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My Cruiser Life Magazine

7 Best Trailerable Sailboats for Cruising

Many sailors balk at the idea of leaving their boat in the water at a marina. Slip fees are expensive, and maintenance bills get bigger the longer you leave a boat in the water. However, if you want a boat under 30 feet long, there are trailerable sailboats that will fit the bill.

Like any boat purchase, you’ll need to analyze precisely what kind of trailer sailer you want. Will a simple weekend sailboat suffice, or do you really need the best trailerable cruising sailboat you can find? 

Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of the best trailerable sailboat. Plus, we’ll look at how to compare them for your purposes.

trailerable sailboat

Table of Contents

Best trailerable sailboats, easy to launch trailerable sailboats, quick setup time, towing weight, catalina 22/25 “pop-top”, com-pac horizon cat for classic coastal cruising, marshall sanderling — small, portable, classy, west wight potter 19 — the tiny go-anywhere sailboat, seaward 26rk with retractable lead keel, corsair f-24 trimaran – sporty sailing, macgregor 26m — maximum speed meets maximum living space, long-range cruising boats, 7 best trailerable boats – a recap, what’s the best trailerable sailboat for a cruise, trailerable sailboats faqs.

  • Catalina 22/25
  • Com-Pac Horizon Cat
  • Marshall Sanderling
  • West Wight Potter 19
  • Seaward 26RK
  • Corsair F-24 Trimaran
  • MacGregor 26M

We’ll get into more detail about each brand in my post today, so hang tight!

What Is a Trailerable Sailboat, Exactly?

For this article, the priorities for a trailerable sailboat are:

  • Easy to launch
  • Require minimum setup to launch and store
  • Lightweight enough to be towed by the average vehicle

Before you can really classify a sailboat as trailerable, you need to evaluate and narrow your search criteria. Truthfully, 50-plus-foot ocean-going sailboats are regularly put on trailers. But that’s done commercially, on a big rig, with special permits for oversized loads, and even led cars.  

That probably isn’t what most people mean when they think of a trailerable sailboat. But what is the priority here, the trailerable part or the sailboat part? Compromises are going to have to be made somewhere. 

If you’re looking at the 20-foot-and-under sailboat crowd, finding a trailerable example should not be hard. Most sailboats this size are designed for trailers anyway since they aren’t the sort of boats people want to pay to leave in a slip year-round.

Things get more interesting when you look at the 20 to 30-foot boats. In this class, there are stout ocean-going cruisers with deep keels and lightweight centerboard trailer sailboats designed from the get-go to be trailered by the average car or SUV. The differences between these boats are night and day.

Sailboats often have a hard time at boat ramps. First, deep keels mean that the trailer must extend farther into the water than the average boat ramp allows. This means the ramp needs to go back far enough, and the trailer tongue needs to be long enough not to swamp the car. 

If you have a boat like this, you’ll need to find the right boat ramps. Unfortunately, not all ramps are created equally. If your boat draws more than two or three feet on the trailer, you’re going to be limited to steep, paved, and high-quality boat ramps. Unfortunately, those aren’t standard features, so your cruising grounds are going to be limited.

Usually, ramps aren’t built steeply because they are often slippery. Your tow vehicle will need excellent traction and torque to pull your fully loaded boat out of a steep ramp. The steeper the ramp, the more trouble you’ll have. 

The alternative to finding steep ramps is to use a trailer tongue extender. This lets you get the trailer into deeper water without swamping the tow vehicle. But it also means that the ramp needs to extend deep enough. Many ramps end abruptly. Allowing your trailer to sink off the edge is an excellent way to get stuck or pop a tire.

Pick a boat as easy to launch and retrieve as a similarly sized powerboat to remove all of these boat ramp problems. The soft chines of most sailboats will always require a little more water, but a swing keel and the hinged rudder raised mean that the boat can sit low on the trailer bunks. That way, you only need one or two feet of water to launch, an easy feat at nearly every boat ramp you can find.

The next consideration for a sailboat to be portable enough to call it “trailerable” is the amount of time it takes to step the mast and get it ready to cruise. 

To accomplish this, you need a mast that can be stepped by a two-person team–maximum. Ideally, it will have some tabernacle hardware to enable one person to do the task for solo sailing.

There is an entire family of pocket cruisers that could ideally fit on trailers. But you won’t find the Fickas or the Falmouth cutters on my list, simply because they aren’t easy to launch or easy to rig. But, of course, they’re also too heavy for most vehicles to tow, which leads us to the final point of excluding them this trailable pocket cruiser’s list.

One of the most significant financial burdens the trailer sailer faces is their tow vehicle. You are all set if you already drive a two-ton dually diesel pickup truck. But if your daily driver is an SUV or light pickup, you need to think long and hard about the math of the towing equation. 

Whatever boat you buy cannot exceed the towing rating limits of your tow vehicle. If you don’t have a tow vehicle, you’ll need to buy one. This will double or triple the cost of getting a trailer sailer in most cases. For the same money, you may want to look at a boat that stays in the water at a traditional boat slip. For the cost of a trailer sailer and a tow vehicle, you can probably step into a nice boat that is larger and more comfortable than any towable.

If you have a tow vehicle, you need a light enough vessel for it to tow. Most modern SUVs tow less than 2,500 pounds. Anything more than 5,000 will require a full-size pickup. Remember that the tow weight isn’t just the boat’s displacement—it’s the empty hull weight, plus the weight of the trailer and any extra gear you need to pack into the boat. 

Finding a vessel that fits these limitations on weight isn’t easy. If the manufacturer’s goal is to make it towable, immediate limits are placed on the materials they can use. This means less seaworthiness since boats are built light and thin. As far as stability goes, lead keels are generally out, and water ballast systems or centerboards might be used instead. It doesn’t mean these boats aren’t safe and fun, but they aren’t designed for rough conditions, crossing oceans, or living on in the water full-time .

Trailerable sailboats are usually limited to the best paved ramps

7 Best Trailerable Cruising Sailboats

There are more trailerable sailboats out there than you might imagine. Here’s a look at seven popular options of all shapes and sizes to give you a taste of what you might want to take to sea.

The boats here are selected for their storage and living space. With these boats and a little outfitting, you can spend weeks gunk-holing in the Chesapeake Bay or island hopping the Bahamas. If you broaden your scope to include daysailers with no cabin space, there are countless more options.

One of the worst parts of a small trailerable sailboat or pocket cruiser is the lack of stand-up headroom. One clever solution that you’ll find on some weekend sailboat types is the pop-top. 

The pop-top is simply an area around the companionway hatch that extends upward on struts. So when you’re at the dock or anchor, you get standing headroom down below—at least right inside the pop-top.

You can build a canvas enclosure for your pop-top to use it in all weather. A pop-top makes your boat feel much larger than it is and allows you to move freely to cook or get changed down below or even do a nice boat bed area. 

Later models of the Catalina Sport 22 and Capri 22s lacked this cool pop-top feature, so if you want it, you’ll need to seek out an older model on the used market.

Com-Pac has been building small sailboats since the early 1970s. They currently sell two lines, each with various-sized boats. All are well built, and a majority of their boats are trailerable. 

Most interesting at the Com-Pac traditional catboats . The rigging is more straightforward than modern sloops, with only one large mainsail. Com-Pac boats come with a unique quick-rig system to make getting on the water fast and simple.

The Horizon Cat Coastal Cruising has a displacement of 2,500 pounds with a 2’2″ draft when the board is up. She has a separate head forward and space to lounge either topside or down below. The smaller Sun Cat has slightly few amenities but shaves off a few feet and pounds, making it easier to tow and it is one of these amazing small sailboats. Com-Pacs features stub keels, so their centerboard and hinged rudder do not take up space in the cabin.

On the sloop rig side, the Com-Pac 23 comes in a 3,000-pound traditional sailboat or a very interesting pilothouse. Both are incredibly livable for their size , with shallow two-foot-long fixed keels and high-quality construction.

Another option if you like catboats is the Marshall Sanderling. This salty 18-footer oozes traditional charm , all while being easy to sail and easier to tow. And while she has wooden boat lines, she has a modern laminated fiberglass hull.

The Sanderling has a 2,200-pound displacement, so tow weights will be around 3,000 pounds. At only 18-feet, she’s on the small side for cruising. The cuddy cabin has no galley, and the portable toilet is not enclosed. But that small size means a simple boat that’s easy to maintain and take anywhere. 

An electric motor package is an exciting option on this weekend sailboat!

View this post on Instagram A post shared by @marshallmarinecat

You can’t mention tiny trailer sailers without touching on the famous West Wight Potter . These 15 and 19-foot pocket cruisers have earned a worldwide reputation as the ultimate go-anywhere coastal cruiser.

The West Wight Potter 19 offers the most living space for staying aboard and cruising. So even though its dimensions are diminutive, this little boat packs a lot in. There’s a single burner hotplate and sink and a porta-potty tucked under a cushion. Yes, it’s tight—but the company claims the little boat can sleep five people. Any more than two will feel pretty crowded, however.

The boat comes standard with a mast-raising system that a single person can manage alone. It has a daggerboard for a shallow draft of a half-foot when the board is up. The total towing weight is around 1,500 pounds, which means nearly any car can tow a West Wight Potter.

This little-known trailer sailer is produced at the same Florida factory that makes Island Packet Yachts. That should give you a little bit of an idea of what sort of boat it is—trailerable, yes, but also high-quality, beautiful, and built for cruising. In other words, it’s one of the nicest all round pocket cruisers and it feels like a much larger boat.

The Seaward is easily the saltiest boat on this list . It’s beefy and seaworthy. Instead of a lightweight centerboard, Seaward fits the RK with a bulb-shaped retracting keel. Other big-boat items include a Yanmar diesel inboard motor and an enclosed head. The spacious cabin of the boat features a double berth and is ready for salt water cruising.

According to sailboatdata.com , the tow weight of the 26RK is 6,000 pounds. With the keel up, the draft is 1.25 feet.

Multihull sailors need not feel left out from the trailer sailer club and the pocket cruiser. Beyond the ubiquitous beach Hobie Cat, there are not many options for catamarans. But trimarans are uniquely suited to be towed.

Why? For one thing, performance oriented boats like trimarans are based on it being built light. There is no ballast—a trimaran’s stability comes from its two outer hulls. Additionally, the living space is entirely housed in the central hull–the outer floats are small and sometimes foldable. Finally, there are no keels on tris, so they are extremely shallow draft and perfect for trailering.

If you’re looking for adrenaline-pumping sporty and fun sailing, it’s impossible to beat what a trimaran will offer. Let’s not beat around the bush—most of the trailer sailers on this list have hull speeds around five knots. The Corsair has no such limits, routinely sailing at 15 knots or more .

The new Corsair 880 trimaran has an unloaded weight of 3,659 pounds. It is trailerable behind a big SUV or small pickup and is probably the most fun sailing option that is trailerable at all.

An even more portable option is the older Corsair F-24. It has a light displacement of under 2,000 pounds—so nearly any SUV can tow it.

MacGregor owns the market on trailerable motor sailers since they more or less created the product to fit the bill. The MacGregor 26 is not like other boats. The design combines a planing powerboat with a centerboard sailboat. Imagine scooting along at 20 knots or more when the wind is down or enjoying a sporty sail on a breezy day–in the same boat.

The entire boat is built from the ground up for towing and long-range sailing. So if you want a big sailboat that you can tow behind pretty much any SUV, the MacGregor has to be on your list. 

Depending on the model, the 26-foot-long boats have incredibly light dry weights of between 1,650 and 2,350 pounds. Considering the massive volume of the roomy cabin, the ability to tow such a large vessel opens up an entire world of opportunities for owners. 

