Trailer Design Feedback

#41
Would two cradles be sufficient, or would you suggest three? I'm thinking about making a frame with cradles that I can secure in the back of my truck. That way I won't have to find a trailer, as long as it works properly.

How long is your truck bed? The Sunfish is 13'.9" long, in an 8' bed, leaves almost 6' over hanging (un supported?). Unless you are building racks to go over the cab? I would put at least 3 cradles, the last one would be picking up the overhanging part.
But that is still a heck of a lot of over hang, someone could hit it.
 
#42
It's an eight foot bed, but I would build a frame and put the last cradle on the tailgate (as long as I could fasten the frame to the bed of the truck well). There would probably be four and a half feet over hanging, but I don't know if that's much more than the average overhang on trailers. And yeah, someone could hit it, but someone could hit your boat just as easily when it's on a trailer.
 
#43
Well, I have good news. It just so happens that my handy man neighbor took a look at our new Sunfish and the trailer, and he wants to make the perpendicular padded supports for me. I'm not sure which photos you all were referring to, but I want to give him the correct info and photos so that these new bunks will be supporting our sailboat properly. For the photos, are you all referring to davavd's post here:

Having recently repaired some damage done to my boat by my first, less-than-adequate, bunks, I can speak with some experience. I would try the boat further forward on the trailer, with the bow almost to the winch. That should leave less hanging off the back and decrease the weight on the rear bunks. Anything you can do to increase the area of the bunks will mean less force on the hull. I also think that the keel and the chine (where bottom meets side) are probably the strongest parts, though a lot of boats seem to have keel damage.

Attached is a picture of my 2nd (hopefully last) trailer set-up, which just hauled my boat 5 hours without damage.


The cross pieces are treated 2x cut to fit the shape of the hull and padded with plush carpet over 1/2" thick closed-cell foam.
Is this the proper placement for the perpendicular supports? I did a search and couldn't find any other trailer photos. Are there other instructions besides the one at this site: http://www.shortypen.com/boats/holder12/bunk.htm

Thank you everyone for your help. My neighbor is a total godsend. He is also going to make and attach the the pvc 8" pipe sail tube.
 
#44
I'm going to attempt attaching photos of our new 1986 Sunfish we just purchased Saturday. I think we got a good deal at $700. We are excited about this boat and can't wait to get sailing. The photos of our sailboat on the trailer will give you an idea of what we're dealing with. Also, this boat came with two sets of sails, but the set that looks like the original sails are badly worn. I'm not sure it's worth having them repaired. I'm leaning more towards buying a new set of Neil Pryde sails for $140.
 

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#45
LindaP -
Thats a good looking fish! My trailer was exactly like yours before I remade it. Click on my name and look at the pics in my albums. Might give you some direction.
 
#47
It's an eight foot bed, but I would build a frame and put the last cradle on the tailgate (as long as I could fasten the frame to the bed of the truck well). There would probably be four and a half feet over hanging, but I don't know if that's much more than the average overhang on trailers. And yeah, someone could hit it, but someone could hit your boat just as easily when it's on a trailer.

I have seen a John boat in the back of a Full size pickup that was supported with 3 carpeted bunks in the bed, one at the end of the tailgate and the last, 5th, bunk was plugged into his reciever hitch. It was kicked out at a 45 degree angle and supported the last 1/3 of the boat. It looked like it was well supported but he used some thick metal so I bet it weighed a ton. I wanted to do this but my Dodge Dakota just dosent have the room. (...for much of anything)
 
#48
LindaP -
Thats a good looking fish! My trailer was exactly like yours before I remade it. Click on my name and look at the pics in my albums. Might give you some direction.
Sgt Ervin,
I like what you've done! Using the gypsum as a template was a great idea. Your chainfall gantry to raise and lower the boat was pretty sweet as well.

Can you post more detail and/or pics of your contraption you're using to transport your hardware? That looked really nice as well.

tag
 
#49
Thanks for the compliments! Really though, I'm just a good problem solver.....and a redneck....hence the ingenuity! I had several small pieces of gypsum left over from a bathroom renovation so it was a perfect reason to get them out of my shop. It ended up being just what was needed! The "chain crane" was a result of my wife begging me to stop making her help me lift the Fish up and flip it over. The hardware holder I modeled after a roof mounted snow ski rack. I wanted to use a actual ski carrier but those are hard to find in central Texas! I'm not quite done with it but I will post more pics soon!
 
