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New Sunfish Storage/Launch Ramp

Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
I live on Cazenovia Lake and just built a new 10' X 4' ramp to attach to my year-round dock. It is constructed from pressure treated 2 X 4s and 3/4" pressure treated plywood, gavanized pipe and flange legs, fitted and well carpeted bunks fore and aft and a non-mar tailer roller to make it easy to launch and retreive. Both bunks have rope tiedowns and the boat has a mast-up cover. I can uncover, rig and be underway in about 5 - 10 minutes. It is a little heavy, probably 300 lbs + but I wil only have to install and remove in twice a year to avoid ice damage here in almost Canada, Upstate NY. Cost was about $275 owing to high lumber cost in our (mostly) post-COVID economy.. Construction time was about 15 hours. This ramp replaces a similar 8' X 4' ramp I built in the mid-1980 so I am hoping the new one will last as long. Photos are attached.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

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Roller

Active Member
I live on Cazenovia Lake and just built a new 10' X 4' ramp to attach to my year-round dock. It is constructed from pressure treated 2 X 4s and 3/4" pressure treated plywood, gavanized pipe and flange legs, fitted and well carpeted bunks fore and aft and a non-mar tailer roller to make it easy to launch and retreive. Both bunks have rope tiedowns and the boat has a mast-up cover. I can uncover, rig and be underway in about 5 - 10 minutes. It is a little heavy, probably 300 lbs + but I wil only have to install and remove in twice a year to avoid ice damage here in almost Canada, Upstate NY. Cost was about $275 owing to high lumber cost in our (mostly) post-COVID economy.. Construction time was about 15 hours. This ramp replaces a similar 8' X 4' ramp I built in the mid-1980 so I am hoping the new one will last as long. Photos are attached.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
Excellent!!
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I made a very steep ramp with 6x8s as support for 2x8 planks, spaced about 2-inches apart. Not pressure treated, it lasted nearly 30 years.

It's since been replaced by 8-foot planks, lag bolts, and supported by two mighty galvanized-steel sign posts. (Available at metal recyclers--cheap!) Against winter ice damage, it is lifted by a dedicated "cable-winch"--better known as a "Come-Along"

Made by Craftsman 50 years ago (in Taiwan), it's ten times better than those sold at Harbor Freight. (When I went to return a balky HF "Come-Along", I was told it wasn't covered by their warranty, as it wasn't a "hand tool", which would carry a lifetime warranty!) :mad:

A steep ramp was my justification for a transom drain; however, like everywhere else on Sunfish, the transom is very thin, and internal foam debris (from the factory) routinely plugged the hole! :confused:

A ramp like Alan's would have my one Sunfish swept away by "Wake-Setter" boats, who seek quiet waters to tow "surfers".

You're very lucky if you haven't had an encounter with Wake-Setter" boats! :eek:
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
That looks great Alan!

What's the target approach speed to hit the roller and slide to a stop in just the right spot on the bunks?

Also could you point the bow towards the lake, hop on the boat and pull a ripcord to ramp launch, like the coastal rescue lifeboats?

I think you have some experiments to run this Summer... :)
 

RyanDe

New Member
I made a very steep ramp with 6x8s as support for 2x8 planks, spaced about 2-inches apart. Not pressure treated, it lasted nearly 30 years.

It's since been replaced by 8-foot planks, lag bolts, and supported by two mighty galvanized-steel sign posts. (Available at metal recyclers--cheap!) Against winter ice damage, it is lifted by a dedicated "cable-winch"--better known as a "Come-Along"

Made by Craftsman 50 years ago (in Taiwan), it's ten times better than those sold at Harbor Freight. (When I went to return a balky HF "Come-Along", I was told it wasn't covered by their warranty, as it wasn't a "hand tool", which would carry a lifetime warranty!) :mad:

A steep ramp was my justification for a transom drain; however, like everywhere else on Sunfish, the transom is very thin, and internal foam debris (from the factory) routinely plugged the hole! :confused:

A ramp like Alan's would have my one Sunfish swept away by "Wake-Setter" boats, who seek quiet waters to tow "surfers".

You're very lucky if you haven't had an encounter with Wake-Setter" boats! :eek:
Do you have a photo of this by any chance? I'm looking to build something for my dock and trying to get inspiration.
 
