Ay' Captain! Welcome aboard. You're smart to be planning ahead like that, because once she tries yours, she will want one of her own.
Unless you're in a full size SUV, the amas are going to be a bit long for most cars. They are about 7 ft long, and roughly 1 ft in diameter. In my opinion, the trailer is the way to go. I went with a Trailex SUT-250 myself, and have been glad I did. I only have one AI myself, but a friend (glenn_SouthRiver) liked mine so much that he bought his own the same day I picked mine up. I've hauled the two AI's from the MD Chesapeake bay area, up to Lake Erie, and down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I could have, and did once, rack one boat on top of my SUV. He also lashed his into the bed of his F250 pickup. Not a pretty sight. I've found it a lot easier to manage, as well as a lot more fun, to tow them behind my MINI Cooper convertible. They tow just fine, even behind such a small car. I just don't corner as fast as I do without the trailer. The boats only weigh 115 LB each, and the aluminum trailer itself weighs about the same as one boat. Whole rig weighs in under 400 LB. Of course, they tow well behind my SUV or his pickup too, but the MINI is definitely more fun.
Last summer I laid the boats upside down and strapped them down on the cross bars on the trailer. I'd disassemble the boats and strap the amas on top to the hull. Towed them something over 4000 miles that way last summer. You mentioned securing the boats. I found a Python cable lock from Master Lock at Home Depot that does the job. It's a cable lock that fits through the aka holes in the amas, and is 20 ft long, so it's plenty long enough to reach through 2 hulls, 4 ama, and the trailer frame. The rest of the gear lives in an aluminum pickup truck tool box that is bolted to the trailer frame. Can't get into the tool box without removing the boat above it, but that's just another layer of security for the toolbox, right? I recently picked up two sets of the cradles for the AI, and plan to mount those this season.
Again, welcome to the fleet. I'm sure you'll find them to be as much fun as the rest of us have. My friends tell me that when I'm sailing on my AI, I'm usually wearing a grin that's so big it connects in the back.
- Jim L