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Small trailer sailer ideas

Mandarin331

Member
Joined
27 Oct 2008
Messages
764
Location
North Norfolk
We're looking for a trailer sailer for use on rivers and sheltered coastal areas. The requirements are max 20 foot, swing (or lift) keel, able to take the ground more or less upright and sail reasonably. Must also be easily launched and recovered. We also need the ability to sleep two adults and two children for the odd night, so a cooker and at least a porta loo. Weight is not an issue as the car will pull anything this size. It will inevitably be older as the budget is about £2000ish incl outboard.

So far short listed is a Prelude 19 or Matilda 20, but the Prelude is probably the easier of the two to recover onto a trailer.

All ideas would be appreciated
 

Skylark

Well-known member
Joined
4 Jun 2007
Messages
4,718
Location
Home: North West, Boat: The Clyde
I moved from dinghies to a trailer sailer, albeit a long time ago. I had a Swift 18 and had a great deal of fun with it for a couple of seasons until trading it for something bigger.
 

Mandarin331

Member
Joined
27 Oct 2008
Messages
764
Location
North Norfolk
I moved from dinghies to a trailer sailer, albeit a long time ago. I had a Swift 18 and had a great deal of fun with it for a couple of seasons until trading it for something bigger.
They are lovely boats and were we moving up in size we'd love one - but we're moving down now :) at the other end of the sailing career. So we're looking for a bit more headroom and they are somewhat above budget - there's one in Levington for £4000 at the moment.
 

Praxinoscope

Well-known member
Joined
12 Mar 2018
Messages
2,759
Location
Aberaeron
I think you may have problems with headroom on many small trailer sailers, especially those under 20', but best of luck.
 

Refueler

Well-known member
Joined
13 Sep 2008
Messages
9,295
Location
Far away from hooray henrys
Newbridge ... Snapdragon ... Leisure ..... are just 3 examples who do trailer sailers ...

I had great fun with my Alacrity 19 bilge keeler ... my 2.8i Capri towed it fine ... launch and recovery was not hard - just needed a good slipway with reasonable depth at end.



5hp Outboard was more than enough .. (my son on helm ..)











My youngest lad ...



The Alacrity is the 'original' of the Jaguar series ... Catalina in USA
 

ProDave

Well-known member
Joined
5 Sep 2010
Messages
11,087
Location
Alness / Black Isle Northern Scottish Highlands.
Why do you particularly want a lift keel?

We had that on our first boat. Not because we went looking for a lift keel boat, instead we went looking locally for a small trailerable sailing boat and that was available.

There are advantages in a lift keel, you can be first out of the harbour on the rising tide and last in (if you are brave) and can explore shallow places. The other side of the coin is maintenance of the keel and whatever lifting mechanism it has. With mine I modified the trailer so the keel could be lowered part way on the trailer.
 

Refueler

Well-known member
Joined
13 Sep 2008
Messages
9,295
Location
Far away from hooray henrys
Why do you particularly want a lift keel?

We had that on our first boat. Not because we went looking for a lift keel boat, instead we went looking locally for a small trailerable sailing boat and that was available.

There are advantages in a lift keel, you can be first out of the harbour on the rising tide and last in (if you are brave) and can explore shallow places. The other side of the coin is maintenance of the keel and whatever lifting mechanism it has. With mine I modified the trailer so the keel could be lowered part way on the trailer.
Some lift keels leave a single keel stub and this can lead to boat not standing upright when drying out. My Fathers Snapdragon had lifting keel and this was such ... we had to be extremely careful about how she took hard ground.
 

Mercury Rising

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2015
Messages
13,127
Location
Brexitshire, England
Lift keels allow you to launch from a shallower slipway. Any boat approaching 20ft will be a handful for someone approaching the end of their sailing career. It's not just the weight of the boat for moving the trailer about (if not attached to the vehicle) it's also the weight and awkwardness of stepping the mast. Unless you get a boat with a proper tabernacle and use a rigging pole and tackle you can get yourself into bother. It may be great weather when you launch but you may have to recover in a swell, with gusting winds, in the rain.
A smaller boat around 17-18ft makes a big difference and (if you can bring yourself to consider it) a gaff rigged boat will be easier to step and unstep the mast on.
It's nearly certain you won't get good headroom in any boat that will suit the trailer-sailer scheme.

