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Author Topic:   Trailer Set-up for 1987 Outrage 18
srej posted 09-03-2013 09:25 PM ET (US)   Profile for srej   Send Email to srej  
I need some help setting up a trailer for a 1987 Outrage 18. I have 21-foot Shorelandr trailer with keel rollers, two 8-foot adjustable bunks, and adjustable bow stop, 22-feet long, 77.5-inches between the fenders.

Can anyone with a similar [Boston Whaler OUTRAGE boat] recommend where to set the bunk height, where they should rest, and also the distance to the bow stop from the back of the trailer?

Really appreciate the help. I am concerned about doing all sorts of changes at the ramp so any help would be appreciated.

Thanks for any help!


Marko888 posted 09-04-2013 12:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marko888    
I just went through this with my 18, but LHG describes the correct method for setup here:

Incidentally, your boat is referred to as an Outrage 18...The 180 designation came much later, and refer to a different boat.

srej posted 09-04-2013 08:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for srej  Send Email to srej     
Thanks Marko and th eclarification of the name.

I read the reference material but it doesn't really give any specifics for the outrage 18 or other boat.

Are the bunks really all the way at the edges ? This would rest the chimes (edge of boat) on the bunks. Is that right?

Also any idea of the height between the rollers and the bunk. My trailer is 78" wide and not sure it will fit between the fenders???


Marko888 posted 09-04-2013 08:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marko888    
My bunks support the boat inside the chines, each side equal distance from the keel rollers, and the starboard bunk clears the inside edge of the bilge drain clamshell by about an inch or so.

I cannot provide a height, but if you follow LHG's setup advice, you will be find the correct height. Make sure the boat touches all of the keel rollers.

I can assure you it will be a bit of a PITA to get the setup just right, but is well worth the effort. Both launching and loading my boat is very easy now that my trailer is properly setup.

re 78" between will be tight, but should fit with about an inch or so clearance on each side. If the trailer fenders are made of anything other than plastic, you may want to add side guides, or similar, to avoid the boat making contact with the trailer fenders, as this will marr your gelcoat.

jimh posted 09-04-2013 08:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
With most of the wider Boston Whaler boats, that is, boats whose beam is sufficiently wide that they cannot fit inside the fenders on a trailer whose maximum width is 102-inches (or 8-feet 6-inches), (the maximum width of a trailer in most states that can be towed without a special over-wide permit,) you find the height of the boat relative to the trailer frame will be determined by and limited by the position of the chines of the Boston Whaler hull relative to the trailer fenders. The most desirable height is to set the boat as low as possible on the trailer but still allowing about 1-inch clearance to the fenders. I have seen some trailers set up with even lower clearance.

Your first step in adjusting the trailer will be to set the height of the boat to the fender height. You can perform this by either setting the bunk height or the keel roller height.

A typical method of adjustment is to load the boat on the trailer with the present settings of the bunks or keel rollers. Measure the gap between the top of the fenders and the chines. If the gap is only 1-inch or less, the height is good as-is. If the gap is more than about 1-inch, note the gap distance. Subtract 1-inch from the gap distance. Then lower the bunks and keel rollers by that distance. Reload the boat onto the trailer. Check the new height. Make further adjustments as necessary.

Using a trailer with many keel rollers is not really necessary. In launching or loading, the stern of the boat will be buoyant long before the bow becomes bouyant. The hull will be off the bunks or rollers at the stern, while the forward half of the boat will still be on the rollers. If you have keel rollers in the forward half of the boat, you will be fine. The aft half can rest on bunks.

Once you have set the height, you can bring the keel rollers up to meet the hull in a uniform manner. Once that is done, you can lower the bunks a bit so the keel rollers take more of the weight.

srej posted 09-04-2013 11:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for srej  Send Email to srej     

Very useful
Thanks !
jimh posted 09-05-2013 01:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I just measured the height of my REVENGE 22 hull chines above the fenders on my trailer: 1.75-inch. That is close enough for me.

A very important roller to have is one near the bow. That roller will keep the bow from dropping when launching. When you launch a boat, the stern becomes buoyant first, and it tries to pitch down the bow. You must have a roller near the bow to keep the boat from being pushed down by the stern buoyancy. This is particularly true if the boat has a bow pulpit. The bow pulpit will tend to hit the winch post during launching due to the rotating of the boat on the trailer with stern buoyancy.

