Copyright 2017 - Woods Designs, Foss Quay, Millbrook, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL10 1EN, UK
  • home built Flica 37

  • plywood Romany 34

  • lightweight 14ft Zeta mainhull

  • Strike 15 trimaran at speed

  • 28ft Skoota in British Columbia

  • 10ft 2 sheet ply Duo dinghy

  • 24ft Strider sailing fast

  • 36ft Mirage open deck catamaran

The first thing to appreciate is that there are two types of boat that can be taken by road, ie "transportable" and "trailable". Transportable means anything that can be legally taken by road. So a Mira and even a Meander are transportable, even though each hull has to be taken to the water individually. All the production Flicas and Banshees had to be taken 7 miles along narrow Cornish country lanes to been launched so even large boats are "transportable"

"Trailable" means that the whole boat can be taken in one trip without a police escort and that it can be assembled and rigged without outside assistance. At an Annapolis Boat Show I saw a large trimaran that is advertised as being "trailable" having its mast stepped by crane. I also saw that several builders claim "trailer to sailing in 30 minutes or less, even singlehanded". Now that really is misleading and totally impossible.

When I think of "trailer to sailing" I include: arriving at the slip, untying the boat, assembling it, tightening trampolines, raising the mast, bending on barberhaulers, spisheets etc as well as sails, launching the boat, tying it up, taking the trailer away, parking the car, walking back to the boat, untying it, motoring off and hoisting sail. That's "trailer to sailing". 30 minutes, I don't think so!! It takes me 15 minutes to rig my dinghy from the trailer, and I still have to get changed and launched so I always allow half an hour.

So, after that preamble, how long does it take to assemble a Strider? Many years ago a grp Strider was tested by a magazine. We had the boat in the yard, on the trailer behind a car, but untied. 40 minutes later it was at the top of the slip, ready for launching. 10 minutes later we had the sails hoisted and were sailing. That's with two people who had done it before. Later the same reporter watched us assemble and rig a Wizard in 20 minutes.

What takes the time is not the initial assembly, but raising the mast. The standard Strider and Wizard score well here as their masts are small and light enough for one person to be able to "walk" them up which save a lot of time compared to larger masts that need a pole/lever arrangement and a line taken to a winch. I recently saw a video of a Savannah 26 being launched. It literally took seconds to fold out and assemble itself. But I would still think an hour would be a sensible time to allow for "trailer to sailing".