear strap (at the rear lumber rack supports) would leave a bunch of the rear hanging out unsupported. To help stabilize the rear, use a 6"x 3/8" eyebolt inserted through the rudder mount (new style) and hooked to the rear trolly. Make sure there is little or zero weight on the eyebolt or bow handle while traveling (would hate to have either mount rip out). Also would need to have a positive stop on the upper to keep it from breaking out the rear window. This adaptation may take a little more thought (would help if I still had my pick up). Feel free to bounce ideas off me. Good luck.
 

hankdog

New Member
Thanks, that design is awesome! I am going to run this by my welder and see if it is also affordable. This is a great forum, and I appreciate everyone's input. I can wait for warmer weather to sail again.

Tom
 

supercub

Member
Tom,
Glad I could help with the picture. I liked the idea also, thats why I kept a copy of the picture. Maybe the original owner/designer has seen this post and could post a message or e-mail me. You may be able to move the Sail/Boom/Mast Storage containers to the lower outer corners inside the frame (a slight width adjustment may have to be made for clearence). This would narrow the trailer quite a bit above the wheels. I also notice that the builder appears to be using bungee cords across the deck (as hold downs?). Suggest regular ratchet straps as hold down straps and maybe a pair of V-Block bow stops attached to the forward verticle.
 

Sunfishy

New Member
I am rigging up an ATV trailer to haul two sunfish also. I am going to do the side by side config to I can easily launch both with a bit of help from my two smallerist sailing partners. Does anyone know the diameter of a PVC pipe that would be needed to slide the spars, mast and gooseneck into all at the same time?
 

supercub

Member
Steve,
Look at the Dickson Mk II Trailer under "Tips and Tricks" on the SF Class Home Page. The original used an 8" tube, the Mk II uses 6" tubes (cheaper and lighter). The gooseneck measures about 6-1/2", requireing a slot in the tube or disassembly of the gooseneck (I do not recommend). A single 8" tube may be able to hold both sets of spars, mast and sails, I am not sure because I haven't tried it (only have one set). Anybody know if it will work? You may want to bundle you sets together and try and slide a 8" ring (cut from a paper plate or use a cross stitch hoop) over the bundle to see if it will fit. If it does, mount the tube down the centerline of the trailer with the sides of the Sunfish over the tube. Remember to allow for ventaltion and secure attachment of the cap(s). Also keep in mind the 102" DOT restriction. Good Luck.
 

Mashmaster

Active Member
I might be looking to do this soon as well. The pictures are not accessable. anyone got pictures of what this would look like?
 

tag

my2fish
I made a big change to my trailering method last summer - I used to just stack them together with some foam noodles or similar padding in between the 2 hulls. so last summer, before we took a big road trip around Michigan, I built a 4’x8′ base and A-frame out of 2x lumber, with custom bunks to support the side of each boat. the lower "box" portion of the trailer can then be used for storage for several totes with beach and sailing gear.
scalloped piece of 1/2" plywood on the forward and back A-frame supports the sail bag that holds both rigs.

I took my old boat trailer and removed the bunks. bottom layer is 2x6's.
then the sides are 2x10's to make the "box" that is approx 4'x8' in plan view.
the A-frames are 2x6's, with a 2nd longer 2x6 horizontal at each frame to support the bunks. a 2x6 strut is longitudinal at the top of the A-frame to tie them together.
the bunks are 1x6 cedar - I wrapped one with bunk carpet, but ran out of it before I could do the 2nd bunk. the 1x6 cedar flexes nicely to follow the shape of the hull when I place the boat onto it. eye bolts at each frame to use ratchet straps to hold them in place.
various metal plate straps anchor it down to the trailer frame.
my diy dolly built out of PVC is tucked into the back there, with some bungees to keep it in place.

my only complaint - it's a bit of a pain to get the storage totes and coolers out - pretty much have to loosen the straps on one of the boats to get it from the side, so future plans might be to tweak one of the A-frame ends to have a wider opening to fit the totes/coolers through the back end. that, and maybe it could have been shifted a bit further back to balance the load on the axle a bit better... but it trailers fine.

IMG_1636.jpg

IMG_1638.jpg

IMG_1639.jpg

Minifish on the left, Sunfish on the right. trailered probably 1,500+ miles on the one trip last summer, sailed on Lake Michigan and Lake Superior!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Makes sense! Looks right. Check the dates on those trailer tires, no older than 6 years. Our trailer guy recommends bumping up on the load rating too, they'll run cooler.
Great job on the rig, have fun this Summer and thanks for the photos.
 

danpal

Active Member
Tag, when you created the box for your trailer it looks like you have cross pieces that are nailed in the middle of the box. Did you just use 2x4s? Also, did you only use metal straps to attach the box to the frame?

1600726806296.png

I'm really thinking that this will be my next project.
 
