You’ve just bought the sailboat of your dreams. You’re planning to use it on your next long weekend and you can’t wait to get it into the water. But there’s one little problem; getting it from wherever it is you’re storing it to wherever it is you’re planning to launch it.
Unfortunately, a sailboat is a complicated vessel, and transporting it requires more than just your average boat trailer.
What kind of keel does your sailboat have? How will you support it? Will it need a guide? How long is it? Do you need an extended tongue to get it into the water without damaging it?
You will need to ask yourself all these questions and vary your sailboat trailer according to the answers. Most likely you will need a winch stand that is larger than most; make sure any trailer you look at getting has this feature included standard.
Consider whether you want to use a full bunking trailer or one with adjustable screwpads. Both options have their pros and cons.
If you plan to use your sailboat in salt water, you should look at galvanizing or another form of saltwater protection.
Most of the time, the marina or dealer where you bought your boat will either have trailers with the right specifications for your sailboat or can recommend someone who does. But do your homework ahead of time.
Know the right questions to ask and make sure you really are getting a trailer that will offer proper safety and support for your sailboat and not just a glorified boat trailer.
Do they offer mast carriers? Whether you plan to use one or not, it should still be a feature the dealer offers so be sure to ask about it.
If you can’t find a local dealer who has what you need, try an online dealer. There are several reputable dealers on the internet who will be happy to help you purchase or even custom-design a trailer for your sailboat.
Read over the website of any company you consider purchasing from. Again, know the right questions to ask; if the website doesn’t offer answers, contact them–they do have an email address listed, don’t they?–and get answers.
A reputable company should have a telephone number and address listed, as well and someone should actually answer the telephone, someone who either has the knowledge you need or can direct your call to someone who does.
If you like, you may check the company with the Better Business Bureau, but be sure to visit their website (www.bbb.org or www.bbbonline.org) or look them up in your telephone directory, rather than using any telephone numbers provided by the company themselves. If the company is fraudulent, the number provided can also be a fake.
Finally, use common sense. The old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” goes double for the internet. There are plenty of reputable companies online if you know what you’re looking for.