Sunfish transportation tips and advice.

Thread starter #1
Good Morning!

I recently placed a bid on an ‘05 sunfish sailboat. Once the auction goes off I’ll only have a couple of days to pay and then drive a few hours to pick it up.

Since I’ve never owned a sunfish before, I’m looking for transportation tips and advice. Things like, what’s the best way to tie the boat down to the trailer for a LONG drive back (500 miles). Tips on transporting the spars and mast (should they be in a bag when I transport them, do I store them on the boat during transportation and what’s the best way to do that?).

I also found a trailer for sale which I’m going to check out just before the auction. Do you think this will work for transporting the boat back?

Boat trailer club 420 laser dinghy
(2000 highlander previously used for a “dinghy sailboat club 420”)

Any advice, direction, or informational resources is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 
#3
Obviously re-axled. I'd like the axle to be moved more symmetrically under the trailer (plus add fenders as Beldar notes). I would check axle alignment ( to be sure the trailer tracks straight). I'd also double check axle mountings to the frame, plus (of course) check the bearings for noise and runout, and re-grease.
 
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#5
Not wild about the trailer for the reasons mentioned above. Also, does the previous owner have registration papers? Probably not if he doesn’t mention it. Does the trailer have a visible VIN? If not, I’d walk away and not risk a ticket on a 500 mile trip and a major hassle getting it registered with DMV.
 
Thread starter #9
Think I’m biting the bullet and getting a new load rite 14ft 1000. Probably a little overkill for a 120lb sunfish but it’s better than a worst case scenario with a crappy trailer. Thanks for all your feedback!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#10
Tie the boat at the bow with lines, keeping in mind the bow handle is mostly for looks. We use ratchet straps attached to the trailer to hold the hull down, one across where the cleat is, one across the cockpit and one back by the bridle. Do not crank the straps too tight, they can damage the hull. We roll the sail next to the spars, not around the spars and use the halyard and sheet to secure the sail to the spars and mast. We tie that bundle to the hull at the bow handle, the swivel block and back by the bridle, with and old towel or pool noodle wrapped up around the spars where they touch the deck. Check to make sure the bundle doesn't move left and right, and also that the boom blocks don't rattle on the deck.

Here's a variation on the theme using line vs ratchet straps, and some pool noodles taped together for cushioning vs towels. That's MADISON on her way to a photo shoot for a Ralph Lauren catalog, click here for the complete story.

Madison trailer photo shoot.jpg
 
Thread starter #11
Tie the boat at the bow with lines, keeping in mind the bow handle is mostly for looks. We use ratchet straps attached to the trailer to hold the hull down, one across where the cleat is, one across the cockpit and one back by the bridle. Do not crank the straps too tight, they can damage the hull. We roll the sail next to the spars, not around the spars and use the halyard and sheet to secure the sail to the spars and mast. We tie that bundle to the hull at the bow handle, the swivel block and back by the bridle, with and old towel or pool noodle wrapped up around the spars where they touch the deck. Check to make sure the bundle doesn't move left and right, and also that the boom blocks don't rattle on the deck.

Here's a variation on the theme using line vs ratchet straps, and some pool noodles taped together for cushioning vs towels. That's MADISON on her way to a photo shoot for a Ralph Lauren catalog, click here for the complete story.

View attachment 32648
Fantastic! Thank you so much for that detailed explanation. I really appreciate it.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#12
You're welcome.When you hit the road, do a 1/10/100 check. Pull over after 1 mile and check the security, then after 10 and after 100. If everything is good at 100, then it should all be good the rest of the way. We did 1136 miles with ZIP and NEPTUNE, Grand Island, NY dowm to Pensacola, FL.

IMG_0997.jpg
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#14
Hey Beldar here's the link Ralph Lauren Photo Shoot. MADISON has actually been out to Seaside Florida twice for photo shoots, the other for a clothing company called Buckle. They pay $500 per day, long day, our Sunfish buddy here works with film crews and hooks us up.
 
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#16
I currently use ratchet tie downs as well but in addition to being slow to set up, I’m worried they are too easy to over crank and stress the hull. Has anyone had any luck with cinch straps?

Here’s an example

I’ve used them successfully with kayaks on my roof but they are much, much lighter.
 
#17
I bought a Trailex Sut 220 which is made for the Sunfish. It was a bit expensive but I believe the springs are made for the light load whereas other trailers are made for a heavier load and have a stiffer ride. I think the SUT 220 allows for the right amount of cushioning. Still, getting the boat to sit right on the trailer requires a bit of work and observation. I bought a 6" drop hitch and took my boat up to Mt Shasta to sail. The hitch is still too high and points the bow upwards causing a lot of tension on the back tie down so I ordered a 10' drop so the boat rides more horizontally. By the way, I got some really good footage of sailing up there and would like to share when I figure out how to download it to the Forum!
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
#18
I currently use ratchet tie downs as well but in addition to being slow to set up, I’m worried they are too easy to over crank and stress the hull. Has anyone had any luck with cinch straps?

Here’s an example

I’ve used them successfully with kayaks on my roof but they are much, much lighter.
I tried cinch straps but they don’t hold the boat down consistently on a trailer. I’d stick with ratchet straps.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#20
The fact that you know the ratchet straps can be over cranked is enough to prevent you from over cranking them. You should be able to work a finger underneath when they are snug. One thing to watch with any tie down is they can seem tight, but then they slide fore or aft on the curve of the hull and then they are loose. So check side as well as fore and aft movement. Ask me how I know!

The only luck I had with cinch straps is when I tied 2-3 half hitches in them after cinching. And the metal buckles need to be padded if they are resting on the deck.

Good soft line works, the older kind vs the new slipper stuff. We have some old, quality jib sheets from our Day Sailer that are dedicated tie downs. I tie a bowline in one end, go around a few bits of boat, bunk and trailer and come back to the bowline, go through the loop and get a 2: purchase, finish with a few half hitches. It will snug down just enough to keep the boat from moving.

Pull over and check tie downs 1/10/100 miles. If they are good at 100, they'll be good the rest of the way, a tip shared with us by Tom Pace, Pro windsurfer on the World Cup tour, he has hauled just a few boat bits around the globe.

Tom Pace pickup roof rack.jpg
 
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