Latest News: Forums Technical Trailer advise for single handed cruising

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  • #21229

    I am planning to replace my combi trailer for my Mk II.

    Most of my sailing is cruising either single handed or with my youngish kids and getting a ladened boat up the ramp at the end of the day and then back on the road base is becoming a proper faff.

    I have been looking at a break back and roller trailer both of a similar price.

    The break back has the advantage that is has several keel roller which obviously is good for the hull but I wonder how easy it would be to keep everything lined up when getting the boat back on the trailer by myself in any kind of wind or cross current.

    the other option is a roller trailer that looks much easier to get the boat on board but raises worries about stressing the hull due to the lack of keel rollers.


    i did wonder about adding 2 extra keel rollers one attached to the axel and one to the rear cross section.


    any opinions greatly appriciated.




    Dave Barker

    Hi Dave,

    It sounds as if you regularly sail somewhere that has vehicle access to the slipway? When I sailed quite frequently at the sailing club on my own I used to tow the boat out of the water and up the slipway on its launching trolley, tied to the towbar of my car. (I often wondered about fitting a proper towing hitch to the trolley, but never did.) The jockey wheel was a castering type. Would that solve the first part of the problem?

    The second issue is getting the trolley onto the trailer. Forgive me if I’m stating the obvious, but I had to have it pointed out to me that in most cases it’s much easier to do this if the front of both the trolley and the trailer are raised as high as possible before mounting one onto the other. For this task your children might be able to help, by simply sitting on the stern of the boat to make it easier to lift the front of the trolley. The road unit is usually quite heavy to lift on your own in addition to the trolley, but sometimes this is possible. Otherwise perhaps there is a strong wooden fence, or you could carry a piece of timber to act as a prop to hold the trailer nose high up?

    Anyway, with both parts lifted high to create a pronounced tilt the trolley and trailer will come together much closer to their final positions than normally possible.

    Another slightly cruder way to achieve this is to use a winch mounted on the road trailer, and yet another technique is to make some wooden ramps to lift the trolley wheels as they approach the rear of the trailer. If the trailer has a smooth-running roller system (or well-greased weight-bearing surface) the ramps will overcome the main obstacle to success, namely the difference between the trolley’s height on the ground and when it’s up on the trailer. A combination of winch and ramps perhaps?

    I don’t like the look of the roller trailer for the reasons that you yourself have identified. I can’t see enough from the photo of the break back trailer, but would have reservations about immersing the bearings in water. However, the Americans and Canadians (and others probably) seem to manage fine with that sort of trailer…

    I hope that’s of some use.


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