Trailer vs Roof Rack

Goneswimmin

New Member
I'm trying to decide if I should get a trailer or roof racks to transport my laser. I will be mostly sailing from a beach and have a dolly. I was originally going to go with the racks, but got to thinking it would be easier to use different vehicles with a trailer, and if I buy a new car I won't have to get new feet for the racks. Any suggestions or pros and cons? Thanks!
 

marginal

Member
Either way works just fine.

You can roofrack a laser on pretty much any car with a good quality rack (I've seen them on Mini's). My current rack has the bars worryingly close together (~2 feet) and the bars are not as wide as the boat, but it still works just fine, even with the dolly on top at 70MPH. I've come to the conclusion that people over-think roof racking.

Before that I used to trailer, and that was good too.

For maximum independence (not needing a helper to lift he boat on and off), go for trailering with the right type of trailer. In North america that would be a Kitty Hawk or Trailex with the moving bow fitting. In Europe that would be and A-Frame dolly with a road-base.

Have fun. Lasers were designed to travel!
 

torrid

Just sailing
How often do you plan so sail it? If you have to load the boat up on the roof every time you sail it, that can get real old real fast. I trailer for short distances, but cartop for longer distances.

I have one set of Thule load bars, and I'm on my fourth vehicle with them. I have to buy a new set of feet each time. In fact every time I buy a new car, it's a race to get a hitch installed or the correct set of feet before a regatta.
 

MiLLz

Member
Are you a big burly man? Will there be people to help you lower and raise the boat where you plan to sail? Do you have room for a trailer? Can you afford cost maintenance and registration?

If you are not a huge guy, must raise and lower the boat alone, have room to store a trailer, and can afford cost maintenance and registration, why not get the trailer?

I don't have a trailer so I must cartop every time. I don't think it so much of a pain that it would keep me from sailing, but I would sure love to save the effort at the end of the day. I predict leaving the boat on the car all week during the summer.

Food for thought: most single-handed FAQ's on the net describe methods of raising the boat. I have found far fewer methods to lower the boat slowly and safely and without it crashing to the pavement. A dolly is real asset because you can choose where to raise and lower.

Think ahead- it may save you a lot of future pain (and costly repairs).
 
Looks interesting. I'm curious, how susceptible is it to vibrations when fully loaded up? Even with everything secured, I would be concerned about the stresses put on the dolly. Especially at highways speeds (and extra-especially with my anitique Seitech).
I have been using one for almost 2 months now with an intensity and a Seitech dolly. It tows very well and quietly as well. It has been great.
 

Goneswimmin

New Member
Thanks for all of the helpful replies. It looks like a trailer is the way to go for me! I think it will be easy to singlehand with the trailer, especially the part when I come back home and don't feel like unloading the boat by myself. I have a pretty long commute to work and wouldn't want to leave the boat on the roof racks unless I was going sailing.
 

Arnulfo

New Member
You can roofrack a laser on pretty much any car with a good quality rack (I've seen them on Mini's). My current rack has the bars worryingly close together (~2 feet) and the bars are not as wide as the boat, but it still works just fine, even with the dolly on top at 70MPH. I've come to the conclusion that people over-think roof racking.Before that I used to trailer, and that was good too.For maximum independence (not needing a helper to lift he boat on and off), go for trailering with the right type of trailer. In North america that would be a Kitty Hawk or Trailex with the moving bow fitting. In Europe that would be and A-Frame dolly with a road-base.
 
I love my Kitty Hawk. 100 lbs, freeway speeds with 12" tires, roll it in and out of the water yourself, and the bow support pivots so you can just swing the stern onto the grass if you like. You can fold your seitech and keep it in the car, or strap it to the top of the boat. Spars go in holders on the deck, under the cover. I sail alone quite often.
 

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powergroove

Member
Question, I am about to build a double trailer and wondered if the lips are strong enough that the boats could be carried on them, as in laying the boat on its side leaning into the midd;e of the trailer. That way I could trailer 2 lasers and the Opti can go in the middle of the trailer I alreay own. Wish I had a pic to show you what I mean...
 
I've seen it done - someone who knows about hull structure should speak up. I've seen a trailer with 4 hulls upside down in the center on racks, with 2 mounted vertically on the outside of the rack. I assume they were supported on the rails, but I would also assume lots of padding for shock.

Here are some pics I have stored of misc trailers. You can buy or build a stacker for two deck-to-deck hulls on a Kitty Hawk or similar.

You can build a deck-down from a basic garden trailer.

You can invent a multi-stacker. (oop...sideways, sorry..)

You can put it on the roof, but I think the cross bars need to be far enough apart to not stress the deck - I've watched mine rock and flex and it's on a Volvo wagon with Yakima bars.
 

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Here is a new option that will be available in April;

http://www.intensitysails.com/rionrotrforl.html
Hmmm. Looks like the glass-filled plastic brackets that connect the dolly uprights to the axle tube may be taking dynamic (ie, impact) loads they were probably not designed for. I wonder about shortened dolly life. Why not just buy a $200 Harbor freight utility trailer with the boat tongue kit, ditch the rollers it comes with, and fit a couple of hull-shaped padded bunks. I have one of these that's over 20 years old that has been double-decked. It's still going strong. (I did install new springs and bearings). Note that my Laser is in the "superior" position in the pic.
 