#50
Rock & Roll, that worked...

Here's my idea:

...And if I might add, the bow stop should not be holding the bow up, use it to center the boat and to keep it from moving forward. And with Wayne's drawing you will have it made-in-the-shade. You will be able to launch it and recover it at any boat ramp by yourself, (with ease). Also if I might add, I believe leaving on the rear roller, will help in loading and unloading of the boat. Just make sure that you leave the roller low enough so that when the Sunfish is loaded on, it ( the rear roller), does not touch the keel, ( give a 1/2 to an inch gap). I did it to mine and it works nicely, and it doesn't touch when traveling.
BTW, your boat looks super nice and with a loading friendly trailer, you will minimize, (if not eliminate), the bumps, chips and scratches by having to man handle it.
 
#51
...And if I might add, the bow stop should not be holding the bow up, use it to center the boat and to keep it from moving forward. And with Wayne's drawing you will have it made-in-the-shade. You will be able to launch it and recover it at any boat ramp by yourself, (with ease). Also if I might add, I believe leaving on the rear roller, will help in loading and unloading of the boat. Just make sure that you leave the roller low enough so that when the Sunfish is loaded on, it ( the rear roller), does not touch the keel, ( give a 1/2 to an inch gap). I did it to mine and it works nicely, and it doesn't touch when traveling.
BTW, your boat looks super nice and with a loading friendly trailer, you will minimize, (if not eliminate), the bumps, chips and scratches by having to man handle it.
Yes, the seller had the boat resting on the bow stop like that. You can guess what happened when we were towing. That's right, the boat shifted forward and scraped up against the winch. It hit the metal side of the bow, so not much damage occurred, but it was scary. I am looking at reworking that bow stop anyway. It's brittle and bolted onto a six inch extension that doesn't seem necessary. I'd like to remove it from that extension in order to move the boat forward more. We'll see. I have to meet with my neighbor now that he's had a chance to read all the ideas I printed from this site and figure out our course of action for this trailer.
 
#52

When setting up a trailer to carry any lightweight boat, observe where the largest unsupported surface is ... that's the area to avoid loading. Right angles and curved stringers provide resistance against flexing. Flat regions, even with styrofoam backing, are the most vulnerable to constant pounding. Set up your bunks or cradles to carry the weight at the boat's most rigid point, the area as close to the chine as possible. NEVER carry weight on a roller, a roller's curve concentrates all the force along a very narrow line. Rollers can be ok as guides, but once the boat is loaded a roller should have daylight between it and the hull.
So when you are talking dimensions, how many inches from the end and the bow would the cradles be placed? Would you add a cradle to the mid section? I'm new, so what's the chine, where is it? Sorry for the dumb question. :rolleyes:
 
#53
LindaP -
I feel a little nervous giving you advice on things like this because I'm new to the SunFish as well. But, I feel like I did most of my homework and I haven't been told by anyone on here that I did something wrong. So, with that in mind...I placed the bunks as far apart as I could on the back of the trailer. ( one at the very back of the trailer and one right before the trailer rails bend ) For the bunk up front I tried to place it between the holes for the mast and dagger-board. After I studied the picture above I really just guessed at where the bunks should go. I don't know what your trailer looks like but you will half to work around it. Regardless of where you place the bunks, I think you will be better off having the bunks go from Port to Starboard versus bow to stern. I knew it was time to have a "trailer makeover" when I discovered a huge patched hole on the bottom of my boat. I realized that the patched hole was right above the only roller on the trailer. I knew that roller was the culprit so I took action. I found some past threads on here that dealt with rollers causing damage and learned all I could. Like I said before, I think that it doesn't matter so much where you put the bunks, just so long as you place them diagonally to the boats centerline.

ANYONE ELSE READING THIS, PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG.
 

