Pickup bed transport?


New Member
In the "frequently asked questions" page fo the Sunfish class page I read about building a cradle for transporting a Sunfish on a trailer. I am interested in building a similar system for the bed of my pickup. I have a Chevy S-10 and, with the tailgate down, the length of the bed is about 7'9" long. I've done some measuring and I can think I can make things work. I'm wondering though, if anyone else out there has had success carrying a Sunfish right-side-up in a pickup bed. I don't want to carry it upside down or up high (like on a lumber rack) because I'll usually be alone and I don't want the hassle of getting the Sunfish down from up high on my own. If someone else has used the cradle on your page in a pickup bed or if they have some other good method of transporting a Sunfish in a pickup I would appreciate hearing from them.
Brad Bolt
See the post "Truck Bed Transport" from a couple of weeks ago (about 15 entries below this one). There were pictures of a Sunfish on a Seitech Dolly in the back of an extended cab S-10 by Scott. Only problem I see is the large overhang out the back. You may want to make a light bar (brake, turn, running lights) that you can mount in the rudder bracket and plug into the trailer socket. There is also a trailer hitch mounted extension for long lumber on the market you may want to look into. Check the post and maybe with Scott. He has proven it can work. Good luck.
Thanks for the info. I also am wondering about how far out the back the boat would ride. I had already thought of the lights on the stern of the boat. That should be pretty easy to bolt on to the rudder mount. I don't want to use a dolly (because of cost and I don't think I trust the PVC ones I've seen in the forum). I want to use a wooden cradle (like the one in the FYI section of the Class homepage) so that I can hoist the boat and cradle above my carport. My only major question at this point is how I would get the boat in and out of my truck without a dolly. I do have access to paved launch ramps where I'll be sailing. Any thoughts?
I agree with putting lights on the back of the truck or boat. I haven't done it yet, but I've seen a few things that would work. A few places even have suction cup mounted lights that could go right on the back of the boat. I think I might try to make a custom arrangement that mounts inside the back of my rack and hook it to my trailer hookup. I'll post it if I get to it this year...
Brad, Scott,
On the light bar, it seems that a 1 x 4 as wide as the transome, a pair of square tail lights, wire with plug, 2 4" pieces of 2 x4 for stabilizers, equal to the depth of the rudder bracket plus a little, 2 3/8" eyebolts, felt to cover the 2 stabilizers (furniture felt circles or such from Wal-Mart) and a 6" 3/8 bolt w/nut would be all that you need. Paint the wood to make it last longer. Mount the lights to the outside, eyebolts (centered, and spaced just inside the bracket) and stabilizers (as wide as posible) on the inside. Set the light bar against the transome, apply a little bit of pressure to the center and drop the long bolt thru the bracket and eyebolts. Plug the bar in and you are set to go. One bolt to install and remove and one plug to mess with. Simple. (P.S. Don't forget to remove the bar BEFORE putting your SF in the water.

Brad-From experience, use double pulley blocks to raise and lower you SF. It may take a bit more rope, but is alot easier to raise. Assuming you are not useing the hitch support extension, use long, wide padded boards lengthwise to support your SF on your frame. You then have a way to slide the SF on and off your frame. If you hinge the bunk boards behind the center of gravity, the boards will tilt, making it easier to get in and out of the water. Join the boards so they work together and watch out for the drain outlet. To estimate your overhang, measure the bed with the tailgate down and subtract this from 13'10", add your lights and any padding to the bow and you have your estimate. Good Luck.
I feel like you're my personal transport designer :) You have really got me thinking about how to best carry my SF. Thank you. You're design for the light bar sounds good. However, I don't understand why I should remove it for sailing. Those behind me need to know if I'm moving to port or starboard, don't they?!?
Scott had sent me an e-mail suggesting that I hang 3" webbing from a couple of parallel 2x6's to support my SF. Do you think building bunkers or the webbing would be a better idea? Also, how would you reccomend bending the boards to match the curve of the hull? I do like the idea of being able to tilt the boards to load and unload the boat. Can you describe how to set up a double pulley system for raising the sunfish to my rafters? I'm interested in this, but not sure how to do it.
Thanks for all your help.
By the way, I found a similar bed extender at harbor freight.com that is only $40. It only extends out 3', but I think that would be enough if I decide to go that route.
Unless you have a very, very long cord to your lights, they would stop you short and with out a rudder, it would be hard to steer. As you can see, there are many ways to make a transport cradel for your SF, Scott likes the webbing, I prefer the bunks and used 1 x 6s with carpeting over it. I made my 1 x 6 from 3 pieces of 1/4" luan plywood laminated together with Tightbond II Glue (any water proof glue will work). To match the curve of the hull, I strapped them to the hull at the front and rear with ratchet straps while the glue dried. Make a front, mid and rear joiner pieces to clear the keel and drain. Hinge on the mid joiner to your truck bed boat frame if you want to tilt. Otherwise just bolt to the frame. 8' long bunks with 3' overhang at both ends would eliminate the need for the extension.

For the pulley set up. Bolt the top double pulley (2 sheeves in one block) to your rafter, the bottom double pulley to your your hoist point. The rope is tied off at the top bolt, runs down to the bottom, up, down, up and over to a side pulley (if desired) and down to a cleat to tie off at. You need one at the front and rear. I lift in 2' stages, first the front, then the rear until it is where I want it. My SF is deck down in the rafters. The front hoist point is a 1 x 4 (about 9-10" long) with an eyebolt at one end and screw hook at the other. A 20" chain goes from the eye to the lower pulley and back to the hook. With the chain loose from the hook, slide the 1 x4 thru the bow handle and hook the chain back up. The rear hoist point is a 3/8" x 6" eye bolt with washers and nylon insert lock nut slipped thru the rudder bracket. After raising into the storage position, I further secure it with a couple of rachet straps to the rafters at the mast well and rear of the cockpit. Takes any pressure off the rudder bracket, the bow handle just keeps the 1 x 4 in place. You may not need my hoist points if you lift your whole frame with your SF on it. I believe Thule (the roof rack company) makes a kit to do the same thing. Hope this helps.