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Author Topic:   CONQUEST: Using Hard Top as Ski Pylon
Whaleritis posted 08-04-2005 11:56 AM ET (US)   Profile for Whaleritis   Send Email to Whaleritis  
My husband wants to hook a ski tow rope to the hard top of our 23' Conquest. When we use the tow eyes on either side of the motor, the rope sometimes gets lost in the wake. Hooking the rope to the hard top support would sure get it out of the water, but I don't want to hurt the boat (or my husband, for that matter!). Anyone know if this is safe or not?
Buckda posted 08-04-2005 12:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Dangerous? I don't know about that, but it certainly has the potential to put repeated stresses on the top that it was not designed to handle.

Typically, when engineers are designing a top, they're looking for strenght+light weight. That means they've paid special attention to the intended use of the top and have designed strength to handle the expected stresses resultant from that use. On a boat, they have to include wave action and wind, as well as the expectation that a certain amount of weight will be placed on the top (instruments, lights, radar, antennae, etc.)

Personally I don't think it is a good idea because of the potential for damage to your expensive equipment.

Your tow rope is buried in the wake of the boat because the boat was not designed for skiing. Of course, you can continue to ski behind it - after all, one of the hallmarks of Whaler design is versatility - however, that versatility comes with certain drawbacks. In this case, it is a boat that throws a rather large wake, and presents the challenge of a buried tow line in certain circumstances when skiing.

IF your husband insists on giving this grand idea a go, you should carefully inspect the mounting points and welds on your top for stress fractures/cracks after each use. Also - be sure that the ski-eye you add to the top is backed properly - aluminum is a rather soft metal that is prone to bending.

bsmotril posted 08-04-2005 12:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
I had a Conquest 23, and I absolutely would never do it. I had a hard enough time keeping the welds intact on the rear mounts without hanging another couple of hundred pounds from the top. Look at how a real wakeboard tower is designed and engineered. It is nothing like the conquest top. On the Conquest, the rear of the top is a big overhang, and there is just enough support there to hold up the weight of the rear of the top. Any force applied to the rear of that top has the leverage of that overhang working against the hull mounts which are set well forward. A Wakeboard tower has little to no overhang to leverage and multiply the force applied, even though it uses similar sized tubing and mounts. BillS
Whaleritis posted 08-04-2005 12:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaleritis  Send Email to Whaleritis     
Thanks for the advice. You've pretty much confirmed my suspicions. Buckda, you're absolutely right about the Conquest not being a great ski boat. We have real nice Newport that is a much better fit for that kind of thing, but the Conquest's cuddy is just the right size for my little girls, and since they like to fish as much as their father does, we usually end up taking out the bigger boat.

Since the hard top isn't the answer, what about installing a ski pole? Does Whaler, or any other good supplier, make one that would work?

15ftlover posted 08-04-2005 01:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for 15ftlover  Send Email to 15ftlover     
Try adding some small bright colored styrofoam donut floats further down the ski line just past the prop wash (about 6-8 feet back). They have ones that thread on like beads on a string-lightweight but will make the rope more visible and keep it from sinking (similar to the ones you find on a swimmming pool lane line but foam not plastic). I agree with others and would not trust a ski rope high up on the T-top frame, too much leverage.
Jerry Townsend posted 08-04-2005 02:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Whaleritis - No way consider towing a skier from the T-Top - the loads from skier are far greater than those loads to which the T-top is designed. Guaranteed to fail the T-top.

Consider using polypropelene (sp?) rope, if you are by chance using nylon. The use of floats as others suggested will help too. --- Jerry/Idaho

MyOutrage posted 08-04-2005 03:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for MyOutrage  Send Email to MyOutrage     
I've been skiing off of Outrages for years. Rather than using the rear eyes, we've always run the ski rope up through the hole in the gunwall (yes I know there's a term for that but can't remember it) where you would tie-off the stern of the boat. It effectively gets the rope a little higher off the waterline and out of the wake. Not sure that's an option for the Conquest.
Whaleritis posted 08-04-2005 03:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaleritis  Send Email to Whaleritis     
Jerry, I'm not sure what the rope is made of. It was meant for tubing and skiing, and feels like your average prickly plastic material. I swear they make it that way just to skin you up good!

The float idea is a good one, except I don't think it would help when the rope is fully taut. It's not actually that the rope sinks, but that the waves created by the boat are higher than the tow eyes and the tuber or knee boarder.

Although in my original post I mentioned a "ski rope" the problem is least apparent with a higher skier, and worse with a lower tube or knee board.

Also, the top isn't a T-top, but the hard top over a cuddy. It's probably a little stronger since the supports are shorter and more numerous, but as bsmotril and Buckda said, it's still not made for this purpose. I guess we just have to deal with the wake. Better that than hurt the top. We were out this weekend in 90 degree weather, and without that shade I would have roasted for sure!

