View Full Version : Problems launching boat and trailering ?

07-01-2003, 04:19 PM
Does anyone ever have problems when launching or trailering the boat back up ? What I mean is, when launching it seems as if my 99 Outback LS drops off of the rubber mount on to the V-Blocks making a crashing sound and seems to put stress on the eye. Other boats look so smoothe when launching. Am I pulling my boat to far up on the trailer when taking out of the water ? Should the boat sit on top of the rubber rolling boot ? Then when putting the boat back on the trailer, I noticed that it sits higher then the V-blocks. I would think the boat would want to sit flush on those ? I have had to replace a set of V-blocks already because the eye had ripped the carpet and splintered the block.

Any help would be appreciated.
cheap easy vape vaporizer (http://vaporizer.org/reviews/easy-vape)

07-02-2003, 09:34 AM
I would question how deep you are placing the trailer on the boat ramp. If it takes a lot of power to back off you are probably to shallow. Back the trailer down a little farther and ideally you should feel the boat start to float.

Normally, I back down to where the tops of my fenders are just barely out of the water. On shallow ramps I have had to fully submerge the fenders, sometimes backing my explorer out into the water. If this is your problem I would try to find a steeper ramp.

Also make sure while loading/unloading that any passengers are in the back of the boat or better yet not in the boat.

Jonathan Hamilton
'99 Outback LS

07-02-2003, 11:10 AM
The eye on the front of your boat should be under the front roller. The winch strap goes under the roller where the front of the boat is sitting on the roller then winch it up until the eye is just touching the roller. I agree with jonathan when unloading my trailer fenders are just under water. I use this same trailer position to load also.

07-02-2003, 01:24 PM
Does your boat sit flush on the V-blocks ? Mine seems to sit slightly off of them.
volcano vaporizer (http://vaporizer.org/)

07-02-2003, 06:48 PM
The winch hook acually jams against the front roller on ours, such that the eye just about touches the roller.

The V pads just contact the hull.

If we don't winch exactly to the max, then the V pads don't contact the hull and the boat can actually be rocked up and down at the bow.

To assist on loading, we generally have the driver power on till about a foot short, clip the winch, and have the truck driver winch the boat while the driver applies a little power. Have launched and loaded at least 150 times and this works best for us.

On launch, with fender tops just showing by about an inch, I can power off fairly clean. But, in my experience the bow actually drops and the front keel hits the front lower roller.

Sometimes I launch really deep ( 3 or 4 inches above fenders ) and push the boat off. It still drops down with the nose hitting the roller and usually the keel seems like its still hitting the front lower roller. ( Just took another look under the trailer and have found that the front keel roller is almost completely worn through ---- this will make the nose drop even further when launching )

Frankly, I wonder if better-conceived bunks and rollers could make this process smoother. Your set up might be off just a little, though, if you have damage occuring. Seems like 1/2 inch of V block elevation might help. Also, wonder how your bunks are set-up. If you want to take a bunch of measurements we could all compare...

07-15-2003, 05:37 PM
Hey Catdog,

Yah I have the same problem when launching. Its as if the boat drops off of the boot roller and slams onto the v-blocks. I have actually gotten the eye hook stuck behind the blocks as it fell down. It's almost like as if the boat sits up too high off of the blocks.????????????

07-29-2003, 08:36 PM
What I have found is that the flaw is really in the V-bunk. My thoughts on this are that there should be a gap in the deepest part of the V-bunk so that the bow eye can pass through the bunk without shredding it. I find that my 99 Mobius wants to be in the water about an inch over the fenders or deeper if needed. Then we power off in reverse. The temptation is for truck driver to lift bow up as boat backs up. The problem with this is that when the bow will drop suddenty and pin your fingers between the bumper rail and the front roller. Trust me - that hurts....

I am currently looking for V-bunks right now because of this same problem, but may build my own with the forementioned gap if they do not exist without predrilled holes.

My 2cts.

07-30-2003, 05:37 AM
I have a 2001 Outback, no matter which ramp I go to I just back down until the truck tires are in the water a couple of inches. Unhook the bow and the boat floats off, it doesn't drop at all.


07-30-2003, 10:38 AM
I would love to see a picture of that. I don't think my main bunks would even be completely in the water if I only backed in that far. Maybe the configuration of the trailer has changed over the years? And possibly the bassic hull design as well?

What really counts is getting the darn thing in the water and one way or the other we always succeed.

07-30-2003, 01:16 PM
Um, Benson.....you did see that I said truck, not trailer tires? Maybe we have extra steep ramps here in Clermont? With my back tires in 2 inches of water, the entire trailer is submerged except the top of the trailer guides.


07-30-2003, 04:48 PM
Obviously I missed the 'truck' part of that whole thing. That would certainly make a difference. We do have a variety of ramps around MN. All kinds of surfaces and all kinds of angles. We could try going deeper.

As long as we don't go as far as one guy I saw a couple years ago. The front of his truck was 12 feet off shore and the water was up around his windows.

Thanks for pointing out the oversight.

07-31-2003, 02:21 AM

Do you load with the trailer deep?

If so, do you need to do anything to center the back of the boat between the poles as you pull the rig forward?

