Haulout and Trailering, Initial

Ford F250 diesel with Road King Trailer, Charleston, SC, Oct 2009
To transport an Ericson 25 you need a good truck and a good trailer. In August 2009, when I first started eyeing Oystercatcher, the E25 that I would eventually buy, I had neither. When I started getting serious about this boat, I started looking for a trailer to haul her from the Pamlico Sound region of North Carolina back home to Charleston, SC. She didn't have her own trailer, because she'd been kept in the water her entire life. Taking her down the ICW to Charleston was not an option. I didn't have the time, and she wasn't up for this sort of journey. I'll discuss my hunt for a trailer in another posting, but to make a long story short, I bought a new Road King trailer from a dealer in Savannah, Georgia. When it came time to travel to North Carolina to buy the boat and bring her home, I called upon a good buddy of mine from Georgia to help me out with his truck. He picked up the trailer from the dealer in Savannah and then drove two hours north to Charleston. It was quite a sight to see him pulling into my driveway with that big trailer in tow.
The next day we made the six hour drive north to the Pamlico Sound region. Whenever we stopped for gas or food, we'd check the condition of the trailer. In the picture below you can see the wooden A-frame I constructed for unstepping the mast.
When we reached our destination, we parked the truck and trailer at the haulout point in Oriental, NC and caught a ride to the owner's, or I should say, former owner's house. It sat on a remote gravel road on a little-traveled waterway. He had agreed to let us spend the night at his dock, so we could get up the next morning and spend the day sailing to Oriental, or somewhere thereabouts. It was a pleasant first night aboard Oystercatcher, despite the rain.
We spent most of the next day sailing Oystercatcher to Oriental. With cool air, misty water, and stiff winds out of the northwest, it was a mighty fine way to be introduced to the Ericson 25. We did, though, have a white-knuckle experience towards the end of this transit. The centerboard was stuck in its trunk, and deprived of its use, we had difficulty keeping the boat on a close-haul. Feeling overpowered, we decided to strike the sails and motor the rest of the way into Oriental. In the process of striking the sails, however, the jib became fouled. The roller furler was ancient, and the furling line not much younger or robust. We eventually tamed the jib, but it still managed to put up a fight every now and then as we made our way by motor from the open water into the more sheltered creeks in the lee of the land.
It was almost dark by the time we got into Oriental, and even though we were in the lee of the land, the conditions were still blustery and somewhat unpredictable. We had planed to spend the night in the haulout slip at the boatyard. The boatyard, after all, had told us we were welcome to dock there. They had added, though, that this haulout slip was available on a first-come-first-serve basis, and they noted that there were others on the morning haulout list who might also choose to take advantage of this opportunity. Of course, by the time we arrived on this windy evening there was another boat in the slip, or at least there appeared to be. The fairway leading to the haulout slip was long, narrow, and crowded, and it appeared to offer little space for turning around, so we weren't going to chance it. Instead, we motored around in the vicinity looking for some other space where we might dock. Fortunately, a cruising couple on a Fantasia 37 noticed our predicament and directed us to a fuel dock near the slip where they were berthed. We threw them our docklines, and soon we were nice and secure. These kind cruisers had managed to do all of this without spilling a single drop of white wine from their over-size glasses, and as a further act of kindness they invited us into their cozy cockpit to share in the libations. I say cozy, because their cockpit was fully enclosed with a dodger, bimini, and drop-down plastic windows that made the entire thing seem like a some sort of greenhouse. Sufficiently buzzed to have calmed the nerves from the fouled jib and the failed docking plans, we returned to Oystercatcher where we climbed into the cabin and cracked a few cans of brew to review the day's events. With the washboards dropped and the companionway hatch closed, the main salon was a warm and comfortable place to spend the evening and night. The wind might have been able to harass us everywhere else, but not here.
The next morning we woke up early and made our way down the fairway to get as close as possible to the haulout slip. We never had been certain whether or not the slip was occupied, and we thought we might get lucky and find it empty. Of course, though, it wasn't empty. A big Bavaria sat there blocking what we had hoped would be our own. Fortunately, the wind had died off, and in the dead calm waters of the fairway we were able to pull along side some pilings and tie off for a short while before it was our turn to enter the slip. This gave us some time to remove the boom and the wire luff jib and store them belowdecks.
A signal went out from the boatyard by cell, and soon we had Oystercatcher sitting at the ready in the haulout slip. We climbed out, and the travel lift crept forward.
The first order of business was the unstepping of the mast. I didn't get a shot of this, because my buddy and I were moving the truck and trailer into position at this time. You can see the truck and trailer parked in front of the travel lift. Remember me saying that I had constructed a wooden A-frame for unstepping the mast? What was I thinking? Sure, the A-frame is good for stepping the mast during regular trailer-launching situations, but during a haulout? All we really wanted to do at this point was get the boat out of the water, get it on the trailer, and get ourselves back to Charleston, so I paid them to drop the mast and had no reservations about it, then or afterwards.
