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Author Topic:   150 Sport: Trailer Loading
rbm posted 06-12-2006 01:32 PM ET (US)   Profile for rbm   Send Email to rbm  
[Give me] tips and suggestions on techniques to make the loading onto my trailer of a Sport 150 easier. My first attempt to simply drive onto the trailer resulted in the boat being sideways to the bunks. Is there a recommended depth to bury the bunks or trailer wheels? Some experiences and tips would be appreciated.
Chuck Tribolet posted 06-12-2006 02:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
EZ guiders help a lot.

With my Montauk, I put the trailer in until there's about
four inches of tire showing. There's still some bunk sticking
out of the water.

One trick: take the boat a goodly distance out from shore and
head in towards the trailer. Stand (or sit) on the centerline of the
boat. Steer the boat so you head stays on the extension of
the centerline of the trailer. Don't worry if the boat is
pointed a little to one side or the other (that's just
correction for wind and current) until the last couple of feet,
then turn the boat to point straight up the trailer. Come in just a little faster than idle (about 1200 RPM for me). Don't
pop it into reverse until the boat is just contacting the
bunks. Remember than when you go into reverse, the prop will
walk the stern to port. I stop it on the bunks, then power
it up the bunks.


HuronBob posted 06-12-2006 02:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for HuronBob    
We've had trailer discussions in the past, I'm sure that we'll soon get into the power-on or not discussion.

But, the trick is to determine the depth you need your bunks. Go to the ramp at a time when it typically isn't busy with a competent friend to drive the tow vehicle and try a couple of depths to see what works best. Once you've got that figured out, you can just shoot for that every time (for me, on the 130 Sport at the launch I typically use) the fenders on the trailer are about 50% (the rear 50%) under water. This would vary, of course, depending on the angle of the ramp.

If the trailer is too deep, your boat will float all over the place (which you've already discovered), too shallow and you can't get on the trailer at all. It's a matter of finding that sweet spot.

I never try to power all the way to the upright. I winch in on the last three feet or so (while the trailer is still in the water). You'll also run into ramps where they don't allow you to power on the trailer due to the erosion the prop wash causes (not allowed at most Michigan DNR ramps).

Last tip. The boating experience starts when you start thinking about going out. Enjoy every part of it. The worst trailer experiences are when you rush it...take your time, enjoy the experience of doing it well, don't let some jerk next in line rush you..

It does get easier! Hang in there, and have fun.

Buckda posted 06-12-2006 06:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Bob is right -

The depth of the trailer in the water will vary with the ramp, but you can figure it out at the ramp you most commonly use and go from there.

Incidentally, I'm generally in the don't-power-it-on camp, because I think you are more likely to damage the boat than if you winch it on.

As Chuck mentioned - Guide-ons are great.

Since I put the guide-ons on the trailer, I've NEVER, EVER had to reset the boat on the trailer. It goes on perfect, every time.

Practice makes perfect. One good time to practice is early, or late in the season, when fewer boaters are using the ramps...but that won't help you now. Now the best time is probably after work on a Tuesday night!

I know of at least one boater who has used colored stickers on the trailer (colored electrical tape) to mark the water-line on the fender for his favorite ramps. Black for the primary ramp, red/blue for the secondary ramps.


jimh posted 06-12-2006 07:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Installing guides will be helpful. I use the guides made from white PVC tubing. They are available with mounting hardware for about $60 from retailers. They are a good investment. You could probably buy the PVC parts for $20, but by the time you rounded up all the hardware and made some carefully bent supports, you would not be that far ahead financially.

In addition to functioning as a guide for the boat hull when loading the boat on the trailer, the white PVC tubes are an excellent depth gauge. Let me explain.

When the boat is loaded on the trailer and ready for the highway, I transfer the boat's waterline at the hull onto the the white PVC guide tubes. I mark it with some black tape. This gives me a target depth to submerge the trailer. If I back the trailer in so that the waterline on the ramp hits the mark on the white PUC guide tubes, then I know the boat will load very easily onto the trailer. This is because as this depth the boat will still be floating and most of the weight will be carried by the buoyancy of the hull. If you submerge much deeper than this, the hull will tend to wander above the trailer bunks and supports, as they are too far below the hull. If you don't back in to the mark, you know the trailer is quite a bit above the where the hull is floating.

