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Sailboat Trailers: What You Need to Know Before Purchasing

We all know that no two products are exactly alike, especially when searching for a quality sailboat trailer. Below is some information to consider when deciding which sailboat trailer to purchase:

Determine Your Needs: Do you plan to float your sailboat on and off the trailer or do you plan to have it hoisted? In most cases, if you want the ability to float your sailboat on and off the trailer, a custom bunk style support system is best. You want to be sure that there is a fully supportive keel rest/keel guide, as well as outer bunking and supports. Always double check that the bunks are set to the curvature of your boat’s hull and that the structural bulkheads are supported. Oftentimes, when floating on and off, your trailer will need a tall winch stand. Many custom trailers can be built with structural tongue extensions to help the floating process as well.

If you plan to hoist your sailboat on and off, then most customers will choose a screw pad style support system. Bunks can work well too but you would want to opt for sling pocket cut outs to ease the process of removing the straps from under the hull. Again, you will want the screw pads to be placed on the bulkheads. Screw pad support trailers should come with adequate keel support.

Determine your use: Do you plan to use your boat trailer in fresh or salt water? If you plan to use your sailboat trailer in freshwater, you most likely would want to choose a painted trailer. A lot of our customers like the look of the painted over the galvanizing. If you are going to purchase a painted trailer, in order to keep the frame as strong as possible you should know the differences between the C Channel and Tubing steel. The disadvantage to a tubing steel trailer is that there is NO way to prime or paint the INSIDE of the tubing so your trailer can get water trapped inside the frame, and it can rust from the inside out.

If you plan to use your boat trailer in salt water, the question then becomes Galvanized Steel or Aluminum? One major advantage to a steel trailer is that it is 3 times stronger than aluminum, so you do not have to worry about any flexing or bowing of the frame. Generally speaking, most steel trailers provide more bunking/screw pad support as well as keel support. Aluminum is lighter weight than steel so in certain salt condition, when trying to load the boat on the trailer, an aluminum trailer can actually float making the loading process more difficult.

How do you know if the trailer will work properly for your boat: If you are ordering a custom built sailboat trailer from a company such as ours, then you know it will be set up properly. We get the bulkhead locations, the center of gravity, the deadrise, the keel dimension etc. to make sure every angle of your boat’s hull and keel are properly support. The axle placement is set to your boat’s center of gravity to ensure a smooth tow with the weight equally distributed across the frame/trailer. If you are buying a used or stock trailer, you need to know whether the bunks/screwpads, axles, bow stop/winch stand, etc. are adjustable. If they are, you need to know to what degree they are adjustable as you want to make sure that you properly support your sailboat’s keel and hull. Also find out where your sailboat’s bulkheads are located to make sure they are properly supported so you do not cause damage to the hull.

Of course you need to make sure that the trailer is long enough (meaning a couple feet longer than the sailboat’s overall length). You want the rear transom of your sailboat to line up flush with the back of the frame. You need to be sure that the trailer is long enough so that when you make a sharp turn you do not need to worry about your sailboat hitting the rear of your tow vehicle. You also need to make sure that the Payload of the trailer is rated to carry at least the loaded wet weight of your sailboat. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating MINUS The Trailer Weight will give you the net Carry Capacity or Payload. This number must be HIGHER than your boat’s loaded, wet weight.

Miscellaneous Information: As with any boat trailer you want to make sure your sailboat trailer comes with a DOT approved, proper Vin number. You also want to make sure it comes with a Certificate of Origin so you can register your trailer in your state. Also, check your state’s brake law as many states now are NOT allowing surge brakes. Make sure that the trailer would be “legal” in whichever state you plan to register your trailer in (Vin number, lighting, brakes, certificate of origin etc). Find out if there is a warranty and what it covers. Always check to make sure the lighting on the trailer is fully legal and DOT approved as well.

These are some general guidelines and helpful information we provide to our customers when they have questions or are comparing products. Not all sailboats are the same and either are sailboat trailers. You want to make sure that you are purchasing the proper product for your needs and to securely support your sailboat.

If you would like a quote on a custom sailboat trailer, please fill out our form at:

http://www.loadmastertrailerco.com/sailboat-trailers/     or      call us at 800.258.6115.

Tags: How To · Sailboat Trailers - General · Tips and Tricks