Launching Boat

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by Poida, Jun 22, 2006.

  1. Poida
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Australia

    Poida Senior Member

    Wondering if anybody else has had this problem.

    I purchased a boat about a year ago, an inboard on a trailer.

    Got down to the launching ramp, backed her in and the boat was still a fair way out of the water. So basically it was not in the water far enough to float off, even with a bit of suden braking, which is generally not allowed at ramps.

    My first attempt to fix the problem was to fit an extended tow ball. I have a Reece Hitch which is a piece of RHS fitted into a larger RHS section so the tow ball can be pulled out. I extended the inner RHS as far as I could up to the diff. and went back down to the ramp.

    Backed it up to the water, pulled the pin out of the hitch and the tow ball as expected slipped out. I had a bolt through the RHS to prevent it from slipping all the way out. Still not in deep enough.

    So, method number 2, I made the inner RHS tapered at the front, fitted the boat winch on the back of the vehicle. Back down to the boat ramp.

    This time the configeration was designed so the inner hitch came right out of the outer and the boat and trailer went into the water allowing the boat to float off. I then winched the trailer back entering the inner hitch into the outer, no problems.

    This was intill I had to retrieve the boat. In went the trailer, on went the boat. Start winching back up. All of the ramps I have encountered use a cobblestone like surface. With the weight of the boat the front jockey wheel started following the grooves in the surface and it was several goes before I could get the trailer hitch to enter.

    Do people love it when you hold them up at a boat ramp.

    Finally calculated how much longer I needed the towbar on the trailer extended to float the boat, checked to see if it was legal, it was, I did that and I can now launch the boat OK.

    Next problem, it is hard to manouvere especially when I get it home to park it.

    So next I need to look at an extendable drawbar, but the trailer has brakes.

    Any ideas out there what to do.
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    A tilt trailer may work. The tongue or draw-bar has a pivot link and a lock pin. At the ramp you pull the pin and the trailer tip down in the back to let the boat slip out. When you retrieve it, get the boat half up and as you winch it the trailer tilts back straight.
  3. Hunter25
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: Orlando

    Hunter25 Senior Member

    Releasing the trailer from the tow is not a good idea, and probably not legal. You need to lower the boat on the trailer, possibly with different bunk arrangements or lower the trailer, maybe with smaller tires or spring locations, or you need a longer center line support to lengthen the hitch on the trailer. Trailer support jacks with wheels are not designed to be dragged up ramps. A few times with this method and it will just fold up or break. Unless you have an unusual boat and trailer combination, this should not be a real difficult problem to fix. Take it down to the local marina and ask them what they think. My guess is they will recommend a longer portion of center beam be added to your trailer, to get it farther away from the rear bumper of the tow car and into deeper water.

    You could also look for a steeper launch ramp, with deeper water.

    Backing up and learning how to manuver with it in tow, just takes practice.
  4. Poida
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Australia

    Poida Senior Member

    Thanks Gonzo
    That's what we here call a breakback trailer. My boats a bit heavy for that and in fact the trailer that I have was originally that design but the mechanism has been welded up. The trailer is definately not designed for the boat. I would hazard at a guess that the boat was originally moored and put on a trailer to sell.

    I looked at converting back to the breakback principle but doing that I would run the risk of slamming the prop into the ramp.

    Hunter 25

    You guys seem to have a law for everything in America. Yes you are correct, as I pointed out previously the front wheel did not perform very well, but it was not a standard jockey wheel, much heavier duty so there was no chance of failure.

    Lowering the trailer is not an option either as the hight is required to clear the rudder.

    You may have missunderstood me when I said I have increased the length of the drawbar. That is I assume what you are talking about, when you said increase the centre beam, yeah already done and launching the boat is no problem.

    It is mainly driving it with a long drawbar and parking at home. It is parked diagonally across my front yard and I have to leave a bit sticking out over my front boundry.

    I have to make a telescopic trailer, I have an idea that I want to try but I wanted to get ideas from other people and maybe photos of what they have done.
  5. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Australia

    waikikin Senior Member

    May be you need to mount a stub axle, hub & spare wheel to the draw bar, & use the trailer winch to lower the trailer further into the water- typical operation for some older timber clinker inboard ski boats, those tilt trailers seem to be out of favour these days- may have scrunched the odd foot here or there.with "ramp rage", practice mid week & polish the routine & u wont cop no grief.regards from Jeff
  6. alex fletcher
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: Ettalong Beach NSW Aust.

    alex fletcher Junior Member


    In Australia all registered trailers must meet the Aust. Design Rules ( ADR )
    and any State regulation You can check these through your local library or online
    Tilt Trailers / Broken back trailers are band in NSW due a appualing Safety record
    In NSW You must weld the joint closed to re register your old tilt trailer if it is inspected
    In some parts where the have large tide flows or mud flats they use a differently designed trailer with no axle bar. They use a system called FLIXTOUR like on some truck trailers they allow lower load to be carried
  7. Poida
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Australia

    Poida Senior Member

    G'day Alex

    Firstly, where's Ettalong Beach?

    That my be the reason why the one I have is welded. I downloaded all the specifications for trailers to make sure that the extension I put on the draw bar was legal, breakback trailers did not get a mention. Probably because they are illegal.

    Lowering the trailer is not an option, as reducing wheel size. The boat is high off the ground to clear the rudder.

    I am going to build another trailer that is extendable, however I am looking at designing one that extends between the two axles. This way the brakes will be in tact as they only work on the front wheels and the weight of the boat will be supported by the rear wheels as the trailer extends.

    The only drawback as I can see, is the axles would have to be slightly further apart which would make more drag on the tyres in cornering.
  8. antonfourie
    Joined: Oct 2005
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    Location: London

    antonfourie Senior Member

    Last I saw Ettalong was still there next to Woy Woy

  9. hansp77
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: Melbourne Australia


    Hey Poida,
    just a little (obvious) observation,
    if you extend between the wheels, with brakes on front and the weight on the back, then that is going to put a lot of force on your extending joint thing when under braking strain.

    I am guessing that it would be fully retracted when the boat is on? - so it might not be an issue of relying on a pin or something, ie, it couldn't retract any more even if the locking mechanism broke...

    If it is not fully retracted when the boat is on, then I think that extending joint will have to be very strongly engineered.

    Best Luck.
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