Whaleritis posted 08-04-2005 03:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaleritis  Send Email to Whaleritis     
MyOutrage, do you mean you anchor the rope just on one side, without the bridle split around the motor? The Conquest has the holes (I can't remember their name either), but is the cleat (kleet, cleet? ... darn I can't spell!) strong enough?
newt posted 08-04-2005 04:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
I think the term you guys are searching for is "hawse pipe".
WHALER27CC posted 08-04-2005 04:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for WHALER27CC  Send Email to WHALER27CC     
One other point to consider....If the rope were to snap while attatched to the top, then someone on that deck area could see a serious injury. The solution is setting up the rope with floats.
bsmotril posted 08-04-2005 04:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
The holes for the mooring lines to pass through the gunnel to the interior cleat is a hawsepipe. BillS
David Pendleton posted 08-04-2005 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
Yikes! I wouldn't even consider pulling a skier from my Conquest's hardtop.

I've seen products for towing from stern-eyes, with a pulley and the little 'football' float to keep the bridle out of the prop.

My friends are always begging me to take them kneeboarding because my boat throws and awesome wake with the tabs all the way down...

I've never obliged, however.

JohnBT posted 08-04-2005 10:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for JohnBT  Send Email to JohnBT     
Whaleritis - a float will not work for the problem you are having. I agree with the posters who have said not to use the top, though. If you plan to use the boat regularly for skiing/towing towables you will probably need to consider mounting a pylon or otherwise rigging the rope to something designed to withstand the stresses of skiing, but higher on the boat than the lifting eyes.
I have the same problem, but a different boat. I'm trying to come up with something for my Montauk that will not require drilling holes. If anyone has a suggestion, please post it. thanks.
dauntlass 18 posted 08-04-2005 11:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for dauntlass 18  Send Email to dauntlass 18     
My 21 ft Conquest has a factory ski pole which you can mount in the railing around the motor well.The same mount location in the rail is used for the bait prep table Whaler supplied with my boat.I would call Whaler and see what they suggest.
Jay A posted 08-06-2005 12:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jay A    
Use the tow eyes with a bridle set-up. A bright colored float at the "Y" and use a ski tow rope that's made for that purpose....they float! Case closed.
Whaleritis posted 08-06-2005 11:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaleritis  Send Email to Whaleritis     
Thanks for all the input. I'm new to the forum, and you guys have been a great help.

dauntless 18 has the right idea with the ski pylon. And as JohnBT said, floats aren't enough to solve the problem. When the boat is stationary, the rope floats just fine. But when it gets moving and the line is taut, the stern eyes aren't high enough to keep the rope out of the huge wake the boat throws. It's a catch 22 - the wake is great but I can't take advantage of it because the rope gets caught! I need to contact a Whaler dealer to check on the pylon option.

Jerry Townsend posted 08-07-2005 02:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Whaleritis - my apologies for stating a T-top instead of your cuddy hardtop - just getting too far in front (or behind) of myself. But sounds like you are on the right track to resolving your problem. ---- Jerry/Idaho
David Pendleton posted 08-08-2005 06:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Pendleton  Send Email to David Pendleton     
FYI--just carrying my 8.5 Zodiac on my hardtop this weekend on L. Superior caused on of my rear supports to crack about 2/3 of the way around...
p5surf posted 08-09-2005 03:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for p5surf  Send Email to p5surf     
You should consider a ski pole. Look at what this guy has done:

and no I don't mean a polish dude.


Plotman posted 08-09-2005 04:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Try looking here:
whoz yer daddy posted 08-10-2005 02:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for whoz yer daddy  Send Email to whoz yer daddy     

Have you given any thought to para-sailing? The view is fantastic and it's easier on the back, legs and arms! It would also solve your problem concerning the wake and the rope!!

Sorry, had to add a little tounge-n-cheek to this thread....!!


Whaleritis posted 08-11-2005 10:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaleritis  Send Email to Whaleritis     
Hmmmm .... parasailing. Never tried it but it sounds like fun! I did fly a kite from our Newport once, though.

Dave, sorry to hear about the trouble with your hardtop. I'm beginning to worry I've been taking ours for granted. We've done a few cannon balls from it, and sit on it from time to time. I just figured since they made the supports in the shape of a ladder it was an invitation to climb!

SSCH posted 08-11-2005 10:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for SSCH  Send Email to SSCH     
From all the previous posts it seems clear that the top is not the place to tow. Here's a link that will show you some of the Whaler solutions to this problem.

I don't know if any of these would work on your boat since they are commercial solutions, but they should give you a few ideas. If you have a local T Top maker, these fixtures shouldn't be too hard or expensive to build to fit your Conquest.

MyOutrage posted 08-11-2005 05:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for MyOutrage  Send Email to MyOutrage     
Newt & Bsmotril - "hawse pipe" that's the name I was looking for... thanks.

Whaleritis - To answer your question... yes. I secure the tow line to only one side of the boat and don't use a bridle split. I've never questioned if the cleat was strong enough since I've been doing it for so many years on my friends boats.

jimh posted 08-11-2005 09:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Moved; changed TOPIC.]

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