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  • Currently, my trailer tongue is 7 feet long (from bow of boat to hitch point.) I want to shorten it or install a fold-away because the trailer doesn't fit in my garage. But how short is too short? How long is your tongue? What do you think is reasonable?

    Thanks.



    Edited by danielt1263 on Nov 27, 2022 - 08:56 AM.
  • From bow to hitch point needs to be 1/2 the width of the tow vehicle. Think about a jack knife situation.

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    Dart 20
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  • Depending on your trailer, maybe slide the boat further forward on the the trailer when in the garage

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    Dart 20
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  • How much tongue weight do you have? If not enough, you may need to slide the boat forward and there won't be so much distance from boat to ball.

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    dk

    Blade F-16
    Hobie 14
    Corsair F-242
    Mirage 25 (Sold)
    Hobie Tiger (Sold)
    TomCat 6.2 (Sold)
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  • How long is it from the bow of your boat to the hitch when in a ready to drive state?
  • The bows of my F16 are a little less than 4 feet from the hitch in drive ready state. No issues when turning.
    What is the total length of the trailer compared to the usable length of the of the garage? I slide my boat forward on the trailer when storing since my trailer and garage are about the same length.

    Pete

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    Pete Knapp
    Schodack landing,NY
    AHPC Viper,Nacra I20,P18, P16,H16
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  • pknapp66What is the total length of the trailer compared to the usable length of the of the garage?


    The trailer is 18' long. My garage is 18' deep. It's a "two car" garage. Currently, I can just barely fit the boat in the garage by pushing the boat forward as you suggest and angling the trailer diagonally, effectively taking up the entire space including my wife's exercise area. This cannot stand.

    I've never seen a boat trailer with a 7' long tongue so I know I can shorten it. I'm just trying to get a bead on what the typical length is. Hence the reason I'm asking everybody: what is the distance from the bow of your boat to the coupler?
  • You're overthinking this. There's no set formula. The tongue weight should be heavy enough that when you lift it there's some physical effort to put it on the hitch ball but not so light that the trailer won't track straight at highway speeds. One thing that you didn't mention, is do you want to put your boat in the garage with the mast? That won't work which makes everything else moot. My guess is the mast on that F16 is around 27 ft. Do you intend to install and remove your mast every time you use your boat? Seems like a lot of work, with all those wires. If that's the case, why not go ahead and remove the rudders and castings as well, it'll shorten the overall length. Or putting the boat on the trailer backwards which may shorten everything and comes with its own set of advantages. If there's any alternative at all, cover your boat, keep it outside.

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    Bill Townsend
    G-Cat 5.0
    Sarasota
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  • shortyfoxYou're overthinking this. There's no set formula. The tongue weight should be heavy enough that when you lift it there's some physical effort to put it on the hitch ball but not so light that the trailer won't track straight at highway speeds..


    I can set the tongue weight where it needs to be regardless of length of the trailer by shifting the boat/equipment. That says nothing about what a reasonable tongue length is, or what might be too short. I'm trying real hard to not overthink this. I'm just trying to get a bead on what the common length is.

    shortyfoxOne thing that you didn't mention, is do you want to put your boat in the garage with the mast? That won't work which makes everything else moot. My guess is the mast on that F16 is around 27 ft. Do you intend to install and remove your mast every time you use your boat?


    I have a two piece mast so it's not the problem when it comes to storage. Yes, I intend on installing and removing the mast every time I use the boat. Hell the thing was designed to be completely broken down and setup for each sail.

    shortyfox... why not go ahead and remove the rudders and castings as well, it'll shorten the overall length. Or putting the boat on the trailer backwards which may shorten everything and comes with its own set of advantages.


    The trailer is the longest single thing that I'm dealing with. I have the rudders and stocks off the boat already.

    Putting the boat on backwards doesn't shorten the length of the trailer. The trailer is too long.

    shortyfoxIf there's any alternative at all, cover your boat, keep it outside.


    Outside storage costs almost $200 per month. I'd rather shorten the trailer and keep the boat in my garage.

    How long is your trailer tongue?
  • My F16 Trailex trailer has a tongue length of 21ft. It goes from the ball to the rear cross bar of the trailer. From the ball to the bows (as the boat currently sits) is 5.5ft. However that is specific to my boat as I also have a sail box in the equation.

    To me, it comes down to three things; tongue weight, positioning and clearance. Tongue weight should be 10-15% of the gross total weight (boat, trailer, equipment). My boat is recommended to be supported below the front and back bulkheads which means the crossbars need to spaced accordingly. Lastly, placing the crossbars on the trailer so there is adequate clearance while keeping proper tongue weight determines how short your crossbar can be.

    You say your trailer is too long to fit in the garage. Does that mean that the sterns of the boat sit equal to the end of the trailer? If so, should it really be supported there? If so, put a scale under the ball and see if you meet the 10-15% criteria. If tongue weight is really light and the boat is supported correctly, you can likely cut some off.

    Does your manufacturer has a longer boat model? If so, they may use the same trailer model for both and you just have the extra from the shorter boat.

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    dk

    Blade F-16
    Hobie 14
    Corsair F-242
    Mirage 25 (Sold)
    Hobie Tiger (Sold)
    TomCat 6.2 (Sold)
    --
  • dssaak tongue weight, positioning and clearance. Tongue weight should be 10-15% of the gross total weight (boat, trailer, equipment).


    According to the manual that came with the trailer: "All trailers 2,000 lbs and under, the tongue weight should be equal 7% to 10% of the actual gross weight."