Wayne

Member Emeritus
#55
I feel a little nervous giving you advice on things like this because I'm new to the SunFish as well. But, I feel like I did most of my homework
I think you did your homework well.

It's not easy to adjust the balance with some trailers. If you are buying new you want the support just behind the 1/3, 2/3 marks so there's some weight forward for tongue weight. If the balance is perfectly even or shifted rearward the trailer will wander side to side. It needs to be somewhat balanced like a dart for stability.

With a used trailer you don't always get a choice how long the frame area is. In that case "V" cradles along the tongue can help. Look at the imbalance of support area in the earlier photo of the trailer that's 25% frame and 75% tongue.


As for boat support, with wide bunks, I always add a pair of center bunks that carry very little load. These simply keep the boat from dropping onto the trailer frame if things get cockeyed during loading and unloading. I like this idea for cradles too, a bridge between the two cradles so the boat can't nose dive into the gap. Not a common problem, but I've had wakes or waves lift the stern on a steep boat ramp and only my hanging on to the bow handle prevented the nose from bumping the frame.
 
#56
Thank you Wayne for the confirmation. I was thinking of adding center bunks to connect the V shaped bunks together. I wanted to increase the rigidity of the V bunks and form more of a cradle. Not so much for keeping the nose off of the center of the trailer but just for strength. Your idea did bring to mind a little nose bang that I had when my kids decided to bail off the back right as I was pulling it onto the trailer. Once their weight was gone off of the back the nose fell and hit the center of the trailer. Lucky for them it just made more noise than damage. (otherwise they would have been the only children who spent summer vacation learning how to fix a hole!) Your idea of the center bunks would have saved me then, but now I can prevent that, and hopefully others who read this too. So what other little tidbits of wisdom are you holding out on us? :D
 
#57
Yes, the seller had the boat resting on the bow stop like that. You can guess what happened when we were towing. That's right, the boat shifted forward and scraped up against the winch. It hit the metal side of the bow, so not much damage occurred, but it was scary. I am looking at reworking that bow stop anyway. It's brittle and bolted onto a six inch extension that doesn't seem necessary. I'd like to remove it from that extension in order to move the boat forward more. We'll see. I have to meet with my neighbor now that he's had a chance to read all the ideas I printed from this site and figure out our course of action for this trailer.

...Here is a pic of my bow stop, ( it's not my Sunfish on it, it's my Phantoms turn to use the trailer), it does kinda look like your set-up. I wouldn't get rid of the extention bar, it may just need bending back up, or re bolting it a little higher. It will depend on how high the bow sits after you re work the cradles and bunks. I also feel that the pivoting bunks in the rear are a must. It allows easy loading and unloading of the fish into the water or on the lawn. It works with the rear roller, making it a sinch to winch it up. If you want to move the boat up the tongue a bit, just move the winch bracket (with the bow stop) forward.
 

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#58
Sgt Ervin,
I like what you've done! Using the gypsum as a template was a great idea. Your chainfall gantry to raise and lower the boat was pretty sweet as well.

Can you post more detail and/or pics of your contraption you're using to transport your hardware? That looked really nice as well.

tag
I posted some more pics of my " Hardware holder". Take a look and tell me what you all think?!
 
#59
I posted some more pics of my " Hardware holder". Take a look and tell me what you all think?!
Wow, you've been busy! I love your ideas. The hardware holder is sweet. Everything in one place. Well, I now have more projects for my neighbor! We were thinking of doing the pvc sailbox, but I think I like this hardware holder better. I'm not sure our trailer is long enough for the sailbox. I'll show him your ideas and see what he thinks.
 
#60
Busy indeed! My goal was to be able to keep the hardware out of the back of my truck. The wood just seems to damage too easily while traveling back there. My second goal was for this contraption to be light enough that one person can handle it. Having the tie down straps mounted was just a bonus! I wanted to do the pipe holder for the sail and booms as well, I just couldn't bring myself to put it below the boat in the bunks or have the pipe mounted up top. Would have been too heavy to deal with and I didn't like the idea of the pipe being so close to the road. ( Esp. the way I drive!) I think that these quick fist rubber mounts holding the sail and booms/spars in a canvas bag will do just fine!
 
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