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Trailering: bow against bumpers or is a gap OK?

Discussion in 'Pontoon Forum' started by Tin Diesel, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. Tin Diesel

    Tin Diesel Well-Known Member

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    This was touched on in a different thread, but rather than step on that one, I thought I would start a new one - especially since it only applies to those of us who trailer our boats.

    The question came up regarding whether the bow of the boat should be up against the front bumpers of the trailer.

    In my two years of trailering my tritoon 2575 I/O (a pretty long boat) I've never had the boat up snug against the bumpers - there's usually a 2" gap by the time she's fully loaded and off the ramp.

    Here's how it happens:
    1. Because of the length of my boat, the trailer goes out pretty far into the water in order to get the bow up to the bumpers. I try not to power it up, as I'm aware of the damage this can do to the end of the ramp - but I always end up using the motor to get those last 1 to 3 feet or so until I'm snug against the bumpers.
    2. Once I'm snug against the bumpers, I'll leave the engine on slow-ahead (to keep the pressure on) and go forward and hook the winch into the center 'toon and crank it tight.
    3. As my wife pulls the trailer and boat out, the stern of the boat settles onto the bunks. Because of the length of my boat, this can easily be a 24" travel or more depending on the steepness of the ramp.
    4. As the stern settles, the angle of the boat changes vs the trailer, and the bow rotates upward (and a little backward).
    5. Resulting in a 2" gap.
    I use four straps on the bow: the winch strap to the center 'toon, a ratchet strap on each outboard 'toon to a steel loop on the trailer designed for this purpose, and finally a 'safety' ratchet strap that loops around the center 'toon and the center frame of the trailer. (see an old post of mine here - there are several sequential posts: How to Tiedown your Benny when Trailering). I also use two straps on the stern.

    I've never had the boat move at all - even on long 10-hour trips. I asked the guy at trailersforpontoons.com where I bought the trailer (he seems very knowledgeable) and he didn't think it was necessary to be up against the bumpers because of my strapping system.

    Even though my MidAmerica trailer is heavy duty, the ladder/post holding the bumpers is flexible with a fairly narrow base. I don't feel like its stiff enough to not flex - snug or not, it will allow the boat to move. Which is why I augment with the other straps

    I'm not saying I know what I'm talking about - which is why I'm asking for opinions here from people who trailer.
     
    kaydano and Dennis T. like this.
  2. lakeliving

    lakeliving Well-Known Member

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    Same here Kevin. I use the winch and crank mine until it touches the stops, then when the rear of the toons get settled down when pulling out there is a gap. It's been like this since day one. And in towing to FL from MI it didn't move an inch. Plus it keeps the carpet from putting the black spots on my rub rail!
     
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  3. BigKahuna

    BigKahuna Well-Known Member

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    Up against the carpeted stops. After winching the boat up tight I proceed up the ramp at a slow speed and it stays put...... It has moved before and if it does I'll back into the water and adjust it.
     
  4. Tomc

    Tomc Well-Known Member

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    I don’t trailer, but isn’t it just geometry rules? your step 4 explains it. 90 degree angle from bow and front of toons to the length of the rest of the toons floating.

    But the trailer bunks are sitting in the water at greater then 90 degrees from bow/front of toons. So when taken out of the water, the boat toons wanting to keep that 90 degrees, (and needing to stay perpendicular to the deck of the boat) either need to stay up in the air off the bunks in the back....or if the toons settle into their bunks (which they will do) the bow of the boat deck needs to pull back from trailer front.....or I guess worst case both could happen and the stern of the deck separates from the back of the toons (ain’t going to happen).

    So unless the angle of the ramp and length of boat is minimal, you will end up with a gap.
     
  5. Tomc

    Tomc Well-Known Member

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    I saw that but assumed it was 3” shag carpet on your stops.
     
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  6. Bill N

    Bill N Well-Known Member

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    To play devil's advocate, your trailer will become stronger & have less flex if pontoon is up tight against the bow stop.
    Will it ever matter? Probably not, but I dislike the excessive flexing.
     
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  7. Tin Diesel

    Tin Diesel Well-Known Member

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    ...
    Interesting thought. I think you have a valid point, if I could figure out how to secure the boat to the bow stop - lock it in. Otherwise wouldn't it just rub?

    Also, although my trailer is heavy duty, I don't think the bow stop really adds all that much strength - I know it flexes when I go up the ladder.

    In the end, I really don't know a way to make the boat stay against the bumpers as I pull out of the ramps I most commonly use.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019 at 4:31 PM
  8. gnc1017

    gnc1017 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure it matters for your setup, from what I'm hearing. If your weight distribution/tongue weight is good with the gap and it doesn't move, I'd just keep doing what you are doing.

    Ours also has that gap too after we load and I eliminate it with a quick brake check in the parking lot. The boat slides right up and I then re-tighten the straps to eliminate the slack. With the tie points we have, I'm afraid if I don't do it then, it would slide forward when underway, leaving it all loose. Again, our setup and tie points may be different though.
     
  9. Nautical

    Nautical Well-Known Member

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    I would snug it up to the carpeted bumpers myself. If everything isn't snug up front the boat will bounce up and down making for a potentially bad situation. The bumpers also serve as an index so you know you're on the trailer properly. When you are snugged up against the bumpers, is the back of your toons right there at the back of the bunks? That's important. Move the whole stanchion to achieve that fit.
     
  10. Titletown Mike

    Titletown Mike Active Member

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    Lesson learned from this past weekend. You want it snug against the trailer bumpers (my trailer has round bumpers with a foam core and nylon sleeve over the foam core. I cranked it tight against the bumpers and noticed rub marks on the pontoon's rub rail when I launched back at my home water Sunday afternoon.

    Snug, not tight for shallow ramps!

    As others posted earlier in this string, it was a very shallow launch ramp and had to wrestle the pontoon off the trailer as I couldn't back up any further as the water was up to my tailpipe. I had to really crank the winch to get it back onto the trailer. I did use a bucket to wet the bunks, which is a great tip I learned on this forum. Without getting the bunks wet, I probably would have not been able to get the pontoon back onto the trailer. After struggling with it, I did notice that everyone else that was at the launch area parking had a scissor type trailer.
     
  11. 2fast4u

    2fast4u Well-Known Member

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    spray your carpeted bunks with a light spray of silicone spray before loading the boat. Then when you get up the ramp in to the parking lot just crank the boat up the rest of the way to the stops. boat will slide easy.
     
  12. lakeliving

    lakeliving Well-Known Member

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    I spray mine with non-nutritive cereal varnish
     

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