Archived Trailer Guys Questions
The Boat Trailering Guys
I just bought a small sailboat and trailer. The boat is a 1980 12' San Francisco Pelican (9' 6" when traveling without bowsprit, 6'2" beam). The boat weighs 390 lbs. empty. I need to know what the minimum trailer and wheel size could be because I have a small car? VW Jetta. We are planning to buy an SUV next year, but I could not let the great deal I got on this boat pass me up. I think that the trailer that came with the boat is way too big. It has 14', 5 lug wheels. It is 7' wide 16' long. I'm afraid it will drag my Jetta down the ramp into the deep blue. And yes, my front-wheel drive, 4 cylinder Jetta has a manual transmission... Also, I saw that New Jersey requires break-brakes. What are they exactly, how much do they cost, etc.
Answered on: 6/2005
MIKE: (A) First of all, I would not recommend towing anything with the Jetta. The only reason I would put a tow hitch on a Jetta is if I were using it to attach a bicycle rack. I did look at specifications for the Jetta and did find that there is not any data available for towing capacity (meaning don't do it). I did find the 2002 Jetta had a payload capacity of 930 lbs (me and three friends). Find a spot close to the water where you can store the boat and have the boat beached or in a rack where you can use a hoist or hand trailer to launch it. When you get your SUV you will be able to expand your horizons and trailer the boat to wherever you would like. It does sound like your have a lot of trailer for that boat. For that size boat you can get away with a much smaller trailer that would be more easily towed and manuevered. One of the major boating retailers (West) sells a Sport Trailer that can carry a boat up to 14' in length with a maximum payload of 600lbs. The tires on that trailer are 8'. You must factor in what other equipment you will be carrying along with the boat, whether you want a gear (boating gear that is) storage box on the trailer for your sails or other equipment, etc.... There are many options out there, you will need to look around and see what best suits your needs. Regarding the brake requirement for New Jersey, you should refer to the following website: http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/cit_registration/v_reg_private_utilities.html. You will find that it states the following: "If gross weight including load exceeds 3,000 lbs., or 40% of the towing vehicle's gross weight, trailer must be equipped with brakes." You will not have to worry about brakes.
The Boat Trailering Guys: Mike