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Seaotter5

Active Member
Tom,
The side by side design, while feasable and allowing one person to load/unload, may get you in trouble with DOT unless you are careful in your design. Any trailer over 80" wide requires extra lighting and usually can be no wider than 102". Two Sunfish side by side are about 98". Parking a wide trailer can be a pain also. In the Tips and Tricks section of the Class Home page are some suggestions for multible trailers. Also the last article under Bishops FAQs has info reguarding cradles for a SF. Another sailor used garage door track mounted on the center line to slide his two SF (hanging from the track) in and out. It was posted in the old SF Forum a long time ago and I will e-mail you the the picture (can't get it to upload here). Trailex Trailers (Aluminum Trailers - Trailex, Inc.) also has pictures of dble rigs on their web site. Tall trailers, with high center of gravities, can also turn over pretty easy. Tails of woe can be found on the Laser sites and also some ideas. Do a web search for Lasers (Dr. Laser and Rooster are two).
That’s the main reason that I own a Minifish and a Sailfish. They go side by side on my kayak trailer. Together, with a little bit over overlapping, they are “just about” 80 inches. I wanted to get two Minifish, but that would have put me well over!
 

tag

my2fish
Tag, when you created the box for your trailer it looks like you have cross pieces that are nailed in the middle of the box. Did you just use 2x4s? Also, did you only use metal straps to attach the box to the frame?
Danpal, ok here goes:
Base of "box" was just 2x6 flat on top of the trailer frame (I had removed the trailer bunk hardware, leaving a flat top surface of the steel channel used to make the trailer frame. In my case, it ends up approximately a 4'x8' box. The sides of the "box" are 2x10's. The curved piece that follows the side profile of the boat is just a 1x6 cedar - not "shaped" or anything - it just deflects to sort of follow the side of the boats.

The A-frame, the strut at top connecting the A-frames, and the cross-pieces that support the boats are all 2x6. I have a plywood gusset at the top of the A-frame, and then used right-angle clips to connect the 2x6 top strut to each A-frame. Lag screw eye hardware is used to connect the tie-down straps.

IMG_2093.jpg

I just roughed up a plywood cradle at each A-frame to support the sail and spar bag. I loop a bungee strap up and over the spar bag to keep it on the trailer while traveling.

IMG_2094.jpg

The trailer has a cross beam channel and I lag-screwed a 2x4 to the back of that channel - that's the screws you can see in the middle of the trailer box from above. This is the 1st direct attachment to the trailer frame.

IMG_2095.jpg

Another view of the other side of the 2x4 bolted to the frame channel. Bonus John Deere tractor in the background.

IMG_2098.jpg

Metal straps used - 2x at each side and 2x at the back. Bolted to the trailer frame and screwed into the 2x10 side of the box.

IMG_2099.jpg

Another side view - front of the box starts right at the point where the two side channels connect to the central tube that has the tongue of the trailer.
Black boating carpet wrapped around the 1x6 cedar that follows the side profile of the Sunfish. It doesn't "match up" as nicely on the Minifish on the other side, but it's good enough.

IMG_2100.jpg

Lessons learned, or things I might change, or tweak if I did it all again:
  1. The "box" is farther forward than it probably should be to balance the trailer. If I did it again, I'd maybe shift the "box" back further, or maybe I just need to see if I can move the axle and wheels forward to help it balance better and be a little less weight at the trailer tongue. Then again, it trailers just fine, so maybe I'm over-thinking it.
  2. I ended up cutting the middle section of the back 2x6 cross bar (and I reinforced it all around the cut) - so that way I can get my large totes and cooler in and out of the trailer without having to remove one of the boats.
  3. My home-made PVC dolly doesn't really have a designated spot - the handle just gets inserted between the A-frames and the rest hangs off the back of the trailer and gets strapped down. It works... but again, makes it a pain to get anything out of the totes/cooler. If you have a nicer dolly that can be quickly taken a part and the pieces stored in the back of the trailer, this won't be an issue.
  4. I probably would make the peak of the A-frame wider - just to make it easier to access the stuff stored inside the trailer. It would also make it simpler to (in the future) add cross beams to carry a 3rd Sunfish, or a kayak or two, or even a stand-up paddleboard.
The first summer, I trailered it over 1,000 miles on a trip to northwest Michigan, then over the Mackinaw Bridge, and then we toured around the Upper Peninsula a while (sailed the Sunfish and Minifish on Lake Superior). All told, I'd guess close to 2,000 miles with zero complaints or issues while traveling.

Ask any other questions, and best of luck!

tag (my2fish)
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Trailers should never have negative tongue weight! ("Heavy" is OK).

I think the floor is overbuilt (with 2x), but that does permit the option of "utility" use.

Considered the use of [flexible] Trex under the lighter Sunfish?
 
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danpal

Active Member
Thank you Tag! That's exactly what I was looking for.

I was planning to convert my trailer into a utility trailer as well as transport my two sunfishes and this fits the bill. Now I just have to figure out how to make the conversion between utility and sunfish transport easier.
 
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tag

my2fish
Now I just have to figure out how to make the conversion between utility and sunfish transport easier.
That's also on my list... wondering if the A-frame can be attached with just 1 or 2 bolted connections at the base of each A-frame leg to quickly unbolt the upper A-frame portion and lift it off leaving just the box portion.
 
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