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Author Topic:   Trailering cover
Don Fisher posted 05-02-2002 10:29 AM ET (US)   Profile for Don Fisher   Send Email to Don Fisher  
I have a 1980 Montauk. I'm in need of a new trailering cover. With the deluge of materials and manufacturers available today, I need some suggestions. Mills is expensive, but I believe a good product. I also want a material that will not damage the gel coat when rubbing at hishway speeds. Thanks!
jimp posted 05-02-2002 11:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimp  Send Email to jimp     
Don -

I got a cover from Overton's for my '82 Montauk in 1992 for about $170. Trailered with no ill effects from Kodiak to Homer (via 125 mile ferry ride), then 550 miles to Fairbanks, then 660 miles to Haines, Alaska, then another 60 mile ferry ride to Juneau. It worked fine, held its shape, didn't beat up the hull. Just checked the Overton's prices $252.99.

There was another thread posted recently that pretty much said, "You get what you pay for." One guy had no luck with the "cheaper covers" (lasted 2 years), so he went with a Mills cover that lasted much longer. Guess it depends on what you can afford.


Denny posted 05-02-2002 11:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Denny  Send Email to Denny     
I picked up a Cover from Cabela's, the Trail Pro II. I called up Cabela's and talked to the "Product rep" and suggested this model. It's warrantied for 6 years and seems to work well the cost was around 230.00. It's 600 denier, waterproof When you put it on the cover fits tightly and you can snug it down till you can bounce a dime off the cover. I've had it for 6 months and it works.
Hope this helps.


Don Fisher posted 05-02-2002 01:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Don Fisher  Send Email to Don Fisher     
Thanks for the help!
kingfish posted 05-02-2002 01:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Big differences between Mills and the others mentioned are:
1. Mills is Sunbrella, others are Sundura or something similar.
2. Mills is sewn to go around the bowrail stanchions and is therefore down on the gunwales at the bow; the others go over the bowrails.
3. Mills is more expensive, but is generally a better designed product and with proper care will last indefinitely.


Don Fisher posted 05-02-2002 02:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Don Fisher  Send Email to Don Fisher     
Kingfish - With the Mills cover and the design that it doesn't go over the bow rail, is there a lot of air billowing up under the cover at highway speeds? Seems that my memory serves that the original cover with the boat (yes, I have owned it since 1980) had the clips (which would occasionally pop off as a truck passed by) and the same basic design and that air really billowed. I also seem to recall that the original had sewn in 2 wood sopports forward of the center console to help with the wind force against the console. Thanks for your input.
Jerry Townsend posted 05-02-2002 02:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Don - I have an 17' OR and had a custom cover made by a local tent & awning company of an Aqualan material - waterproof, strong, mildew proof - good stuff. The cover goes over the bow rails, has a good 'draw' strap fitting under the gunwale rails, not metal hardware to contact any gelcoat and reinforced at major wear points with a 'Herculite' material (vinyl impregnanated nylon) over the console windshield rail and downrigger mounts, - As I recall, it cost somewhere around $400 - but is worth every penny. Doesn't billow or flap in the wind, weather-proof - and again - of value. --------- Jerry/Idaho
simonmeridew posted 05-02-2002 07:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for simonmeridew  Send Email to simonmeridew     
Will second Denny. I have had the Cabela's Trail Pro II for 1 year now; is made for a Montauk with bow rail, is reinforced with double fabric at wear points ie over console rail, and stern corners. Very rugged straps go under the boat and will not loosen or unclip. There is a 1/4 inch poly "rope" sewn in which you draw tight and tie off at the bow. This holds the cover TIGHT over the gunnels. Last week 1900 miles round trip: no flap, no loosen. Includes a motor cover which I put a bungee around since it's sort of a generic motor cover and is looser around my Johnson 70 because the cover "flaps" at highway speeds.
I like the cover that goes over the bow rails etc because on a long trip I put boxes of stuff in the boat and its protected and secure there, the back of my Tundra is open and rain could soak some things.
kingfish posted 05-02-2002 08:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

Your memory is serving you well re: the gunwale clips. They will open up over time and need to be bent back a little - no big thing.