Marko888 posted 09-06-2013 12:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marko888    
The clearance of about 1 inch or so I described, was measured between the outside of the hull, and the inside of the fender, when my 18 was on a trailer with 78" between the fenders.

The boat sat quite low on this trailer, so the hull did fit between the fenders. There was no need to set the trailer up to carry the boat up high on this trailer, as might be necessary with a wider hull on this same trailer.

L H G posted 09-06-2013 03:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
On a keel roller trailer, you do not need 8' long bunks to support the boat laterally. I would replace them with the 2 x 4 x 5' bunks widely available at marine stores. That is all you need, and allows you more acess to keep the boat hull clean, etc. Be sure to lag bolt the brackets into the underside of the bunks with SS lags. DO NOT USE GALV LAGS. They will rust out quickly.

You can see these 5'bunks here on my classic Outrage 19 trailer: html?sort=6&o=31#/user/lgoltz/media/Outrage%2019/Scan0027.jpg. html?sort=6&o=31&_suid=1378494178606026451007828653333

Here is the actual trailer under my Outrage 18. this trailer is only 80" total width. The small front bunk supports have since been removed as unnecessary. Scan_Pic0075_zps2f8e9827.jpg.html?sort=6&o=0#/user/lgoltz/media/ Outrage%2018/Scan_Pic0075_zps2f8e9827.jpg.html?sort=6&o=0& _suid=137849442858409995881789253009

Go to a launch ramp when it is not busy. It may very well take about an hour to properly set up a keel roller trailer, and may involve several launches and retrieves to get it perfect. But the effort is well worth the time spent.

bretm1 posted 09-06-2013 10:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for bretm1  Send Email to bretm1     

In the link provided in the reference section by LHG I thought it points out the importance of ensuring at the at the stern , as well as the keel of the boat that the majority of the boats weight rests on the keel rollers. With the engine back there I understood from the article that you want the keel rollers to be taking the majority of the weight, not the bunks. I used this to set up a similar style Mckee hull and it works great. I just have single roller set up, not double.

You comment that many keel rollers are not necessary aft, but aren't they important while trailering to aid with the even distribution of weight. Especially with the engine back there. In general, I thought the best results for this style hull is to support it with the keel rollers then have the bunks to keep it level.

Not a huge deal, just wanted clarification.

Regards Bret

jimh posted 09-06-2013 11:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I wouldn't bother with keel rollers in the stern. I like having the boat sit on the bunks at the stern. As soon as you back the boat into the water, the stern begins to create buoyancy and the hull lifts off the bunks, just as it would lift off the rollers.

The rollers add weight to the trailer, and they are expensive. A pair of rollers, with brackets, and axles is probably about a $200 investment these days, and they add 25-lbs of weight. Adding two or three sets of these to the aft part of the trailer is not really necessary. Also, if the height of all those rollers is not perfectly aligned, the load of the hull on the rollers will not be evenly distributed.

jimh posted 09-07-2013 09:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you look at the trailers are available on the market now, you see that there are no all-keel-roller trailers being sold. You can hardly find even a trailer with sufficient cross members to which you could add keel rollers. This sort of trailer is just not made any more.

The trailer on the market at present that represents the best approach is as seen in the SHORELANDR trailers with forward keel rollers. On these trailers there is an assembly of four to six keel rollers which are affixed to a cross member with a fore-and-aft pivot. This allows the keel rollers to align to the keel and insures that the weight will be distributed across all six rollers in an even manner. See

for an example. Were I to buy a new trailer for my Boston Whaler 22-foot hull, I would probably get one of these SHORELANDR trailers with the articulating keel rollers in the bow area.

jimh posted 09-07-2013 09:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I recommend you install some tall vertical posts on the extreme rear of the trailer for guides for the boat when loading. Having these guides will make loading the boat much easier. Those guides are secret to easy loading.
jimh posted 09-07-2013 09:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Another secret to easy loading or launching depends on having the guides, too. When you have the boat on the trailer, note where the water line of the boat is located at the stern. Transfer this level to the guide posts. I use a wrap of black electrical tape on the white guide posts to mark the level. When launching, I back the trailer down the ramp until the waterline mark on the guide posts is just below the water. This means there is enough immersion of the stern of the boat for it to become buoyant, and the boat is ready to come off the trailer.