It’s not all good news, of course. MacGregor owners love their boats, but they are built light and are not ideally suited for offshore cruising or rough weather. But in bays and for coastal sailing on nice days, few boats can get as much use as a MacGregor. 

The motorboat capability of the 26M and 26X might not appeal to hardcore sailors, but for those looking to maximize their use of the boat depending on the weather, their mood, or location, it makes a lot of sense. 

MacGregor shut down in 2015, but the daughter and son-in-law of the original owners took over production and renamed the boat the Tattoo 26 . The company will soon release a smaller version, the Tattoo 22 .

If the 26 is a bit big to make your list of best trailerable small sailboats, consider the smaller Powersailer 19. It’s nearly identical to the 26, just smaller and lighter.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Dale Roddick (@droddick33)

What Do You Want Your Trailer Sailer To Do?

After you’ve settled on how you will tow and launch your trailer sailer, now it’s time to dream about what you want it to do. Where will it take you? 

The beauty of a towable boat is that you can travel anywhere. A boat in the water might take weeks or months to move a few hundred miles. But if you can attach it to your car and do 65 mph on the interstate, you could sail on the Pacific on Monday, the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, and the Atlantic on Friday.

We can divide our trailerable sailboats into three groups – daysailers, weekenders, and cruisers.

These are designed with open cockpits and no space to sleep. This is a majority of the sub-22-foot boats on the market. They are designed to be launched, play for the day, and return to the ramp or dock.

A weekender will have rudimentary sleeping facilities. Think of it as a floating tent—it’s not a five-star hotel, but you can sleep under the stars or get out of the rain. Conceivably you could stay aboard indefinitely, but it doesn’t have much room for gear. So most people are ready to get off after a day or two. 

A cruising boat has sleeping, cooking, and toilet facilities built-in. These might be small and simple, but in any quantity, they mean you can disconnect from shore for a long time. Unfortunately, squeezing all of this into a tow-friendly package isn’t easy, and very few boats do it well. 

Trailer sailer adventures

The best trailer sailor for your adventures will depend on many factors. Like any boat, whatever you decide on will be a compromise – boats always are. But there are plenty of choices out there, no matter what size your tow vehicle is and no matter what sailing adventures you have in mind.

What size sailboat is trailerable?

Even large yachts are routinely transported by towing across land, so the question is more of how big a sailboat can you tow? Your tow vehicle will be the limiting factor. The upper limit for most large SUVs and trucks is usually a sailboat around 26 feet long.

Sailboats are generally very heavily built, with ballast and lead keels. Sailboats specifically made to be trailer sailers are lighter. They may use drainable water ballast tanks instead of fixed ballast and have fewer fixtures and amenities.

To find the best trailer sailer, you need to balance the total tow weight, the ease of rig setup at the boat ramp, and the boat’s draft. Shallow draft boats with centerboards are the easiest to launch and retrieve.

Is a Hunter 27 trailerable?

No. The Hunter 27 is a one of those fixed-keel larger boats built from 1974 to 1984. The boat’s displacement is 7,000 pounds, not including trailer and gear. That alone makes it too heavy to tow by all but the beefiest diesel trucks. 

Furthermore, the fixed keels had drafts between 3.25 and 5 feet, all of which are too much for most boat ramps. In short, the standard Hunter Marine 27 is too big to tow for most people.

On the other hand, Hunter has made several good trailer sailers over the years. For example, the Hunter 240 and 260 were explicitly designed for trailering. They have drainable water ballast and shallow keel/centerboard drafts less than two feet. 

Is a Catalina 22 trailerable?

Yes, the Catalina 22 is easily trailerable and makes a wonderful weekend sailboat. In fact, there were over 15,000 Catalina 22s made and sold over the years. 

The boat’s displacement is 2,250 pounds, which means your total tow weight with trailer and gear will be under 3,000 pounds. This is within the capabilities of most mid to full-size SUVs and light trucks. Be sure to check your vehicle’s towing capacity, of course.

The centerboard on the Catalina 22 is another factor in its easy towing. With the board up, the boat draws only two feet. This makes it easy to float off the trailer at nearly any boat ramp. You should avoid fixed keel versions of the 22 for towing unless you have access to extra deep ramps. 

largest sailboat you can trailer

Matt has been boating around Florida for over 25 years in everything from small powerboats to large cruising catamarans. He currently lives aboard a 38-foot Cabo Rico sailboat with his wife Lucy and adventure dog Chelsea. Together, they cruise between winters in The Bahamas and summers in the Chesapeake Bay.

Can someone tell me why no other manufacturer makes pop tops? Those who have them, love them. Makes sense for head space with a trailerable boat too. Catalina stopped making them decades ago, yet people still swear by them. So, why isn’t there any newer models?

MacGregor put pop tops on many of its trailerables

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largest sailboat you can trailer

  • Articles and Guides

Best Trailerable Sailboat Brands to Cruise or Race

18th dec 2023 by samantha wilson.

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Being able to trailer your sailboat opens up many possibilities, from cost saving  boat storage solutions to being able to take your boat to new cruising grounds. It's common to see trailered motorboats on the roads in the United States, Canada, and Europe, but sailboats tend to be trailered in smaller numbers.

Of course the act of trailering a sailboat involves a bit more preparation, namely lowering the mast, but as we'll see there are many excellent brands out there ensuring that the sailboats they build can be trailered nearly as easily as a RIB or center console. And they're not just bathtub-sized sailboats either. Some of the best trailerable sailboats are up to 30 feet in length. While it's trickier to trailer a large catamaran due to its wide beam, the multihull world hasn't been left behind, as you can find clever trimarans that fold up in different ways.

We have picked out some of our favorite trailerable sailboat brands in this article but it's important to remember there are many excellent brands building excellent boats.

Corsair Marine

Corsair Marine photo. 

What Is the Biggest Sailboat I Can Trailer?

Daysailers have long been trailered, thanks to their compact size, simple rigs, and easily lowered, relatively short mast. For those who want a slightly larger boat that they can take the whole family out on or use for overnight trips, then a 20- to 25-foot sailboat may be more useful than a 16- to 19-foot one. Going up a size category allows for a whole new range of activities, with proper galleys, running water, electricity, and an enclosed head to provide more substantial home comforts. But how big is too big to trailer?

You might be surprised to hear that in the United States, sailboats up to around 31 feet in length can be trailered legally. In fact, it typically depends less on length, and more on the weight, beam, and height of the vessel and the trailer together, must meet several legal requirements.

  • Weight : While there is no specific weight limit to be towed, the sailboat has to be able to be towed easily by your vehicle, usually a pickup-style truck or full-size SUV with substantial power. Most single- and tandem-axle trailers can handle a maximum combined load of 7,000 to 8,000 pounds, so your weight limit will also be dictated by your trailer.
  • Beam : To travel without permits, the trailer and vessel must fit on the road in regular traffic. In the US, that's a maximum width of 8 foot 6 inches (a couple inches less in the EU at 2.55 meters). Most trailerable monohull sailboats will be less than this for ease of maneuvering in traffic, but when it comes to catamarans and trimarans, adjustments have to be made (we'll look at those later).
  • Length : The upper length limit of a sailboat can be anything up to 65 feet , but that's a moot point because vessels of that size would never meet the width limits. In reality, a 30-footer is the longest sailboat you're likely to tow, with 15- to 25-footers being much more common.
  • Height : Your trailer and sailboat have to fit under bridges and highway overpasses and so for most states the maximum height is 14 feet. This will obviously require lowering the mast onto the deck and including that into your height calculation.

For more advice on the practicalities of trailering see our guide to Buying a Boat Trailer .

The Best Trailerable Cruising Sailboats

The best trailerable cruising sailboat brands.

  • Catalina Yachts : As one of North America's best-known sailboat brands of sailboats, Catalina has a long history of building trailerable models. Their entire Sport line cruising boats—except for the 275—can easily be trailered, and the 22 and 22 Sport, in particular, make for a great step up from daysailing to enjoying a pocket cruiser.
  • Beneteau : Beneteau 's reputation for affordable, capable yachts spans the globe, and their skill at building trailerable sailboats up to 30 feet is just one of many attributes. Take the First 27SE and 24; they are not luxury cruiser (although the 27SE can sleep six crew!) but they sure can sail fast on short distance races or fast adventure cruises. With impeccable and high-quality design featuring double rudders, these are some of the nicest fast cruisers on the market.

Beneteau First 27SE

Beneteau First 27SE. Beneteau photo. 

The Best Trailerable Sport Sailboats

Several brands on this list create high performance sports sailboats , and one of the top names you think of in this sector is Laser whose speedy tiny racers are now an Olympic event in themselves. But there are many excellent brands building ultra-fast sports sailboats – several on our list are considerably bigger than a Laser too. Here we take a look at some of our favorite sports dinghies which are the quintessential trailerable sports boat.

The Best Trailerable Sport Sailboat Brands

  • Melges : Founded in 1945 by Harry C. Melges, Sr., this is an iconic Midwestern brand made famous, in part, by Harry's son, Harry “Buddy” Melges Jr, an Olympic medalist in the ‘60s and National Sailing Hall of Fame member. Today the business is run by Harry III, also a championship sailor, who oversees a range of high performance vessels from the award-winning Melges 14 and 15 dinghies, to A, C, E and MC scow classes, and international sportboat classes, the Melges 20 and 24—the latter has more than 900 boats sailing competitively all over the world. All of their models are trailerable, allowing them to be transported easily to competitions. Melges boats for sale
  • J/Boats : The most successful volume builder of trailerable, performance keelboats is also a family-run brand founded by brothers Rod and Bob Johnstone and now led by second-generation Johnstones—Jeff, Al and Stuart. Starting with the J/24 (more than 5,500 boats built) and most recently with the J/70, the company has popularized a series of international racing classes from 22 to 26 feet while also building many popular larger racer/cruiser-style models that don't fit easily on a trailer.  J/Boats for sale
  • RS Sailing : British-built RS Sailing performance dinghies and keelboats are spreading in popularity across the world. Distributed widely on the east coast of the US, they're excellent pocket racing dinghies, easily trailered and ultra-fast. Their range of boats runs from 12 feet and 21 feet and includes dinghies, catamarans, and keelboats, allowing you to find exactly the right boat for your experience level and interest, but it's their Racing Series which sets them apart as high performers in the market. They're lightweight, simple in their design, and well-suited to being trailered thanks to their compact sizes.

Melges 24

Melges 24. Melges photo. 

The Best Trailerable Youth Sailboats

Trailerable sailboats designed for younger sailors are lightweight, easy to rig, and easy to sail. They should offer a simple platform in which to learn the mechanics of sailing, the movement of the boat on the water, and the basic maintenance of a sailboat. For more guidance check out our guide to choosing the best beginner sailboat .

The Best Trailerable Youth Sailboat Brands

  • ILCA : Formerly known as the Laser, the ILCA design is one of the most popular sailboats of all time, a responsive yet high-performance one-person sailboat that is an excellent step up, particularly for sailors who outgrow their smaller dinghies as teenagers. As a racing class, ILCA offers three different mast sizes so sailors can start in what's called the ILCA 4 class and as they gain weight, move to ILCA 6 and 7. By that time, you're in a class of boat that can take you all the way to the Olympics. Designed in the 1970s by Canadian sailor Bruce Kirby, the 13'10.5” boat teaches high-performance skills, subtle steering and trimming techniques, and astounding speed once on a plane.
  • Hobie Cat : We've put Hobie Cat in this category simply because of the brand's long-standing legacy of creating fun, simple, and compact catamarans that are loved by families and easily trailered. The classic Hobie 16 model with more than 100,000 built remains an active international class worldwide for the young and the young at heart; newer models provide a good, stable platform for a variety of off-the-beach and daysailing contexts. Catamarans are obviously wider than their monohull counterparts, but beach cats like the ones made by Hobie are well within the maximum width allowance to be towed on American roads. And because of their lightweight fiberglass or rotomolded hulls, they can be towed by much less powerful vehicles too.

