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Advice On A Trailer

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by Shari Gnolek, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Shari Gnolek

    Shari Gnolek Have dog, will paddle

    I'm working on repairing an 18' square-back OT canoe with sponsons. We hefted onto our truck to get it home, but once it's in better shape I never plan on doing that again! It's just too long and heavy (see thumbnail photo).

    So now I'm researching trailer options and have read many of the posts on this forum related to trailers.

    I came across a listing for the trailer shown below. So, no rollers and a long supported stretch under the boat. The listing said it had a 19' bowrider on it - a bigger, heavy boat.

    I'd be interested in people's advice/suggestions/thoughts on using a trailer like this for an 18', very wide, wood and canvas canoe. They only wanted a few hundred dollars for the trailer.

  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I'd suggest the only way to really know is to put the boat on the trailer... but that involves putting the boat back on the truck, to haul it to the trailer. Ugh.

    But as long as the trailer is structurally sound, it should be able to handle this canoe. the two long, longitudinal supports could be modified a bit to fit the hull more closely, including some wide cross-members.

    I will suggest that, if you do cartop that canoe, the canoe should be centered between the crossbars of the roofrack, rather than pushed forward, as in the picture. In the picture, it looks like about half the canoe is not supported from underneath... that's a less than optimal arrangement. I'm hoping it wasn't a long drive home...
  3. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Occasionally, the stiff leaf springs on a trailer designed for a heavy boat and motor don't have enough give for a much lighter boat like yours. The solution can be to remove some of the leaves to better match the stiffness to the weight of your canoe (unless they are really worn out already). Good luck,

  4. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    I wouldn’t wish Car topping your boat on anybody. The trailer you show looks great for the length of your boat and the width is over kill. I think you may have trouble finding a narrower trailer with the proper length.
    The bunks look good on this trailer. Nice and long and laying sideways. The sideways bunks will bend a bit to form and provide support to your hull. Bunks on edge are stiff and I’ve seen damage on canvas hulls from them.
    Benson is right on the stiff springs, too. I removed a spring from my canoe trailer that softens the ride.
  5. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Yes, the springs can cause an issue... what Benson and Dave said. If you can't do this yourself, any auto mechanic can do it for you; it's not hard. But do soften up the ride for the canoe!
  6. OP
    Shari Gnolek

    Shari Gnolek Have dog, will paddle

    Fortunately, it was a short, slow ride home. The boat was also resting on a rolled up towel on the roof of the truck - less than ideal - but this was a one-time, one-way ticket!
    I saw the comments here and in other posts about removing some of the leaves for a softer ride. How do you know if you've 'matched the stiffness'?

    This boat isn't so heavy we can't carry it, it's just the length that makes it tricky to move. I wondered if this trailer (or something like a utility trailer) could be modified to carry the boat upside down on the gunwales. Then we could just flip it over and carry it to the water when we arrived to where we wanted to put in. Would something like that make more sense assuming the length was right?

    A cabin on the water with a boat house would make the most sense, but that is outside my budget! :)

    ... also, I saw many references about not trailering with a motor on the transom. Duly noted!
  7. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I'm glad to hear it was a short ride... and the rolled up towel was a great addition. Well done!

    A good auto mechanic will be able to figure out if the trailer's suspension is appropriate for the canoe's weight... or try a trailer shop.

    And I should follow my own advice, for my trailer... spare time project...
  8. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Back around 1980 Holsclaw built some small boat trailers equipped with coil springs and shock absorbers with a load capacity in the 600-800 pound range. There are quite a few of them out there and you see them from time to time being sold used and cheap. With new wheels, bearings, tires and a couple coats of Rustoleum you can bring them back to life. You wouldn't believe how much smoother and quieter they ride than trailers with leaf springs and they're a good size range for canoes, kayaks and dinghies. They're good enough that if you ever see one, buy it - even if you also have to buy the old beat up boat sitting on them. You can always throw away the boat.


    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  9. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Yes, my trailer shown at was originally built for snowmobiles. I had it modified with a longer tongue and stake pockets on the sides. It even works as a temporary dock on occasion. I prefer to trailer canoes upside down, especially in the rain. Let us know what you decide to do,

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  10. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    I'm using a jet-ski trailer that I've modified....bunk positioning and padding are pretty important.
  11. Craig Johnson

    Craig Johnson LOVES Wooden Canoes

    It Looks like a good option for you. It's a good length but if you don't need to back it into the water to unload I would definitely build racks on it so you can haul the canoe upside down resting on the gunwales. I knew a guy that hauled a canoe upright in a downpour, the canoe filled with water and the extra weight bouncing on the bunks cracked a dozen ribs. The spring are not as critical if you have the canoe on it's gunwales but a good idea to lighten them up anyway. The price is right.
  12. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    The other option is always to build a cover for an upright boat. My 22' fur trade canoe rides upright on a modified jet ski trailer. The tongue was extended with an extra hunk of tubing and there is a 2x6 extension hanging out the trailer's back end to help support the back end. With such high stems, a rack for upside down transport would have had to be pretty high. This way it keeps the trailer's center of gravity pretty low. The weight range for the jet ski trailer is about right and it rides well. The cover keeps rain out.

  13. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Yes...that's it. Upright with a cover so that you can launch from the trailer....there are lot's of folks around Rochester that will make a cover and there are lot's of places to get used jetski trailers ...I got mine for $100 at the VOA.....
    I've hauled my IG plug on it...
  14. Gary Willoughby

    Gary Willoughby Boat Builder

    It should handle your canoe well what I see is the two bunks stick out if you don't have a keel roller. You will need to back the trailer into the water if you don't the angle of the two bunks will get all the weight at the ends and you are going to do a lot of damage to your canoe.
  15. OP
    Shari Gnolek

    Shari Gnolek Have dog, will paddle

    Thanks. These replies are all very helpful and given me a lot to think about. I am going to do some more poking around and see what might be available now that I have this information. At some point, I'll post an update of what I ended up finding/modifying.
  16. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

  17. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    This trailer is a hair short for my ‘40s Rhinelander Pilot model row boat, but it works. The carpeted bunks are horizontal and flex a bit to hug the hull providing support over a large area. I’ve seen vertical bunks do damage to wooden row boats because they are very stiff and the point of contact on them is small. Also, I would think rollers may do damage to the canvas over time. E39EFE72-CCAE-4033-861A-359C950ACF8E.jpeg

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