I had the 18 out of storage today & I snapped some pictures of some trailer modifications / ideas that might be helpful to others.
The first thing you might notice is the clearance between the mast and the back of our SUV. It seems there is always one more thing that needs to be loaded in the back of the vehicle (after everything is hooked up), so I wanted to always have access to the rear lift gate. In order to do this, I purchased a longer trailer tongue and stretched the trailer. Another very good reason for doing this is that it makes it really easy to add a rear mast stand...
Forward mast stand. I tried to keep everything adjustable to the new tongue, in order to allow for best fit.
A neat idea here was the small dedicated tab for the trailer ground wire, rather than the typical small self tapping screw into the frame (hopefully more reliable over the long haul). This is an extremely common fault area for trailer lights.
Swiveling dolly / jack & spare tire. I have never needed a spare tire, in all my years...as long as I had one with me. Your mileage may vary!
Rear mast stand. The other reason why I stretched the trailer tongue...this really makes rigging & towing easier, since the mast can be rested on the rear stand while being pinned & stepped, as well as keeping the weight of the mast off the rear crossbar and hulls while towing. Stretching the length of the trailer also allows the Comp-tip mast to be secured around the aluminum extrusion areas, instead of on the softer composite area...and that could be better for the tip joint since it only has to carry its' own weight if on a bumpy road, rather than additional weight of the aluminum section as well.
Adjustable for height. This seemed about right when trying it out, although I may move it up a notch or two yet. Takes only a wrench and a few seconds to loosen the two u-bolts and remove it when launching the boat, yet is rock-solid going down the freeway. I wanted a completely removable design, rather than a pivoting design, in order to allow it to be totally out of the way for launching and retrieving the boat. No tripping over a submerged chunk of steel.
Another shot of the Hobie Toy Box. The front top opening really improves the utility of these.
These are my favorite tie downs, Available from West Marine. They have nice protection underneath to prevent the buckle from rubbing on the tramp surface, are a simple over-center design that keeps from over-tightening the hulls down (anyone can do it, no worries that your helper will be over-enthusiastic with a ratchet strap), have the Velcro closures to clean up excess strap length; and safety keepers on the end where the hooks are. PLUS you can get all-stainless steel versions, if needed.
I use a piece of carpeting under each strap across the hulls to keep the strap from rubbing into the gel-cote.
Made some nice pivoting bunks, and utilized the existing side rollers as a back-up just in case. Photo also shows upgraded LED trailer lights and Bearing Buddies...nice features to have as well.
Wing supports...made these out of old SX wing legs. The foot casting needs to be rotated a quarter turn, and the overall length shortened slightly. I made a set of vinyl-protected 'forks' to align the supports where they meet the wings, and riveted some heavy-duty Harken eye straps on for tie-downs. They fasten to the mast step with a simple stainless steel bolt, similar to the old Coffey Marine style wing supports. Most supports I have used inevitably rub on the tramps, or the front crossbar, or the wing legs & decals, or don't even offer enough room for diamond wires on the mast to fit through (resulting in the diamond wires damaging the wing legs), or have questionable durability. No worries here, though!
These wing supports hold the wings nicely just past center on the vertical plane, allowing one person to fold or unfold the wings by themself. Works excellent and looks kind of cool, too.