The Mills cover has loops sewn in to the gunwale seam between the clips from which I always bungeed down to the trailer with two bungees at each loop going diagonally down away from each other. To defeat the air billowing I had a local canvas shop sew overlapping flaps at each stanchion slot that would velcro together after the top was in place. Once the drawstring was snugged up and the bungees were set, it was tight as a bowstring. I trailered thousands of miles that way, occasionally at speeds that were not only considerably more than the law would allow, but are hard even for me to believe as think back on them.

I preferred the top down lower rather than over the bow rails because it was WAY more aerodynamic and easier to pull with less argument especially at Ludicrous Speed. And I will freely admit, I liked the engineering of the Mills cover, as I do all of their products.


pftate1 posted 05-02-2002 09:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for pftate1  Send Email to pftate1
Worth checking out. Just ordered one for 15' ss
Dick posted 05-02-2002 10:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
I have sold boat covers for years including Mill's.
My thoughts on the subject are:
* Sunbrella is the best fabric available.
* Mill's makes the best bimini tops but the worst covers.
* I think Westland (available from most marine dealers) makes the best fitting Sunbrella cover. It does go over the bow rail, has a cinch rope in the hem to snug it up under the rubrail and tie down straps to cinch it down to the trailer. I have one on my Montauk (not Sunbrella, I went one step down) great fit.
* Best other option is to have a local shop make a Sunbrella cover fitted to your boat.
Don Fisher posted 05-03-2002 09:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Don Fisher  Send Email to Don Fisher     
One last question: Do any of the pre-manufactured "custom" covers (such as Cabelas' Trail Pro II) make provision for and accommodate the mohogany rod rack like the one I have on the port side (a Whaler option in 1980)?
kingfish posted 05-03-2002 10:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

One is certainly free to choose anything he or she desires in a cover, and Mills products aren't necessarily the best choice for everyone for any variety of reasons, but your statement that, "...Mills makes...the worst covers.", not only is not up to your normal high standard of objectivity and accuracy, but is patently incorrect and misleading.

What's up??


Dick posted 05-03-2002 10:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     

Maybe worst wasn't the correct word. I possibly should have said that from my experience working in a Whaler dealership I feel like Westland covers fit much better than Mill's.

If you don't like my standards of objectivity you don't have to read my posts and certinly not comment on them.

kingfish posted 05-03-2002 01:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

I commented on the misleading nature of your statement and expressed surprise that it was not of the typical high quality I've come to associate with your posts; I appreciate your willingness to correct the record. I don't appreciate your parting implication that *I* was some how out of line in bringing the inaccuracy to your attention.

I have typically profitted from your posts when they were in an area of common interest to me, and I have been impressed with their "...normal high standard of objectivity and accuracy...", as I clearly stated. I don't know where you got the notion that I didn't like your standards.

I'll continue to read your posts and I hope you will continue to read mine.

I will also continue to comment on posts that appear to be misleading, especially when they appear to contradict a previous statement of mine; I would expect you to do the same, be they mine or anyone else's.


lhg posted 05-03-2002 01:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Gentlemen - Conflicting opinions here is exactly what makes this site so informative, and no one should be offended. Please see Cetacea page 11 for the picure of MY Mills cover on my 25 Outrage.

Not many here have experience with such a large Mills cover, but I'll tell you, they are the BEST mooring/trailering cover that I have seen, especially for a large boat. I have seen many other large boat covers, and none seem as well made or designed as Mills.
The installation drawing that came with mine showed "RJD" initials approving the design. That's good enough for me.

Since I am not able to find a rentable garage large enough to handle this boat, when I bought the boat new in 1989, I also ordered the Mills cover, back then costing $1000. Thirteen years later, with almost complete outdoor exposure during that entire time (except when the boat is being used), and including 6 months under the intense So. FL sun every season, the cover is still in excellent shape. Some of the stitching did deteriorate a few years ago, and was easily restitched locally (none of such work, incidentally, even coming close to comparing with Mills stitching!) I re-waterproof the cover once a year, spraying on about 2 gallons of Starbrite silicon waterproofing. I have totally washed and scrubbbed it about 3 times since new. I believe their covers are excellent, and that boat covers should not go over bow rails. The cover does go over the side rails.

triblet posted 05-03-2002 07:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Is this cover really necessary?