It took some maneuvering, but eventually they were able to gently slide the slings beneath her.
And then she was up . . . and moving . . . and looking like she was grateful for this break.
Her sleek lines were an impressive sight as she rose higher in the lift and moved forward.
The aft end of the Ericson 25 is shapely and shippy sight to behold. Oystercatcher was a good catch for me - that's what I was thinking as she rolled forward towards the hard.
Before she had a chance to dry, one of the boatyard assistants gave Oystercatcher a good bath with a pressure-washer to remove the two years worth of slime that had accumulated on her hull since the last haulout.
After the boatyard owner removed the centerboard (the process of which I have described in an earlier posting), he returned to the travel lift and prepared to lower the boat onto the trailer.
My buddy hopped into the truck and backed the trailer into position under the travel lift.
The boatyard owner gently lowered her down to within inches from the trailer to see how her shallow, leadbelly keel might rest at the center of the trailer. The owner determined that due to the shape of her belly, the boat would need some dunnage beneath her hull to rest firmly on the keel bunks of the trailer.
First they added a 4 x 6 (seen in the picture below). Then they added a 2 x 6. This still wasn't enough, so they grabbed a 2 x 8 and slid it on top of the stack. This finally did it, and with that the boatyard owner lowered her all the way down. I asked him if these boards needed to be secured in some way, and he said they didn't. He said they wouldn't go anywhere once the boat was strapped down.
The next task was to adjust the lateral bunks. One worker would loosen one of the nuts with a ratchet wrench while the other would lever the bunk upwards. In this way they were able to give the bunks a shape that was custom-fitted to the hull of this Ericson 25.
Some parts of the bunk were more difficult to lever into position than others. My buddy and I had to jump in and help these two guys on more than one occasion.
After securing the mast to the top of the cabin and placing anti-chafing material all around it, we pulled the boat out of the middle of the yard and parked her on a side street to take care of other business, namely securing the boat herself to the trailer. Since Oystercatcher had spent her entire life (since the mid-1970s) in the water, she did not possess a trailer eye at her bow. I knew this from having made two earlier trips to North Carolina to see her. Accordingly, I had purchased a trailer eye and brought it with me, along with the tools to install it. The boatyard owner, though, said that this was a project I could postpone. He said the straps themselves would secure the boat well.
My buddy and I had trailered other boats before, but since this was a new boat and a new trailer, it took a while to figure out the best locations for the straps on this boat and trailer.
Before taking off, we asked the boatyard owner to take a look at our work with the straps. We weren't too proud to ask for help, and we were glad we did. He happily lent a hand and made a few adjustments. With this, we were more confident about making the long drive from Oriental to Charleston.
 One last check of the trailer hitch and the electrical system and we were off. By this point it was mid-afternoon, far past our expected departure time. We hadn't eaten anything more than snack food in the past 24 hours due the flurry of activities surrounding the transit and haulout. When we reached New Bern, NC, the largest town in this area, we found an Arby's restaurant and feasted on roast beef sandwiches. What a fine way to sup when the gullet is so needy, and not up for arguing.
Leaving New Bern we took US 17 South, all the way to Charleston. Despite the fact that much of US 17 is a four-lane divided highway, we drove slowly and made frequent stops to check the condition of the boat and trailer. Occasionally we had to tighten the straps due to the shifting of the load as we rolled down the road. During one of our stops, we discovered that an eyelet on the rudder had broken free. This eyelet was normally used as part of a line-to-cleat system for hauling up the rudder to a shallow position when sailing in skinny water. Prior to our departure from Oriental we hauled up the rudder as a safety precaution, so it wouldn't sit too far down and thus too close to the road as we traveled. When the eyelet ripped free, the rudder had suddenly dropped from its highest possible position to its lowest. Good thing we didn't hear this. It might have caused some immediate yet unwarranted fretting. As far as the movement of the boat itself was concerned - you know, the sort of movement that caused us to stop and tighten the straps from time to time - I can say that, as it turned out, it would have been a good idea to install the trailer eye on the bow of the boat before we departed. Oystercatcher rocked backward and foreward during the course of the trip and separated herself from the bow rest by several inches. Having her winched tightly against that bow rest would have given us a much more restful journey.
It was late in the evening before we pulled into the driveway in Charleston with Oystercatcher on the trailer behind us. The entire trip, there and back, was a fantastic experience. It seemed like a major victory, a cause for celebration. In some ways it was, but there were many more battles, far greater, ahead.