When loading, I also use the marks on the guide posts as a target for immersion. It is often counter-productive to back the trailer into the water too far. Backing just to the point where the waterline marks on the guide posts are at the water surface or perhaps just below, positions the trailer for good loading. Having these marks on the guide posts has been a great aid in putting the trailer into the water at a correct and consistent immersion.

silentpardner posted 09-07-2013 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for silentpardner  Send Email to silentpardner     

I purchased a 1986 Outrage 18 a few years ago and I am currently completely restoring it. The Performance brand trailer that was under the boat when I bought it was converted from a trailer that was originally made for a different boat and was too short for the boat, in my opinion, and also had too few keel rollers. The boat was positioned high on the trailer and required a deeper ramp to launch and retrieve the boat. The bunks were in the wrong place for the classic Boston Whaler hull and one side bunk had to be notched to fit the clamshell for the sump drain on the bottom of the boat. In short, it was not suitable for my use.

I don't have any pictures of the original to me Performance trailer with the boat off of it, but I do have pictures of the custom designed Magnum Trailer I replaced it with at my Flickr site here:

That Performance trailer only had three crossmembers that could be used for rollers and depended on bunks to support the weight of the boat. This trailer was completely unacceptable for loading and unloading because it depended on the water to lift the stern off the bunks in order to launch, and it forced me to use a lot of power in order to get the boat on the bunks when loading.

These effects of having no keel rollers at the stern end of the boat was bad enough, but, to make matters even worse, I found out that a classic Boston Whaler hull that was supported only by bunks on a trailer would be subject to forces while underway that causes delamination in the hull itself. I got this information verified by my local Boston Whaler dealer who informed me that when my boat was new and under warranty, the hull warranty would have been nullified completely if the boat was being trailered without using keel rollers to support the boat on the centerline of the keel. The fact of the matter is that the keel at the centerline of the boat is the strongest point on the hull and the entire hull is designed to be supported there.

Keel rollers on a classic Boston Whaler hull are NOT there for ease of loading and unloading the boat, as has been suggested here by another author, they are ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY in order to support the weight of the boat. If you do not have keel rollers SUPPORTING THE KEEL of your boat, you WILL DAMAGE your boat eventually, probably sooner than later with an old boat like ours.

LHG is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT in his method of setting up a trailer for a classic Boston Whaler hull. If you choose to set up a trailer for your boat using any other contrary advice regarding keel rollers, you do so at your Whaler's peril, in my opinion. I have only run across ONE classic whaler owner that would suggest using bunks at the stern of a Whaler and no keel rollers, and that was here in this thread.

I love my Whaler, and the hull was still in good condition, as this boat was owned by lawyer in FL that kept it in a boat house out of the water and did not even own a trailer for the boat before selling it to me. The trailer was only used to bring the boat back home to Texas and for a few fishing trips here before I got my new custom Magnum built. The trailer upgrade was the very first thing I did for this boat. It was the best money I have spent so far on this project in my opinion. If you look around, I bet you could have a custom trailer built for your boat that is correct for it a lot cheaper than you might think. The one I had built was around $3500, and it will protect my boat for as long as I live to use it.

jimh posted 09-07-2013 08:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Considering that Boston Whaler delivers their new boats on trailers with no keel rollers, the suggestion made above that using a non-keel roller trailer would void the hull warranty is bunk, if you will pardon my pun.
silentpardner posted 09-07-2013 09:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for silentpardner  Send Email to silentpardner     
Surely your not ALSO suggesting that the hulls today that are delivered on bunk trailers are the same hull design as the poster and myself have are you? I never said that NEW BOSTON WHALERS could not be on bunk trailers, I said our CLASSIC Whalers could NOT. As a matter of fact, I never mentioned anything about any other Whalers than the poster and my self's OWN WHALERS. You sir, are the one here suggesting that we all use bunks, not me.

Roll Tide

silentpardner posted 09-07-2013 10:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for silentpardner  Send Email to silentpardner     
I also take offense to you calling me a liar, JimH, especially when you have to KNOW I am correct.
jimh posted 09-07-2013 10:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The method of construction of a Boston Whaler Unibond hull is the same now as it was in the 1980's, at least as far as I can tell. It is not that the hull construction has changed, but rather that the types of trailers available have changed.

