Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

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cleep1700
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Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby cleep1700 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:44 am

I bought a heavy duty cover for my boat for trailering on our annual trip to Colorado. Do I attach the straps to the trailer as I have seen pictured? Or, do I run the straps under my boat and cinch them tight as if you would do with a belt?

What is the prevailing thought about traveling with or without the cover?

Also, I have seen transom savers advertised that support the motor on the trailer. Do I need to use one on my 15 foot Sport with a 50 hp Mercury?
Craig

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Re: Trailering

Postby Ridge Runner » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:56 am

I prefer to trailer without a cover on. Wind buffering on the cover and the cover wearing away some gel coat is always a concern. I find peace of mind trailering without the cover. I have always used the universal version of the rubber M-Y wedge to support the outboard:

http://www.m-ywedge.com/
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Dutchman
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Re: Trailering

Postby Dutchman » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:09 am

Ridgerunner has a point but when I trailer long distances I prefer to strap under the boat and not onto the trailer.
EJO
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jimh
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway

Postby jimh » Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:02 am

I strongly prefer to not have a large, gunwale-overlapping storage-type boat cover in place when hauling the boat on the highway on its trailer. The drawbacks are:

--the cover gets beaten by the high winds. It is common to be driving 60-MPH into a 20-MPH headwind, so the cover is exposed to 80-MPH winds; most covers are not designed for that sort of wind exposure; the covers tend to flap, and that tends to weaken the cover;

--the cover will tend to flap and beat up the boat gel coat finish; the cover may also beat up any upholstered seating it rests upon.

Although I see those drawbacks, I have towed the boat with the cover in place if there is heavy and long-duration rain expected. We have driven into some rain storms and pulled over to put the cover on. It is a painful process as the cover weighs about 50-lbs and is made from heavy canvas. It takes about ten minutes to get it on and tied down (to the trailer rails).

I just recently invested in a Sunbrella cockpit cover that snaps on. This cover is much easier to install and remove, and in the future I will be installing just that cover when towing on the highway in rain. Otherwise, no cover at all. The cockpit cover cost a small fortune. I don't want it beaten up by wind, either.

We have made many long distance hauls were we have to stay overnight on the road, and I used to put the big storage cover on the boat as a deterrent--I hoped--for theft. I suppose it deterred the casual thief; at least we never had anything stolen out of the boat in a motel parking lot.

jimh
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Re: Engine Supports

Postby jimh » Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:07 am

Re external engine supports when towing on a trailer:

If there is enough clearance for the outboard skeg to the pavement, I would tow with the engine in a down position. You have to be alert for bad situations like a quick downslope-upslope change--typical at gas station entrances--where the skeg might drag. On my smaller boats there was plenty of clearance so I towed with the engine down.

Since you have a Mercury engine it probably lacks a built-in tilt support; OMC engines have that nice feature.

If you have to tow with the engine tilted up and your engine has no built-in trailer bracket, then using an external one is probably a good idea, although with a small engine like a 50-HP it is probably not as important.

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Phil T
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby Phil T » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:20 pm

I don't use a cover. Even for a long trip (VA to ME). I do remove the windshield for anything longer than 2 hours.

For engine support, do not use one that attaches to the frame. There are several brands of the wedge style to choose from:

My Wedge: http://m-ywedge.com/products.html
Yamaha: https://www.simyamaha.com/Yamaha_Engine_Support_p/mar-mtspt-ym-10.htm
T-H Marine: http://thmarine.com/motor-stik-outboard-motor-support
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jimp
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby jimp » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:56 pm

In 1989 I towed my 1982 Boston Whaler Montauk with 90-hp Evinrude from Long Island, New York to Kodiak, Alaska, over 4,500 miles. I had her shrink wrapped before trailering for two big reasons: deter prying eyes and keep major road grime out.

I also trailered from Kodiak to Juneau via Fairbanks (1,200 miles) and used a store-boat canvas cover for the same two reasons. In this case, the straps went under the boat and not the trailer as they don't always "move together", reduced the strain on the straps.

I also place a large block of wood between the engine mount and lower unit (about 1/2 way up the lower unit), this was to absorb some of the shock from the long tows.