Ericson 25, Chainplate Dimensions

On the port side the faint “RC” stamped logo faces the bulkhead while on starboard side the RC logo faces the cabin. In other words, on both port and starboard, the chainplate edge that has two holes face the hull while the edge with three holes face the cabin.

Click to Enlarge

New chainplates should be made out of electro-polished 316L Stainless Steel.

Ericson 25, Portlight Diagram

The gasket surrounding the glass is similar to Wefco 2154 but  asymmetrical, as shown. A bead of silicone was used toward the outside (the bead was very well done: at first one is convinced it must also be a gasket).
Original Internal Gasket

The internal gasket (similar to Wefco 1256) does not play any role in making the portlight watertight but is installed for cosmetic purposes only.

Wefco Rubber Mfg. Co., Inc.
21000 Osborne Street, Unit 2
Canoga Park, CA 91304
Toll Free: 800.854.1220
Voice: 818.886.8872
Facsimile: 818.886.8875
General Email: Sales@wefcorubber.com

Ericson 25, Sailplan

Standard Rig
                    Ounces   Sq Ft   Sq M
Main                  5.00  105.00   9.75
Jib                   5.00  122.00  ll.33
110% Lapper           5.00  140.00  13.00
150% Genoa            3.80  244.00  22.66
Spinnaker              .75  459.00  42.63
                              Feet Meters
J                            10.50   3.20
P                            25.00   7.65
E                             8.42   2.57
I                            30.50   9.30

Waterline to masthead        33'11" 10.34
Mast rake aft                 none

Tall Rig
An optimal tall rig is available for the Ericson 25. Mast and boom sections are the same as the standard rig. It is offered only on the keel version.
                              Feet Meters
J                            10.50   3.20
P                            27.50   8.38
E                             8.83   2.69
I                            33.00  10.06

Waterline to masthead        36'50" 11.10
Mast rake aft                 none

Extruded aluminum, oval shape, 6.50"/l6.5lcm X 3.25"/8.26cm X .140/3.6mm wall section.

Extruded aluminum, teardrop shape. 4"/10.16cm X 3"/7.62cm X .109/2.8mm wall section.

Both spars have grooves designed to accept 7/16"/11.1mm sail slugs.

Standing rigging
1/19 stainless. 5/32"/4.0mm diameter. As standing rigging will vary somewhat in length from boat to boat it is advisable to accurately measure existing shroud or stay when ordering a replacement.

Running Rigging
When replacing running rigging it is advisable to measure existing halyard, sheet or guy when ordering a replacement.


Under no circumstances should your rigging be set up “bar tight". For all sailing conditions the rigging should be firm with the mast vertical and in column. The headstay and backstay should be of equal tension and have l-2" (25-50 mm) of play. Upper shrouds should also have 1-2" (25-50 mm) of play while the lowers should have 2-3" (50-76 mm), with the forward lowers slightly tighter than the after lowers.

For a final tuning, sail the boat to windward in a breeze of 8-10 knots sighting up the sail slides (on the backside of the mast) to assure that it is vertical and in column. The masthead should not fall off or hook to windward. Make any turnbuckle adjustments on the leeward side, tack and recheck for straightness.

After a few tacks the mast should be straight. Secure the turnbuckles by inserting cotter keys and tape them to prevent any snags or sail chafe. Standing rigging will stretch, so the rig tune should be rechecked after the first few months of sailing.


The sailplan above contains the outlines of various sails. Here they are color-filled for better visualization:
150% Genoa
180% Genoa
Staysail (Cutter Rig)
Lightweight Genniker?
(used with Spinnaker?)