Sailing Beginner - Trailer Sailor
The boat trailer becomes an important vehicle in allowing us access to the water that we couldn't achieve any other way! Thus the boat trailer is an important element of our sailing equipment that has to be in good working condition and maintained. The trailer rims & tires should be in good condition with no excess dry rot or wear and should be properly inflated according to the tire manufacturer's recommendation.
The wheel bearings should be checked to see that they are in good shape and greased.
I use grease hubs on my sailboat trailer, so that I can add grease to them easily.
The trailer hitch should lock easily and securely on the trailer ball of your tow vehicle. The safety chains should also be serviceable and not rusted or corroded through. And the wire plug should be in good working condition as well. The trailer lights should be working and can easily be checked by connecting them to your tow vehicle. The boat winch should be in good mechanical condition and the nylon strap should be inspected and replaced if it shows any sign of wear.
Next make sure that you have a safety chain that's used in addition to the boat winch strap just in case it breaks while traveling on the road.
The stern or back of the sailboat should be secured by using a heavy-duty ratcheting nylon strap or a sturdy rope to hold it in place to prevent any incidental damage to your sailboat or worse yet to keep it from falling off the trailer. Once you hook the trailer to the tow vehicle and before you hit the road, it's a good idea to make one last quick check to make sure everything is in order.
I usually make a visual check of the tires, see that the lights are connected, the safety chains are secured, and the hitch is secured to the tow vehicle for starters. Then I make sure the sailboat is secured at the bow with the winch and safety chain along with the nylon stern strap as well. I also make sure that the outboard is secured to the boat and the gas cap vent is closed. And I check the mast as well to see if it's secured to the sailboat.
Taking a few minutes for a final check of the trailer and boat will give you a piece of mind while towing the sailing boat to your destination. It's also a good idea to keep and eye on both the sailboat and trailer while driving, because anything can happen at any moment.
It's a good idea to carry a spare tire for the boat trailer, just in case you get a flat. This way you can change a flat and not have to leave your sailing boat on the roadside while you fetch a spare.
Until my next sailing beginner article - Happy Sailing!