Laser sailboats

Laser sailboats. Laser Performance photo. 

The Best Small Trailerable Sailboats

There are many benefits to opting for a small towable sailboat , and plenty of excellent brands out there are producing high performance pocket cruisers. A smaller sailboat won't require a large trailer and together they will weigh less and be able to be towed by a regular family car rather than a pick-up truck. Navigating smaller roads or heavier traffic will be less of a consideration, plus getting your sailboat launched will be a simpler affair. Several brands on our list could be in this category but special mention must be made of:

The Best Small Trailerable Sailboats Brands

  • Cape Cutter : The traditional beauty of these sailboats, twinned with modern-day advancements, makes them really stand out from the rest. The design originates from the classic gaff cutter work boats, but today it's one of the fastest small gaffers in the world. The interior is cleverly spacious, with four berths, as well as a simple galley area. With quick rigging, it can be sailed solo, but is also able to accommodate small groups, making it a capable and hugely versatile pocket cruiser. At 22 feet long, 7 foot 7 inches wide, and under 5 foot in height with the mast lowered, it's perfect for trailering too. Cape Cutter boats for sale.
  • NorseBoat : These beautiful, hand-crafted, and impressively versatile Canadian-built sailboats offer good performance and are described by the manufacturer as "the Swiss Army Knives of sailboats". Whether it's the 12.5 model, which can be sailed, rowed, and motored, or the 17.5 or 21.5 models, they can all be trailered, easily beached, and even used as camp cruisers, allowing for overnight adventures. And with traditional styling they're absolute head-turners whether you're cruising along the road or water.

NorseBoat 17.5

NorseBoat 17.5. NorseBoat photo. 

The Best Trailerable Catamaran and Trimaran Sailboats

Multihulls have gained popularity in the last 20 years thanks to their stability, lack of keel, performance, and increased space on board compared to a monohull of the same length. Yet there are obvious challenges when it comes to trailering a sailboat with a very wide beam such as a catamaran or even more so a trimaran. In fact, by having three hulls, the trimaran type has bred for some innovative engineering, folding in the two outer hulls thus creating a smaller overall beam for transport. This is trickier with catamarans as they're not foldable in the same way. We've mentioned the well-known Hobie Cat brand of small beach cats above but there are some other innovative brands out there making it easier to trailer multihulls.

The Best Trailerable Catamaran and Trimaran Sailboat Brands

  • Nacra : Catamarans are difficult to trailer because their beam is likely to exceed the legal road limits due to their double hull structure. Having said that, small models such as Nacra's lightning fast racing cats will squeeze within the beam limits at 8 foot 5 inches wide including the 15, F16, and F18 Infusion. If you're after trailerable performance and some competition, these cats provide a whole different level for serious and athletic sailors.
  • Corsair : Corsair makes some of the best trailerable trimaran sailboats on the market and were pioneers in the folding trimaran sector for more than three decades. Yes you read that correctly…foldable trimarans up to 20 feet in length. With technology straight out of a Transformers movie, a 15-foot beam folds down into a neat little 8-foot wide package ready for trailering. Even the 31 foot 10 inch long 970 Cruze, with its standing room cabin, can be put on a trailer thanks to the folding system and retractable daggerboard and rudder.
  • Dragonfly : With a focus on beautiful, cruise-worthy, high-quality, and high-performance trimarans up to 40 feet, Dragonfly offers two models— the 25 and 28—that can be folded and trailered for ease of transport and to allow you the freedom to access different cruising grounds. At a folded width of 8 feet 3 inches, the 28 is still just within legal width for towing on US roads, while offering you a true weekend cruiser complete with saloon, cabin, and galley.

Dragonfly 28.1

Dragonfly 28.1. Dragonfly photo. 

Written By: Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson has spent her entire life on and around boats, from tiny sailing dinghies all the way up to superyachts. She writes for many boating and yachting publications, top charter agencies, and some of the largest travel businesses in the industry, combining her knowledge and passion of boating, travel and writing to create topical, useful and engaging content.

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Biggest Trailerable Sailboats

Although there are some exceptions, most sailboats 30 feet long and below may be driven on roads safely. These are the biggest trailerable sailboats.

Michael Moris

March 16, 2023

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

In this post, we'll look at twelve of the biggest sailboats that are trailerable on the market. The Catalina 27, Hunter 27, Cape Dory Typhoon, Cal 20, Islander 24, Catalina 22, O'Day 240, Moore 24, Helms 25, MacGregor 26, Nor'Sea 27 and Catalina 25 are some of the best trailerable sailboats.

These boats have comfortable cabins, exceptional sailing qualities, and meet all of the towing criteria for U.S. highways. These boats can usually be towed by a truck.

I’ve sailed a few of these boats throughout the years and have unique perspectives on how each compares. Growing up on sailboats was the best learning experience, and I welcome any opportunity to share my experiences.  Read on to find out more!

largest sailboat you can trailer

Table of Contents

‍ Considerations for a Trailerable Sailboat

The limits and dimensions of American roads impose certain standards on trailerable sailboats. The first is width (otherwise referred to as the beam). The sailboat and its accessories and the trailer it's towed on must fit in normal traffic lanes. Another important factor to consider is the overall weight of the boat. The ideal trailerable sailboat is light enough that a modestly equipped truck or suv can tow it.

Overall Length

There are definitely boats out there on the longer side, but the longer the sailboat, the wider it has to be for stability purposes. However, it would be difficult for such a long boat to meet the width standards because sailboats of that length are typically much wider. In practice, the longest trailerable sailboats are usually 30 feet or less in length. The average is about 20 to 25 ft long, with a few exceptions at 27 feet in length.

Keel Draft And Type

The keel design is also significant, since it influences the boat's height above the ground. Sailboats that are trailerable feature a smaller centerboard that can be pulled within the hull to make towing more manageable.

Total Height

This is a big one. Sailboats are tall and need a collapsible mast in order to be transported on a trailer.

In most states, a trailer load may not exceed 14 feet in height. Sailboat masts are incredibly tall and unwieldy at reasonable towing speeds. The mast must be broken down, and the keel and boat height combined can't exceed 14 feet tall.The height of the trailer must also be considered, since a tall boat may not be able to fit under highway bridges.

Displacements (Weight)

Weight's a consideration as well. Most trailers are limited to around 3,300 pounds per axle. A triple axle trailer will allow around 9,000 lbs of weight capacity, but you might have a hard time finding a reasonable heavy duty truck to tow this boat size around.

As mentioned, The most width/beam for a sailboat that may be trailered is just under nine feet. This is due to the fact that the typical trailer in the United States has a maximum width of 12 feet. The logistic behind rowing a larger boat are a nightmare, and its worth mentioning that unless you plan on keeping a larger boat in one place, a trailerable sailboat might be a better option.

Most sailboats fall below this upper limit to make them easier to trailer and handle on the road.

12 of the Best and Largest Trailerable Sailboats

Trailerable sailboats tend to be on the smaller side, but it doesn't mean you can't find a roomy, weekend cruiser for fun with the family. The vessels we chose range in length, but all of the are under 27 ft, and are great for cruising around the bay. We'll take a look at two of the larger boats in the series then work our way down from there. Here are twelve of the best large trailerable sailboats.

1. Catalina 27

This might be a controversial one as the weight of Catalina's 27 is just shy of 7,000 pounds, but it's technically trailerable and might be the best boat on this list for sheer fun and pleasant sailing.

The Catalina 27 is a roomy cruiser with a comfortable interior and a spacious cockpit. There's plenty of storage, and the boat is rigged for single-handing. The wide beam and stable platform make the Catalina 27 an ideal boat for coastal cruising and long-distance sailing.

The Catalina 27 has a fixed keel that draws 2 ft 6 in, making it easy to tow. The mast folds down for highway travel, and the overall length is just shy of 30 ft.

  • Ubiquitous design
  • Great cabin space
  • Fun weekend cruiser
  • Fast for its age
  • The cabin lack storage space
  • Not sealed well against the elements

2. Hunter 27

This 27 footer is also on the heavy side and would require a much heavier duty truck for towing, but it's doable if needed.

This trailerable sailboat is a roomy coastal cruiser that's perfect for weekend getaways and family sailing. The Hunter 27 has a wide beam and a comfortable interior with plenty of headroom.

The Hunter 27 is a sturdy cruiser with an easy-to-sail short-keeled sloop rig. The mast and boom are made of aluminum, making them corrosion resistant and lightweight. The boat has a swing keel that draws 3 ft 9 in, allowing it to ride low on the highway.

The Hunter 27 isn't the best boat for bluewater sailing, but it's a great vessel for weekend trips and coastal cruising. The overall length is just shy of 30 ft, and the boat has a beam of 8 ft 3 in.

  • Wider beam makes this boat luxurious compared to the others on this list
  • Many sub models to choose from
  • Large on a trailer
  • Heavy on a trailer as well

3.West Wight Potter 19

This sailboat is a fantastic, small, lightweight sailing dinghy that's perfect for weekend getaways and easy to tow behind a standard car. The boat has a fixed keel that draws 1 ft 6 in and this boat can be easily sailed by one person.

This trailerable boat is made of fiberglass and has an open transom that makes it easy to get in and out of the water. The mast can be quickly be lowered for transport, and the overall length is just shy of 20 ft.

This boat also has a great cabin with berths and storage to make your weekend trips more comfortable.

Our third addition to this list is a great sailboat for beginners, and it can be sailed solo or with a partner. This smaller boat is a joy to sail, is fast, easy to use, making it a great choice for weekend sailing trips.

  • Lightweight and easy to tow
  • Can be sailed solo or with a partner
  • Fast and easy to sail
  • Not the best choice for long-distance sailing

4. Cape Dory Typhoon

One of America's best selling sailboats and the "Littlest yacht"

The Cape Dory Typhoon is a trailerable sailboat that's perfect for weekend cruising and long-distance sailing. The boat has a fixed keel that draws 2 ft 6 in, and the mast can be lowered for transport. The overall length is just shy of 30 ft, and the boat has a beam of 10 ft.

The Cape Dory Typhoon has a comfortable cabin with berths for four people. The boat is also equipped with a head. The cockpit is spacious, and the boat has plenty of storage space for all your gear.

The Typhoon can be sailed shorthanded, but it's best enjoyed by a crew of two. The boat is well-suited for light bluewater sailing, making long trips or offshore passages easy and safe.

  • Cabin with berths for four people
  • Spacious cockpit
  • Well suited for bluewater sailing
  • Can't carry much in terms of gear for those long trips

This is a great sailboat that’s been available for over 30 years, and it's a great choice for coastal cruising. In the right hands, this trailerable boat is capable of plenty more, as the Cal 20 is well regarded as an ocean crossing race boat.

This hull is renowned for its interior and ease of use while trailering. It has a fixed keel that draws 2 ft 6 in, and the mast can be lowered for transport. The overall length is just shy of 21 ft, and the beam is 7 ft.

This sailboat has a comfortable interior with berths for four people. The boat also has a head, sink, and galley. The cockpit is spacious and well-suited for coastal cruising.

This boat is a great choice for all types of sailors, and it can be sailed solo or with a partner. The boat is fast and easy to sail, making it a great choice for weekend sailing trips.

It's not the lightest trailerable sailboat on our list, but it should be towed without issue by a well-equipped truck.

  • Trailerable
  • Cabin isn’t all that

6. Catalina 22

This boat is a bit of a legend and one of the first boats I sailed.. Considered by many to be one of the best selling sailboats in America, and for good reason. This trailerable boat is perfect for weekend cruising and coastal sailing. The boat has a fixed keel that draws 2 ft 6 in, and the mast can be lowered for transport. The overall length is just shy of 25 ft, and the beam is 7.67 ft.

