Photo by Salt Water New England

Sunday, July 19, 2020

A Reader Question:: Sailboats you can put on your car?


A Reader Question:
Some of us, sadly, are not near salt water, only lakes.  Does anyone have thoughts as to sailboats you can put on your car?  I am thinking some sort of Snark.  I know using a trailer opens up more choices, but waiting for the people launching ski boats does not sound like a pleasant way to spend time.  If I can lift the boat I can bypass them. The Super Snark will hold me, my wife, the RTIC, and, if we get another, a dog.  

12 comments:

  1. Are you looking for something you can lift on top all by yourself? Or something you and your wife could lift together? If the latter there are hundreds of choices.

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    1. Solo is best. Wife has bad shoulders, and car top on an SUV is kind of high up. Yeah, loads of nice dinghies etc. in the 100 pound range.

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    2. Then it gets more limited. There is the Snark as you say, more of a one-person boat in my experience. The next step up is the Topper which, as its name suggests, was designed with car topping in mind. As I remember it, they weight about 100 pounds and sail a lot better than a Snark.

      Some people can lift a Sunfish or even a Laser onto a roof by themselves (120-130 lbs). I could do it in my younger days. That said, if you’re tired out at the end of a long day’s sailing in a stiff breeze it can be a real pain.

      You might want to consider canoe sailing. For rivers and small lakes it’s a lot of fun and lifting a canoe onto the roof is a doable task for most people.

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    3. The Sunflower looks a little beamier and still manageable. I really don't care much about sailing performance. If I wanted to get back into serious sailing I wouldn't think about this approach. I'd find a good sized competitive class and go that direction, dealing with whatever that entailed. I am just looking for an easy way to enjoy letting the wind do the work and hearing the gurgle of water under the hull.

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  2. How about kayaks instead? Lighter, quicker, easier to transport, and faster into the water. No, it's not sailing but isn't the real point of boats to be on the water? Said as a former Newport 28 owner that was slipped in Marina del Rey, CA.

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    1. Kayaks and canoes can be a ton of fun. I used to paddle a canoe on Long Island Sound, and it was a blast. I am looking for something lazier, though.

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    2. I don't know, Tim, sailing a little boat like you're considering is a fair amount of work IMO! ;o)

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  3. A canoe might just be the answer!

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  4. Maybe look into a car-top loader or cargo space extender? That could open up your choices and can also be used for kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, etc. https://boatloader.com/

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  5. West Wight Potter 19; look it up. It is a marvelous small sailboat and a great deal of fun in a classic design. Honestly the best trailerable sailboat I can think of aside from maybe a Rhodes but I don't know if the leaden keel on a Rhodes would work with all trailers. Catalina also makes a trailerable 22' which is probably fine, because Catalina does good work in general. Hunter makes a trailerable 22' but I'd consider this a last-ditch option because Hunter doesn't have the best reputation amongst sailors.

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  6. Another small boat you might consider if you can find one would be one made by a company called Escape. One of their models was the Escape Captiva. They were made of rotomolded plastic, just like some kayaks and heavy-duty coolers. One sail, simple mast and boom. Similar principle to a Snark in what might have been a more sturdy execution. Sadly, it appears the economic recession 10 or 12 years ago may have done them in. They may also have been a bit ahead of their time. There's a company in my state which is becoming famous for rotomolded kayaks and coolers that I wish could or would buy the rights and start making them again. We have alot of lakes around here, and they would be good for that kind of sailing.

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