    In my case, the trailer is 180#, the boat is 253#, cat-trax and boat box adds maybe another 100#... So I'm thinking a tongue weight 40-50 lbs (closer to 50 because the box may be heaver that I'm guessing...) Setting the tongue weight is easy, just shift the boat (worst case, I can move the trailer wheels.) None of that has anything to do with how long the tongue should be past the bows. Obviously for ramp launching, I would want a long tongue to keep the car out of the water, but this is a beach cat, not a ramp launching cat. icon_smile

    dssaakYou say your trailer is too long to fit in the garage. Does that mean that the sterns of the boat sit equal to the end of the trailer?


    When tongue weight is correct the stern of the boat sticks out behind the back of the trailer. When I'm storing the boat, I have to push it forward on the trailer.

    dssaakDoes your manufacturer has a longer boat model?


    The trailer is advertised for cats from 14-18 feet long. My boat is 15 feet. That's why I'm okay with cutting some off. I'm trying to figure out how much to cut by figuring out how much should be left after I cut. I don't want to cut too much off because putting some back on isn't really an option... icon_smile



    Edited by danielt1263 on Nov 28, 2022 - 03:02 PM.
  • Many of the trailers have the tongue attached at the back end with a horizontal bolt where the tongue can be removed in 5 minutes. It sounds like you may not have that, or do you? What about having a socket welded where the butt-end slides in and bolts and there is an attachment where the front of the frame meets the tongue?

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    Scott

    Prindle 18-2 Mod "FrankenKitty"
    Tornado Classic "Fast Furniture"
    Prindle 19 "Mr. Wiggly" - gone
    Nacra 5.8 "De ja vu"
    Nacra 5.0
    Nacra 5.8
    Tornadoes (Reg White)
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  • texastumaMany of the trailers have the tongue attached at the back end with a horizontal bolt where the tongue can be removed in 5 minutes. It sounds like you may not have that, or do you? What about having a socket welded where the butt-end slides in and bolts and there is an attachment where the front of the frame meets the tongue?


    I looked at that. The way the wiring is setup makes this idea problematic... icon_frown
  • If you think you have the boat properly on the trailer, get out the bathroom scale and check tongue weight until you find the right length of tongue. Use a 2x4 and keep moving it back until you find the proper weight with the shorter tongue weight.

    7% seems a little light.

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    dk

    Blade F-16
    Hobie 14
    Corsair F-242
    Mirage 25 (Sold)
    Hobie Tiger (Sold)
    TomCat 6.2 (Sold)
    --
  • I looked at that. The way the wiring is setup makes this idea problematic... icon_frown [/quote]

    If it is just the wiring that keeps you from a 5-minute tongue removal, then that is your answer. Way less
    complicated to redo the wiring than to cut and alter your trailer. You could either reroute the wires or add
    another plug that can be quickly disconnected for storage. No brainer in my opinion. Post some pics of the tongue and wiring.

    Pete

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    Pete Knapp
    Schodack landing,NY
    AHPC Viper,Nacra I20,P18, P16,H16
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  • I think for your setup, having a folding tongue is the simplest solution. I have one on my Stinkpot, so a 19’ Volvo powered I/O can fit in my garage by simply pulling the pivot pin & swinging the end 4’ of the tongue.
    For your lightweight Cat trailer, the pivot system is pretty cheap, & you can cut the existing tongue with an angle grinder, drill a few holes & slap some rust paint in the cut edges.
    Whereabouts are you?
    A marine supply shop not to far from me is moving, I see they had a folding kit (used, but looks fine) available for $100.

    --
    Hobie 18 Magnum
    Dart 15
    Mystere 6.0XL Sold Was a handful solo
    Nacra 5.7
    Nacra 5.0
    Bombardier Invitation (Now officially DEAD)
    Various other Dock cluttering WaterCrap
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  • danielt1263
    texastumaMany of the trailers have the tongue attached at the back end with a horizontal bolt where the tongue can be removed in 5 minutes. It sounds like you may not have that, or do you? What about having a socket welded where the butt-end slides in and bolts and there is an attachment where the front of the frame meets the tongue?


    I looked at that. The way the wiring is setup makes this idea problematic... icon_frown


    I would just add another trailer plug at the removal point.

    Just thought and wondering, if you build a pivot point for the tongue, will the mast support hit the hull?

    --
    Scott

    Prindle 18-2 Mod "FrankenKitty"
    Tornado Classic "Fast Furniture"
    Prindle 19 "Mr. Wiggly" - gone
    Nacra 5.8 "De ja vu"
    Nacra 5.0
    Nacra 5.8
    Tornadoes (Reg White)
    --
  • texastumaJust thought and wondering, if you build a pivot point for the tongue, will the mast support hit the hull?


    The mast support had to go. It's too tall to fit in the garage. Fortunately, my boat has a two piece mast. I built a new support that sits on the beams and holds both parts of the mast and the spinnaker pole horizontally instead of at an angle.

    Thanks for everybody's responses. It seems the majority of people have a 3 foot tongue (from bows to coupler,) with the second most popular answer being 4 feet. So I'm going to cut my trailer down to that range. I found a family member who has an impact driver and reciprocal saw.

    Once I shorten the trailer, I will rebalance things to ensure proper tongue weight.
  • Did you sail on thanksgiving? if so how was it? how did rigging go? where did you sail?
  • MN3Did you sail on thanksgiving? if so how was it? how did rigging go? where did you sail?

    No I didn't. icon_frown I wasn't able to fit all the gear in my car.

    So now I'm making a gear box for the trailer and targeting the 17th for my maiden sail.

    I'm looking forward to changing my avatar picture to me out on the wire.



    Edited by danielt1263 on Dec 01, 2022 - 09:37 AM.

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