For a twenty two foot boat the interior is comfortable with berths for four people. The original boat also has a head, sink, and galley. The cockpit is spacious and well-suited for coastal cruising.

This vessel is a great choice for all types of sailors, and it can be sailed solo or with a partner. The boat is fast and easy to sail, making it a great choice for weekend sailing trips.

This sailboat has one of the best interiors in its class, but the mast requires regular maintenance.

Despite its age, the 22 is still in production.

Production began in 1969, with over 16,000 built in total. Catalina 22’s have been made to differing specifications. As a result, it is a popular sailboat made in great numbers and across the states. At any time, thousands may be available on the secondhand market at reasonable costs.

  • Looks great
  • Thoughtful cabin design
  • Available everywhere
  • The cabin isn't tall

7.O'Day 240

This boat is rugged and is a great choice for those looking for a trailerable sailboat that can handle more than just coastal sailing. This boat has a fixed keel that draws 3 ft 6 in, and the mast can be lowered for transport. The overall length is just shy of 26 ft, and the beam is just over 8 ft.

The boat looks great. It’s wide and this contributes to its ease of use and stability while underway.

The O'Day 240's interior is particularly distinctive. It's packed with features, including a great berth in the shape of a V, galley, and room for a head. There’s also room in the rear for more berths. There's plenty of headroom in the cabin, which is rare in this size of boat. This boat is great for longer trips!

  • Beamy which means more cabin space
  • Great coastal cruiser
  • Cabin design might be off putting to some

8. Islander 24

Islander's are renowned for their larger sailboats and are known for their great coastal cruisers. This boat is a great trailerable example by the company.

Built in a time when manufacturer's understood less about fiberglass, the hull is made thicker than modern sailboats. This gives the boat a sturdier look and adds substantial weight to the platform.

This fiberglass sailing boat is well-crafted and suitable for coastal cruising across a variety of conditions..

  • Thicker fiberglass means stronger hull
  • Great performance qualities
  • Coastal cruising
  • Heavy, Heavy, Heavy

The Helms 25 is a trailerable sailboat of exceptional quality, design and a swing keel. The boat has a fixed keel that draws 3 ft 6 in, and the mast can be lowered for transport. The overall length is just shy of 26 ft, and the beam is 8 ft.

The boat is well-appointed and has a nice layout. There's a small galley, two seats at the table, a berth in the shape of a V, and has room for more aft.

This boat is a comfortable, seaworthy, and trailerable boat. There is a lot of information available about this yacht. It's inexpensive to maintain and has a high resale value post new sale, making it an excellent investment opportunity.

  • Cabin Layout
  • Not great for extended trips

10. MacGregor 26

It seem we all have opinions about MacGregor. The 26 is no exception.

It's not quite like anything you've seen before. It looks blocky, wide and tall. This unique appearance might be off putting to some but it makes the boat much easier to handle and stable in conditions that would put other boats to shame.

The MacGregor 26 is loaded with options and a variety of models are available. With varying cabin layouts, window designs, and color schemes you're sure to find a MacGregor out there for you. If you're into the non traditional look, this is a great option as a trailerable sailboat!

  • Modern design may be a trend setter
  • Excellent headroom
  • Stable across many conditions
  • The look might put some people off

11. Nor'Sea 27

This boat might be one of the only true offshore sailboats with cabin amenities that might put some of the larger sailboats out there to shame. This 27 footer is a well designed, full-keel displacement sailboat. While underway, this boat feels safe and comfortable. A full keel allows this boat to weather more than others on this list.

This boat has a fantastic and large cabin, which is unique for these vessels. The interior’s paneled in attractive wood, and the whole ship has an elevated feel with quality materials throughout.

This boat’s a cruising sailboat that's ideal for extended travel and offshore sailing. If you're searching for a genuine cruising sailboat that'll trailer well, this boat is the one for you. Because of its size, weight and capabilities, towing this boat safely will require a vehicle that’s a bit more hefty.

  • Large cabin
  • Extended offshore trip capable
  • Large and heavy

12. Catalina 25

The Catalina 25 is a sailboat that has been around for a while and is known for its great performance and easy handling. It's one of the most popular trailerable sailboats on the market, and it's easy to see why.

At just over 25 feet, the Catalina 25 is an easily handled sailboat that's perfect for weekend getaways. It has a spacious cockpit, a well-appointed cabin, and is capable of handling a wide range of wind and sea conditions.

The Catalina 25 is also one of the most affordable sailboats on the market. You can find them used for as little as $2,000, and they hold their value well. If you're looking for an affordable, trailerable sailboat that's perfect for weekend getaways, the Catalina 25 is a great option.

  • Well-appointed cabin
  • Not ideal for long-distance sailing or rough seas

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The Working Man's Guide to Trailer Sailing

The Working Man's Guide to Trailer Sailing | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Capt Chris German

June 15, 2022

Let's face it, life would be better with a 40 foot sailing yacht sitting on the hook just off your front yard on a tropical island. But if you are not quite there yet, maybe you want to start a little smaller. Let me introduce you to the Trailer Sailer.

A trailerable sailboat is in many ways better than a keel boat or a dinghy. You can get a trailer down a boat ramp, it stores for free in your backyard, and it has many of the benefits of a keel boat or dinghy, with fewer drawbacks. Some might argue that the perfect sailboat is the trailer sailer.

Table of contents

Trailer Sailers offer the Best of Both Worlds

For the last five years I have dabbled in both trailerable boats and keel boats, and have personally owned two trailerable sailboats .

Sailboat on a Trailer

They really were the perfect boats for my needs. They were small enough that I could tow them with my Ford Ranger, but big enough that I could sail outside the demarcation line at Cape Lookout in North Carolina, just one mile from the Atlantic Ocean.

They had a water ballast system so I could sail my wife, two dogs, myself and a whole weekend's worth of gear and a 13 foot dinghy though the sand bars and shallows of Bogue Sound and never have to drop my center board once.

They also fed me by allowing me to teach a few dozen sailors to master the tempestuous winds of East Carolina before I decided Hurricanes-be-damned and moved to Utah, I must admit I choked up a bit because these boats owed me nothing and I was sorry to see them go.

Trailerable Sailboats Can’t Handle as Much

Trailer Sailers are not perfect for every occasion despite my enthusiasm. Oftentimes the wind was just too much for these little girls, especially in places like East Carolina.

On days like those, sailing was not possible and I would drop sails and just motor, awkwardly, up the channel home.

Anything over 15 knots and the boat would be overpowered and simply luff up into the wind while under sail.

Luckily I had a really good 9-horse yamaha on days like that and we still enjoyed a day on the water - mostly.

That is to say, we always had fun, except when we didn’t, and that was the case on 4th of July 2019.

Jennifer and I decided to head to the cape that weekend in our trailer sailer “Flo’s Revenge” to escape the holiday crowds that always seem to pack into Beaufort to celebrate a holiday in the pre-covid days.

We set out at 6 pm on Friday with a pile of food and beer, tents and charcoal, dogs and sleeping bags.

We sailed over with a reefed main and a motor and arrived shortly before sunset to find that our usual anchorage had been erased from existence earlier in the season by a storm.

We decided to find a new spot and selected one that wasn’t quite as protected with less beach and more exposure to the channel traffic.

The first night went fine and we arose the next morning to find a bright sunshiny hightide and a steady stream of boats making their way across from Harkers Island.

We enjoyed the day, although we discovered that our dinghy motor was on the fritz and that when the tide went out, we were hard aground tilting the wrong way. At some point in the night, a thunderstorm came through, that I managed to sleep through.

Unfortunately, the tilt of the boat made my wife roll out of her bunk and the hatch leaked perfectly onto her forehead. We were forced to close the hatch to keep the wind and rain out, but the little boat turned into a sauna with my wife, myself, and two dogs packed inside and a tropical East Carolina thunderstorm raging outside.

Our boat rode hard at anchor that night and bounced off the bottom as the wind pushed us up against the beach. By the next morning, my wife was ready to kill me for sleeping so soundly and the boat was a good 30 feet up the beach from the high tide line.

Our tent had been shredded by the winds and most of our food was washed out to sea or soaked in sand and saltwater. Needless to say, I was in deep trouble for sleeping so hard.

I waited for the high tide to come in and told my wife that we would head home as soon as we could float the boat. But as the tide came in, I realized that the storm had surged us higher than the morning tide would rise and I could feel my wife’s ire build to a level that I don't think I ever want to see again. She was hot, mosquito bitten, tired, wet and now because our boat was so great a beaching, stuck there until I could figure out how to get it off the beach.

Thankfully one of the parade of power boats came close enough that I could hail them and asked them to haul my boat off the beach, which they did with great difficulty. We sailed back home and put the boat in the backyard and never sailed it again.

I tell you this story because it illustrates the real experiences of trailer sailing, with all its drawbacks, but the truth is I did love that little boat.

Raise The Mast On Shore

Trailer sailers can be a challenge to launch and retrieve much like any boat, but with trailer sailers there is the question of the mast.

The mast on pretty much all trailer sailers can be raised and lowered on the ramp or at the dock, and that makes it way cheaper and easier than having the raise and lower the mast with yacht club crain or pay a yard to step your stick.

The challenge however is raising it on shore or in the water. I have done both and have decided it is way easier to do it on shore as you can reach all the fasteners and leverage the halyard from the ground.

And if your wife drops a turnbuckle, it doesn’t sink in 15 feet of water.

Watch Out For Obstructions

Dropping integral items in the water is just one draw back. I have also seen more than one vessel precipitously drop their mast immediately after stepping, by backing their trailer into a tree branch on their way down to the water.

It took them the better part of an afternoon to raise that mast and it came down in mere seconds when challenged by a scrub oak branch hanging over the ramp.

The worst part was, the entire boating world was watching when they struggled to raise their mast and when they dropped it at the boat ramp. Your best bet is to practice raising and lowering your mast in your backyard before ever trying to do it down at the dock or boat ramp and always look up for trees and wires.

Water Ballast

Another issue in launching was my water ballast. It was a blessing in shallow water for stability but proved a bit tedious when launching and retrieving.

My manual said to let the boat sit immediately after launching to allow the ballast tank to fill, but more than once I damn near capsized the boat when climbing aboard to check to see if it was filled.

Air embolisms could stop the filing process and without a full ballast tank that boat had the stability of a sippy cup on a glass topped coffee table.

Towing a Sailboat

Hauling was an issue as well. While my little ford ranger had no problem hauling the boat with a dry ballast tank, barnacles and seaweed could clog the ballast drain and make it a real challenge to haul.

I never had to dive under to dislodge any seafood samples, but I always was afraid I would have to some day, and had to wait until it was completely drained before trying to traverse the entire boat ramp when towing with my ranger.

My GMC however could haul that thing with flat tires dragging a danforth though so if you do decide to trailer sail, make sure you get yourself a decent truck to do your towing.

Other than the ballast and mast, launching and hauling is relatively similar to any other boat. Depending on how deep your draft is, a sailboat can be a bit more difficult on shallow ramps.

Lots of trailer sailer trailers come with extensions to allow you to drop the trailer even deeper into the water for shallow ramps and deeper draft vessels.

The big thing is to ensure that whatever trailer you use, that it works nicely with your hull. And most trailerable sailboats in my experience are a package deal with the trailer so I would recommend you go with the manufacturer when selecting a trailer and don't go shopping for a better deal on a trailer.

Maintenance Is Easier With a Trailer Sailer

While a trailerable sailboat is free of many of the pitfalls of boating like docking, yard fees and mast stepping, it is still a boat.

