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Author Topic:   Trailer Recommendations--VENTURA 21
ocwhaler posted 02-15-2004 02:57 PM ET (US)   Profile for ocwhaler   Send Email to ocwhaler  
I have a 21 Ventura and live in Maryland. I also have a place in Florida. I want to trailer my boat down in the winter, leave it there, and use it when I can get down. Any advice on trailers? I've been told a bunk trailer is what I should get over rollers because of the long haul. Any advise would be helpful. Thanks Larry
lakeman posted 02-15-2004 06:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for lakeman  Send Email to lakeman     
The bunk trailer is the way to go. If you are just going to trailer it one way and keep it in Fl I would just get springs, if doing it both ways and often, get torsion axles with Good year or Towmaster radial tires. Brakes are the same thought, Good stainless Kodiak, if trailering both ways, Drum if leaving it in Fl and just have the shoes removed when the brakes freeze up(six months) I also recomend Shure lube hubs. There are a lot of good trailer manufacturers out there, but from my experience, I like Boat Master in Ft. Meyers($$$$$) or Owens and Son in St Pete are good at a reasoable price.
whalersman posted 02-15-2004 07:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     

Everyone has there idea on which is better, a Bunk Trailer or a Roller Trailer.

Here is my idea that I like and have always had on my Whalers with the exception of my Sport 13...
BOTH Bunks and Rollers....

Most Bunk trailers have 4 Bunks... Two long and two short.
Why not have the 4 Bunks and also 3 or 4 Rollers depending on length of trailer?

Here is a trailer outfit that puts a good package together. They have always been a top notch trailer manufactuer. There may be trailer outfits in your area that can do the same thing.

The link above is for a 5000 lb rated trailer... They have many other models to choose from... Notice the 4 Bunks and the 4 Keel Rollers....
Very hard to beat this combination for any Boston Whaler..

I have owned 2 of these types of trailers... One for my Montauk and a Calkins for my Outrage 18 that I have now... I did own an Eagle Trailer that had the 4 Bunks only for my 17 Outrage II and was going to add the Keel Rollers also, but sold the boat before that happened..

I wouldn't put anything under my Whalers except this type of trailer with the 4 Bunks and the Keel Rollers at every crossmember... This makes a very nice, well supported setup..

My .02 cents
Joe Kriz

Jerry Townsend posted 02-15-2004 07:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Check the trailer rules/laws in those states that you will be going through - as some states require brakes if the towed load is above certain limits. Make sure that your wheel bearings are packed and ready for the trip. --- Jerry/Idaho
JoeH posted 02-15-2004 08:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for JoeH  Send Email to JoeH     
The owners manual for my 1992 Outrage 19 calls for the keel to be on rollers. Check with the factory. Joe
jimh posted 02-15-2004 08:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I am not sure if your advisor is suggesting a bunk trailer because your highway travel will be a long distance ("long haul") or if he meant that a bunk trailer will last longer than a "roller" trailer.

There is already a great deal of advice about trailers for Boston Whaler boats in the REFERENCE section of the website. Here is a link to a series of articles on the topic which contain material very crucial to your decision.

When used in a salt water environment, it is critical that you get a trailer that has been built for the harsh corrosion that will occur. Further, if you get a bunk trailer, you have to get a trailer that is designed for total immersion in the water. All of its components--frames, clamps, fasteners, axles, brakes, etc.--must be designed for total immersion in salt water, because that is how you launch and load from a bunk trailer. The trailer is basically three feet below the surface of the water when you are at a boat ramp.

From my own experience and from the wisdom of others who have been hauling Boston Whaler boats on trailers for years, I recommend a keel roller trailer with lateral bunks. These are getting hard to find because the demand for them is small, and their cost is generally much higher than a simple bunk trailer.

I suggest you contact CONTINENTAL TRAILERS of Florida and talk with them. They build quality keel roller/bunk combination trailers at attractive prices.


Their model ETW20V might be a good choice.

TRAFFICLAWYER posted 02-15-2004 10:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRAFFICLAWYER    
I had a 21' 2001 Ventura trailered to West Palm all the time. You'll need a tandem with brakes on both axles, preferably torsion and BUNKS no friggin rollers. Have a spare tire and
a good tow rig. It's a fairly heavy combo about 4000 boat & motor + 92 gallons I believe of fuel. Don't skimp on the trailer and get aluminum ONLY!
whalersman posted 02-15-2004 10:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     

Why do you feel a trailer with no friggin rollers is the way to go?

