Northeaster mooring vs launching

After several decades of not sailing, I am now living near water and have places to put (small) boats.  This year I got my sea legs back sailing a Sunfish moored on tidal flats.  I am itching to get a NED probably lug reef, and intend to sail 85-90% of the time and row the rest.  My main complaints about the Sunfish, once I reaquired my skills, was that you tend to get pretty wet, even when things are going well, and the few times I took my daughter out it was pretty cramped for both of us.  I imagine with the NED I could conceivably take a third person as well, which is nice.

But here is my question: after having a season of sailing from a mooring, I wonder which would be better for the NED, mooring it, or trailering it the equlavant to two blocks where I could launch?  Mooring is hard on boats (esp open boats made of wood I would assume) and getting to it on a SUP and stowing whatever rain covers somewhere or just forgoing that and bailing whenever I sail after a rainstorm come to mind.  Launching only when I need it seems easier on the boat, and easier to rig her on shore, but at the moment I do not have a hitch or trailer.  I do have a minivan, and I have both cartopped a Sunfish on it (not fun, even with help) and stuffed it in the back hatch with 4' hanging out the back, (but all strapped in) and that was surpisingly easy, at least for very short 2 block equivalent trip.  stuffing a NED in the back seems impossible, given its 3 more feet long, and I asume cartopping would be at least equally as hard if not harder than a Sunfish.
anyway, sorry for the long post, but if anyone has any experience with a NED moored and how hard it is on it, it would be appreciated.   thanks.

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RE: Northeaster mooring vs launching

I've no experience with a Sunfish or  the Northeaster Dory, but for only two blocks what about some type of canoe cart? The dory is about the same length as many canoes and doesn't weigh that much more, but it is a lot more beamy.


RE: Northeaster mooring vs launching

Yeah, a dolly or cart of some sort might be the way to go.  I've done this with my Passagemaker for launching in places where there is no improved ramp (boat in the bed of a pickup truck), and it was possible to cover a pretty good distance.  I used a thing from CLC for this which I can't find on their website now, but it was a similar concept to this:

Clipper TRX Kayak/Canoe & Small Boat Cart with No-Flat Tires (

...except with inflatable tires.

Says it's rated for 200#, so it might work for you.

An even better solution might be a hand dolly like this:

SUT-300U: Trailex Universal Hand Dolly - Adjustable from 8-13 feet! (

If the boat lives in your garage or some such, you could just leave her on the dolly until you're ready to walk her down to your launch point.


RE: Northeaster mooring vs launching

Yeah, I have a "Rollabout" Sunfish dolly, essentally wheels you drop into daggerboard slot.  Very handy.  I have no problem pushing the boat down the road if I am maybe only doing one or two round trips per season, as I might do if I was getting to it's mooring or back.  But It's a bit of a narrow country road with a couple rolling hills, so I am not sure I would want to do it every time I wanted to launch.   In that scenario, mooring would be easier, but obviously harder on the boat.  I'm just trying to get a handle on just how hard it would be on the boat vs storing it under a deck when not in use.  (salt water, in a protected bay)  

RE: Northeaster mooring vs launching

"I see," said the blind carpenter, as he picked up his hammer and saw.  When you said "the equlavant to two blocks" I guess I didn't envision hills in the bargain.  In that case, I think I'd just bite the bullet and get a trailer and put a hitch on a vehicle and let the boat live on the trailer, if trailer launching and parking at the launch site is an option.  I think you and the boat will both live longer that way.  Besides, then you'll be ready to take her farther afield if the urge strikes you.

Mind you, this is from a trailer sailor who towed a Sea Pearl 21 for 22 seasons and a 2900# Menger 19 for 19 seasons for tens of thousands of miles, so maybe the whole trailer business doesn't seem as intimidating to me as it should to a sensible person.  <;-)

The Northeast Dory might be a bit much to cartop.  Something like this:

Shared album - B Whitehurst - Google Photos

...which I think was shared by another contributor here some time back, might help?

It is a puzzlement.  Hope you can figure something out.


RE: Northeaster mooring vs launching

   I've had a NE dory for 4 years.  Inless you have two strong people, car topping wouldn't be easy, and unless your roof rack is permanently installed, you'll spend as much time getting that on and off as any other part of your launching evolution.

I wouldn't moor a small boat, especially a wooden one, enless absolutely necessary.  Taking care of the mooring, plus forever needing to visit the boat to bail rainwater, check after storms, etc. would be a chore, even if close by.  And can you wade to your mooring, or would getting to the mooring require a dinghy and all the hassle that would go with keeping, storing and moving that?  You did say tidal flat, so maybe you can wade.  But being on a mooring, instead of on some sort of trailer under a deck and under a cover will be many factors of 10 harder on the boats finish and useful life.

I'd definitely go for a trailer or dolly.   A dolly might be a great solution.  If it is too hard to get back and forth over the hills by hand, go with the trailer.  In my experience (and it sounds like you are in a coastal area, all the better) you can visit local boatyards, storage places, yacht clubs, etc. and almost always find a derelict trailer that can be put into comission for very little $$.  Often given to you for free just to get it out of the way.  Sometimes finding a rightful owner to get the thing registered is a problem, but maybe for your trip you don't even need to worry about that.  And unless you do head out for longer trips you don't even need to fix up the trailer very much (no new bearings, tires, whatever).  If you are only doing your two block trip you could even look for low/no cost little near-derelict utility trailers.  

It is very likely that you can go on the web and buy a hitch for your van (you can even buy at the 1.25 inch receiver size, v. 2 inch) specifically designed to fit that will bolt onto your van with no modification required and only an hour or so worth of work, and for less than $100.  Again, if you're really only going to go for your 2 block trip, maybe you can skip trailer lights.

So, I vote strongly against mooring, and as to other options, you have many.

RE: Northeaster mooring vs launching

   Thanks.  Very helpful, and I think I reluctantly lean that way as well, even though it means work.  I had my Sunfish moored out there this season and it was a bit eye opening how tough it can be on the boat, even a simple "low maintenence"  fiberglass boat  I did not have antifouling paint on the bottom and whoo-boy that was a mess mid season. And again at the end.   I have been using an infatable Stand Up Board to get to it, but while that was unquestionably the right choice, it was still annoying to transfer from it and hoist sail in a stiff breeze.  Tide goes out far enough that any invoved maintenece I could just walk out in mood sucking mud and work on it (which I did for the Sunfish)   I certainly can get a hitch for my van, and not to $$ either.  While I like the idea of just nipping across the street to go sailing in my moored NED, in the long run it might be less work dragging it to a nearby launch point and back every time I want to go. 

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