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Author Topic:   Dauntless 15 Trailer Set Up
joz posted 06-02-2015 12:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for joz   Send Email to joz  
I recently purchased a 1995 Dauntless 15. It came with a 2007 ShoreLandr trailer with bunks, a keel roller towards the front, and a keel pad at the back and middle crossmembers. Once on the trailer, the keel rests on the front roller and middle roller, but the rear of the boat sits primarily on the bunks, about 2-inches above the keel pad on the back cross bar. This makes the boat sit on the trailer so that the bow sits a little lower than the transom.

Should I lower the bunks in the back one or two notches if I have the space?

The boat is tough to center properly on the trailer because the bunks are set to be inside the only predominant chine--I guess you would call it--so nothing really self-centers the boat. I considered moving the bunks outside of this chine, but the problem with that is that there is a drain hole through the bottom of the boat with a stainless steel protector that sits over the drain hole that also helps water flow over the hole. If I move the bunks, that stainless protector would dig into the wooden bunks, as well as get stuck on the carpet during launching.

Does anyone have a similar set up that works for them? Any thoughts? Anyone have a picture of your setup that may help me? Thanks!

jimh posted 06-02-2015 01:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
jimh posted 06-02-2015 01:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
My trailer set-up is very similar:

--at the forward end of the trailer there are keel rollers; the keel of the boat rests on these rollers when loaded on the trailer

--at the aft end of the trailer there are bunks; the hull of the boat rests on these bunk when loaded on the trailer.

This is a common arrangement. When a boat is loaded onto a trailer, the trailer is usually on a down slope into the water. The boat is floating level. The usual outcome is that the bow of the boat loads more deeply, that is, closer to the frame of the trailer, than the stern will.

The placement of a soft plastic pad onto the metal crossmember of a trailer at the rear of the trailer is not done with the intention of positioning the boat so its keel rests on that plastic pad. The pad is there to prevent contact between the metal frame and the fiberglass keep during loading. It is not meant to be a point of support.

jimh posted 06-02-2015 01:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Re the through-hull drain of the cockpit sump on the starboard side of many Boston Whaler boats, and the Clamshell vent that has been adapted to act as a partial cover:

The clamshell vent does tend to get in the way of trailer bunks. If there is enough room between the cockpit drain and the sponson or runner inner face, some Boston Whaler owners set up their trailer bunks to that width. There can be a bit of trouble in loading with the bunks set that wide. If the boat is not perfectly aligned, one of the bunks will land on the tip of the sponson, not inboard of it.

My trailer set up has the bunks set not as wide as the runners, and clear of the clamshell drain cover.

Another approach, if the clamshell is very close to the transom: relieve the trailer bunk on that side so it has a notch in it for the last few inches. This will keep the clamshell from being crushed by the bunk.

joz posted 06-02-2015 02:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for joz  Send Email to joz     
Thanks for the response. The bunks on my trailer are inside the runners on each side so that if the boat is perfectly centered, the outside edge of the bunks line up directly under the runner edge. The problem I'm having is that it's hard to line the boat up so that the boat doesn't end up with the bunk splitting the runner on one side and being too far under the opposite side. If I back in and out enough times, I can get it centered. I guess there's no trick other than too monitor how far I back in so that I can make those slight adjustments before pulling up the ramp. Thanks for your advice. Can I post links in the message if I wanted to share a picture of what I mean? [Yes--jimh]
fishgutz posted 06-02-2015 04:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for fishgutz  Send Email to fishgutz     
Here is a pic of how my Shoreland'r trailer is set up under my Dauntless 14: AftStarboard.jpg Bunks1.jpg jpg
The 2 outside 2x6 bunks carry the majority of the weight. The 2 inside 2x4 bunks are used mostly to guide the boat onto the trailer and carry very little of the boat's weight. This setup has worked great for me for many years. That center pad is only to protect the boat from hitting the cross member when loading. With the 2 center bunks the boat never hits the pad. The addition of the 2 center bunks didn't really cost much and makes it really easy to launch and retrieve the boat.
Hope this helps.
jimh posted 06-03-2015 05:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I recommend adding tall guide posts to the rear of the trailer. Tall guide posts at the rear of the trailer provide the following benefits:

--they tend to keep the boat centered on the trailer during loading at a ramp;

--they tend to keep the boat centered on the trailer during launching at a ramp after the boat has floated free;

--they provide a visual aid to the driver when backing up the trailer;

--they provide a good place to mark a line indicating proper depth of immersion of the trailer in the water when backing down a ramp.

I have had tall guide posts on the rear of my trailer for so long that I cannot remember what it was like to attempt to load the boat onto the trailer without them. By marking the guide posts with a prominent mark (a wrap of black tape on a white post), the guide posts become a water depth gauge. This is very useful when backing the trailer into the water at a strange ramp. It lets you position the trailer at a consistent depth at the rear of the trailer.

Problems in centering the boat on the trailer can occur if the trailer has been backed into the water too deeply. There generally is an optimum depth to immerse the trailer. Too deep immersion causes the boat to remain afloat even when the bow stem has been pulled almost to the trailer bow stop. In that situation the boat, still afloat, drifts around the trailer center, only coming onto the banks as the trailer is pulled up the ramp.

When loading my boat onto the trailer, I back the trailer into the water until I reach my preset mark on the guide posts. This mark is a position where the hull is just about to float off the bunks, but no quite free of them. I begin loading the boat onto the trailer at that depth of immersion of the trailer. The boat hull contacts the trailer bunks as it is pulled forward, and the boat centers itself on the bunks, with the help of the guide posts.

If the ramp has a steep slope, I sometimes will stop loading as the boat is about two-thirds of the way onto the trailer, go back to the truck, and back the trailer in deeper. This increases hull buoyancy, reducing the loading on the bunks, and allowing me to pull the boat onto the trailer with less effort with the winch. My boat can weigh about 4,800-lbs, so winching it uphill with a lot of weight bearing on the bunks can take excessive pull from the winch. Backing in deeper, once the boat is nicely centered and the bunks are bearing more weight, makes it easier to pull the boat onto the trailer those last several feet.

The guide marks are also very useful in launching. I back down the ramp until I see the guide marks go just underwater. At that point I know the hull bouyancy should be lifting the aft part of the hull off the bunks. The forward park of the keel is on the rollers. The hull will easily come off the trailer with this depth of immersion.

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