Engine troubles, bottom paint and on board storage are all challenges. No one that I know of has ever created a boat that doesn’t need oil changes, doesn’t grow barnacles and doesn’t need a ton more storage than it is designed with. It's just a boat.

With a trailer sailer, you can work on your motor next to your garage in your driveway and do all the fresh water flushes your garden hose can handle.

You can also skip bottom painting if you dry sail your boat, which is to say never leave it in the water for more than several hours.

But if you decide to leave it overnight, odds are you’ll have a scum line and barnacle babies by morning.

And for storage, the only saving grace is you can load your boat in your driveway and save the three dozen trips between your boat and the car at the boat ramp.

Register Your Trailer

You're also gonna have to register your trailer sailer and your trailer, if you decide to ever leave your driveway.

Septic System

You will have to ensure that you have a compliant septic system which is oftentimes a bucket or for the high brow sailors, a chemical toilet on trailer boats.

Most trailer sailers don't have a holding tank due to the fact that you don't want to have to drive down the road with a full holding tank. And many also lack a usable size water tank as well for the same reason.

USCG Boardings

Just because your boat lives in your driveway instead of on a dock, doesn’t mean it is not subject to USCG boardings when underway. So flares, noisemakers and PFDs are all legally required as well.

Other Trailerable Boats

We have a  great article on the top types of trailerable sailboats.  But there are literally all kinds both new and used.

One of my favorite is the corsair pulse, a boat being manufactured in Vietnam that is a trailerable catamaran.

Corsair Pulse Sailboat

I envisioned taking this boat up to the northern reaches of Canada and sailing in the Arctic with it.

It’s got enough room to live aboard with lots of winter gear. You can launch it virtually anywhere and it's stable enough that you probably won’t pitch-pole into sub freezing water.

Start Small and Cheap

But if a new boat isn’t in your budget, the used trailer sailer market is super hot right now.

With Covid 19, folks are looking for all sorts of ways to get away and not have to worry about exposure.

What better way is there to get away and socially distance than taking your trailer sailer to the lake or to a remote beach for the weekend?

You can pick up hunter 23.5’s for sale around the country with most offered for $6K or less. Hunter 27s are also to be found but go for $30K plus.

My suggestion is if you're gonna buy your first trailer sailer, start small and cheap. The bigger your boat the more expense and the bigger truck you’ll need to launch it.

Practice Parking With Your Trailer & Boat

No one likes to drive a trailer and even fewer people like to back one up.

Particularly when you have a sailboat with a 30 foot mast up. It's never fun and quite frankly embarrassing when you do it wrong.

I always tell my students looking to trailer a boat to go to a massive parking lot on New Year’s day and spend three hours practicing backing your trailer into parking spots. There really is no other way to get good at it.

Trailer Guides, Rollers, and Side Straps

Even if you can back your trailer beautifully, you also need to put your boat on your trailer and that is even harder when it’s a sailboat.

Installing trailer guides on your trailer if you don't have them makes a huge difference in lining up your boat with your trailer bunks.

I also like rollers instead of flat bunks to hold the boat on the trailer, but with sailboats that's tough because they can roll the boat off on the boat ramp prematurely when backing in.

My hunter has a bow bumper that never quite worked right on my trailer. The boat always hit too high or too low and the winch strap chaffed it.

I took to leaving the boat a foot back from the bunk and using a chain to hold the boat on the trailer.

Never take your boat on the road without side straps. Many people think that because there are trailer guides and a bow strap holding it on the trailer, that you will be fine.

But turning corners and sloshing water in the hull have a tendency to flip boats over while going home and no one wants to be the guy to pick his boat up off the highway or worse yet, have to flip your truck back over when your boat decides to take you for a ride.

Is Trailer Sailing for Everyone?

A resounding no is my answer to that whenever I am asked.

When I was selling my hunters, I had lots of tire kickers come by and more than a few who could never handle a little boat like this in what remained of their lives.

Age, obesity and gravity are all challenges when it comes to trailer sailing. On shore you have to climb up the trailer to step the mast and clean the boat and do all kinds of other stuff and in the water, you have an unstable deck with great big steps on to the foredeck and onto the dock.

As much as this boat was a plug and play sailboat, it wasn't for anyone who lacked a certain agility.

One time docking I got my foot caught in the life line with a student and came real close, if I didn’t actually fracture my wrist.

Trailer sailboats are smaller and less stable than their oversized cousins with the keels. If you are in anyway, limited in your physical prowess, a trailer sailboat may not be the best choice for you.

So that’s my take on trailer sailers.

A younger me would have loved to have a whole fleet of them, but as I age I tend to think a 60 foot catamaran far away from the North Atlantic is more my speed.

Trailer Sailers are way cheaper than keel boats to own without having to pay for a dock, mast stepping and storage, but they are not a plaything and should be respected like every other boat.

They meet all the requirements to be USCG regulated and they can go in big water if you want to take them there, but they are not an easy ride back.

Practice your mast stepping and trailer backing with no one watching and try not to be too much of a ramp hog while you're in the public eye.

Start small, as big boats are a pain to drive on a trailer.

So do good, have fun, and sail far. Thanks for reading.

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Capt Chris German is a life long sailor and licensed captain who has taught thousands to sail over the last 20 years. In 2007, he founded a US Sailing-based community sailing school in Bridgeport, CT for inner city youth and families. When Hurricane Sandy forced him to abandon those efforts, he moved to North Carolina where he set out to share this love for broadcasting and sailing with a growing web-based television audience through The Charted Life Television Network.

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13 Popular Trailerable Sailboats with Lifting Keels

Sailboats are awesome, but they do come with their drawbacks. Storage and transport, for one, tends to be a demanding matter, which excludes their owners from many ways of sailing - you are unlikely to store one in your garage and drive it anywhere you please on the weekends, so finding a long term berth and sailing in the near vicinity is what most do. Luckily, there are models designed with precisely this issue in mind - so without further ado, here are 13 sailboats that you can easily put on a trailer and drive to a body of water of your choice.

13 popular sailboats with lifting keels that can be trailered

Beneteau first 18, catalina 22 sport, yacht yard focus 750, norseboat 21, bayraider 20, parker 235 mini cruiser, alubat ovni 365, gunfleet 43, franck roy solenn 27, maree haute django 670.

Now some of these are better at transport than others and some had to sacrifice space or performance for mobility. Let's have a look at them in detail so that you know which one fits your needs the best.

This one has to make the list because it is immensely popular. Rightfully so. It is small enough to be transported on a trailer, plus it has a lifting keel that makes the draft only 30 centimeters when up - but over a meter when down, so it still has to say a lot in terms of performance.

It has a spacious, open cockpit for six people and a v berth in case you want to spend the night. It is then not just a daysailer, but a weekend cruiser.

And if it is too large for you, it even has smaller brothers, Hunter 15 and 18. Those won't let you sleep under a roof, but their dinghy-like character makes them even more mobile.

I can't not mention a European brand - Beneteaus are made in all shapes and sizes, but this time, let's give a shoutout to their First 18, a tiny daysailer. It looks spectacular and has a significantly sportier character than the above Hunter - and even at 18 feet, it will let you sleep inside.

Just as is the case with the Hunter, First comes in more sizes - 14, 22, and 27 feet.

Make no mistake, this is not a boat to chill on. You can, technically, but its racing pedigree won't let you.

And thanks to its retractable keel, it is easy to pop out of the water and take back to your garage where you can admire its prettiness until the next time.

Before we get into more unknown brands, let's get this one out of the way - also an incredibly popular model, that is, if you are in the USA.

With the board down, its draft goes all the way to 1.5 meters and retracted, up to 0.5. You can trailer it easily, but at the same time it sleeps four people, so it isn't just a one-day pleasure craft.

A nice thing about Catalina 22 is that the model has around five decades of existence behind it, constantly improving on its design. So you won't be getting into experimental waters, so to say. It is a bit conservative conceptually, but that is the price to pay for being on something that knows what it's doing - as it has been doing it for more than half a century.

Now here is something you have probably never heard of if you are from the USA. A polish brand, established by former sailboat racers - and it shows.

For those unfamiliar with European geography, Poland borders the mighty Baltic Sea - so just as Scandinavian boats, their projects are properly seaworthy.

The N Fun 30 is a trailerable, lifting keel little vessel, in fact, the only model the company makes, but it is unlike any other boat in its class.

It looks gorgeous, has a racing pedigree, comes with a teak deck option (though it's not really teak, just a lookalike) which is so rare in the day sailing racers' class, and most importantly, is configurable to your liking.

Fully specced, this boat costs nearly $180,000. Yes, that. But if you can do without all the extras and are looking for something relatively traditional, it can be yours for $70,000. Even for this lowest configuration, you will still be getting one hell of a racer.

Another Polish project - that's why the numbers here mean meters, not feet. This approximately 24 ft long boat gets in and out of the water easily and is similar to the above N Fun in its good looks and racing character.

It is a forgiving single-handed sailor but can accommodate up to four people both on and under the deck. Just as the N Fun, it comes with an optional 50 square meters gennaker.

This boat is modern both in terms of design and materials used. Multi-directional fiberglass with a foam core, spacious, light interior design - quite a contrast to projects like Catalina. Its aim is modernity and it does it well.

Back into more familiar territories. Norseboats are known for their rugged, bluewater designs. They can survive pretty much anything since they are made to withstand the North Sea formerly populated by Vikings and the Kraken.

Trailering is a breeze, as the keel can be taken out almost completely, it looks beautiful, especially if you get the all-wooden version, new, it costs around $35,000 and it was made with performance in mind.

What sets it apart from the rest is its seaworthy nature. You can take it across oceans if you choose so. Then there are the old-fashioned, rugged looks. This boat is serious about its abilities and it shows.

On the water, you will be envied by vessels much larger than yours.

This one's a project from Swallow Yachts, a company that focuses on a classic look with modern performance. Not my words, this is their tagline. But it is more than just a marketing gimmick.

An interesting feature with the BayRaider is its water ballast, giving you a choice between greater righting ability and lightness, thus speed. The company also offers a 17 ft version as well as a 23 ft one - all of which feature a lifting keel, making the trailerability uncompromised.

The aforementioned performance part is taken seriously here. All foils have been calculated and constructed so that their shape helps with windward performance. In other words, the rudder and centerboard aren't just flat - their cross sections resemble those of airplane wings. That's racing boat territory.

The draft variability is also quite unique. Board up gets you to some 8 inches, the smallest here yet, board down gets you all the way to 4 ft 4 inches - something rather rare with a boat this size.

On the surface, this is just your normal, well-built, nicely designed trailerable family weekend cruiser. What differentiates it from, say, the above Hunter 22, is its interior.

Trailerable boats often have to compromise on space, but on this Parker, you will find enough space to sleep four, plenty of storage, and even a sink.

So if you wanted to cross an ocean on this boat with two people, you'd have enough space for all the equipment and crew. As well as a boat actually capable of such a crossing.

It is a vessel made well, it is sturdy enough for choppy waters and stiff enough to handle well in trickier conditions, all the while staying in the reasonably priced, small boat range.

As I like to stretch limits, let's touch the length ceiling. This aluminum boat has everything you would expect from its size. Two cabins, salon, galley, heads, captain's corner… simply a nearly 40 ft cruiser. And a comfortable one at that.

But a trailerable one. Lift the keel up and you can put it on a trailer. You'll need a larger one, and a car capable of towing around 10 tonnes, but all that is still within an easily reachable range.

With a boat this size, you can expect versatility. Long crossings, weekend cruises, all that is possible. It performs very well, looks stylish, and the aluminum gives you extra sturdiness.

Lifting the centerboard up will give you a draught of 2.5 ft, putting it down results in nearly 8 ft. The total sail area with a spinnaker is 177 square meters, the water tank is hundreds of liters… this is a boat for all occasions.