Please advise...

Joe Kriz

Moe posted 02-16-2004 12:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
From all the digging I've done, proper keel roller trailers, with sufficient number of crossmembers, for the boat weight, with two rollers per crossmember (like Larry Goltz's 12? roller trailer in the Reference section), are extinct.

Just follow your dealer's and TRAFFICLAWYER's advice and get a bunk trailer. Let me add that you need to make sure the bunks extend all the way to the transom, or slightly beyond, to fully support it and all the motor weight it carries.


whalersman posted 02-16-2004 01:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     

Extinct.??.. And all the digging you've done...??

Didn't you even look at the link I posted above??? Not Extinct... Many other manufacturers offer this same setup... The trailer above is a current model..
How can you say Extinct??

Joe Kriz

whalersman posted 02-16-2004 01:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     
One more thing Moe...

Why does every Boating Catalog from Bass Pro to West Marine list Keel Rollers, of all sizes and shapes, in their Catalog if they are Extinct?

Joe Kriz

Moe posted 02-16-2004 02:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
Before you knee-jerk, Joe, read my post again. I said a PROPER keel roller trailer with sufficient rollers are extinct. Like the picture of LHG's trailer in the reference section.

I DID visit that site and saw a trailer with the bunk supports welded onto the frame at fixed heights. While those bunks probably pivot at the top of their supports, there's no possible way of following LHG's bunk height adjustment procedure to put the weight of the boat all on the keel rollers with the bunks acting as stabilizers. It certainly appears to me this trailer manufacturer intends for the weight of the boat to be carried on those four bunks, and the four rollers are there to support the deeper V of the forward portion of the boat, and protect it from hitting the crossmembers, as it passes through.

One more thing, Joe. I didn't say ROLLERS were extinct. They're still used on bunk trailers. Pointing out that you can still buy rollers in a catalog is no proof PROPER KEEL ROLLER TRAILERS aren't extinct.


whalersman posted 02-16-2004 02:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     

You sure have an attitude... !!! Telling everyone to buy a Bunk ONLY trailer...

I can't tell from the photos on the trailer above that the center rollers are welded on or not... Yes, the rear one is and everyone I have seen has had the rear welded on... All the rest of the rollers on the trailers I have seen were adjustable...

You don't have to have double Keel Rollers on every cross member like LHG has, trailers were never made like that... Good idea to have double rollers, CERTAINLY... Just as it is to have 4 Bunks, and Keel Rollers on every Cross Member... Definitely a Great idea...

Also, I am not recommending to put all the weight of the Whaler on the Keel Rollers if a person doesn't want this... You can adjust the amount of weight.. Lhg likes his keel rollers to support almost the entire weight... Myself, I like to have it about 50/50.... Just enough to let the boat roll on or roll off a little easier then a Bunk ONLY trailer....

Extinct means, no longer around....
"abolished, archaic, asleep, bygone, checked out, cold, dead duck, deceased, defunct, departed, disappeared, done for, doused, ended, exanimate, exterminated, extinguished, fallen, gone, goner, had it, inactive, late, lifeless, lost, obsolete, out, outmoded, passed on, passé, snuffed out, superseded, terminated, unknown, vanished, vanquished, void"

Keel Rollers are still around and available and being put on trailers today..

End of comments for me on this subject......

Joe Kriz

whalersman posted 02-16-2004 04:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     
OK Moe,

Maybe we are not talking the same language..??

I reread where you said " I didn't say ROLLERS were extinct. They're still used on bunk trailers"... Well, I disagree... If it has keel rollers on all the crossmembers, then it is a combination Bunk and Roller trailer... Not a Bunk trailer..

Almost every "Bunk" trailer I have ever seen has had no keel rollers.. Thus a Bunk ONLY trailer.. Some of these Bunk ONLY trailers have had 1 keel roller welded on at the rear crossmember for protection to the bow and the rest of the crossmembers had rubber mats for protection for the bow. I still consider this a Bunk ONLY trailer.

Any trailer that has Keel Rollers on all crossmembers and 2 or 4 Bunks is a combination trailer in my book.

The link for the trailer that I showed above may be built for a certain hull as many manufacturers are doing it this way these days... It is entirely possible that when you order a trailer for a specific hull, all the bunks and keel rollers are welded into position... I do not know how much of a load would be on the bunks and/or the rollers from this type of configuration.. We would have to ask the manufacturer for that information...