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Hmmm. Looks like the glass-filled plastic brackets that connect the dolly uprights to the axle tube may be taking dynamic (ie, impact) loads they were probably not designed for. I wonder about shortened dolly life.


Modifying standard trailers and making custom double trailers is cool if you like to tinker and have the background and tools to pull it off. However, I would like to interject some points about the Right-On Trailer. The Right-On Trailer is designed specifically as a single boat dolly trailer for the Laser and Sunfish. It can be loaded and strapped-down by a single person in less than 2 minutes. Take a look at video: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Right-On-Trailer-Co/10150130424075118 the woman loading the boat is 5’4”.
The trailer supports and protects the dolly. It has soft springs (300lb capacity vs. 850lb for a small utility trailer) and a strong frame to absorb road vibration. Then, the dolly rides on its pneumatic tires which also absorb vibration. Finally, the Right-On Trailer supports the dolly directly at the bow support which puts the load into the trailer and not the dolly. So in short, the Right-On Trailer was designed as a dolly trailer and will not cause premature failure of dolly components. However, as you state it is not a double and should only haul a single boat.

Thanks for allowing me to spout,
Mike
 

MrLucky

New Member
Thanks VTgent49 for the pixm, thats what I was looking for.

Whut PowerGROOVY ain't telling ya is that I'm building the stacker fer free, and while I'm so sure we might both like one of those Trailex Stackers, But we're getting the 2x4 version until he "Busts Out Another Thousand" . . . .
:cool:Take that ya catsailing bonehed . . .:D
Cary
So many Boats, So little time . . .

(PS If ya read this, I'll have the Stacker finished Sunday and parked back in yer driveway.)
 

Matt B

Member
Are you a big burly man? Will there be people to help you lower and raise the boat where you plan to sail? Do you have room for a trailer? Can you afford cost maintenance and registration?

If you are not a huge guy, must raise and lower the boat alone, have room to store a trailer, and can afford cost maintenance and registration, why not get the trailer?

I don't have a trailer so I must cartop every time. I don't think it so much of a pain that it would keep me from sailing, but I would sure love to save the effort at the end of the day. I predict leaving the boat on the car all week during the summer.

Food for thought: most single-handed FAQ's on the net describe methods of raising the boat. I have found far fewer methods to lower the boat slowly and safely and without it crashing to the pavement. A dolly is real asset because you can choose where to raise and lower.

Think ahead- it may save you a lot of future pain (and costly repairs).
it must suck where you live because in england we dont have to regester trailers and to save money you can even make your own like i have and mine was made out of scrap metal and you dont need to service them ever really apart from grease in the hubs and when they start rumbeling after about six years just get some more £60 for a pair what a bargin.
 

MiLLz

Member
Truely! The cost of registration here could easily equate to the cost of building one given the proper choice of parts.
 

linesmachine

New Member
My boat is wider than my rack. I haven't car topped it yet but intend to do so for a lengthy road trip. Has anyone got a pic they could show me of a car topped laser with launch trailer and masts all secured etc? I could do with some hints!:confused:
 

g1gaumond

Member
We copied the set-up shown by MasterMike, with some improvements, where we made the box slightly higher which allowed us to included a locking box for all components, sails etc. See picture.

Young princess picked the colours and painted it to her liking. Works great.

But I would be eager to see some roof rack set-up pictures posted here, I think it would be great and offer some guidance. We have a roof rack system for skis (Thule) and would like to see how others are setting it up.

Let's go Laserforum members let's see some more shots!:D

Thanks!

GG
 

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torrid

Just sailing
Here's mine. I've been all up and down the east coast like this.



And here's another one:



Also done it with a couple of Explorers over the years. Never had the nerve to try it with my GTO.

Note my load bars are spread out further than marginal's. My bars are about 40" apart. I purposely bought a wagon with a long roof rack so I can do this. This is probably more a personal preference than anything else. I have seen many people cartop with the load bars only a couple of feet apart.
 

g1gaumond

Member
Wow , this is why I love this forum so much, you guys rock!;)

Millz, extremely helpful slideshow, fantastic, thanks for doing this.

Got the rack on the roof now, will test set-up next week-end, with all these pictures it will now be a breeze, seabreeze that is!:cool:

Fair winds,

GG
 

linesmachine

New Member
Yeh, Millz's slideshow was especially useful and gave me a fewideas about how to car-top my boat singlehandedly. I will have to mount mine from the rear (ahem!), anyone have any good ideas about hwo I could do that on my own?
 

MiLLz

Member
I'm glad I could inspire.

I have read about a cartopping method from the rear of the car by lining up the boat and the car rear to rear and flipping the boat over its transom. I tried this and found it dangerous with my subaru. I think it would work best if you have a tall car/van. If you use this method you can also employ your hatchback door (if present) as a hydraulic lift assist system.
 

linesmachine

New Member
I'm glad I could inspire.

I have read about a cartopping method from the rear of the car by lining up the boat and the car rear to rear and flipping the boat over its transom. I tried this and found it dangerous with my subaru. I think it would work best if you have a tall car/van. If you use this method you can also employ your hatchback door (if present) as a hydraulic lift assist system.
Oddly that's pretty much exactly what I had in mind in terms of doing it from the rear (ahem!). My biggest concern is the flipping procedure, can't envisage having the strength to do it unless it's done on the launching trolley.
 
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