I've got 20K+ miles towing my Montauk, and
no road damage. Even the bugstorm in the
central valley didn't get on the boat (the
truck shielded it).


lhg posted 05-03-2002 09:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Agree with Chuck. I have never trailed a Whaler with the mooring cover on. The only cover I have ever owned is for the 25, because it is stored outside.
Dick posted 05-03-2002 10:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     

Sorry It looks like my first cup of coffee for the morning hadn't kicked in and I missread your post. Again sorry about that.

I would like to clearify one point though. My statement that Mill's covers were the worst was based on my opinion so it was not missleading , incorrect or inaccurate.

I thing Mill's makes some great products but I can't put up with the gunwale clips on their covers.

Like ihg posted we all have different opinions at times and are able to express them here.

kingfish posted 05-03-2002 11:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

Fair enough - apology accepted and I'll take your clarification under advisement. (This would be the place for a smiley face as it is an attempt at wry humor that may be a little obscure.)

Differing opinions and different experiences are a large part of the dynamic of this forum, and I value both those things.

Chuck-(and Larry)

I trailered my Montauk covered for two main reasons: first is that I had to store it outdoors and so the cover was on all the time anyway, and second was that particularly on long trips we'd stow luggage and food and God knows what inside the Montauk so the cover provided protection from the elements as well as protection from curious eyes.


Mark Gallagher posted 05-04-2002 08:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for Mark Gallagher  Send Email to Mark Gallagher     
I'd like to add my 2 cents on Mills products. My 95 Dauntless 17 came with a Mills Bimini top and it has excellent fit and quality, I love it.

I ordered a Mills storage cover with my new boat in December 95 for about $700. I am a little disappointed with the cover especially since it was so exspensive.

I have had some stiching redone about 3 times. Some wear spots have worn through and I put patches on the inside several times. I wish the rear section had a motor hood because it doesn't really cover the transom/splashwell as well as I'd like to see.

I rarely trailer with this cover, have washed it by hand several times and every year applied waterproof.

After 6 years it's in poor shape and this year I'll need to replace it. I e-mailed Mills and asked for a quote on a new cover with a motor hood sewn in and to extend the cover to cover the splash well. They never replied.

I've done some research on other covers and many use new types of thread and various fabrics.

I'm tempted to try a less expensive cover maybe even find one with a hood and replace it every few years, no cleaning or waterproofing and still be ahead financially.

To me though, I wouldn't mind the high price if it fit a little better and held up a little better.

I really like the way the side of the cover fastens to little stainless clips compared to straps. Pros and Cons to all covers I suppose.

I think I'll send Jim a photo of the cover and how it fastens to the side; a picture is worth a thousand words!

daverdla posted 05-04-2002 01:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for daverdla  Send Email to daverdla     
My montauk came with a Mills mooring cover and a Mills console cover. Both are well made. I agree with Dick however about the gunwhale clips. They really don't work too well. On my boat, about half of the clips don't fasten correctly. I've tried bending them with limited success. Luckily, the cover stays attached just fine even after the clips pop off. Thats at the dock. I was told not to trailer with the cover on.


Tom W Clark posted 05-08-2002 01:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
A few comments:

Don Fisher asked about a trailering cover for his Montauk. Mills makes a mooring cover for the Montauk that has been equaled by nobody, but the Mills mooring cover will not work well for trailering. There are no loops for under the hull straps.

I had two Montauks, one of which had the Mills mooring cover and the other a locally made cover that was identical to the Mills right down to the special clips. Neither would hold on the road at highway speeds. lhg's covers for his Outrages mount in a different way so that may explain why he has had good success trailering with his.

The Mills canvas is made of Sunbrella like most good covers are. This is the material Don should look for.

By far the best aspect of the Mills mooring cover is the ingenious clip that holds the cover onto the gunwale. Another superb Whaler innovation thanks to Wm. J. Mills. These covers are fit very tightly. You always want to put them on dry because when they get wet they shrink and it is very difficult to stretch them over the stern of the boat. But once the cover is in place the draw string can be cinched down with the 2x purchase advantage between the stern eyes and the D-rings on the cover. The cover will be very tight indeed and will drain water no matter what.

This is something that none of the aftermarket covers will do.

The other unique thing about the Mills mooring cover is that they do not make one that goes over the bow rail. They do this deliberately. They provide slots that go around the bow rail stanchions. By not going over the bow rail the slope is increased and drainage is assured.