As mentioned above, I prefer a balanced load on my bunks and keel rollers.. I prefer this type of trailer.. Also mentioned above, I owned a Bunk only trailer. I found it very difficult to winch my Outrage 17 onto the trailer on most of the ramps I frequent... If this bunk only trailer would have had keel rollers, it would have made it much easier to winch on..

ocwhaler is talking about a much larger boat then my prior 17Outrage II.. He is going to be winching a 21' Ventura... I would highly recommend the combination bunk and keel roller trailer unless he is using a lifting service when he launches and retrieves his boat..

I have never heard of a Roller ONLY trailer... Meaning no Bunks... There might be some out there... I have seen boats being trailered that were rolling side to side and looked like they were going to roll off the trailer sideways... Whatever this trailer was, it was pitifull......

As far as listening to a dealers recommendation for a trailer... I say BULL..
Many boat salesman don't have a clue about the boats they sell, let alone the trailers. It is my opinion the only reason Whaler uses the Bunk trailer is to keep cost down. A Package deal.. Whaler, Mercury Engine, Bunk Trailer.
The Bunk only trailer in my opinion is not the best trailer on the market.

Boston Whaler has always recommended the combination trailer in the past...
I don't see how that has or would change now... Except now they are putting a package together... No choice in engines, and no choice in trailers.. But, you could always add keel rollers to your Bunk trailer to make it better for the reasons I mentioned above..

Joe Kriz

Moe posted 02-16-2004 11:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
The old Boston Whaler recommendation was to support the entire weight of the boat on a trailer with sufficient keel rollers to do so, not 50% of the boat weight on the bunks, and 50% on a few rollers. From the Reference section quote of the '86 owners manual:

"The keel of your Boston Whaler is the strongest area. The keel is designed to support the weight of the boat. For this reason, the trailer you select should contain center keel rollers to support the entire weight of the boat. Padded bunks should be located so they do not interfere with bottom spray rails and need only provide lateral stability."

AFAIK, the concept of using the few rollers a bunk trailer manufacturer provides to handle the much steeper deadrise of the forward part of the boat, to take some weight off the bunks, is a Joe Kriz original. Whaler never said anything about so-called "combination" trailers. That name is another Joe Kriz original. No manufacturer uses it.

Although a few bunk trailer manufacturers might put a roller on the rear-most crossmember, most put the roller(s) well forward, usually starting on the forward crossmember. THAT is where the bow should first contact a bunk trailer. The rear crossmember should be submerged well below the boat. Most bunk trailer manufacturers do put protective plastic slides on the rearward crossmembers, but a few put rollers all the way back on their bunk trailers.

I'd also like to know how you measure the weights to determine they're 50/50 on the bunks and rollers.

kingfish posted 02-16-2004 12:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
To suggest that "keel roller" (combination bunk and keel roller) trailers are "extinct", or that what you need is a trailer "...with BUNKS and no friggin rollers..." when considering the transport of Whalers, is simply ridiculous and is indication that those suggesting such things never understood the subject to begin with. And may be attempting to make an argument about semantics and other non-issues rather than the subject at hand.

Data supports statements made in very recent years by Whaler (that I am not certain in my own mind whether in reference to "Classic" Whalers *and* post Classics, or just the newer models), in which Whaler allows that all-bunk trailers, if properly configured, are OK to use on Whalers. They are simpler and cheaper, but they certainly are not necessarily the best under all circumstances, and they certainly aren't the only option available.

If one reads JimH's Reference article on trailers that he conveniently linked above, one sees that JimH very clearly describes the fact that all-bunk trailers, if properly configured, can be used (according to Whaler), but that there are conditions where having keel rollers is an advantage in loading and unloading, without even considering any discussion of proper support. Try to winch a 3000# or 4000# boat, much less one any heavier, up onto an all-bunk trailer at a shallow ramp and then tell me that you don't need no friggin keel rollers...Bushwa. I for one have done it both ways and I don't need an academic argument to help me know which is easier and probably safer.

If you don't want to go to the time and/or money and/or trouble to develop a keel roller trailer for your Whaler, knock yourself out; but don't suggest that there is no need for keel rollers or that keel roller trailers are passe´ to those who are trying to learn something here, to justify your own personal choice. That is inaccurate and potentially a disservice to folks who have asked honest questions and are looking for honest answers.