Alan - Have you thought of putting some carpet or other material on top of the plywood? I would think the wood could get slippery after being outside for a while.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Do you have a photo of this by any chance? I'm looking to build something for my dock and trying to get inspiration.
No photo yet, but I'll be at that location this month. I should add that it's very heavy, and hinged at the shoreline to raise (with chain) above winter's 30-inch-thick ice! :eek:

The sign post "uprights"--to the lakes bottom--are temporarily nailed in Autumn to fall away when ice takes control: chain takes over support-duties then.

You'll see where the weight comes from, once you've located those galvanized sign posts. ;) You'll need 1½-inch lag bolts to secure the 2x boards to the sign posts. (Which have convenient holes every
inch--13mm).
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Do you have a photo of this by any chance? I'm looking to build something for my dock and trying to get inspiration.
Do you have a photo of this by any chance? I'm looking to build something for my dock and trying to get inspiration.
Photos attached: Heavy, galvanized and strong sign posts--boards lagged from underneath. Still raised above the reach of winter's ice.

Note the tree branches overhead, and why I must cast off to raise the sail.
20220624_155423.jpg20220624_153209.jpg
 

3Fish&TheSun

New Member
I live on Cazenovia Lake and just built a new 10' X 4' ramp to attach to my year-round dock. It is constructed from pressure treated 2 X 4s and 3/4" pressure treated plywood, gavanized pipe and flange legs, fitted and well carpeted bunks fore and aft and a non-mar tailer roller to make it easy to launch and retreive. Both bunks have rope tiedowns and the boat has a mast-up cover. I can uncover, rig and be underway in about 5 - 10 minutes. It is a little heavy, probably 300 lbs + but I wil only have to install and remove in twice a year to avoid ice damage here in almost Canada, Upstate NY. Cost was about $275 owing to high lumber cost in our (mostly) post-COVID economy.. Construction time was about 15 hours. This ramp replaces a similar 8' X 4' ramp I built in the mid-1980 so I am hoping the new one will last as long. Photos are attached.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
Alan, Hi, I am new to the forum. I am looking to make a similar type of ramp that you have in Cazenovia, I am in the Finger Lakes. I actually have the ramp already, but it is just an old cement boat ramp. I would like to try to modify it with a roller to be able to pull the sunfish up on to it and then have similar brackets that you have for the boat to sit on. Can you point me in the direction of where I might be able to find the parts or a tutorial on how to make them? Thanks! Tammy
 

Alan S. Glos

Well-Known Member
Tammy,

Happy to help. What lake are you on and can you e-mall me a photo on the existing cement ramp you described: aglos@colgate.edu
Last, how much does the lake level fluctuate over the course of the sailing season? I think what you need is as portable ramp with roller that
you move easily to and from the water's edge as the lake level goes up and down, see photo below of one I built for as friend two years ago.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

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Nicholson58

I’d Rather Be Sailing My Tornado
Nice work and good for settled water. As noted above, wake boats make a mess of it. 3-4 foot rollers and multiple passes makes for chaos. In our situation, we look for a good used personal watercraft shore lift. Easy to remove for winter ice and your boat is high.
 

3Fish&TheSun

New Member
Tammy,

Happy to help. What lake are you on and can you e-mall me a photo on the existing cement ramp you described: aglos@colgate.edu
Last, how much does the lake level fluctuate over the course of the sailing season? I think what you need is as portable ramp with roller that
you move easily to and from the water's edge as the lake level goes up and down, see photo below of one I built for as friend two years ago.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
Thanks Alan any help is appreciated, I am on Canandaigua Lake. I will get some pictures of the ramp in the daylight tomorrow. The lake level only fluctuates minimally during the sailing season as the DEC/Town try to keep the water level pretty steady. We do have an issue with waves and I was temporarily storing my sunfish on the ramp one beautiful day and there were a lot of boats out and it was getting tossed around pretty good so we had to move it. We were thinking that we would have to bolt something into the ramp and get the boat up out of the water.
 

LVW

Member
In the meantime, consider one or two small boat "fenders" (AKA, boat "bumpers") to roll your Sunfish higher and away from possible misadventure.
 
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