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Forums / Technical / Dolphin Trailer  
The discussions for this thread include the following:

Posted: 17 Aug 2007 at 8:05am
Hi all
The following is a thread that was posted on the Sailnet.com Dolphin list serve about float on/off trailers that you might find interesting. Bearing on this whole matter of trailering is how one plans to raise the mast.


From: Alan Brothers
Re: Dolphin Trailer
Date: 8/19/07


There are six screw pads. I had always assumed that it could be lifted off but now that you raise the question I am not so sure. I think there is room for a strap under the forward part of the keel, but I am not sure about aft. Maybe your question about the screw pads is the key. Possibly screw it up a tad to make room to pass a strap under the keel.

Alan, Acamar, #139


From: Bob Hancock


The ramp where I am moored has about 5' at the end of the ramp. The ramp has a stop + is clearly marked on the parralleling pier. The one I'm really worried about is in Key Largo; it's been years since I've been there. It's short & steep, not sure how much water is at the end. Does the float off model from Triad give you the option to be lifted off? Is it screw pads or bunk boards?

Bob, Pippin #198


From: Alan Brothers
Date: 8/17/2007

Hi Bob,
I have a float-off Triad. I have only been out and in once. It takes a lot more water than I originally thought it would. I was thinking 2' 11" or 3'. I forget what the depth actually was, but I just measured the distance from the ground to the bottom of the keel on the trailer and it is 20". That is almost two feet. Add in the 3 foot depth and we are talking closer to five feet. Also, the ramp is at an angle so the back needs to be deeper before the bow floats off. So, I am still thinking about five feet, which is a lot more than I initially thought and close to what I remember.

Falling off the end of the ramp was a consideration. The ramps I used had a dock alongside, so I got a long pole and found where it dropped off and made sure I didn't back the wheels over the ledge (all the gravel at the end had eroded away and the wheels would have been hanging). If you intend to launch at unfamiliar ramps, it may be worth investing in a pair of waders so you can walk out and probe the bottom. If there is a hoist where you want to launch, it may be worth the price to have it picked off. If launching into salt water, it will save having to repack the wheel bearings and minimize potential rust. It is a lot easier to launch a Catalina 22 or a San Juan 21 than a Dolphin.

Good luck,
Acamar, #139


From: Robert Hancock
Subject: Dolphin trailer
Date: August 15, 2007

Thanks Chris, I’ll look forward to it. If you think about it during your maiden launch, let me know the water depth at the end of the ramp or how deep the back axel was when she floats off.

Pippin, #198


From: Chris Vandersteen
Re: Dolphin Trailer

Hi Bob,
My Dolphin is sitting on her new float-on trailer, and I'm hoping to launch before the end of the season up here in Canada. I had the deck repainted and have yet to get all the gear back on. I'll keep you posted.



From: Bob Hancock
Re: Dolphin Trailer

Hello all,
I own a 1971 Yankee Dolphin; Hull 198. I'm getting serious about a Triad Trailer; current price for float off model is over $5,000. I was wondering if any member has had experience ramp launching their Dolphin. I hate to invest in a float off model, only to discover very limited usage. I am a Chesapeake Bay sailor with visions of launching in the Florida Keys or Great Lakes. Thanks,

Pippin, #198

Posted: 24 Sep 2007 at 12:20pm
Hi all,

I thought I'd chime in on this. I've had a Triad trailer with an extension tongue for 10 years. I've launched and retrieved my boat countless times during that period sometimes a few different times in one season - without a hitch (pun intended).

I step the mast using a gin pole and the trailer winch very easily. I've also done it with the boat in the water a few times when I've been at a crowded ramp. In those cases I attach a block at the headstay fitting and bring the line from the gin pole back to a winch. A couple of times I've arrived at the ramp having forgotton the gin pole (2x6 exactly the length between the maststep and the headstay fitting) and used my spinnaker pole instead.

I've never been to a ramp where I couldn't launch the boat. The extension tongue is neccesary. The pitch of the ramp and the length too are important. A few times I've launched and retreived from a beach. When I've been at a ramp that has the depth but doesn't have a steep enough pitch, I let the whole trailer go attached to a chain. I've fitted a wheel on the trailer tongue for this purpose. The wheel is fixed so I just line it up, disconnect from the truck and let it go and then pull it back out with the chain. I've only had to do this at two different ramps. I imagine there may be ramps that end abruptly and the trailer falling off would be a serious concern. I've never ran into that.

For anyone who's considering buying a Triad trailer, I highly recommend them. If you'll be using it in salt water, definitely get a galvanized one vs. painted steel. I bought painted steel and it started to rust so I sent it back and had them strip it and galvanize it eight years after I bought it. I came back like a brand new trailer. They did urge me to buy the galvanized in the beginning but I thought I'd be ok if I just kept rinsing it off.

Interestingly, at the beginning of this season, when I was stepping my mast at the ramp in June, a young woman approached me and asked, "is that a Dolphin?" I said that it was and she said "my father has just started a website about Dolphins!" She turned out to be the daughter of our esteemed webmaster.

Jay Picotte

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