Moe posted 02-16-2004 12:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
I'm not disagreeing that there are advantages to real keel roller trailers on shallow ramps. My point is that they are no longer available (i.e. extinct), and you're just wasting your time looking for one off-the-shelf.

Certainly, if you DO want to go to the time and/or money and/or trouble to have a custom-made keel roller trailer built for your Whaler, knock yourself out, but don't send new boat owners on a wild goose chase to justify your individual choice. And don't suggest that only four crossmembers, much less four rollers, are sufficient for a 21' boat that will weigh 4500 lbs with motor, fuel, and cargo.


Moe posted 02-16-2004 01:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
With respect to possible differences in recommended trailers for vintage and modern Whalers...

Modern whalers are considerably heavier than their predecessors. Yes, they are larger, primarily beamier, but the proportional increase in size is much less than the proportional increase in weight.

Modern whalers, despite their considerable increase in weight, also have a considerable increase in swamped capacity, meaning a double increase in total bouyancy. So we can surmise they have considerably more foam. But foam is light and can't account for very much of that considerable increase in weight.

That leaves additional fiberglas and board backing to account for much, if not most, of the considerable increase in weight.

Besides being famous for their hard rides, Whalers were traditionally known for having thin fiberglas. It could well be that back then Whaler considered the keel the only part of the bottom strong enough to support the weight of the boat. It wouldn't be unreasonable to consider that Whaler, seeing the demise of full keel roller trailers, reinforced the bottoms of modern Whalers, with much heavier fiberglas, to permit support of the entire weight of the boat by bunks outboard of the keel.

If that were the case, vintage Whaler owners might be wiser to invest the time and money to either have a custom keel roller trailer built for their boat, or to restore, rather than replace, the old keel roller trailer that came with it.


DCPeters posted 02-16-2004 01:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for DCPeters  Send Email to DCPeters     
For anyone who's interested:

The Calkins keel roller trailers are still built also, and are regionally available.

Presently called the Carnai Concept product line, they're a bit pricey, but every bit as good as they were.

This design catches the v bottom on keel rollers and pivots the bunks up to contact the bottom near the chines. Mine has six keel rollers (two sets of 3) and two 2x6" x 8' pressure treated bunks. This is a single axle, 3000lb capacity, but others are available for you guys with bigger boats.

whalersman posted 02-16-2004 02:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     
The link I posted above is also of a current production "Off The Shelf" Trailer. It is not custom made..

Moe States:
"My point is that they are no longer available (i.e. extinct), and you're just wasting your time looking for one off-the-shelf."

Hogwash Moe... They are still available as Standard. And what you call as off the shelf...

Look at my link again... It States:
"The trailer pictured below is a Standard Galvanized Model 5,000 Lb. GVWR Rated Tandem." The only Option is the Optional Long Bunks..

I'm glad I have come up with a name that is original and that no one (or Moe) has ever heard of before. Maybe I will go down in History as coming up with the new term "Combination Trailer".. Maybe this is my claim to fame...

Joe Kriz

Buckda posted 02-16-2004 02:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Perhaps [b]endangered[b] is a better descriptor for the type of trailer setup that is, under most situations, best for your Boston Whaler.

If you are ordering a trailer from a company such as TrailRite or Continental - or even more so if you're going with a local trailer manufacturer, you should inquire about options.

Looking at the links posted above, it appears that a second roller could very easily be attached by the factory to each crossmember - or you could do it yourself in an afternoon.

In any case, it seems like you'd have to special order, or make some modifications to most trailers that are currently on the market.

Until recently, I have still seen many Sea Ray boats on all roller trailers. My understanding from the reference article is that this style is the worst setup for BW boats, with a possiblility of causing delamination or other problems after prolonged use.

Having seen how easily LHG's 25' Outrage rolls of and is winched onto his setup, it is easy to see why he so highly recommends this system - however, it does not keep the rear wheels and brake assemblies, etc from becoming submerged...though I bet he could manage to accomplish this if he was overly concerned about corrosion.

It seems to me that any trailer you use will need to be dunked to be used efficiently - so the real question goes back to the reference article and what features are required to be best for your Boston Whaler.

If you're not afraid of some hard winching, or are accustomed to float-on bunk trailers, buy one with plenty of keel support and go for it. If you're going to be using it alot, then you might be better served with the keel-roller, bunk support trailer like Joe and LHG recommend.


Moe posted 02-16-2004 02:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
Joe, what is it you don't understand about the difference between fully supporting the entire boat weight on an adequate number of keel rollers vs your four roller/four bunk "combination" trailer with 50/50 support?