A boat that is tricky to trail-sail will either not get used much, or end up on a swinging mooring, or berth, depending on your budget. As you say that £2k is the budget, I can see it sitting on the trailer quite a lot.

I'd look for a day-sailer so that headroom is not the issue. Or a boat like a Seahawk 17, Sailfish or Leisure 17 (bilge) and of which will be in budget and manageable. Easier if you make and extension drawbar, or getting used to using a strop for recovery.

I think the requirements (2 adult, 2 kids) are going to make your search difficult. The Foxcub or Pirate 17 may be better than the Prelude, weight wise, but it's going to be one hell of a compromise on way or another.

These are a good sail Facebook Marketplace: Sailing Boat complete with trailer – Miscellaneous – Market Drayton

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Last edited:
Joined
6 May 2020
Messages
1,324
Looking back 55 years, the best boat I ever owned was a 17 foot Lysander. Had bigger boats since but not bigger fun.
 

mickywillis

Active member
Joined
23 Mar 2007
Messages
1,286
Location
Epsom,Surrey
A lot smaller, but has the facilities you are looking for is a Shipmate Senior. Only 16ft long, but will sleep 2 x (small!!) adults and 2 x kids. Space for a portaloo (but make sure everyone is out of the cabin!) and can accommodate a small sink and single ring cooker. Very easy to launch and recover, lift keel with 2 x small stubs and handles like a large dinghy. Can be lively if needed, but reef down and they sail well. Usually fitted with a tabernacle and its easy for 2 to lower and raise the mast.
Owners association here: https://shipmate.org.uk/
 

LittleSister

Well-known member
Joined
12 Nov 2007
Messages
11,130
Location
Me Norwich - Boat Orwell & Southwold
A lot smaller, but has the facilities you are looking for is a Shipmate Senior. Only 16ft long, but will sleep 2 x (small!!) adults and 2 x kids. Space for a portaloo (but make sure everyone is out of the cabin!) and can accommodate a small sink and single ring cooker. Very easy to launch and recover, lift keel with 2 x small stubs and handles like a large dinghy. Can be lively if needed, but reef down and they sail well. Usually fitted with a tabernacle and its easy for 2 to lower and raise the mast.
Owners association here: https://shipmate.org.uk/
Don't sell them short: they're actually 16' 3"!

I had the Shipmate Dayboat version - smaller, more basic cabin/cuddy and better looking. I had lots of fun and travelled far and wide around the South Devon coast in her, single-handed and two-up.

I launched her single-handed on several occasions, include what I called 'dry-launching'. I drove down a slipway at low tide onto the sand/gravel, slid the boat off the back of the trailer onto the sand, walked and dug an anchor in (just in case) and went off to find somewhere to park the car and trailer. Came back and sat aboard as the tide came in, and as she would float in a few inches of water was soon off. This had the added advantage I could launch before the mayhem of numerous people scrabbling to launch speed boats once the tide was in. (Though on one occasion I was delayed parking, and by the time I got back the tide had started coming in, and a speed boat owner had lifted my anchor (because the anchor rope crossed the bottom of the slipway (due to incoming tide direction) and just tossed it away downtide. Fortunately the boat hadn't yet moved, so no problem apart from a scare and wet feet.)

I mainly kept her on a cheap drying mooring, though.

In the winter I kept her in a friend's (longer than average, but not by much) garage.

Great as Shipmates are (and I'd certainly have one again if my circumstances were different), I'm not sure they would best suit the OP. They really are too small for two adults and children (I'm not saying it can't be done, but. . .), are are rather basic for anyone downsizing. They also can be capsized, so you need to be wary in boisterous conditions: it handles like a dinghy because it pretty much is a dinghy (but with a lid on it)!
 
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