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  Loading a Montauk onto a roll-on trailer

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Author Topic:   Loading a Montauk onto a roll-on trailer
Conrad posted 02-27-2002 11:16 AM ET (US)   Profile for Conrad   Send Email to Conrad  
I have owned my Whaler for about 5 years and have loaded and unloaded it over a hundred times, but I would like some opinions on the correct way to load the boat on to this type of trailer. I have a 4 roller trailer with 2 back bunks and two small front bunks (pretty standard whaler trailer). The current way I load the trailer is this: I pull the strap all the way to the last roller on the trailer. I then attach the boat to the strap. Making sure to keep tension on the strap, so that the bow stays resting against the first roller, I walk up the trailer and start cranking. This process is much easier with two people, but I have also done this by myself. Is this the proper way to load the boat (I have tried other ways and have settled on this one)? What I dont like about this method having to walk on the trailer, having to crank so much. I always see other boaters driving their boats onto bunk style trailer, this looks much easier and quicker. I would not attempt to drive onto my trailer because of the risk of the boat falling off of the roller. If you put bunk guide (or roller guides) on the side of your roll-on trailer, can you drive on to the trailer without fear of falling off of the rollers?
Thanks for your replies,
Blackeagle posted 02-27-2002 12:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Blackeagle  Send Email to Blackeagle     
If you haven't read it already, I would highly reccomend jimh's article on launching and recovering from trailers.
Conrad posted 02-27-2002 01:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Conrad  Send Email to Conrad     
Thanks for the Link,

It looks like my method is sound, but I picked up a few good tips I may use in the future.


Andy Holmes posted 02-27-2002 08:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Andy Holmes  Send Email to Andy Holmes     
I use a combination trailer with 4 keel rollers and 4 bunks. The two inside bunks and the keel rollers carry the load, the outside bunks are for stability. When launching the boat, I back down until the boat will float off with a gentle nudge.

When recovering the boat, I back the trailer in until 50% of the length of the load carrying bunks is submerged. I then drive the boat on at idle power. The boat will go up the trailer about two thirds of the way to the bow stop, perfectly aligned, and without excess power applied. I then connect the winch strap and crank it the rest of the way.

I think getting the bunks wet is the key here. That reduces the friction enough so that the boat slides on easily. Also, getting the trailer far enough down the ramp so the hull is still partly floating helps. I have launched and loaded at numerous ramps in Michigan and Kentucky without problems, and in compliance with the "idle speed only" restrictions.

andygere posted 02-27-2002 09:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
There is an earlier thread on this topic, with several members detailing their launch and recovery techniques.
triblet posted 02-27-2002 11:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
WFM. Works For Me.

Whatever works for you, with your boat, on
your trailer, with your tow vehicle, on the
ramp of the day, with the winds and currents
of the day, with you doing it.

Try it. Try it a few times to work the
kinks out. You'll find that different ramps
require different techniques. At Pt. Lobos,
I always drive the boat on to the trailer
(note, I have an all-bunk trailer). At
Monterey, I'll walk it on from the dock if
I have competant help, flip a coin if I'm

One size fits none.

But, guides are a must. The PVC ones work fine
on my Montauk. Rollers would be an
unnecessary complication. Side bunks might
scrach the gel coat, but keep the bow pointed

How far you back in is a function of your
boat, your trailer, how much you care about
your tow vehicle, and how strong you are on
the winch. Again, whatever works for you.


andygere posted 02-28-2002 11:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Chuck is right about guide-ons. They are a real help in both lining up the boat, and to keep it from drifting off-center in wind and surge. I have the carpeted bunk style side guides (2x4's on galv. risers), and they are no problem in terms of scratching the boat. The bunk carpet provides plenty of padding, and I took all the hard edges off the 2x4's with a plane. The key is to make sure all the staples are on the back side of the boards. The problem with this style is cleaning and waxing the boat; they really get in the way. I have since modified mine to make them easily removable. The benefit of this style is that the boat is always centered on the keel rollers no matter what retrieval technique is used, be it drive-on, winch on or some combination (my preferred method).
Conrad posted 02-28-2002 01:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Conrad  Send Email to Conrad     
I am glad to hear positive feed back on the side bunks. I think I will feel more comfortable driving my boat onto the trailer if I have the side bunks in place. Right now, I will not drive on because I am afraid of slipping off of the roller on to the frame of the trailer (either by driver error, wind or wave).
Thanks, Carl

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