Trailering Tritons

Be sure to checkout some pic's of Tritions & trailers in the Project Showcase

David Harwood, #155

Center of Balance

I asked Pearsons about the center of balance before loading #155 on James Baldwin's trailor (both now at the Triton Factory) in 1988. They advised me that the center of balance is located approximately at Station 4. If you don't have a copy of the recently distributed drawings, measure the length of the waterline (LWL) and multiply by 0.4 to obtain the distance from the forward end of the waterline to Station 4. Mark this location on the hull with a piece of masking tape.

Measure the distance from the hitch to the midpoint of the axles. Multiply this length by 0.1 (10%) and put a second mark on the trailer that distance ahead of the axle midpoint. Load the boat with the first mark above the second. Now make a (permanent) mark on the trailer directly below the front end of the waterline.

Richard, #119, Follow Me

Trailering With 2 or 3 Axles

If you have a light tow vehicle, use the triple axle to carry the major portion of the boat weight on the trailer. Drawback to triple axles are, the trailer must set level when loaded. If the trailer tongue is higher than the rest of the trailer, you will transfer most of the gross vehicle weight to the rear axle, seriously overloading it. The double axle can carry just as much as the triple, but with the pivot point of the trailer located between the axles, you will maintain equal weight distribution on all four tires. Heavier boats can use dual tires with double axles (like semi trucks). Triple axle trailers will go through tires much faster, do to the skidding of axles 1 & 3 while turning.

Richard, #119, Follow Me

I have trailered boats for years, because I work for a sailboat dealer.You're headed in the right direction using a fifth wheel set-up. It's much easier to handle.When I built my trailer I installed twin axel's because they pivot and roll easier. 16.5" tires make for a soft ride. The guy's with mobile home trailers that I've loaded out, have had to stiffen the frame a lot. With quad axel's they blow out tires a lot. Don't forget to put a bow support as far forward as you can, I have a total of seven screw pads to hold up the boat.

Robert Griem, #302, Iota

I had a beautiful trailer built for my Triton by Triad Trailers in New Milford Connecticut. They went out and measured another Triton to build the trailer. I am sure that they would still have the measurements they used to build my trailer. I took some pictures of the boat on the trailer, and if anyone is interested I would be happy to send them to someone to post on the web site. If there are any specific measurements you need off of my Triton trailer, I would be happy to make them for you. Let me know the specifics.

There is a good picture of my triton on her trailer at www.lackeysailing. com/iota/ iota.htm Tim and I just finished trailering her from Colorado to Maine for a restoration. No permits required. Towed beautifully behind a 3/4 ton Ford pickup. I have trailered this boat just about all over the US. The aftmost corner of the keel is right at the aft most support that you see on the trailer. It is behind the rear axle. I'm sure Tim could measure the distance behind the rear axle to the aft end of the keel. Let me know if you want me to ask him for you. Best of luck with your trailer.

Richard Weills, #126, Happy Hour

I have been following your discussion on trailers. 5th wheel is a great idea for such a heavy combo 10,000 lbs. A possible consideration could be if you wanted to launch in the Sea of Cortez. As far as I know there are no travel lifts, but they have special trucks to launch trailers. They might have trouble launching a fifth wheel trailer. From travellift to travellift it would be great though.

Larry Suter, #607, Dogstar

There's a book, Boat Trailers and Tow Vehicles A User's Guide, by Steve Henkel which has some useful info. There's a chapter on matching the trailer to boat shape which has a sketch of a trailer with frame and track width (wheel-seperation) wider than the beam, labled "better", and one with the frame and track width narrower than the beam labled "worse". The caption says "side supports relatively far apart help to minimize the boat's tendency to sway on the trailer during transport". According to this book, a trailer for a 27-29 foot boat weighing 2000# is "light duty" and can carry a boat weighing 7200# while one weighing 3000# is heavy duty and has a capacity of 12,000#.

Gary Everingham, #241, Protege

We have a trailer that I paid an extra $1000 Canadian for. Double axle, 3x5" box tubing frame, shocks, 16" trailer tires rated at 2000 lbs each. Hydraulic brakes. You need a truck to pull her. Did it with a mini van in 1995 and it (the van) has never shifted the same since. Pulled Protege 100 Km (60miles) for my wifes birthday present under darkness and parked the whole thing in the driveway. Next morning she almost passed out when she saw what was connected to the van. Now have a Dodge truck with a 5.2L and a HD trailer hitch and can now go almost anywhere. A real gas hog when towing though.


I used 8" channel for the sides, plus I strutted on 1 1/4" pipe about 2" above that. Two support cross beams (under the full keel) of 8" by 28 lb. wide flange. Four Chrysler minivan axles (eight tires) lengthened by about 12" each. No springs - no brakes. 2 5/16" ball hitch on the front. Trailer is about 30' long overall. Used precision scaffolding poles and clamps as I did not have the boat present to build to. Every possible thing is fullt adjustable so any boat would fit. Even a fin keel with a channel iron center channel laid in there. Two 1 1/4" horizontal screw clamps to hold the keel left and right. Several triangulated pieces of 4" channel welded in here and there where ever it looked a little weak.