Under 100-miles? No cover.

JimP

PeteG
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby PeteG » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:20 pm

As JimP said, a 2 x 4 works. Don't buy those advertised contraptions.

If I recall, the tilt support isn't supposed to be used for transport.

Jefecinco
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby Jefecinco » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:20 pm

My position is contrary to most of the above opinions.

I frequently and regularly cover our boats for trailering. The exception is for short local trips. Our covers, all made by Carver, are designed to be on the boat for trailering. We simply snug up the hold downs before departing the home base. We attach our covers to the trailer frame rails at all times when the boats are covered. We have never suffered any damage to our boats, trailers or covers from towing.

As to "transom savers", we use one on our 1981 Sport 13. It is a cheap support bought at Wal-Mart. It has served us well although a couple of the rigid black plastic pieces have been damaged but remain usable. Today, at Bass Pro, I saw some replacements so I'll be using them. We use a support on the 13 because the transom is very old and we are trying to be over cautious. We do not use a support on our 2009 190 Montauk with a Verado Gen 2 I4 outboard. It balances so well when virtually fully tilted up and secured with the trailering lock that I believe a support is not needed.
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby underbone » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:12 pm

Most people around here prefer shrink wrap the boat before trailing for reasons stated by Jimp. Some of our stuffs are loaded on the truck bed with tonneau cover to protect against weather element. As for engine support, T-H Marine are reliable ones.

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Dutchman
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby Dutchman » Thu Mar 23, 2017 3:35 pm

I believe a cover when trailering a distance over 100 miles is better protection than no cover. If you have a fitted-for-your-model cover and strap it securely, you won't have damage--as attested by Jefecinco and myself. It protects the boat and you only have flapping problems if your cover doesn't fit right.

http://whalercentral.com/images/ppimages/27962/cover%20fitted%20from%20aft.jpg

The other advantages are as mentioned deterrents for casual thieves (I still leave my SS prop on, you can't deter professionals) and a rain protection.

I had a cousin that was given a Lund fishing boat by his father-in-law and pulled it home for 70 miles in a pouring rain. Ended up a block from his house with the automatic transmission of his vehicle burnt up. He discovered that he couldn't tow the extra 600 gallons of water he picked up from rain and highway back stream. Lesson learned, free boat, expensive new trannie.
EJO
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cleep1700
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby cleep1700 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:39 am

Thanks as usual for the variety of solutions. I invested in a fitted cover that is made from very heavy duty canvas and am going to experiment with securing it around the bottom of the boat instead of the trailer and suppiorting the motor for our annual journey to Salida, Colorado from St. Louis I'll let you know the results.

I'm an old school guy who supports the dictum that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And thanks to Jim for sponsoring this outstanding website. Being a newbie to all of this, I find reading the posts helps me close the knowledge gap. I was told by a friend, "There are two kinds of boaters, those that have Whalers and those that wished they did."

Craig in Lake Saint Louis

jimh
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby jimh » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:52 am

When towing with a cover in heavy rain, the rain usually saturates the cover, increasing its weight and reducing the tendency to flap.

Water weighs about 8.3-lbs per gallon, and 600-gallons of rainwater accumulating in a boat would add almost 5,000-lbs to the weight of a boat. Adding 5,000-lbs to the weight on the trailer would seriously tax the carrying abilities of the trailer, its springs, axles, and tires.

One cubic foot of water contains about 7.5-gallons of water. Thus to have 600-gallons of water would suggest a volume of 80-cubic-feet.

A "heavy" rain is considered to be a rainfall of about 1-inch-per-hour. If we assume a small boat has an open area of perhaps 7-feet in width and 14-feet in length, this is an area of about 100-square feet. In one hour of heavy rain, this area could collect a volume of water of about

7 x 14 x 1/12 = 8.16-cubic feet.

In order to collect a volume or rainwater of 80-cubic feet (or 600-gallons), a boat would have to exposed to about 10-hours of heavy rain.

If the duration of a drive was 70-miles, in order to collect 80-cubic feet (or 600-gallons) of water at a rainfall rate of 1-inch-per-hour with a typical small boat, the travel would have to be at 7-MPH.

