What's new

Optimal Trailer Design For Two Sunfish?

Greg Q

New Member
Hi all, I am new to the Sunfish world. This past summer I picked up a free boat from my aunt that was in good condition. She has a second boat for "free" that will need some very minor hull repair. Overall the boats are in good shape!

My question is this. After spending some significant time combing though this forum looking at trailer setups I'm trying to determine the better design. The "A-Frame" setup, or the stacked setup. I would be storing life jackets, spars, sails, and a dolly on the trailer as well if possible.

My second question is. If I go with the stacked setup it seems that storing the boats upside down is the better option as the boats are stronger on top vs the bottom and it would reduce my chances of hull damage while on the road. Is that correct?

Thanks for all the input. My wife and I had so much fun on the water last summer. We cannot wait to get out there again- this time with two boats :)

I posted some pictures that I found on this forum to help explain what I'm trying to do.
 

Attachments

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Since I cartop, my concerns are mostly with the trailer itself. But, FWIW, the edges combine the top and bottom of the Sunfish, and are very strong, so I'd prefer the "A-frame" design.

I'd load the trailer so the springs have started to take the load. If the trailer is too stiff, consult with a local trailer dealer to cut or remove leaves.

On this forum, I've shown videos of others who've added actual shock absorbers at great effort. :eek: A search using "shock" should turn it up.
 

Greg Q

New Member
Since I cartop, my concerns are mostly with the trailer itself. But, FWIW, the edges combine the top and bottom of the Sunfish, and are very strong, so I'd prefer the "A-frame" design.

I'd load the trailer so the springs have started to take the load. If the trailer is too stiff, consult with a local trailer dealer to cut or remove leaves.

On this forum, I've shown videos of others who've added actual shock absorbers at great effort. :eek: A search using "shock" should turn it up.
Thank you for the information! Good to know that a strong point is the edge of the boat. This makes the A-Frame design very favorable in terms of trailering and storing the boat with minimal chance of damage to the hull.

Yes, I've read that the weight is very important to consider and the type of trailer. Rather than going with a small boat or PWC trailer, I'm more leaning towards a kayak trailer. These are designed for even lighter loads and have leaf springs. See attached picture. Obviously the racks would come off. We have used this exact model trailer for 15+ years for our fleet of kayaks and never had a problem. It's a litle bouncy with a few kayaks, but with two sunfish plus gear, I think it will pull and take bumps like a dream!
 

Attachments

tag

my2fish
That picture of the A-frame trailer is mine. I love it - easy to carry two boats and take either one off. My previous method was to stack them with pool noodles, which meant I *always* had to remove both boats (Minifish and Sunfish) if I wanted to sail the Sunfish. Plus, it gives me a TON of extra storage space. With the A-frame, I have a 1x6 bunk that hugs the side of the hull, plus the hull rests against the two A-frames.... I'm not that worried about shock absorbers or bouncing along down the road. The trailer is heavy now with the weight of the A-frame and box I built, and it's not really point loaded anywhere that would make me worry about the bounces.

Honestly, my only complaint with my current design: I can't easily stuff a cooler or big tupperware storage container through the back "triangle" opening when both boats are on the bunks and strapped down. So I likely need to just get a little creative with a sawzall and make the triangle area just a bit wider and problem will be solved.
 

Greg Q

New Member
Alright, so I've been searching around for something used and haven't found too much that doesn't involve a major overhaul. I contacted a local trailer manufacturer to inquire about some custom fabrication designs. I'm definitely leaning towards the A-Frame design.

We purchased one of their kayak trailers 15 years go, it's gone across the country several times, and I've put 10's of thousands of miles on it here in Michigan. It's like the day we bought it. Perfect trailer I think for this application.

The trailer manufacture gave me a quote of $1200 for a new trailer with the added fabrication of the racks that I need. It's been slow at work so I've had some time to draft up a rough design of what this thing will look like :)

Take a look and let me know what you think. Metal tubing is all hollow, and is galvanized.

I'm not the most handy, so for the price I think it's worth it for me.
 