07-31-2003, 05:53 AM
I load at the same depth, standing in knee deep water at the winch. My wife snaps on a bow line while I'm fetching the truck and tosses it to me when I get back there. Pulling the boat in it stays pretty straight. After tightening it up with the winch I just pull out slowly, with the tailgate down so I can watch the hull and make sure it stays centered. It usually centers itself, every once in a while it doesn't, so I just roll back in the water and pull out again.

Sorry Dave, I just had to pull your chain on that one!


08-02-2003, 01:28 AM
I always have someone in the boat on one side with a spacer between the rubrail and the boat guide. In most cases that is a clenched fist, sideways. Obviously pull out slowly so you don't crush someones hand. I am working on coming up with a non-human device that will give a consistent space. This is not perfect as landings vary and things jossle around even when someone is holdingthe spacer. I figure as long as the main bunks are under a flat part of the hull and the bow hook is up tight against the roller, I should be good to go.

We are looking at a 7AM excursion this morning so one more chance to try launch techniques.


08-05-2003, 08:06 AM
Very timely discussion! I am fairly new with this boat and I had an argument with launch owner this last w/e and this discussion might prove me 100% wrong!

I have a couple questions on loading technique:

1. Is it considered ok to winch the boat up into place once the boat is at fender depth? I always worry about the stress on the eyelet. Is my concern unfounded? or is it best to sink the trailer enough to just float the boat on?

2. Any techniques / warnings on driving the boat onto the trailer?

My prefered method is to sink the trailer (truck rear wheels six inches deep in water) and pretty much drive on, requiring a slight manual lift to get the nose over the roller.

But for this one ramp, gaining this kind of trailer depth is not practical. Am I best to keep the trailer at top of fender depth and drive part way up & winch the remainder of way?

The argument my fellow French-Canadian was making was that I was too deep and that if I went shallower, I should be able to drive it all the way up.

08-05-2003, 11:59 PM
Yes, seems like a whole lot of stress on eyelet and on the winch person.

Thats one reason why I've settled on a two person load. Winch person carefully cranks while driver engages boat in forward at low throttle. Watch fingers.

When driving on with trailer shallow, you can use moderate throttle and achieve the front roller with the eyelet, but when you cut the throttle the boat will probably slide backward.

I'd rather drive on until a foot or 18 inches short, disengage drive, then clip the winch first and then crank the winch with the boat in drive as a power assist --- versus the alternative, drive to the eyelet and have to clip the winch while using throttle to hold the eyelet against the roller ( a little too risky to fingers for me ).

Very deep load can always work.

Two other cautions. Be aware that if boat wheels drop off of the end of the ramp, or drop into a hole, you run the risk of ripping the axle assembly off when extracting the boat and trailer.

And on unloading, too much reverse throttle can cause the stern to walk to the right real far... the prop could conceivably contact the trailer..

08-06-2003, 07:46 AM
You start off with "Yes. Alot of stress on the eyelet & wincher": Do you mean I have nothing to worry about in terms of eyelet stress by winching the boat up?

Thanks for the advice and caution. In normal operating circumstances, I am doing a 2 person load as well, it is just this one ramp (with the opinionated fellow French-Canadian owner :-) that has me wondering.

08-06-2003, 09:38 PM
I sent an email to Owen at Boatmates and when I asked him about how to avoid ripping up the V-Bunk he suggested:
You may be too deep when you load. Having the trailer further out of the water when you load will result in raising the bow of the boat on the
trailer earlier in the process. You may have to apply quite a bit of power to get the boat to the bow stop. When I load an inboard boat, I back the
trailer into the water far enough to completely wet the bunk boards. Then I pull the trailer pretty far out and typically really have to apply a lot of
power to force the boat up to the bow stop.

I am guessing that if you are in a shallow landing you should splash water on the bunks and get them good and wet if you can not submerge them.

WARNING: Cranking stress will most likely damage the winch before the boat eye. I know from experience. I tried to winch the boat about 2 inches when completely out of the water (first tripp to launch with this boat).
I shattered the small locking gear on the winch. Half the gear went right past my head. My old Easy Loader trailer with rollers could pull my outboard up from dry ground (about 1000 pounds lighter also). Definitely use boat power to assist with the loading process, but watch for hands.

Good luck

08-06-2003, 11:32 PM
Good ideas, Dave. I'll try wetting the bunk pads.

rmuf, I simply have no idea how much force or how many winching cycles the eye can stand before the fiberglas fails or gelcoat cracks. But, like you, I'm finding ways to avoid stressing the eye because in my judgement there is potential for damage. It seems like an awful lot of force.

By the way, a one person load is possible. Drive-on as close to the front roller as possible. Leave the boat in gear, under power. Walk to the bow, reach down and clip the winch to the eye and, while still in the boat hanging over the bow, crank the boat to the max using prop thrust as power assist. Clip the safety chain from the trailer to the eye. Return to driver seat and disengage the transmission.

Dealer taught me that. Its a little scary, but it works.

One more caution ---- we should all have a safety chain from the eye to the trailer. We never move the rig without a safety chain to augment the winch strap. Some of the trailers I've seen don't have such a chain.

08-07-2003, 04:42 AM
I wonder if trailer design has changed since 2001? Our boat just floats up to the bow, with the trailer submerged of course. There's no strain on the bow eye or winch, it snugs up with minimal force.
At the boat ramps in my county there are signs forbidding powerloading, as it leads to erosion of the ramp.


08-07-2003, 07:05 AM
Thank you all for the warnings and advice.