If a 70-mile drive is made at 35-MPH, it takes two hours. In order for 80-cubic-feet (600-gallons) of water to accumulate in a typical small boat in two hours, the rainfall would have to accumulate at a rate 40-cubic-feet/1-hour.

Again assuming on a small boat the exposed area is about 100-square feet, to accumulate 40-cubic-feet in one hour would required the rainfall rate to be about 0.4-feet-per-hour (4.8-inches-per-hour). That is a very heavy rainfall. Generally if a rainfall of 4.8-inches-per-hour falls for two hours in a region of about 70-miles, there will be significant local flooding. Perhaps having a boat in tow at that point would be extremely beneficial.

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Don McIntyre - MI
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby Don McIntyre - MI » Sun Mar 26, 2017 11:08 am

I've always covered, removed the drain plugs just in case, reuse the dock lines for trailer hold downs (for the 21'), and use the lo-tech method of outboard support; hunk of 2x4.

Regarding not covering over concerns of gel coat wear; after 17 years of trailering the Outrage, I noticed a slight wearing down of the paint on the top of the windshield frame (my frame is custom, not like the early Outrage console windshields). While the dash was renovated last spring, the frame top was resprayed at the same time.

Sometimes one has to ask oneself "Is this gonna be your life's work?"...

Regards - Don

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Dutchman
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby Dutchman » Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:35 pm

Jim as always your math is fine and correct and I shouldn't have spoken in generalities. But the boat in question had been sitting outside hooked up to the vehicle since the night before when it was raining. As a new boat owner and never had towed a boat he did not pull a plug, or didn't check the inside. He knew the lights were working from the night before when it was hooked up. He got in and thought the boat pulled heavier than when he drove in his father in law truck but blamed it on the different towing vehicle.

As a 21' boat with probably an 8'+ beam you're off on the volume/square feet of your assumption. He did have a rain similar to the one we had last weekend at 4"+/24hr here in Michigan where I live and yes it flooded our downtown again for a while.
We don't know that there was any water in the boat already, but we must assume there was as the boat was uncovered for several days and it had rained and the plug was left in. All I know was that he said there was 2 inches of water above the floor board of this deep V boat and it took hours to drain after he pulled the plug and turned on the bilge pump.

I know you are going to say that X amount of water at Y viscosity can flow thru a 1" smooth hole based on gravity at Z elevation and therefore F gallons of water were in the boat. True but even if it was only 250 gallons or 150 gallons, whatever it was with the rain and highway slipstream water collected in the boat during his short trip, increased the weight by such a factor that it caused the transmission to fail on his car.

Bottom line keep your plug out (or even your bilge pump in automatic) and try to keep water out (especially dirty road water)
EJO
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6992WHALER
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby 6992WHALER » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:39 pm

I recommend that you do not trailer with a cover on the boat.

I have lots of miles trailering boats personally and professionally (10+ years as the co owner of a Boat Transport company).

Too many things can go wrong with a cover on the boat. If it comes loose, the cover and or the boat can be damaged. If it catches wind, it can put a lot of force on your windshield or railings.

Play it safe and pull all the canvas, when you are on the road.

Sharkbait
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby Sharkbait » Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:28 am

I only do a 120 miles trip twice a year but I don't put the console cover (the only cover we have) on our Outrage purely because of the wear it will cause and potential damage to the cover.

I do protect the console though by wrapping it, and the screen, with pallet wrap - cheap and easy.

Engine gets supported by a 2x4 - I wouldn't trust the built in supports to hold the engine up!

Jefecinco
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby Jefecinco » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:07 am

I generally agree with Whaler6992. He provides good general advice on the matter. It's also good general advice not to go out on a boat when the weather is unpleasant and to avoid shallow water and many other things. However we all know that many do go out when the weather is unpleasant, etc. I believe experienced boaters with the right equipment can use their boats in ways generally considered unwise. Towing a boat safely with a cover requires certain preparations, equipment and observant driving. If we lack experience we just have to start somewhere if we want to do something. I recommend reading about the subject and proceeding in small steps.