Attachments

Coastal Redneck

Active Member
Tag's A-frame trailer gets my vote for best design... the stacked design will work, but I like Tag's trailer. No matter which design you use, securement is critical, particularly at freeway speeds. Lights & flashers are good too if ya don't wanna deal with Johnny Law. One thing I like about Tag's design is that the boats can be easily flipped onto dollies alongside the trailer... back in Coronado, one could not always find parking close to the ramp or the small bayside launching beach, aye? Of course, I was only hauling one boat and I usually cartopped it, though I did go the trailer route on occasion. Ultimately, I developed a system where I cartopped the boat and flipped it directly down onto a dolly which I stored in the trunk of the Mighty Camry, so no matter where I parked it was easy to get the ball... er, I mean the BOAT rolling, lol. Parking in Coronado is at a premium, you understand, especially near the boat ramp on weekends... and holiday weekends? :eek:

"FUHGEDDABOUTIT!!!" :confused:

Truth be told, many local sailors would deliberately AVOID boating on holiday weekends, too many drunk & clueless wanks who knew nothing about the "Rules of the Road"---dangerous situations would develop on a regular basis as a result, and it wasn't worth the aggravation. Throw a drunk and clueless person behind the wheel of a motorboat with heaps of speed & power and BAD THINGS can happen, LOL. Think Rodney Dangerfield in "CADDYSHACK"---the classic power wank. Moi, I always liked sailing on Tuesdays & Thursdays, preferably with a high spring tide around 0800, that way when the breeze picked up by 1000 the current was moving swiftly down the channel and I could "work the tides" like an ancient mariner or fisherman, riding the ebb out beyond the Point, patrolling the outer beach in my home town, and riding the flood back up the channel once the tide had turned. A good program... and I liked Tuesdays & Thursdays because ship movements (naval & merchant marine) frequently occurred on Mondays & Fridays, while the Beer Can Races were held on Wednesday afternoons. Tuesdays & Thursdays, I often had the bay to myself back in the day, not counting working craft like tugs, ferries, etc. My kinda sailing, that's for sure, with yours truly OWNING the bay, lol. :cool:

ANYWAY, ENOUGH THREAD-JACKING FOR ONE NIGHT, TIME TO CRACK ANOTHER COLD ONE & THINK ABOUT LEFTOVER LASAGNA WITH A FRESH SIDE SALAD, LOL... YOUR DESIGN LOOKS GOOD, DON'T FORGET PADDING AND WHATNOT, CHEERS!!! :rolleyes:

P.S. Workday flew by after the holiday weekend, one day down in a short 4-day workweek, WOOHOO!!! ;)
 

tag

my2fish
The trailer manufacture gave me a quote of $1200 for a new trailer with the added fabrication of the racks that I need.

Metal tubing is all hollow, and is galvanized.
That seems like a great price, especially with the customization. And all galvanized material as well is great.
Only other thing I might add is some type of wire rope or trailer tube/angle material in some sort of vertical x-brace to keep the upper part of the trailer frame from racking forward during a quick stop.

Some of the pictures of stacked frames don't show anything like this either, though, so maybe I'm over-thinking it.
I know on my wooden A-frame, there is extra rigidity in the stiffness of the connections and the heavy "ridge" beam that I used.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
My trailer guy recommended stele supports, trailer guide posts that I repurposed for racks. He said the aluminum posts would not be safe. If you go aluminum then consider cross bracing fore and aft.

This was an easy adaptation of a double seat (big) jet ski trailer. The trailer itself was heavy enough to prevent bouncing.

Double trailer.jpg

Trailer pulled great round trip Pensacola up to Grand Island NY

Double trailer loaded.jpg

For a quick trip I tied on some spare bunks to our runabout trailer.

IMG_1339.jpg

IMG_1338.jpg

3 Fish.

3 FIsh.jpg

I'm pretty sure Trailex stole this design

IMG_8784.jpeg

Check out the different trailers that the Sunfish Masters use on our blog. My favorite is the utility trailer with a rack. I like the idea of side loading. Lots of room for gear storage. Note the bracing up front to prevent the rack from traveling forward.

IMG_2379.jpg

For longer distance and double fish, I recommend 12 inch tires or larger. Get the tire dealer to order C or D load rated tires, B rated are going to run hot from the extra sidewall flex.

If yo find a Trailex, make sure it is the model with springs. This model had rubber pads, very stiff. It was bouncy, not in the good way, and I got rid of it as soon as I could. The old school torsion spring motorcycle trailer in the background was converted for Sunfish and it rode great. Made it from Ft Worth to Yuma AZ and back, although I burnt up a new set of 8 inch tires from Yuma to New Mexico during an August run, they were humming. Won't do that again.

Trailex.jpg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: tag
Top