Home - Project Just Right
Chapter 1 - My goals and Requirements
Chapter 2 - Choosing the Boat to Build
Chapter 3 - Preliminaries, What I Did Before Starting
Chapter 4 - Setting up Frames and Building the Hull
Chapter 5 - Interior
Chapter 6 - Deck and Exterior
Chapter 7 - Topside Details
Chapter 8 - Keel, Centerboard, and Rudder
Chapter 9 - Mast, Rigging, Sails, Outboard & Anchors
Chapter 10 - The Electrical System
Chapter 11 - The Trailer and Trailering
Chapter 12 - Sea Trials and Cruising Pictures
Chapter 13 - Future Projects ... When is a Boat Finished?
Chapter 14 - Useful Information... Sources and Links
Chapter 15 - Questions and Answers
Chapter 16 - Other Vagabond Builders and Aficionados
Chapter 17 - A Few Good Ideas
Chapter 18 - Chapter 18 - Specifications and Equipment

Chapter 11 - The Trailer and Trailering

The Custom Trailer

The galvanized trailer was custom fabricated for the Vagabond. In order to store the boat and trailer in the garage, the trailer was built as low to the ground as feasible. The tongue and mast crutch are removable. A separate extendible launch tongue pulls out just to the right of center to minimize how far the van dips into the salt water. The picture shows the front of the trailer with the launch tongue extended and the removable mast crutch and tongue. Guideons were added to guide the boat onto the trailer.

The trailer is a 2999 pound class trailer which means that in California, brakes are not legally required. The towing capacity of my Nissan Quest minivan is rated to tow that trailer class but recommends trailer brakes for loads over 1500 pounds. I had to step up one trailer size in order to add brakes. The trailer was later modified to a 3500 pound axle and springs and switched from 13 inch to 14 inch radial trailer tires. The Kodiak hydraulic disk brakes are actuated by the Carlisle Hydrastar system. The picture shows the Hydrastar mounting. Although the Hydrastar packaging looks water tight, I found it necessary to mount the assembly above the immersed water line. I had numerous troubles getting the lights to work and wired the lighting wires to a barrier strip so each circuit could separately debugged. In the end, most problems were traced to bad grounds.

The Nissan Quest has ample power to tow the boat. Besides the hitch, Air Lift air springs were fitted. A Tekonsa controller in the car sends a proportional deceleration signal to the Hydrastar. The boat sits low behind the van which tends to minimize frontal area and thus wind resistance. We have towed the boat many thousands of miles. The fuel mileage drops from 21 to 16 MPG when towing. We have towed up some 6 percent grades and have always made it to the top. On the flat freeway, we can drive faster (much faster) than the 55 mph California trailer speed limit. I have driven the rig with the brakes disconnected and with care, can control the boat and trailer but the brakes are comforting. I expect that the boat, trailer and cruising gear come pretty close to the load limit. We try to add gas, water and some provisions just before we launch.

I started out thinking I could use a 2500 pound trailer without brakes and expected the price to be about $1500. With all the bells, whistles and retrofits, the price of the trailer is now nearly three times that. The trailer alone now weighs about 1080 pounds.

Rigging and Launching the Boat

To store the boat in the garage, the mast has to be removed and stored separately. The mast, stays, and furler are tied together and supported during transport by the lower notch on the aft crutch, a temporary crutch that fits in the mast tabernacle, and the trailer mast crutch. The upper part of the aft crutch bolts on before the mast is raised. Two side stays steady the mast. The spinnaker pole is attached to the spinnaker track fitting at the base of the mast as a gin pole. The genoa halyard and the 4 part mainsheet tackle complete the gin pole setup. The purchase on the gin pole is enough to pull the headstay into place without readjusting the shroud tension. Raising the mast is a two person exercise, one person pulling on the gin pole rigging and the other ouching the mast into position. An advantage of this configuration is that the mast can be raised either in the parking lot or on the water. Once in place, the crutch and sidestays are stored in the van.

Notice the boarding ladder on the starboard side. This is a standard Windline collapsible ladder. It folds up on top of the skirt. It is very handy for boarding the boat both on the trailer or from the water.

The wooden crutch was a temporary solution but never replaced. A telescoping crutch mounted inside the transom would be an improvement. Some have mounted a roller at the top so that the mast can be rolled back when moving from the transport position to attachment at the tabernacle. The 26 foot mast, stays and furler weigh about 80 pounds making it awkward to raise.

It takes about 2 hours for two of us to completely rig or derig the boat. The boat has very complete running rigging with essential lines led aft. The rudder and outboard have to be mounted. Once rigged, the boat is a dream to sail but the rig-derig times preclude daysails. In line with our requirements, most of our trips were from four days to several weeks.

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