Other than preparation and proper equipment I believe the most important thing to do is to stop and reinspect your cover and tie downs after about five miles and ensure the cover remains securely attached. Tie downs, especially new ones, stretch. Old ones tend to break. Watch your mirrors. At the first sign of flapping pull over and take care of the problem. It's probably a broken or loose tie down.
Butch

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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby porthole » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:25 am

PeteG wrote:As Jim said, a 2X4 works. Don't buy those advertised contraptions....

and if I recall, the tilt support isn't supposed to be used for transport.


I tried a 2x4 - didn't even leave the driveway. At least with a 200 Yamaha it will crush the 2x4.

Have also tried the tilt cylinder supports (my-wedge). Gets me thinking, are we really trying to fix something that isn't broken?
And you can only use one on a Yamaha 2 stroke.

My thinking and I'm no engineer, and this is for trailering only, least stress on the transom is when the outboard is tilted all the way up and about balanced on the transom. Any other position and the weight can start to leverage the transom. All the way down would probably be as good as all the way up, except I can't trailer in that position.

I trailer with the outboard tilted all the way up and I throw the tilt lock lever. I have never seen the 1/4" of clearance between the outboard bracket and the tilt lever change.

As for covers, my last boat had a trailerable cover, I never did trailer with the cover, but if I was to I would secure the straps under the boat. I would want the least amount of air being able to get between the boat and cover. My cover also included straps that were sewn in and went over the top of the cover.

Current boat, if I had a long distance tow to do, all I would do is wrap the windshield with the pallet wrapping as mentioned above.
And If I was towing to someplace like Alaska I would probably shrink wrap for a trip like that. Help keep it clean, hidden and maybe help with the mileage (current boat is a t-top), and I would still leave the drain plug out and the bilge pumps on.
Thanks,
Duane
1999 Outrage 21
1999 Yamaha SW Series II 200

porthole
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby porthole » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:31 am

By the way, I do use the steering ram clips all the time to keep the outboard centered.
Thanks,
Duane
1999 Outrage 21
1999 Yamaha SW Series II 200

kwik_wurk
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby kwik_wurk » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:17 pm

Tow with cover off. I tow at least ~1000 miles per summer (a few long trips), and never put the full boat cover on. (If I had a custom trailering cover that had padding on every abrasive piece of webbing, etc, maybe.) But it's a lot of sail area to add on some boat types.

I have seen a lot of boats with cover rub marks, or damaged bimini's from towing. The worst resulted 1/2 cover; all while driving at max 7-10 mph. At the launch, the cover lifted up, slid/fell off and subsequently caught the trailer tire. Cover tensioned up, and then big bang, shredded apart in one motion. The boat tried to jerk backwards (since the cover was still on the bow), but the strap held the boat, and the cover got really taunt, bang-shreaded, boat bounce around. Driver slammed on the breaks (everything jerking another direction), jumped out like a tire blew... Mistake putting to cover on, not securing it before driving (he was really trying to move to another corner of the parking lot). --- Anyways, that was enough for me to learn a lesson.

So everything that is loose in the boat is tied off (everything). (If you have a cover find a way to secure it to the boat so it stays somewhat inside.)

As for engine support, I use a section of 4x4 that I actually crush down (a little) with the trim/tilt. It is also tied off, should it drop (never has). -- While the stress on the transom whilst trailing is a concern, it's probably minor compared to the pounding and jerking that occurs in rough waters. I block the engine to preserve the seals on trim/tilt so they don't get blown out.

Whalerdog
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby Whalerdog » Thu May 25, 2017 7:19 pm

I would not worry about water weight just pull the plugs. I have towed race boats around the country mostly Skaters 25'-40' with custom covers for 2000+ mile trips at 80+ mph with no problem but they are skin tight. If they move from the wind they will wear on the boat and themselves. I would tend to a haul my Montauk uncovered. My 19' boat is 275 to shrink wrap so I doubt I would chose that path.

cleep1700
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Re: Boat Cover When On Highway; Engine Supports

Postby cleep1700 » Fri May 26, 2017 8:26 am

After much input from you all deciuded to not use the cover. Thank you for your input.