I usually keep my Wavewalk S4 on my dock so I can use it right there. But sometimes, we like to explore other areas. I don’t have a truck to transport it, so I decided to convert an old sailboat trailer into a Wavewalk S4 trailer.
All it took was some treated 2×6 and 2×4 boards, some U-bolts, and some ceramic deck screws. I started with the trailer for a [brand name] sailing catamaran that I don’t use. I’ve never trailered that boat. The first step was to attach two 2×6 boards each with a U-bolt on the front and the back. On top of those, I screwed five 2×6 cross-boards so they support the boat from underneath all the way from front to back. Then I added 2×4 boards on both of the outside edges to provide an outer groove for the S4 to sit inside. A set of rollers from the sailboat trailer act as guides to align the inner hull of the S4.
The result? A very light but stable platform to pull my Wavewalk S4. When we get to the boat ramp we just back it down the ramp and the S4 slides off the trailer with an easy push. You should have seen the faces of the big boat owners at the ramp when I launched my boat with one finger!
The key to trailering the boat is to make sure it is tied down securely in the front and the back so that it doesn’t slide forward or backwards. I also have two lines over the top of the boat to hold it down, but be careful not to over-tighten these and compress the hull. Also, remember to tilt the motor up if you have one so it doesn’t hit the ground as you trailer it.
Having a homemade trailer can extend the range of your Wavewalk adventures and save the hassle of loading it in or on top of your vehicle. All it takes is a used trailer and some treated boards!
This demo movie shows one person downloading a Wavewalk S4 from a vehicle’s roof rack, and carrying it from the parking space down to a rocky beach that we chose as a location for shooting video just because launching any other skiff from there would have been impossible.
Wavewalk’s motto Launch, Go, Fish and Beach Anywhere is a reality for many Wavewalk owners.
Carrying a Wavewalk 500 or 700 just by dragging it on the ground anywhere is easy, and it’s feasible even with a 6 HP outboard motor attached to the kayak, as we demonstrated in this movie »
However, the S4 being heavier than the W500 and W700, we thought it would be nice to have a wheel cart for it, for when we have the 59 lbs 6 HP outboard motor attached to it, and we want to launch and beach in difficult spots, namely beaches that require carrying the boat over asphalt or on difficult terrain, especially steep and rocky slopes. The heavier the fishing, diving or camping gear carried on board the S4 skiff kayak, the more justified is the use of a wheel cart to carry it.
While most 38″ wide canoe trolleys would have fit this requirement, we wanted a wheel cart that we could store on board, inside one of the hulls, so we designed one –
Wheel cart stored on board the S4, in the bow
We outfitted the wheel cart with a folding leg that assures that the cart will be in the right angle to receive the boat.
The wheel cart is positioned to receive the S4
S4 wheel cart with its leg deployed, ready to have the kayak loaded onto it
Underside of the wheel cart, with the positioning leg folded in
Loading the boat is done simply by pulling it onto the wheel cart. The user can decide where they prefer to have the wheel cart located relatively to the boat. A boat with a heavy motor attached to it would require the wheel cart to be located further towards the stern.
It’s possible to upload the boat on this wheel cart from the bow or from the stern, depending on circumstances. Uploading from the stern makes it easier to place the close to the stern, which puts the boat in a good position for mounting the motor on it, as well as for carrying it with the motor attached to it.
S4 kayak loaded on the wheel cart and secured with two straps
When stored on board, this wheel cart protrudes into the front part of the cockpit, and this could restrict the space available for a second passenger. In such case, this wheel cart can be attached on top of the front deck, and stored under it if one of the passengers wants to stand on the deck and use it as a casting platform.
This wheel cart is not a product that we offer for sale
Some tech specs –
The 38″ long and 6″ wide horizontal main board is made from 3/4″ plywood, and so is the narrow reinforcement beam under it. All wooden parts are coated with urethane. We covered with Goop all the screws in the L brackets that could come in contact with the underside of the hulls. The vertical side boards are made from 1/2″ plywood. The wheels are 7″ in diameter. The axles are made from a standard 3 ft long 1/2″ diameter steel tube cut in two.
1. Front lower corners cut away to enable better performance over rugged terrain, such as rocks, roots, etc.
This is the story of my trip across Buzzards Bay, to the Elizabeth Islands, a chain of small islands between Martha’s Vineyard and the mainland.
Before the actual trip…
My first trip was ‘preliminary’ to the actual one, because it was cut short due to time constraints – I arrived to the boat ramp in Gooseberry island at the Horseneck Beach Reservation, found the parking lot full, and headed back on the causeway. I parked a quarter of a mile down the road, next to a rocky beach, a.k.a. a ‘Rock Garden’. It was early in the afternoon, and by the time I launched, filled the gas tank, and tested the boat (and myself), I realized that since I’m a novice seaman, I’d have to drive slowly, namely at less than 5 mph, which would have made the trip longer than I had planned. That meant that I might have gotten back home too late, which is a no-no.