I came up with this idea last season. I have never heard or seen anyone mention it. It has been a very helpful guide for me. No matter what the ramp slope, I just back the trailer down the ramp until the marks of the guides are just at or just below the water. The boat loads easily and very consistently from ramp to ramp.

Here is a picture which shows both the trailer guide posts made from white PVC tubing and the tape mark showing the waterline level transferred over to them from the hull's actual waterline:

Photo: Waterline mark on guide posts to make trailer loading more consistent

This will make loading the trailer very consistent. It is also useful for unloading. You back in until the mark is submerged. At that point you know the boat will float off the trailer.

jimh posted 06-12-2006 07:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Please begin a separate discussion if you wish to change the discussion to a completely different topic. Off topic comments have been removed.]
tombro posted 06-13-2006 10:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for tombro  Send Email to tombro     
As a former 150 Sport owner, I concur with Jim. I had the load guides, but he took it to another level with the tape on the PVC. Good idea. If you go with the load guides, just make sure they are rather tight to the rubrail, as the installation instuctions suggest.
Tom W Clark posted 06-13-2006 10:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
I would discourage anybody from "power loading" a Whaler. It is a poor practice that is illegal at many ramps because of the erosion it causes and can lead to serious damage to the boat and trailer as well.

While a guy like Chuck, who is very experienced, can get away with power loading without any trouble, I have seen boats slammed so hard against their trailers that the bow eye is sheered off, or worse, the boat jumps the trailer and hits the tow vehicle.

WhalerAce posted 06-13-2006 11:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for WhalerAce  Send Email to WhalerAce     

As nice as you are, I have to disagree about powerloading.

It is easy to do, if done correctly, and is the way EVERYBODY does it down here, even with a strong current.

Through some practice, you can get an idea of how deep to sink the trailer, but now that I have seen Jim's trick, I am going to employ that as well. The ramp that we use is non-linear depending upon the depth of the tide (that is, the trailer angle IRT the water changes depending upon the amount of ramp exposed).

We sink our trailer until the bunk is about half buried. Like Chuck said, come in from a long distance out, and try to sit as centered as you can. Coming in from a long distance also gives you more control in a current (where we load is right in a channel that has a lot of current during tide changes). At just above an idle speed, you can get the bow between the two aft bunks.

Once you are there, stop for minute. No, not the engine, but with it in gear at an idle, take the time to see how your boat is pointed in relation to the trailer. Using a LITTLE bit of power, turn the wheel to align the boat. Finish up with the wheel in the center again.

Now, you can gradually add power and feel the boat move up the trailer. If the wheel is straight, the trailer bunks will guide the boat up on it. With an observer on the ground giving hand signals (option) reduce power as you approach the winch. I usually stop between three inches from the winch all the way up to just "kissing" it.

At most, when finished, I have to wind the winch handle one turn.

We do this for both the 25' Temptation and the 15' GLS Sport. I have done this by myself with no problem or with Joyce's help. Just remember to calm down and not be in a rush. And under NO circumstances do you come in fast or climb the trailer fast.

Thanks for listening.


Matthew posted 06-13-2006 12:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Matthew  Send Email to Matthew     
A "loading line" of around 50' can be attached to your front cleat prior to docking. After the trailer is backed into the correct depth and the boat is untied from the dock; bring the tag end of the loading line with you up to the winch stand. Hand over hand that line, a light boat like the 150 will self center and come to within an arms length of the winch stand. A couple of cranks and you done.
Moe posted 06-13-2006 10:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
I'm with tombro and Tom Clark. I see no reason to powerload our 150 Sport and reasons not to. We also added the PVC guide-ons.


high sierra posted 06-13-2006 10:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for high sierra  Send Email to high sierra     
Get in the water. Use a pair of waders and you'll never damage your boat loading it. High sierra
davej14 posted 06-14-2006 11:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
Be sure to get some adhesive backed non-skid from your local hardware store and attach it to the top of the trailer tongue. From experience, this thing gets really slippery when wet and at some point you WILL try to stand on it.

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