Saturday, 14 December 2013

Why a trailer-sailor?

There are inevitably a number of factors to consider when choosing a boat. Generally it's a trade off between budget, space, practicality and of course mooring fees!

We live in South East Wales and the closest marina is Cardiff. Cardiff bay has a reasonably sized fresh water lake separating it from the Bristol channel, but for more interesting sailing, one would need to venture further afield e.g. the Gower peninsula and the coast around Pembrokeshire. Unfortunately, that's where marinas and moorings start to become scarce. Couple that with the large tidal range in the Bristol Channel (45 feet+ at springs) and it becomes more of a challenge. We quickly realised that a boat we could move down to the south coast (and further afield if necessary) would be more practical and likely to get more use.

We are both more of the "gin and tonic" type sailors, so the ability to move the boat relatively easily (and economically) ranked fairly high on the agenda. No kids also helps!

This is where trailer-sailors first got onto our radar. This is where compromise begins of course! Most are 20-22ft long, which doesn't give you much of a boat if you wish to spend a weekend on it. We narrowed things down quite quickly to the Beneteau First 26 or the Jeanneau Fantasia. These are about the biggest yachts you can get and still fit on a trailer that a decent SUV can tow. Both have a modern open plan layout and fairly wide beam which makes them fairly practical and spacious.

Having a boat on a trailer helps of course in the winter as we can bring the boat back home for essential maintenance/re-fits. 

Genesis won the day because of the lifting keel and the fact that she came with a trailer!

Edited on the 16/03/2016 to add:

Having had a trailer sailor for 2 seasons, we would say that what we initially thought was so important, actually wasn't for us. 

Moving the Boat:

Being able to bring the boat home was useful from a maintenance and upgrade point of view but it is quickly outweighed by the hassle of pulling he mast down and having it stepped, not to mention the cost. In Cardiff, we stepped our own mast but in Swansea (with a council run marina), we were forced to hire a rigger. What a complete pain in the derriere! He took 4 hours to do what we did in less than half an hour and as you guessed, he charged by the hour! This quickly put us off the idea of towing the boat around to new sailing grounds. Much easier to sail there! Having said all of that, if you went for a smaller trailer-sailor, you would be able to do the mast without a crane.


We bought the biggest trailer-sailor we could, but space is still an issue. The head room inside, does mean frequent knocks on the head and the cockpit can be difficult with more than 2 people in it. I enjoy a large personal space parameter!

Storage space is also at a premium, especially when you enjoy things like cooking. I have had to be somewhat ingenious with the storage of pots, pans, roasting tins, pestle & mortar (yes we do have one on the boat), stick blender, glasses (yes they are glass and not horrible plastic), etc!

In hindsight, the 26ft Beneteau has been an excellent learning experience  but our next boat will be a lot bigger! Who knows, with George Osborne screwing every sector of the population he humanly possible can, we might end up living on a bigger boat!

Speaking of that loathsome cretin Osborne, this amused me:

No comments:

Post a Comment