And as if that wasn't big enough, here goes another one. We won't go higher, because although even larger boats are trailerable, that would start to be unrealistic for the average Joe, so let's consider this the top.

As with the Alubat, you can expect everything you would from this size. It is roomier than you would think, comfort and good use of space was the aim here.

It features a center cockpit design, something rather unseen in boats this size these days, which makes for a pleasant on-deck experience.

Yes, trailering it might need some planning, but with its liftable keel, it will still be possible.

The French always had an eye for design. Solenn is a brand making classically looking, classy boats, with, of course, modern features.

Solenn 27 is a retro-looking vessel that comes in three variants - weekend, day, and cabine, each for a slightly different way of use.

So whether you are looking for a daysailer or a small boat capable of several day journeys, you will get what you need. It comes equipped with a sink, stove, a few berths, and plenty of storage for a week-long journey.

Given its small size and weight, transporting it is not an issue, even without a big truck. It does come at a price, for around $150,000 you could certainly get a larger, or better-equipped boat, but as far as style goes, you can t beat the varnished mahogany cockpit.

Seaworthiness is often an issue with these small boats since they are designed mostly for one-day coastal cruises. Not so Django 670. If you want to race it across the Atlantic, it will suffice. Both in its seaworthiness, and speed.

It is a pureblood racer but has comfort in mind too. From the saloon, you will get a panoramic view, which is something you usually find in much larger boat designs.

All that while still belonging on this list - that is being a boat that is easy to trailer, or beach. The keel up will get you to a draft of just below 2 ft, while 5.2 ft is what you get if you drop the keel down.

Now, this is a bit of a weird one. A divisive project, for sure. Nuva MS6 didn't want to decide to be a sailing yacht or a motor one. So it became both - a small, motoryacht-looking project with sails.

Of course, it has a fully retractable keel and is easy to pop on a trailer and take back to your garage. But what is the most curious about this boat, aside from its ambiguity, is that it can change shape.

Once you anchor somewhere, you can, with a push of a button, literally widen the cockpit area so that more people can enjoy the space than you would normally fit on a boat 19 ft long.

It has gained quite a lot of hate in the sailing community, because of its design ambiguity, but it definitely has a target audience.

Since the dawn of sailing, many things have changed as far as designs go. These days, the need for boats that can sail properly but fit on a trailer is there, so this list could be easily three times as long and one still would only touch the surface of the pool. So if you are in the market for one, you are in luck.

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I am new to this site and am looking for advice. I am planning to spend a month in the bahamas cruising in two years, but my problem is I live in IL. I have sailed lake michigan for two years in a macgregor venturer 222 and am looking to buy the biggest sailboat I can trailer to florida and take to the bahamas. My tow vehicle is a 2001 dodge 3500 dually diesel 4x4, so bigger the better. Any suggestions?  

think the beam of the boat is going to be your biggest concern. Unless you are willing to do the "wide load" permit route for each state. If I remember correctly 8' is about the widest that you can trailer in most states without permits. I know that C&C made a "Mega 30" with an 8' beam, and it seems like there are a couple of new designs with 8' beams as well. So short answer from there is, it depends on what interior features you are looking for, headroom, etc. Of course I like my O'day 26 (8' beam, 5'8" headroom) sleeps 4 in comfort, has a small head area.  

largest sailboat you can trailer

You can make it work on a small boat... but I agree with Tommays that you might be better off trying to find a boat in FL or even buying one you like up there and having it shipped. Worst case, ship her East and take her down the cut to the Bahamas. Just my opinions, but I have owned a Catalina 250 (trailerable). It is a good boat, but I sure wouldn't want to live aboard her for any length of time. - CD  

largest sailboat you can trailer

Most states allow 8'6" before a wide load permit is required. Anything over that will require a wide load permit, and boats that are over 10' will require escort vehicles in many states. What is your budget? That will determine a lot about what boats you will be able to afford. There are some excellent, larger trailerable boats, but many of them are newer designs and require a bigger budget. I'd point out that there is a difference between a trailerable boat and a boat that can be put on a trailer and towed. IMHO, a trailerable boat is launchable without external assistance from a crane or travellift.  

largest sailboat you can trailer

Why not charter down there? Or why not buy in Florida something more appropriate for your intentions? Are you really going to cross the Stream in a trailerable boat? I suppose its no big deal and could be done, but I would think you would want a little more vessel under you when you do it. Edit: I see we are all thinking along the same lines. Dad, when are you coming to Chi - Town?  

sailortjk1 said: Dad, when are you coming to Chi - Town? Click to expand...

largest sailboat you can trailer

For livability and versatility, I really like my MacGregor 26X. And the swing keel/rudders are ideal for the Bahamas (shallow draft, beaching, etc.) Narrow enough to tow anywhere without a permit. And the 50hp (or larger) outboard allows you to get out of the way of snotty weather, or reach a safe haven alot faster/easier than your typical sailboat. Stock MacGregors are rather spartan, but many folks "enhance" them. Some extensively (as in my case). If you don't care about trailering, or motoring, there are *alot* of better boats to choose from, but IMO it strikes an excellent balance between sailability, motorability, livability, trailerability, and value. Cheers, Patrick  

largest sailboat you can trailer

I wouldn't want to be on a MacGregor 26x crossing the gulf stream and making a trip to the Bahamas, but then again I don't think I would want to be on one crossing a puddle either.... I agree with everyone else you are better off looking for a better boat in Florida or chartering if for shorter period of time.  

nk235 said: I wouldn't want to be on a MacGregor 26x crossing the gulf stream and making a trip to the Bahamas, Click to expand...
...but then again I don't think I would want to be on one crossing a puddle either.... Click to expand...

largest sailboat you can trailer

People knock on the macgregors all the time. It seems like a lot of stupid hearsay to me. I doubt many of us have even been on one. I have never sailed one myself, but to me they seem fine. Sure they are not really a great sailboat... whatever! I bet they are great for cruising, as long as you are not trying to sail in heavy wind, they are probably fine!  

tager said: ... I bet they are great for cruising, Click to expand...
as long as you are not trying to sail in heavy wind, they are probably fine! Click to expand...

Seaward Eagle It has 10' 6" beam but a beautiful boat for Bahama's. Friend of mine just returned from Florida to Ohio with his; pulled with Ford F350 on ball hitch. Yes it's illegal, but he stayed off toll roads and only drove during daylight hours. His plan- play stupid, it worked for the cabinet tax cheats.  

largest sailboat you can trailer

Largest trailerable sailboat I know of is the Hobie 33. It's a racer that was designed to be trailered to races at locations far from home waters. Only 8 foot beam and a retractable keel.  

largest sailboat you can trailer

HAKE Yachts makes the seaward line of trailerables. Hake Yachts  

Boating in a MacGregor is NOT sailing!  

largest sailboat you can trailer

I don't think the beefiest trailerable I've ever heard of - the NorSea 27 was mentioned. Discussed on this site at http://www.sailnet.com/forums/boat-review-purchase-forum/40257-nor-sea-27-they-slow-they-look.html  

NorSea 27 Other than the INSANE price and weight it looks like a nice boat  

largest sailboat you can trailer

I'll second the Norsea 27. A friend of mine had one of these pocket cruisers and it was built like a tank, 3' draft, Lyle Hess design. Some of these were owner finished and some were factory, so buyer beware. These boats can handle just about anything!!!  

hi I agree with everyone else you are better off looking for a better boat in Florida  

largest sailboat you can trailer

I think my Contest 29 could do what you are looking to do. The beam is 8'3" and the mast is set on a tabernacle which makes it easy to step. The Contest 29 is also a great Seaboat, built for North Sea sailing in Holland and has a beautiful and very liveable interior. (I lived on mine for 3 years with my dog and loved it.)  

did that We trailered a Cape Dory 25D from Wisconsin to Key Largo. Many 25D's came with a very nice Triad trailer. The total wgt of boat and trailer was about 7,000 lbs and the beam is 8'0" so it was not that big deal of to trailer it with a decent pickup. We usually launched ourselves (used a trailer tongue extension) but used a travellift to put the boat back on the trailer to make sure it was on the trailer pads perfectly. Took 2 months off of work and cruised the Bahamas down into the Exumas. I can highly recommend doing it--it was a blast. FWIW also met a couple who trailered their C&C 30 (not the mega) from the Maryland to FLA, but they had to get permits for overwidth, etc.  

Seaward Yachts Hake Yachts, builders of the Seaward 26RK and 32RK are perfect for the bahamas, both trailerable and are built in Stuart, FL  

largest sailboat you can trailer

BlandingFarm said: Hake Yachts, builders of the Seaward 26RK and 32RK are perfect for the bahamas, both trailerable and are built in Stuart, FL Click to expand...

Largest trailerable sailboat I don't know about the largest, but my C&C Mega 30 is a breeze launching off a trailer from a municiple boat ramp. At 8' beam and 2' draft for launching and the rig goes up in minutes. You can take this boat any where; and kick some serious ass on the race course. If your serious about sailing give this boat a trial run pure adrenaline rush. She is for sale if you are interested.  

Flying Tiger 10M  

largest sailboat you can trailer

I have a Catalina 27 and have considered getting a trailer and a BIG A$$ truck to haul it (8'10" beam and 6500#s). It would be expensive to say the least, but the warm climate and island life beckons one day maybe.  

largest sailboat you can trailer

I'll second (third? fourth?) the idea of buying a boat in Florida and sailing from there. Add I believe sailboats are very inexpensive right now. Regards, Brad  

In the 70s Perrson made a center cockpit centerboard trailer sailer. That was the biggest trailer sailer that I've seen.  

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whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style

  • Thread starter akevin
  • Start date Jul 8, 2011
  • Jul 8, 2011

lookin to get a new boat for a family of 4(sundancer style?) and unsure if we want a 32-36' or if we would be happy w the largest boat there is that we can trailer- not sure whats available to trailer and i know theres 2 ways to trailer - one w my car and and another w special permits - can anyone tell me a few types of the largest trailer-able boats available? any w a bridge?  

americaneagler77

Petty officer 1st class.

Re: whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style start by identifying the tow vehicle. i personally wouldnt trailer anything over 25-28 feet on a regular basis unless i had a one ton cummins for a tow rig, and even then....not a fan  

Grand Larsony

Re: whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style Generally, trailering a boat with more than 8.5' of beam will require a permit (you can get per-trip or annual). Much larger issue is the tow vehicle... anything above 25' will usually require an F150 class truck (or better) with full tow package. That, plus the pure hassle of driving such a large trailer\boat around -- and finding good spots to launch -- makes it pretty difficult in most areas. Gas costs money, too. You'll need to think carefully about your usage pattern, availability of water \ marinas nearby, and the expense (and hassle) you're willing to take on. Forget trailering a bridge boat, and even a radar arch can force you to be very careful with your routes. For me there is no question... my boat gets moved by the boat-man when necessary, and it sits in my slip for the season. This allows me to use it MUCH more frequently than I could ever do if it were on a trailer. It's WAY CHEAPER too (vs. maintaining a tow vehicle, permits, trailer, registration, insurance, etc.). Virtually nobody trailers a large boat on a regular basis. Forgive the question, but do you have any experience with boats, trailering, etc.? It's hard to tell from your post, but you seem sorta new to boating in general. Starting out with that size boat (potentially on a trailer) is a big step.  

25thmustang

25thmustang

Lieutenant commander.

