The Atalanta is the original trailer sailor. From the very beginning in 1955 owners were regularly trailing them to the south of France for summer holidays. In those days large family cars and the series 1 Landrover were used to tow them both in the UK and abroad.
Trailability has always been a great advantage and enabled the Atalanta owner to start and/or end a cruise at almost anywhere in the country, or abroad, with economy in time and money. Also a boat could be brought home for the winter making it easily available for the annual overhaul and saving winter berthing charges.
Of course it is a a large boat to trail, at 26ft 5 inches long, plus the rudder and trailer draw bar. So perhaps you should not think in terms of launching it for an afternoon sail, but think in terms of trailing to a cruising ground for a weeks holiday. Longer is better of course, and the longer you can go for, the further you might be tempted to go!
Scotland, the Morhiban, the Mediteranian, and the Adriatic are all places where Atalantas have reached on their trailers, and not just in the past – they are still doing it. Many of these trips have been written up in the Bulletin:
- 1958 – JPB Mourant trailed A7, Alouette de Mer, from Rugby to Bangor, N Wales to make the first cruise of the Western Isles by an Atalanta.
- In the same year NCD MacTaggart, Vice-Commodore of the Royal St Lawrence Yacht Club trailed A40, Dalriada, 350 miles from Montreal to New Bedford in NE United States for a cruise up the coast of Maine.
- In 1961 A92 Sea Major was trailed to Cannes (S France) for a family summer holiday behind a Jaguar saloon as described in the AOA Bulletin 1961 /1962
- In 1970 A141 Rakia was trailed to Rijeka (Yugoslavia) behind a series 1 landrover for an extended summer cruise as described in the AOA Bulletin 1970 /1971
- In 1981 Fred and Melva Boothman trailed A60, Achates, from Wolverhampton to Brindisi in Italy for a six month cruise in the Greek Islands.
- 1994 saw Maurice Killen trail A86 down to the South of France, he sailed her in the Mediterranean till 1997.
- T10 Calista has been towed to the Adriatic many tims, sailing the Croation coastline.
- In September 2016 A119 Walrus was trailed to Mali Losinj (Croatia) for an autumn holiday behind a Mitsubishi Shogun as described in the AOA Bulletin for 2015/2016
Getting the balance of the boat on the trailer is critical
The problem of high-speed towing was taken up by PEH Haggarty owner of A57, Bay Bea. After a holiday in Britain, where he bought the boat, he had her shipped to Milwaukee on Lake Michigan and trailed 170 miles to his summer home at Fish Creek on Green Bay, an off-shoot of Lake Michigan. He was disappointed with the boat-trailer combination which he said at speeds over 35 mph ‘bobbed and fish tailed’ badly. Faced with trailing the boat 1235 miles, to his main residence in Texas at the end of the holidays. He set about improving the trailing properties and found that shifting the centre of gravity of the load on the trailer forward by moving the boat about one foot nearer the coupling completely cured the trouble. He was then able to trail safely at the legal limit of 60 mph.
More recently owners have found moving gear on the boat to get the correct nose weight is key to fast towing. Stabiliser bars help as does a three axle trailer which is inherently more directionally stable than twin-axles.