Loaded trailer weighed at about 11,000 lbs. Towed it with a 1 ton GMC van (350 ci) with heavy duty everything. Steep hills and panic stops were a little bit of a problem.

I could furnish a sketch or maybe some pics (but that would take a while) if you feel strongly about it. As I recall I worked out the total dead load to size each beam, plus about 35% 'just because'. Then I used two beams that size to account for the likely (potential?) live loading.

Stephen #185

Thought I would pipe in about towing. Number 185 is on a trailer and I have towed her for about 8,000 miles so far.......and I hope to do many more road trips when she is ready to hit the water. You want about 10 to 15 percent of the combined trailer and boat weight on your tongue for ideal control when pulling. This weight should never exceed the weight ratings on the hitch and insert. My Class 5 hitch and insert are both rated for 14,000 lbs.

A Triton weighs about 8,250 lbs without water, fuel, and stores. This weight varies depending on the year and location of manufacture. A two-axle sailboat trailer that is designed to carry a maximum of 10,000 lbs weighs from 2,000 to 2,500 lbs. Roughly, the total weight of the boat and trailer is 10,500 lbs without the aforementioned fluids and stores. I bought one of those small tongue scales from Sherline that reads out the actual tongue weight. The procedure I use to determine the tongue weight is to place the scale on wood blocks that approximates the height of the ball. I then load the tongue on the scale and then read the weight. In my case, the tongue weight is 1,200 lbs. This is well within my hitches 1,400 tongue weight rating. Have a look at Sherline's web page at www.sherline. com They have lots of good information on towing in general.

On my trailer, the Triton's large house windows sit dead center of the dual axles. The back of boat extends 12 feet from the center of the axles and the hitch extends 20'6" from the center of the axles. This gives me an actual tongue weight of 1,100 lbs...and she tows real nice.

Each State in the US and Province in Canada has different specifications for overall length, width and height. A Titon is less than 8'6" wide and although it is too wide for some secondary roads it can be trailered just about any place on main highways.... .this goes as well for the height. The thing to make sure of is that your vehicle is legally rated by the OEM manufactured to pull and carry the weight you ask of it.

Don, Venturess II, # 606

I don't know what in what states you will pull your trailer. California, I believe, requires that the back end of the trailer be as long as the boat that is sitting on the trailer. To comply with certain state laws, you may have to extend the trailer to match amount the stern of the boat protrudes.

Daniel McNeil, Evadne, #301

I tow my trition. I used to just tow it about 10 miles from shed to ramp but this summer I made a 600 mile round trip with it from northern Wisconsin to Chicago and back. I wouldn't worry about the width cause I don't think anybody is going to try to measure that. Height is not really a problem either. I mount my mast so that it lays on the main cabin trunk just to the side of the main companion hatch. I took off the radar antennae and measured 12' 8" high leaving the jumper struts in place. With the radar in place I still was only 13' 4". I never heard of any height limit but you do have to be concerned about bridge clearance. Interstate clearance is nearly 17' so you don't have to worry. Urban areas (Chicago!) can be a problem but you usually can find info on this from Dept of Tran websites state, local and city. Never heard of a height limit - you just don't want to take the top of the cabin off!

BTW - I am traveling north to the boat this weekend and will get the measurements you ask for. The basic construction of the trailer is using tube for cross rails and C channel on the side rails with a large channel for the keel. There is a guide system in place that helps bring the boat into the trailer. This trailer was purchased from "Spurgeon's Port O'Call in Missouri. They still sell similar trailers and have a website (http://www. yachtworld. com/spurgeons/ ).

Jim Hart 94

I think the EC early boats probably balanced further forward than the later encapsulated ballast boats and there is probably a bit of a difference in the WC boats from the EC boats. Then there are the WC boats with the extra 1500# of lead in the keel, My WC 94 pulls and follows great with the back edge of the forward big portlite in the middle of my wheels. Note that I didn't say anything about balanced, but that point is about 12 1/2' forward from the furthermost aft point of the boat. It does not overload the rear wheels on my truck (3/4T Dodge) and I can average 60mph between Salt Lake and the west coast. My boat is one of the heavy ballast boats. The balance point (or good pulling point) might vary with the length of the tongue forward of the middle of the axles.....or maybe you would just pick up mechanical advantage so that you didn't have as much weight on the axles with a longer tongue...??? ? Anyway that's where mine pulls down the road best.....

John Ross, #15

I've just towed EC 15 for 2400 miles with the center axle of my trailer lined up between the large port-lites. I ran the truck over the scales and showed 10000 lbs combined on the trailer axles and approx 1200 lbs of tongue weight. If you were not running a dually truck you might want the load further back. I had no problems towing even drifted up past 70 mph a few times. The trailer is wide (8') with a long tongue 28' over all length. Truck is a 2004 Dodge 1 ton Cummins dually with a Jake brake. I've attached a picture so you can see the placement.