Re: whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style This question is very open ended. The largest reletively easily trailerable cruiser would probably be a Sea Ray, Wellcraft, Bayliner... with an 8.5' beam. These will most likely fall in the 25-28' range. Figure a minimum of 5000-6000 lbs for the boats dry weight. Add toys, gear, fuel, trailer and your at a 9000+ lb rig. A newer 1/2 or 3/4-1 ton truck would be in order. If your talking with permits you can step up into a higher 20s to 30'+ boats. These will be wider, roomier, but heavier. Forget the half ton once your at or above 28-30'. Some people actually do trailer these types of a boats around, most just trailer to and from the marina, and wet slip the boat. I have seen 33-36' cruisers on trailers. 11-13' wide. 10000+ lb dry weights etc... It can be done, and even legally. Would I recommend it, no. Nearly everyone I know who had dreams of even 26-27' trailer boats, have ended up with slips. You can move them around and launch/retreive them, but it just turns into a bit of a hassle, especially after a long day of boating, when the kids/wife are tired and your beat and ready to go home.  

jigngrub

Fleet Admiral

Re: whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style Here's one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6tbABRT1sA&feature=related ... but you aren't going to tow it with a CAR! ... nor do I think you'll be towing it long distances either. If you get one like this, please video and post your first launch for us here at iboats.  

seabob4

Re: whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style And as you can see in the vid of the G-W, trailers and ramp styles can be a real determining factor. If the ramp is steep and the transition sharp (hear that grating noise in the vid?), it can really put a damper on where exactly you can put in and pull out. That G-W launch, she had gravity on her side. When they go to retrieve, there may be a bit more effort to drag that girl over the hump...  

Chief Petty Officer

Re: whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style yah, the person backing that boat up was a tad slow compared to me but i also dont drag trailer like him. i like how his back axle lifted up putting all the wieght on 4 tires. i cant imagine there much left on the trailer after he does that a dozen times. also love that bow thruster, something to look for in your boat if you go that big. and to that 1/2 ton comment your better off with a 2000 1 ton then a 07 1/2 ton. i have a 23 foot cuddy that weighs in at 6,300 with a full tank on the trailer so 25-28 foot will be much heavier esspesially if you get twins. anything is trailerable, its just what you feel comfertable pulling. i've seen quite a bit of older carvers for sale lately in the 26-28 foot range with flybridge on a trailer i wouldnt know about newer models. anything with radar arch/flybridge you run the risk of slamming a bridge just be carefull and maybe take note of powerlines or anything over the road before you buy.  

partskenn

Re: whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style I have a Sea Ray 268. With fuel, gear, water, trailer etc, it probably weighs in between 8000 to 9000lbs. I tow it twice a year with a 1/2 ton pickup, other than that, it sits in a slip for the summer. I would not want to haul it every weekend back and forth; while it's doable, it would get old very fast. Bigger would be even more of a pain.  

Home Cookin'

Re: whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style what exactly do you and your family of 4 want to do? Week-long overnight cruises? daytime recreation? You don't usually consider trailering with boats that size.  

Grand Larsony said: Generally, trailering a boat with more than 8.5' of beam will require a permit (you can get per-trip or annual). Much larger issue is the tow vehicle... anything above 25' will usually require an F150 class truck (or better) with full tow package. That, plus the pure hassle of driving such a large trailer\boat around -- and finding good spots to launch -- makes it pretty difficult in most areas. Gas costs money, too. You'll need to think carefully about your usage pattern, availability of water \ marinas nearby, and the expense (and hassle) you're willing to take on. Forget trailering a bridge boat, and even a radar arch can force you to be very careful with your routes. For me there is no question... my boat gets moved by the boat-man when necessary, and it sits in my slip for the season. This allows me to use it MUCH more frequently than I could ever do if it were on a trailer. It's WAY CHEAPER too (vs. maintaining a tow vehicle, permits, trailer, registration, insurance, etc.). Virtually nobody trailers a large boat on a regular basis. Forgive the question, but do you have any experience with boats, trailering, etc.? It's hard to tell from your post, but you seem sorta new to boating in general. Starting out with that size boat (potentially on a trailer) is a big step. Click to expand...

Tahorover

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Re: whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style Agreed w/above. I wouldn't even bother towing 8Klbs with a 1/2 ton pickup. I'd be finding a 3/4-1 ton diesel for a tow vehicle, so figure that in with boat pricing. The wide-load permits would be a pain for the boat with over 8'6" beam, which will be common around 28-30' cruisers. I'd guess 28' is about the maximum trailerable cruiser for most to handle if you are only dragging it out once or twice a month. If you were putting in every weekend, I'd pick your favorite lake and get a slip or at least have it dry-docked. As was mentioned, you need to describe what you and your family are looking to do. Do you want to stay the entire weekend on the boat with no cabin/hotel rental or is this just a one day trip? Do you want to pull tubes/skiers or is anchoring/swimming the only activity? Lots of variables.  

Re: whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style Duh... get two boats !!!! Interstate transport will require VERY careful planning and MULTIPLE permits (one per state?).  

Vice Admiral

Tahorover said: My next door neighbor pulls his 35' around and it's a huge PITA. Just pulling out of the driveway and moving around the neighborhood is stressful. Most of are local launch ramps are not big boat friendly. Truck and trailer is close to fifty feet. Click to expand...
25thmustang said: This question is very open ended. The largest reletively easily trailerable cruiser would probably be a Sea Ray, Wellcraft, Bayliner... with an 8.5' beam. These will most likely fall in the 25-28' range. Figure a minimum of 5000-6000 lbs for the boats dry weight. Add toys, gear, fuel, trailer and your at a 9000+ lb rig. A newer 1/2 or 3/4-1 ton truck would be in order. If your talking with permits you can step up into a higher 20s to 30'+ boats. These will be wider, roomier, but heavier. Forget the half ton once your at or above 28-30'. Some people actually do trailer these types of a boats around, most just trailer to and from the marina, and wet slip the boat. I have seen 33-36' cruisers on trailers. 11-13' wide. 10000+ lb dry weights etc... It can be done, and even legally. Would I recommend it, no. Nearly everyone I know who had dreams of even 26-27' trailer boats, have ended up with slips. You can move them around and launch/retreive them, but it just turns into a bit of a hassle, especially after a long day of boating, when the kids/wife are tired and your beat and ready to go home. Click to expand...
Home Cookin' said: what exactly do you and your family of 4 want to do? Week-long overnight cruises? daytime recreation? You don't usually consider trailering with boats that size. Click to expand...
smokingcrater said: Nice looking boat, hate to fuel that thing up though! Anyway, he is well past 50 ft. 35 for a boat which doesn't include the running gear sticking out the back, or the tongue, so it might be close to 45 total length of the trailer itself, plus 20 ft or so for truck. Its well past 60. Click to expand...

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smokeonthewater

Re: whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style sure you can tow big boats (30' plus)... you need a 1 ton dually minimum and some real skill as pulling oversize loads is an art..... nothing like having to go left of center 20 times in 10 miles to miss trees while dodging oncoming drivers and just guessing what crazy thing they will do..... legally width is not a huge problem but permits are in order .... height on the other hand is a BIG deal.... when you say a boat with a bridge I assume you mean a FLYING bridge.... Getting on the interstate and most other roads will require removing the flying bridge on anything much over about 26'.... my 26' carver flybridge without a windshield was about 12' tall on the trailer and my 28' wellcraft in my sig is about 13' with the radar arch.... Removing the flybridge can be an all day job on some boats and could be nearly impossible for an individual esp if you don't have much help or a good way to hoist it onto the deck and back.... Btw I trailer the boat in my sig every time I use it  

Re: whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style Years back I had a 28' flybridge on a triple axle trailer. The rig was 35' sittin on the trailer. Scared the crap out of me goin down relatively flat highways. Slightest gust of wind or getting passed by a semi would increase the pucker factor by the power of 10.  

Re: whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style As long as the truck stays in the lane, the boat will follow... The absolute best truck I towed with? '05 GMC 1 ton dually, Duramax, Allison...damn thing would pull a house...  

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Looking for the largest trailerable sailboat

  • Thread starter Sail123
  • Start date Nov 26, 2011
  • Forums for All Owners
  • Ask All Sailors

Sail123

I currently have a Mac 25 with a 15HP kicker. Thinking I want something in the 30 to 32 foot range, to leave in a slip 9 months of the year. I do not have all the money in the world, so I have been looking at prices more than brands. Suggestions of a boat that can go down a highway and still be fun on a lake is what I am looking for. Eyeing Clipper Marines in the 30 to 32' size. Thanks.  

Ross

Re: Looking for the largest Trailer-able Sailboat The size of the trailer sailer is limited only by the size of the trailer and the truck tractor that will be pulling it. The Macgregor is unique in that it is a power boat hull with a mast and sails.  

caguy

For what you are tallking about the Luger 30 is a good choice. There are links to other Luger owners at my website.  

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Re: Looking for the largest Trailer-able Sailboat J/24 or Tartan 10 both fit on trailers, though you'll probably want hoists to launch them.  

PaulK said: J/24 or Tartan 10 both fit on trailers, though you'll probably want hoists to launch them. Click to expand
GaryMayo said: I currently have a Mac 25 with a 15HP kicker. Thinking I want something in the 30 to 32 foot range, to leave in a slip 9 months of the year. I do not have all the money in the world, so I have been looking at prices more than brands. Suggestions of a boat that can go down a highway and still be fun on a lake is what I am looking for. Eyeing Clipper Marines in the 30 to 32' size. I thought i had bought the biggest trailerable sail boat, a lancer 28, which is a beast when on a trailer. I wont tow the boat myself, as its too big, and it needs at least a half ton truck to haul it, (which i dont have) but, its i would say smaller than the grampian 26 i had, because that had more beam, was roomier, had a deeper draught, but wasnt really the sort of thing, you could put on a trailer. The lancer weighs about 5200 pounds, then you have the weight of the trailer, which at a guess, maybe another 700-1000 pounds. so all in, at least 6000 pounds, which is an awful lot of weight to be towing. I dont know a huge lot about the regulations, but i had wanted a larger boat, that would have had to be hauled by truck, through a few states, and the price was so much per mile for the haul, then extra which each state charges for a wide and heavy load, on their roads, so it was all going to be too much money. I do know, any boat wider than 8 foot 6 inches, has to have a permit, to move in any state of the usa. But the length is not that important, nor is the weight, (as you are not going to get a boat, that is thirty foot, and weighs forty tons) I think that is about the weight limit for a normal load, A normal truck load, that is, and they pay so much to take that through each state. Its basically the width of the boat, that restricts you for towing, howevor, the weight will restrict you too, depending on what you are towing it with. Click to expand

Seaward sailboats made in Florida offers several models that can be trailered. These are shoal draft with the newer models having retractable keels. The Seaward 25 is a good choice for trailering and a big 25' boat.  

Bill1565

Ross said: The size of the trailer sailer is limited only by the size of the trailer and the truck tractor that will be pulling it.. Click to expand

taichi

Re: Looking for the largest Trailer-able Sailboat My first big sailboat was a Clipper Marine - It was roomy and trailerable, and Bill Crealock designed it so it was a good looking boat. But any Clipper Marine you find out there now will be 45 years old and most likely rotten - Even when new they were lightly built. The sailors arounf me consider the O'day 272 to be about the biggest trailerable out there that's affordable, and a good boat to sail, and can be found on the cheap. There's alot of seawards around me because there used to be a dealer nearby years ago - they hold there value, salty looking boat but with that flat bottom they are very tender compared to most. Look for an O'Day 272 on a trailer  

dscribner

Seward 32RK is a nice boat. Trailerable with the right truck. Launches in 20" of water. Not so sure about stepping the mast though. I trailer my Lancer 25 all over, through the city, over the highway. At about 5000 lbs, it trailers like a dream. I hardly know she's there. The biggest issue you will have is the size. The limit on most highways and roads is 8'-0 with some going as wide as 8'-6. After that you have to sneak or get a permit. If you get really wide, you'd need escorts too. That's why the Lancers (and others) are built so slim, quite specifically to be trailerable.  