What’s left from that preliminary, or shall we call it ‘Test’ trip are the panoramic view of the parking lot and the beach, and the still images from the end of the trip, where I’m seen dragging the boat on the beach, and up the ramp, back to the parking lot. Joao, a local resident, shot these nice photos – Thanks Joao! 🙂
The actual trip
I came back the next day to the same parking lot, before noon. I wore blue shorts and and a blue shirt that’s identical to the one I wore the previous day – It’s called ‘Movie Continuity’ 😀 Speaking of continuity, the weather was identical in both days – sunny and beautiful. That wasn’t due just to luck, since I had planned this trip a week in advance.
Launching in that rock garden was a piece of cake. To start the motor, I dropped the anchor about 100 yards from shore, turned around in the cockpit so I faced the motor, added fuel to the gas tank (I did it standing up, using a long spout), and I started the motor in full comfort, like I would on a big boat. I turned around, which is easy to do in the W700, raised the anchor, grabbed the joystick, pushed in the choke, put the motor in forward gear, set the RPM, and headed to the islands. I drove at a leisurely pace, giving myself time to enjoy the ride and shoot video.
I had two cameras on board – a Sony 400 with a telescopic x63 optical zoom lens, and a Sony Xperia watertight smartphone with a 4K Ultra-HD camera, mounted on a selfie stick. I used both cameras, and it turned out that the 400 performed well, while the Xperia didn’t produce good results, mainly because I failed to operate it properly 🙁
Massachusetts South Shore, Buzzards Bay, and the Elizabeth Islands.
At about 6 miles from shore, Penikese island was closer, but I decided to go a little further, and land on Cuttyhunk island, which is 7 miles from where I launched. It just looked better the trough the telescopic lens of my camera…
I approached Cuttyhunk island, scouted for a good landing spot, and beached without a problem. I didn’t even have to step in water 🙂
As I was making my first steps on that beautiful beach, enjoying the pristine nature and solitude, my cellphone rang… It was my mother in-law, who was concerned about me 😀 That conversation added a comic touch to the situation…
I refilled the gas tank, and checked how much water got into the boat. I had a towel tucked in each rear hull tip, and both towels were almost dry, which is to say that hardly any spray got in. This is due to fact that I drove slowly and didn’t give the waves a chance to splash into the cockpit.
The first half of the trip back to the mainland was a not that pleasant – The wind had picked up, and the boat was getting hit by waves from 7 o’clock, which made it harder to drive. The joystick offered me the perfect means to drive responsively and with precision, as I needed to, given that the W700 is such a small boat. Comfort wise, it was perfect. Under these conditions, driving while facing sideways and gripping the tiller directly would have been hard, and even driving while facing forward with an articulated (U-jointed) tiller extension would have been somehow uncomfortable.
The motor didn’t sound like it appreciated the continuous abrupt alternations between acceleration and deceleration, as each passing wave projected the boat forward and then dumped it behind… It turned out that this 6 HP Tohatsu motor isn’t just quiet and easy to operate – it’s also reliable.
The second part of the trip back was easier. As I approached the shore and recognized the area from which I had launched, I allowed myself to drive faster, and even standing up, which felt great. Spray getting into the boat was no longer a matter for any concern as this stage, of course.
Beaching in the rock garden was a piece of cake, but I have to admit that due to the shallowness of the water I wasn’t able to drive the boat high enough to step on dry land, this time.
Dragging the boat up the beach and back to the car wasn’t easy… After a few steps I stopped, and I used a little manual pump that I had with me to get water out of the hulls. I also took the towels out and squeezed water out of them. Altogether, I removed a couple of gallons of water from the boat, which made it easier to pull it up to the parking lot.
Other than getting my face and knees sunburned, I feel no physical impact whatsoever. No muscle tension in my legs, not even the slightest sign of back pain, and no pain in my left wrist and forearm, which could have happened had I used the articulated tiller extension in such a long drive.
The 6 HP Tohatsu outboard features an alternator, which means that it could feed the battery powering a small electric bilge bump, and thus turn spray into a non-issue. Some smaller Tohatsu outboards feature an alternator as well. Anyways, a long manual bilge pump such as many kayakers use would do equally well, I guess.
I added bridles to the front and rear of each boat to ease launching. I bring the Wavewalk to the ladder, hold the rope around the ladder and climb down. The boat is so stable that it’s very easy for me to get in and out without any fear of tipping. I had my son and son in law in the boat, both close to 240lbs each.
Attached are photos of how I set up my dock. I purchased the roller which is about 5′ long from a dock roller company called Ryano. The hardware is all galvanized and the roller is 6″ diameter. I got 20′ long Python locks (made by Master Lock) and screwed a stainless eye hook into each pole which are 8′ on center apart. The cable lock secures the Wavewalk so it can’t move in the wind and is theft resistant.