In order to find out how the hull warranty is applied, please read the hull warranty. The hull warranty will describe all the conditions of use necessary to maintain the warranty in effect. The hull warranty will be a much more reliable source of information about what effect a particular type of trailer will have on the hull warranty than the second-hand recitation of a non-Boston Whaler employee's opinion of what the warranty says.

hauptjm posted 09-09-2013 03:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Me thinks the warranty, like this claim (pun intended) will have already expired on the Classic in question.
Tom W Clark posted 09-09-2013 09:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
silentpardner -- Jim is not calling you a liar, he is merely pointing out that you are mistaken. You should learn to tell the difference.

For the record: Whaler does not, and never has, required that a keel roller trailer be used with any hull they have ever manufactured. They sure recommended that one be used though.

They have backed off of that stance and it has nothing to do with how the hulls are made.

A properly adjusted keel roller traile ris a joy to use. I use them myself. In fact I spent my lunch hour today adjusting the keel rollers and bunks under a Boston Whaler.

Regardless of whether one uses a keel roller trailer or a bunk trailer, the most important part of the hull to support is the transom where the motor is mounted.

rmart posted 07-10-2015 10:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for rmart  Send Email to rmart     
I thought this would be the best place for a question about the set-up for a new bunk trailer I've just ordered for my Outrage 18. The trailer is an E-Z-Loader two-bunk trailer and I'd appreciate it if any member could measure their trailer to provide the distance they have between their bunks for an Outrage 18 trailer with a two bunk setup. The information will obviously speed up my initial setup.

Thanks in advance and happy summer to you all.

jimh posted 07-10-2015 11:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The separation between the outer aft bunks of a bunk trailer that will be used with a classic Boston Whaler OUTRAGE hulls is mainly determined by the spacing between the vestigial sponsons or runners of the hull. Usually the bunks are set up to position inboard of the runners. Some like to set the bunks so they fit right up against the runner's inboard edge. If you choose that width there are two considerations:

--the boat must be very carefully aligned with the bunks as there will be little range athwardship for the bunks and hull to be misaligned; when loading you can get the Vee of the runner resting on one bunk if not careful; and

--there is typically an aft cockpit sump drain on Starboard and a clam shell vent covering the drain; this can interfere with the bunk; the clam shell vent can be crushed against the bunks.

The alternative is to set the aft outer bunks of the trailer to a width that fits inside the hull runners with a few inches of clearance. This makes the centering of the boat with the trailer on loading less critical and puts the clam shell vent out of danger, usually.

Another method to protect the clam shell vent might be to cut a relief into the trailer bunk on Starboard at the very aft end of the bunk so there is a pocket for the clam shell vent to fit without bearing against the bunk. I have thought of doing this but have not gotten around to it.

Setting the bunks to fit closely inside the runners is a nice set-up in that it really locks-in the boat's position on the trailer. Moving the bunks inboard somewhat makes alignment during loading less critical. By the way, on my trailer with forward keel rollers and aft bunks, I have found that the process of towing the boat on the trailer for several hundred miles over the typical bumpy highway pavement of Michigan roads generally results in the hull centering itself on the bunks, no matter if it were loaded on the trailer ever so slightly off center.

rmart posted 07-10-2015 12:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for rmart  Send Email to rmart     
My plan is to setup the trailer with the two bunks positioned inboard of the runners.

With my boat in the water, unfortunately I can't get the measurement from centerline to the runner.

So, I was hoping a member might be able to provide that measurement or the measurement for their bunk placement so I can have my trailer at least roughly setup prior to the first haulout.

Thanks as always!!

ConB posted 07-10-2015 03:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for ConB  Send Email to ConB     
I just measured my 1987 Outrage 18.

I would start at 24" from centerline of trailer to the outside of the bunk. Load the boat and decide about later adjustments.

There is the bilge drain clam shell you do not want resting on the bunk. It is out further than the 24".


rmart posted 07-11-2015 10:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for rmart  Send Email to rmart     
Thanks! Exactly what I was looking for.
jimh posted 07-13-2015 04:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
CONB--Thanks for jumping in with excellent information. That's the kind of thing we are always looking for: good information.

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