DC, the only thing I can find on the web about Calkins boat trailers is this Oct 31, 2003 Online Journal of Business article that says they went out of business in 1999.

I DID find Carnai Trailers, Inc (the phoenix from the ashes?) and this page on their "Concept" trailers.

If OC were able to have one shipped from Washington state to Maryland, I'd suggest at least 10 rollers to fully support his 4500+ lbs on the keel.

Then I'd say full keel rollers are an "endangered species." LOL!


gimcrack225 posted 02-16-2004 02:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for gimcrack225    
I recently purchased a CONTINENTAL (in Miami, Fla.) tandem (keel roller) trailer for my 21' Walkaround. I don't have access to deep water ramps. I'm very pleased. I added Stolz urethane (amber color) rollers.
One interesting fact I learned - gross trailer capacity was often determined by the wheel and tire specifications.
As other members of the Forum have mentioned, roller trailers are harder to find. I suspect its due to the fact that bunk trailers are less costly and easier to manufacture.
kingfish posted 02-16-2004 03:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
I think one thing we may have here is a problem with the nomenclature, right from the beginning. Re-reading Larry's initial question, I am willing to bet (Larry - please confirm or deny) that when he wrote "...bunk trailer...over rollers..." the "rollers" in reference were roller bunks as opposed to carpeted plank bunks. Roller bunks are bad news for Whalers all day every day and should *never* be used for any application.

There never has been a keel roller trailer that wasn't good for a long haul, unless it was mis-configured somehow, like missing rollers or nothing under the transom. The longer the haul, the more I'd want a keel-roller trailer.

Moe posted 02-16-2004 03:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
This is the "roller bunk" trailer John refers to, that Dave mentioned above can cause delamination.

However we feel otherwise, I think we all would agree on never using one of these on a Whaler.


kingfish posted 02-16-2004 03:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Moe, I've got to hand it to you - a picture is worth a thousand words, and you do a whale of a job coming up with those proverbial pictures-
Moe posted 02-16-2004 03:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
Thank you, John!
Buckda posted 02-16-2004 03:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
That's exactly what I was talking about.

Even though I cringe every time I see it, my dad's Guardian sits on one of those trailers. Not sure who sold the Sherriff's Dept that trailer, but they should have arrested them.

Fortunately, Dad does not use the boat much, so the boat isn't bouncing down the road on these rollers.

whalersman posted 02-16-2004 03:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     
I'm glad we can all agree that one should never use a trailer with "Wobble Roller Bunks" on a Boston Whaler...

As for support on my "Combination" trailer... I still prefer "approximately" a 50/50 distrubution.. I agree, this is difficult if not impossbile to measure in the backyard... I don't care either... I know what works for me...

I have seen many boats with the weight fully on the keel rollers.. Whaler recommended this.. I don't however like my boat to roll that easily on the trailer.. I have a friend (will not mention his name) that does the final loading of his Whaler by driving his car forward, and then hitting the brakes.. This slides the boat forward to the Bow Stop rather then winching... Not my preference but everyone has there own way..

There is also nothing wrong with a Bunk Only trailer.. It just makes it much harder to winch the boat on the trailer at certain ramps.. Also the Bunks give absolutely no Keel support... This may not be important in the newer whalers.

Therefore, my preference is both 4 Bunks and Keel Rollers at all crossmembers (single or double keel rollers) that give added support to the entire area of the bottom of the boat and aid in winching the boat on the trailer..

This is what I call my "Combination Trailer".... It has worked for me for over 20 years and I'm sticking with it......

For those of you with Float on Bunk Only trailers that are having a hard time winching your boat on the trailer, try adding some keel rollers and adjusting them so they take some of the weight off the bunks (experiment)... I think you will find it much easier to winch your boat up and the carpet on your bunks should last much, much, longer... Keel Rollers are easily added to most trailer configurations whether it single or double rollers...

