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Author Topic:   Trailer with boat cover on or off?
RLSmith posted 05-29-2003 09:33 AM ET (US)   Profile for RLSmith   Send Email to RLSmith  
I have been boating my entire life but have almost zero trailer experience. Next week I am taking my boat with me to Emerald Isle (North Carolina), about 4.5 hours primarily on 55mph roads. My 2000 Dauntless 16' has a boat cover, which I would like to use there. Should I trailer with the cover on or off? The cover fits snugly over the top of the center console down to just below the rub rails, and is secured with a rope hidden in the perimeter seam. There are several additional tie downs on the sides, so I can provide a bit of extra security with a few lines underneath the hull. It sure would help with packing if I could throw some light bulky items (beach chairs, toys, etc.) into the boat.
Marlin posted 05-29-2003 12:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     

Of course, the true but totally un-helpful answer is "it depends". My daysailer had a cover that seemed to fit well at rest, but above 40 MPH or so the aft half ballooned enormously. I always took that cover off.

The Mills cover on my 160 Dauntless, on the other hand, fits like a spandex glove. There is no visible ballooning or flapping when I trailer it, even up to 50 MPH or so. So far I haven't had an opportunity to drive faster than that with the cover, but I wouldn't expect a problem. I'd be sure to use those tie-down loops though, and not rely just on the drawstring.

wspellenbe posted 05-29-2003 01:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for wspellenbe  Send Email to wspellenbe     
Trailered my 18 1200 miles with the Mills Mooring on with no problem at 65 mph
Jerry Townsend posted 05-29-2003 03:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
RL Smith - My cover is very similar to yours and I leave my cover on when towing the boat. I have never had any problem. ---- Jerry/Idaho
andygere posted 05-29-2003 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
Every canvas shop I have spoken with has told me that they can make a "trailerable" cover, but towing at highway speed will always shorten the life of the cover. The one time I towed the Montauk a short distance with the cover on, I didn't like it. The reason: My visibility for backing up was reduced considerably. I've never seen the benfit of towing a Whaler with the cover on, but I do swear by keeping them covered when stored. My conclusion: A few trips probably won't kill it if it's a well made cover with enough tie downs, but why beat it up? Stow it in the boat or the truck and put it on when you arrive.
Jerry Townsend posted 05-30-2003 12:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
I neglected to mention that my cover is not of canvas, but of a waterproof!, UV blocking, material (I don't recall the name of the material mentioned by the tent outfit I had make the cover). And then, all wear points (bow rail on my 17 OR, wind-shield rail, down-riggers mounts, are reinforced with what I call "Herculite".

Herculite is a waterproof!, tear proof, burn proof, rot proof, vinyl imprenated nylon. This is good stuff! Herculite is (at least was) the only material certified for naval hatch covers and is frequently used by truckers for tarps. ----- Jerry/Idaho

JBCornwell posted 05-30-2003 08:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
My experience towing a '80 Montauk has been:

Of the several covers I have tried, only the Mills fits well enough to survive a 1500 mile tow at interstate speeds without visible damage.

Fuel mileage on the tow vehicle is about 3mpg better with a cover than without.

Red sky at night. . .

Samars posted 05-30-2003 08:56 AM ET (US)     Profile for Samars  Send Email to Samars     

Take all this advice and more...I have a cover I purchased from Amer-brand covers. I use it while trialering primarily, since I keep my boat in the garage when not in use. I would think, unless you're planning on keeping the cover for a long number of years, use it for what it was intended. To me it makes sense to place whatever you can fit in the boat and cover it to your satisfaction. I have done the exact same thing and have found that it makes the trip much smoother. I have found that taking a few extra tie downs and perhaps stopping a time or two more to check everything is needed. By the way, mine does have the critical places reinforced...

RLSmith posted 05-30-2003 11:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for RLSmith  Send Email to RLSmith     
Thanks to all for the advice. The boat is in the driveway, covered and full of beach chairs, boogie boards, and beach toys. I will be leaving tomorrow morning.

I did run into an unexpected problem at the last minute. I have never secured the cover unless the motor is down. I can't trailer with it down, but the cover interferes before the motor is up high enough for the safety stops. Until I figure this out, I am using a strategically placed 2x4 sandwiched between the lower unit and the bracket. This might prompt me to purchase an adjustable transom saver but I have read mixed opinions about them on the forums. I thought covers were designed to be used even when boats are moored. Perhaps my Suzuki head is bigger than the standard Mercury pre-rigs?

Jerry - my cover is also reinforced at various places on the inside with a thick black vinyl-looking material. That sounds similar to your Herculite. Unfortunately I can't find a name tag anywhere on the cover so I don't know what brand it is, or what material it is made of. It looks like canvas, but it seems to be waterproof.

Jerry Townsend posted 05-31-2003 01:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
RL Smith - I have never seen a label on it - but you can see the nylon mesh pattern from either side. The interlocked nylon mesh is, however, a lot coarser weave than canvas. It is my material of choice when I want durability, indestructability (to coin a word), waterproof, and have used it for - floor of my hunting tent, panniers for packing with horses, packs for pack frames for a Boy Scout troop, I have seen it in several colors. Frankly, the material can't be beat for the outdoors applications - a bit expensive, but it is a top-notch fabric. ----- Jerry/Idaho
JoeH posted 06-02-2003 03:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for JoeH  Send Email to JoeH     
I do not tow my Outrage with the cover on. My cover is sunbrella but not a Mills (maybe someday)I do however tow with the center console cover on. I guess I feel better having the radio, fishfinder etc. covered at highway speeds and under cover if we stop for lunch or something while on the road. The biggest problem for me to trailer with the cover would be what to do with it when I got to the ramp. Wadding it up and just stuffing it in the front seat works but I have found it easier to just leave it home. Joe

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