2011-hake-seaward-32rk--3.jpg

Re: Looking for the largest Trailer-able Sailboat The cheapest Seeward 32 I could find just now was $40,000 - I thought the original poster was on much more of a budget if he was considering an old Clipper Marine - but by all means buy the Seeward 32  

Sailm8

Re: Looking for the largest Trailer-able Sailboat We used to trailer a C22 from St Louis to the Keys. Biggest problem was finding a launch ramp long enough to float off even with and extendable tongue . Just something to consider.  

Jackdaw

Re: Looking for the largest Trailer-able Sailboat Some thoughts: First beam is a legal issue, but draft is more important. Can you get it on a trailer? Can you get it off? How will you launch it? Lots of shoal draft boat have crappy performance. Does it HAVE a trailer? If no, adds one will add what, $5000 to the enterprise? Think about the mast. In most cases you will need a crane. Deck steppers maybe better, but that will be a hairy ordeal. My pick, is you are OK with the looks, is the C&C MEGA 30. Legal beam and a retractable keel. It's sold, but here is one with a trailer, gone for $7000. http://www.sailingtexas.com/scc30102.html  

Cool Beans

bah. . monohulls. . . Why not try a folding trimaran? Farrier has a claimed ocean capable folding (trailerable) 33 ft trimaran. You might have to rob a few banks to buy one but. . .it's legally trailerable, comes in at 8'-6" I beleive. I've seen a picture of a Ranger 33, "True Colors", on a custom trailer being pulled by an old 80's F350. Requires a sling to launch, and crane to step the mast, but it is under 10 feet wide so I think you only need a "wide load" sign to haul it and a trip permit. Not exactly a weekend boat, but nice to be able to take home for winter.  

Stan Breaux

Stan Breaux

Check out the Hobie 33 It seems like maybe the most trailerable long boat. May not be super big inside, though.  

Re: Looking for the largest Trailer-able Sailboat A boat on a trailer is not necessarily a trailerable boat. To me the definition of trailerable boat encompasses the freedom of being able to easily move a boat to a distant sailing venue for a recreational sailing trip. I have some requirements for such a boat 1) light so that it can easily be pulled on the road by a household vehicle 2) short or retracting keel for ease of launching and retreiveing in average ramps 3) of a size that meets the road regulations for safety as well as avoiding fines and 4) easy to rig requiring no more than 2 persons. It is no coincidence that boats wich were designed to be trailerables are easier to trailer and rig than those that were not. All boat designs are based on compromises and tralerables are full of compromises. A heavily ballasted boat for stability does not trailer well hence the option of removable ballast afforded by a water ballast tank. A boat that sits low on the trailer will have more options to use availble launching ramps than one that may sit higher. Its all about choices. If you want to keep a boat in the water for 9 months and then move it to storage for the winter months you may not need a trailerable, but if you are gong to hit the road for adventure then choose the one that will best serve the overall needs.  

Warren Milberg

Warren Milberg

Re: Looking for the largest Trailer-able Sailboat I've been amazed to learn how many people actually trailer the model boat I have: Hunter 28.5. One fellow trailers his H28.5 from Arizona all the way down the Baja. With a beam of 10'5," I assume they get an exemption for trailer widths on the highway. Displacing 7200 lbs and with relatively large and heavy mast, this would not be my idea of the ideal "trailerable" boat... as I think you'd need a lot of help at the other end in stepping the mast and getting the boat in/out the water.  

Benny17441 said: A boat on a trailer is not necessarily a trailerable boat. To me the definition of trailerable boat encompasses the freedom of being able to easily move a boat to a distant sailing venue for a recreational sailing trip. I have some requirements for such a boat 1) light so that it can easily be pulled on the road by a household vehicle 2) short or retracting keel for ease of launching and retreiveing in average ramps 3) of a size that meets the road regulations for safety as well as avoiding fines and 4) easy to rig requiring no more than 2 persons. It is no coincidence that boats wich were designed to be trailerables are easier to trailer and rig than those that were not. All boat designs are based on compromises and tralerables are full of compromises. A heavily ballasted boat for stability does not trailer well hence the option of removable ballast afforded by a water ballast tank. A boat that sits low on the trailer will have more options to use availble launching ramps than one that may sit higher. Its all about choices. If you want to keep a boat in the water for 9 months and then move it to storage for the winter months you may not need a trailerable, but if you are gong to hit the road for adventure then choose the one that will best serve the overall needs. Click to expand

maiden voyage 3.jpg

Try this! Fast and well built http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1983/Hobie-33-2382549/Warwick/RI/United-States  

shemandr

Re: Looking for the largest Trailer-able Sailboat The Hobie 33 is a lot of fun to sail! Weak on livability 'though  

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COMMENTS

  1. Biggest Trailerable Sailboats

    The best and largest trailerable sailboats are the Cal 20, the Catalina 22, the O'Day 240, The Islander 24, the Moore 24, the Cal 25, the Helms 25, the MacGregor 26, and the Nor'Sea 27. Most of these vessels can be towed behind a well-equipped truck or SUV. We sourced information and vessel specifications for this article from sailboat ...

  2. 13 Biggest Trailerable Sailboats: Cheap But Good

    Among the list, Cape Dory 28 is the largest, widest, and heaviest trailerable sailboat. Most of these sailboats can accommodate 4 to 6 people onboard. The not-so-cheap item on the list, the Seaward 26RK, costs between $30,000 and $50,000.

  3. 7 Best Trailerable Sailboats for Cruising

    Quick Setup Time. Towing Weight. 7 Best Trailerable Cruising Sailboats. Catalina 22/25 "Pop-Top". Com-Pac Horizon Cat for Classic Coastal Cruising. Marshall Sanderling — Small, Portable, Classy. West Wight Potter 19 — The Tiny Go-Anywhere Sailboat. Seaward 26RK with Retractable Lead Keel.

  4. 7 Trailerable Sailboats That Have Standing Headroom

    Westerly Pageant. Built by Westerly Marine in the 1970s, the Pageant is a 23' bilge keeled cruiser with full standing headroom in the saloon. At 4,300 pounds, it's heavy for its size and is known more for comfort than speed. The bilge keels may make getting onto a trailer interesting and require modifications to accommodate its under water layout.

  5. 9 Best Trailerable Sailboats

    2) West Wight Potter 19. jacqeast. We thought it fitting to include the Potter 15's big brother, the West Wight Potter 19, on this list of the best trailerable sailboats. West Wight Potter boats are well known for their robust design and easy handling, and the Potter 19 is no exception. The West Wight Potter 19 boasts the seaworthiness and ...

  6. What's the Largest Sailboat You Can Trailer?

    The largest boat which can be trailered easily is a Hobie 33. But large is ambiguous; the Hobie 33 is a narrow light displacement boat noted for its performance but not its liveaboard comfort. Other large trailerable sailboats are the Seaward 26RK Nor'Sea 27, Macgregor 26M, and the Corsair F-28 Trimaran.

  7. Trailerable Sailboats Comparison

    The ideal towing weight of a typical trailerable sailboat is between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds. This weight is within the towing capabilities of most trucks and full-size SUVs. Larger trailerable vessels, such as many coastal cruisers and offshore trailer-sailers, can weigh 7,500 pounds or more.

  8. Trailerable Boats with Comfort and Speed

    Farrier, who passed away in 2017, created the F-22 as a kind of culmination of all he'd continued to learn about small, trailerable multihulls in the years since he penned the F-27 trimaran, a true trail-blazer and now part of the "Sailboat Hall of Fame.". Another F-22 sidles up alongside a pier in Malta with amas folded in.

  9. Best Trailerable Sailboat Brands to Cruise or Race

    Catalina Yachts: As one of North America's best-known sailboat brands of sailboats, Catalina has a long history of building trailerable models. Their entire Sport line cruising boats—except for the 275—can easily be trailered, and the 22 and 22 Sport, in particular, make for a great step up from daysailing to enjoying a pocket cruiser.

  10. Biggest Trailerable Sailboats

    These are the biggest trailerable sailboats. In this post, we'll look at twelve of the biggest sailboats that are trailerable on the market. The Catalina 27, Hunter 27, Cape Dory Typhoon, Cal 20, Islander 24, Catalina 22, O'Day 240, Moore 24, Helms 25, MacGregor 26, Nor'Sea 27 and Catalina 25 are some of the best trailerable sailboats.

  11. Largest Trailerable Sailboats

    One the Great Lakes, the other LA. CM32's were once the largest trailer sailboats to be able to go down any public road without special permits because of their 8' beam. Their relative light weight made it possible for the family car to pull them around. Tell us a brief history of a boat you know about or own.

  12. Trailerable Cruisers

    Com-Pac's range of trailer sailers with accommodations starts with the 16-feet 6-inch Legacy, an entry-level trailer sailer that can sleep a couple plus a small child or two, but is otherwise devoid of amenities, and moves up through the 21-feet Eclipse, the CP23 Pilothouse and the 23/IV. Aside from their well-thought-out rig-raising systems ...

  13. 13 Popular Trailerable Sailboats with Lifting Keels

    One of the larger boats on this list, the Seaward 26 RK, is still easy to move over land with a trailered weight under 6,000 pounds. The boat alone displaces 3,800 pounds, with 1,200 lbs. of that in retractable ballast with a bulb on the bottom. The keel lifts with an electric motor and is simple to operate.

  14. Largest boat you can practically trailer?

    Some will be 8.6 wide,some wider.The widest allowed on the highway without permits is 8ft 6in (102wide).Beyond 28 ft you will most likely be to wide. Length will not be a issue.For practicality 26 ft would be the limit.Also you will need to watch the height if it has a radar arch.

  15. The Working Man's Guide to Trailer Sailing

    Let me introduce you to the Trailer Sailer. A trailerable sailboat is in many ways better than a keel boat or a dinghy. You can get a trailer down a boat ramp, it stores for free in your backyard, and it has many of the benefits of a keel boat or dinghy, with fewer drawbacks. Some might argue that the perfect sailboat is the trailer sailer.

  16. TOWING A BOAT: How Big of a Boat Can You Trailer?

    When trailering a boat across multiple states, it would be helpful to find out the different compliance regulations in those states. Also, beware that the stated width stipulations often include the guide post lengths of the trailer. In 47 states the maximum width to tow without a wide load permit is 8.5 ft.

  17. 13 Popular Trailerable Sailboats with Lifting Keels

    Hunter 22. This one has to make the list because it is immensely popular. Rightfully so. It is small enough to be transported on a trailer, plus it has a lifting keel that makes the draft only 30 centimeters when up - but over a meter when down, so it still has to say a lot in terms of performance.

  18. biggest trailerable sailboat

    Largest trailerable sailboat. I don't know about the largest, but my C&C Mega 30 is a breeze launching off a trailer from a municiple boat ramp. At 8' beam and 2' draft for launching and the rig goes up in minutes. You can take this boat any where; and kick some serious ass on the race course.

  19. whats the largest trailer-able boat available- cruiser style

    The largest reletively easily trailerable cruiser would probably be a Sea Ray, Wellcraft, Bayliner... with an 8.5' beam. These will most likely fall in the 25-28' range. Figure a minimum of 5000-6000 lbs for the boats dry weight. Add toys, gear, fuel, trailer and your at a 9000+ lb rig.

  20. Looking for the largest trailerable sailboat

    Islander/Wayfairer 30 sail number 25 Perryville,Md. Nov 26, 2011. #2. Re: Looking for the largest Trailer-able Sailboat. The size of the trailer sailer is limited only by the size of the trailer and the truck tractor that will be pulling it. The Macgregor is unique in that it is a power boat hull with a mast and sails.