Joe Kriz

Moe posted 02-16-2004 03:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
Let me also suggest for bunk trailer owners that you wet any carpeting not submerged. We keep a cut-out 1/2 gallon milk jug in the truck bed, just like the one we use for a bailer, for this purpose.


ocwhaler posted 02-16-2004 07:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for ocwhaler  Send Email to ocwhaler     
Thanks for everyones input! I think the keel roller trailer is the way to go. I am going to check with Continental trailers. I am in the Ocean City MD area and plan to buy the trailer up here. By any chance anyone know of dealers in the Delaware Maryland areas. Any idea on cost?.($1500-2000?) I will be keeping my boat in the South Venice area of florida. The ramp I will be using is somewhat a shallow water location. My main concern is the transporting from Md to Fl and back. When in Fl it will sit on the trailer and in MD on my lift, no problem there. I am towing with a Chevy 3500 15 passenger van. I look forward to boating in Fl, especially when I look out my deck and see my canal frozen. Again thanks to everyone. Anyone in the Venice area of Fl look me up. Maybe someone can teach me the ropes of how to launch and retrive the damm thing. Larry
kingfish posted 02-16-2004 07:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Joe, I am with ya buddy - and Larry, a keel roller trailer is a good bet, even if you have to add the keel rollers yourself to a bunk trailer to get one.

And for those of you who are stuck with a bunk only trailer for your Whaler (I was for a while but I took the cure), a can of silicone spray on the bunks just before you yank your boat from the water helps a *ton*. (Credit Chuck Tribolet, if memory serves...)

jimh posted 02-17-2004 12:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It is my experience that the all-bunk trailer guys often have boats that are sufficiently narrow that they can fit between the fenders/wheels of a trailer. This puts the boat quite low on the trailer and helps to enable launching because you can get enough of the boat floating to launch without having to sink the trailer into the deep blue sea.

Once you get into boats with substantial beam, 8-feet or so, and carry that beam down to the chines (like Boston Whaler boats), you will find that you cannot fit the boat on a trailer and get the boat to sit between the fenders; generally you have to fit the boat higher on the trailer so that the boat bottom is hanging over the fenders. This raises the boat above the axles so far that now to float the boat off the trailer you have to practically bury the whole trailer to get sufficient depth.

If you are not at a steep ramp you may be backing your car down the ramp to get the boat off the trailer. You see this all the time--guys have their SUVs with the rear axle of the SUV in the water trying to load or unload their boat off an all-bunk "float-on" trailer.

There is quite a difference in coaxing a 1,200-lb boat off a bunk trailer and getting a 5,000-lb boat off a bunk trailer.

My favorite picture is the one in the "Two School of Thought" article showing the all-bunk trailer during launching. Well, actually it does not show the trailer at all because the entire trailer is submerged under 3-4 feet of salt water.

I will say that finding a well built keel roller trailer is getting to be harder, and more expensive. The proper set up with the keel rollers requires about $120 per roller-pair in stainless steel hardware, poly rollers, galvanized brackets, and stainless steel roller axles. Most trailer places don't have this sitting around nor do they really want to provide it. They'd rather sell you a trailer with a frame half as long and a couple of pieces of wood sticking out 8 feet beyond the last piece of steel and call it a "float-on" trailer.

Another great thing about having to bury the trailer a mile deep is that once the boat starts to float off...SO DOES THE TRAILER! Sometimes the buoyancy from all the wood and the air in the tires is enough to float the trailer off the bottom. Good luck loading the boat back onto a floating trailer.

You can get lots of "expert advice" but you just gotta decide who is your expert!

CHRISWEIGHT posted 02-17-2004 02:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for CHRISWEIGHT  Send Email to CHRISWEIGHT     
whilst on the subject of trailers, in the summer we have in the past launched small boats across a soft sand beach which then hardens into firm at the waters edge.

The gradient is fairly shallow and in the past we have pushed the trailer out a little into the sea by hand where upon the boat floats off.

We know have a 16 foot whaler with 90hp mercury 2s and I think we may be able to launch ok its the getting her back onto the trailer which is worring me as when I begin to winch her back onto the trailer the water will obviously be too deep to attach our SUV.

Any thoughts

regards Chris

cmarques posted 02-17-2004 07:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for cmarques  Send Email to cmarques     
When selecting a trailer for your 14 or 16 Dauntless, choose a float on style trailer that has bunks which conform to the shape of your hull. Support for the keel is important, also provide good fore and aft support. Trailers equipped with side rollers instead of bunks can damage the foam sandwich hull of your boat and should never be used.

This is from page 13 of my owner's manual supplement for my 2002 Dauntless 160. I'll sometimes wet the bunks with a bucket or splash of water and the boat easily goes on the trailer.


dklonk posted 02-20-2004 04:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for dklonk  Send Email to dklonk     
take a look at These guys make great aluminum trailers, very easy to ramp and tow.

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