In contrast, most after market covers require bows or some other home made contraption to hold the cover up through an entire winter.

In truth, I never liked the slotted covers of the bow rail model Mills covers. I don't like the idea of any rain water, pine needles, ect. getting under the cover, but it does keep the water off the cover. I avoided the whole issue by not having a bow rail on my 13' Sport, 15' Striper nor either of my Montauks.

For storage or especially for mooring, nothing will beat the Mills cover but for trailering, get a cover made of Sunbrella that has good straps that go under the hull.

Dick posted 05-08-2002 09:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     

Good point on the drainage. With my non Mill's cover I do use a telescoping cover support pole in the bow. Without it the cover will hold water.

Dick posted 05-08-2002 10:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     

I like the idea of smiley faces.

blackdog posted 05-08-2002 10:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
I have the Mills mooring cover and it fits really well on my 2001 Dauntless, nice and tight. The only drawback, other than the price, is the splash well is open. However this does allow ventilation. The cover goes OVER my rails, which may cause excess drag when trailering. I havenít used it on the road yet. It hooks under my rub rail via Nylon cord from the canvas to SS cleats mounted to the hull by screws and sealed with 3M 101. It's a good systemÖ

By the way, Cabelas appears to have a nice Out board motor cover for around $100 that is custom for Mercís and BMOC. Does anyone have one and how do you like it? I just picked up the spare tire cover on sale for $9.99 and I was really surprised how heavy duty it was. I was expecting some cheap thin vinyl cover but was pleasantly surprised.


kingfish posted 05-08-2002 01:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Tom, Don, Dick, et al-

I don't know if this dog has any room left for me to kick it again, but here goes anyway- ;-)

My Mills mooring cover for my Montauk came *with* loops sewed on the gunwale seams between the clips(don't mean to be repetitious, I already said this above, but this is contrary to the condition Tom just descrbed - maybe the loops are a late addition to the Montauk covers?).

I can't even begin to imagine trying to tow with just the clips; I'm sure anyone who tried it would be disappointed with the results or worse, just as has been reported here. But as Tom said, I don't think the clips were designed to be the only means of holding the top down at highway speeds. I am puzzled that some tops apparently came with the tie-down loops and some apparently didn't.

Anyway, I added SS eyebolts to the trailer rails, one under each clip; then with two bungees at each loop, one going to the eyebolt under the next clip foreward, and the other bungee going to the eyebolt under the next clip rearward, it stayed on for 1500 miles at a clip that I know of, and at one point, speeds in excess of 100 miles an hour.

As I said earlier, I had overlapping flaps (heavy vinyl) sewn on at the stanchion slots that velcroed together after the top was in place, so no air or water to speak of was able to get in. The only other thing that I had forgotten about, was that I had the motor well "scoop" replaced with the same vinyl, and put a couple of grommets in the trailing edge that I bungeed to the tow-eyes so the scoop wasn't able to flap and beat itself to death.

I probably had another hundred bucks or so in the additional stuff, and some of my time (in my book, I consider my time spent on something to do with one of my boats actually as a credit though, not a debit), and what I had when I was done was bullet proof and was Sunbrella. I was a happy camper.


Don Fisher posted 05-08-2002 02:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Don Fisher  Send Email to Don Fisher     
Kingfish, et al.:

Thanks for the good advice and references. Does anyone know if any of these covers will fit over the mohogany rod holder on the port side, or do I need to get a custom cover? Thanks.

kingfish posted 05-08-2002 02:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     

Thank goodness you're a patient guy - that question sort of got left by the wayside.

I don't know just exactly what your rod holders look like or just exactly how they are attached or to what, but I can tell you this: BOTH style covers we have discussed here (over the bowrail and under the bowrail) go over and stretch across the side rails on a Montauk with additional space under the cover as it comes back from the console rails. So if your rod holders are flush with or underneath the top side rails, they are covered. If not, they might not be covered.


Denny posted 05-08-2002 03:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Denny  Send Email to Denny     
Hi Don,
There is slack in the PRO cover from Cabells and I would think it would take care of your rod rack. If it doesn't work they will take it back. Just a note, your can buy this cover and have money left over to buy a Pate fuel tank.


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