Since I plan on launching off the trailer at a boat ramp, I added some guides on the back of the trailer. I found these heavy duty, white shelf brackets and by adding some holes in the right spot I could mount them upside down on the trailer frame using 3 inch wide, square U-bolts. The guides are 1 inch PVC and are zip-tied to the bracket for now.
When I purchased the boat, I asked the previous owner if he had ever launched from a ramp. His answer was “Never”.
I knew that I would need to extend the distance between the trailer coupler and the rear axle on the truck. After researching the web, I found a few people using a tow strap and chocks! I decided on a length of steel tube with a coupler and ball on each end with the addition of a small carriage under the ball.
My first idea was to modify the trailer by moving the coupler to a smaller 10 ft. long steel tube that would telescope forward through the existing 3″ x 5″ tube. Finding steel tube that would fit inside the existing and removing all of the bolts that would be in the way, proved to be cost prohibitive.
I bought a 10 ft. long 3″ x 3″ x 3/16″ steel tube from a local welding shop for $75. The coupler was $20 on Amazon and the ball was another $10 at Walmart. Adding the bolts and paint, I have maybe $125 total. The carriage was re-purposed from an old Gorilla Cart that was never worth the money spent.
I’m guessing it weighs about 80 lbs. which is a lot to lift off the trailer. I also need to figure out how to mount it on the trailer.
At the ramp, I will need to chock the wheels on the trailer, disconnect and attach the extension, unchock the wheels, then carefully launch or retrieve. I guestimate that this will give me about 28 ft. between the center of the trailer axle and the rear axle of the truck. Which means that the center of the trailer axle will need to be almost 6 ft. deep to float the boat off the trailer.
I came across a few old photos of my first sailboat, a worn-out Flying Dutchman, from the early 70’s. Except for the first one, these photos would have been taken with a Polaroid about 1984 after my discharge from the U.S. Navy.
The boat was in rough shape. I think it spent most of each season in the water, since there was no trailer in the deal. The bottom was covered with blisters. After grinding, patching and sanding the entire boat- all I could do was paint it. I had just sold my Hobie 14 and the buyer didn’t want the trailer so I modified it for this.