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Sunfish transportation tips and advice.

WaterCat

New Member
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!
 

Roller

Member
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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L&VW

Well-Known Member
Since the axle is conveniently sticking out, I'd hop up and down on it to check for rust-through.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
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.
 

WaterCat

New Member
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
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
 

WaterCat

New Member
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
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
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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Nephroid

Member
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.
 

norcalsail

Active Member
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
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
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
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
Great advice and valuable information from signal charlie and Tom Pace!
SC, aren’t you working on a book that teaches knots? (when you’re not building and rebuilding boats, sailing, filming, and writing other books???)
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
you must have not liked the goofy transom traveler and put that "bad boy" Harken in. Glad to see the motor pulled up too. Can't grade you on fenders hanging over the edge in this pic ;-D
 

WaterCat

New Member
Wanted to thank everyone for the great information in responding to my post. Although I did not end up getting the sunfish I am now officially the proud owner of a 1993 SLI Daysailer. Thanks again everybody. Happy Independence Day!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
mixmkr, were you out there watching us that day? We did have fenders over as we were about to tie up in downtown Corpus Christi after a day sail. I got to motor, Skipper let me sail every now and then. We came out of our slip on the Navy base a few days earlier and had a nice run downtown. On the way back I learned about long tack/short tack, I thought sailing was all about equal zigs and zags :)

As for that traveler, I took it out so we weren't tripping over it and went back to goof transom traveler.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
mixmkr, were you out there watching us that day? We did have fenders over as we were about to tie up in downtown Corpus Christi after a day sail. I got to motor, Skipper let me sail every now and then. We came out of our slip on the Navy base a few days earlier and had a nice run downtown. On the way back I learned about long tack/short tack, I thought sailing was all about equal zigs and zags :)

As for that traveler, I took it out so we weren't tripping over it and went back to goofy transom traveler.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
There is very little foam designed into the DSII, it is basically a pontoon hull like the Sunfish. They weigh 575 pounds. Open the inspection ports and make sure they didn't add foam or water didn't leak in there.

Oops remembered there are a lot of foam blocks in the bow compartment. We put a big inspection port up there when we had to replace the bow eye and it was all dry.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Oops remembered there are a lot of foam blocks in the bow compartment. We put a big inspection port up there when we had to replace the bow eye and it was all dry.
There must be a good story behind needing to replace that bow eye! :confused:

Oops here, too. I was gifted a Mariner, not a DSII. :oops: Seems heavy, but we've graduated to leaves, so it's moving a bit better. :rolleyes:

Found an article you could identify with. The Mariner owner is splitting the deck from the hull! :eek:
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Well that bow eye, they just don't make things like they used to...winching the boat the last foot or so on the trailer it snapped, only lasted 46 years. Turns out I had some water in the bilge, close to 300 pounds or so based on the number of wet vac buckets I filled up. Inspection ports leaked.

bowe eye cyane.JPG

Ordered and new bow eye, double bolted.

bow eye new cyane.JPG

bow eye inside cyane.JPG

boye eye new 2 cyane.JPG

Log of CYANE

Since we were on transportation tips, a few tips we have regarding the hull of the Sunfish, whether you transport deck up or deck down, try to place bunk supports underneath where there is additional structure inside the boat, like under the mast step, daggerboard trunk, keel and cockpit perimeter. Keep an eye on rollers, especially if using straps, we have come across boats with a crush spot on the keel where straps were tightened too much. Easy repair, but easier to avoid.

On the Day Sailer II check for roller support along the keel and 8-10 foot bunks placed under the inner edge of the cockpit seats, wide side of a 2x4 or 2x6 to spread out the load. Try to have a roller or cross brace placed below the centerboard, in case the uphaul slips it will keep the board from dragging the highway.

CYANE getting buzzed by 1972 AMF WindFlite, the WindFlite was a very interesting boat, rolled deck edge, molded coaming, integral bow eye and bridle eyestrap eyes but still had the old style rudder. Similar hull to the Minifish but it was Sunfish sized. For whatever reason AMF dropped it but the deck rolled deck edge reappeared in 1998.

Cyane and Freebird.jpg
 
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