I'm nearing the point of purchasing a TI (I have my AI on ebay, so it's probably only a matter of time...). I do mostly solo sailing, but wanted the TI for those occasions when a passenger might come along (and hopefully that would be more often
). Since I'm often sailing solo, I need to be able to load and launch the boat by myself. I currently transport my AI on a Thule roof rack on top of my Ford Focus ST (which has a Class I hitch mount), and I use the Thule Slipstream which makes loading and unloading pretty easy. I use the standard plug-in cart for launching, and store the boat on its side in my garage.
I'm currently embroiled in the "trailer vs. car-top" debate. I figure that with something like a Thule Goalpost or Rhino Rack T-Load Hitch Mount, I could get the boat up onto the roof of my car, though it would certainly take more effort than with the TI. I would probably use the Hobie dolly with TI cradles for launching. Or, I could bite the bullet and spend the extra $$ for a trailer.
As I see it, the pluses and minuses of each are:
+ ease of loading/unloading (though I would probably still use a dolly to launch, since many of the places I launch from would be difficult with a trailer).
+ quick set-up/break-down
- COST (this is probably the biggest down-side that I see).
- takes up more space in garage
- more hassle driving/parking/backing up with trailer
+ less space needed for storage
- slower set-up/break-down
- Safety (every shop owner I've talked to has essentially said I'm crazy to even think about car-topping a TI, mainly for safety reasons).
I'd love to hear everyone's perspectives on this and advice one way or the other (I've already read many of the discussions on this forum). Also, do you car-toppers have concerns about safety? Are you folks with trailers able to store your TI on your trailer inside a standard garage bay? what would be the least expensive
trailer set-up (assume that I'm purchasing new, not used). Can you use your trailer as a dolly to maneuver by hand (seems like a lot of weight), or do you need a separate dolly for that? Thanks in advance for your help!