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 Speedy launch of a WK

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solvasoncc Posted - 02/07/2020 : 07:59:52
Hey all. I have a WK. We are beginning this year with nearly triple the amount of road trips planned with the boat, but shorter ones all the same. I have been looking for various ways to speed up the launch and retrieval process. We already have quick disconnects everywhere, but one process that I just recently thought about was the tow straps. On every boat I have had over the years, I have strapped down the bow and stern when traveling. But is this really necessary given the size of this boat and the fact it has keel guides that keep it from sliding side to side?

Second, on a WK, is there a way to permanently mount a mast cradle instead of using a crutch in the gudgeons? It would allow me keep the rudder on the boat and further speed up the process. Thanks.

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solvasoncc Posted - 03/11/2020 : 07:18:12
We ended up using the bow and stern dock lines wrapped around the trailer and lead back to the cleats. Sped up the process and provided a little extra assurance.

Here's a pick of our launch this past weekend at Port O'Connor, TX.

dmpilc Posted - 03/04/2020 : 11:43:33
In addition to the bow eye/trailer winch strap and safety chain, I often use a bow line for the bow tie-down, running the line under the winch platform up to the other bow cleat and back to the starting cleat to tie it off. That eliminates handling and storing a separate bow strap. You might experiment doing the same with a stern line on each side, running down to the trailer frame, and using a hand towel on each side to protect the hull finish.
solvasoncc Posted - 02/08/2020 : 05:27:07
Thanks for the replies. The 250 is the heaviest boat I've owned. Most of my other boats have had swing keels or lifting keels, so they sit on bunks low on the trailer. The closest I can recall was my Merit 25, but low and behold, it sat on bunks as well and did not have a bow chock.

I typically travel 100 or even a 1000 miles for these trips, but I think I will ditch the tie-down straps for the short trips.

The second set of gudgeons are a great idea since I already have a mast crutch.
Steve Milby Posted - 02/07/2020 : 10:18:25
I agree with Michael. I never used tie downs on my Catalina 25. The caution is that your winch and cable must be in good condition and you should also attach a safety chain to the bow eye, in case the winch or cable fails.

The boat's center of gravity is very low, somewhere in the keel. The boat isn't top heavy, or prone to tipping over off the trailer. As long as the boat is connected to the trailer by the bow eye, it's difficult to imagine how the boat would fall off the trailer short of some really catastrophic event, and if that happens, all bets are off.

People use tie down straps on shallow draft power boats, because they could easily fly off the trailer bunks and swing to one side, but a heavily ballasted, deep draft, fin or wing keel sailboat would almost have to run off a cliff to launch it from the trailer, and if that happens, I doubt that tie down straps will help.

Of course there's nothing wrong with using tie down straps if it makes you feel more comfortable. I just don't think it's necessary for a ballasted keel sailboat.
HappyNow Posted - 02/07/2020 : 09:42:29
Previous owner attached two extra gudgeons on the stern between the rudder and the boarding ladder to hold the mast crutch and it has worked well, eliminating the need to remove the rudder. Boat is in storage so I canít send a picture. The slight angle off center line doesnít seem to affect anything.
I never have used tie downs and the boat doesnít shift, but I only trailer about 50 miles twice a year. Thatís only one data point however. Depending on who made the trailer you might be able to contact them and ask. I think Trail-Rite might be out of business now, donít know if they still will respond to questions.
Stinkpotter Posted - 02/07/2020 : 08:47:09
These photos show a permanent "bridge" that can hold both the boom and mast of a Com-Pac catboat. (You can click to blow them up.) The mast is hinged just above the gooseneck, so it folds back after just unhooking the forestay--the boom stays right in place. That makes the catboat exceptionally quick and easy to rig and unrig. On a sloop, the hinged mast would project a long way off the stern, but a bridge still might work if it's beefy enough.

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