Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

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rob28
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Location: Dryden, Ontario. In the wilderness.

Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#1 Post by rob28 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:42 pm

My sanity was tested today.......
The wind was blowing the boat towards the dock but due to a poorly maintained ramp, I had to park about 4ft away from the dock, so I couldn't ask people to help guide the boat. Several attempts and a bent guide later, all is good......
If the wind blows away from the dock, mooring lines can be used to help guide the boat but this was a new and rather unpleasant learning curve today.

I'm tempted by something like this - http://www.4c-innovations.com/# - but was curious if other people have other any opinions or other alternatives. I'm sure this situation has been experienced by many a pontooner, both new (like me) or experienced.
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fiddlebick
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#2 Post by fiddlebick » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:59 pm

I was temped to purchase that 4c easy loader too. We often are in the ohio river, and current and a windy day can mean a lot of trouble getting our boat loaded. My wife bent one of the guides on our second trip out. Instead I will be building some new bunker guides out of 2" square tubing with a gusset welded in place for extra support. The originals are channel iron with no bracing to withstand a rough loading. If that don't work, then I might buy the 4c, but I haven't found anybody that has one to give any feedback on the product. As for loading, I have sat back and watched others load, and it is not at all uncommon to see several attempts for anybody loading a pontoon.
"I may be old....but I am slow!" 2005 Bennington Rfs, 2004 Honda 135.

Bamaman
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#3 Post by Bamaman » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:17 pm

Unfortunately, loading trailers is sometimes difficult and there are no schools to teach trailer loading.

Anytime I'm loading, I drive my boat on the trailer. These things are too heavy and kite like to deal with ropes on a windy day. Too many injuries happen on slick, wet boat ramps and walking around on wet trailers tugging a boat.

I will be driving into the wind or waves or current, and turn into the trailer with the engine in gear. It's an acquired talent that comes from experience.

Just let me say I've been known to try a second or third time, and I'm quick to throw the boat into reverse, hit the throttle and try again.

I have a next door neighbor that has a doctorate in music. A lake person he's not. When his pontoon was new, he got stranded out on the lake and couldn't get his boat in the boathouse. He had to have another neighbor swim out and drive him in. Needless to say, he has few hours on a beautiful pontoon boat. Like I said, it's a talent acquired from experience.
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ROLAND
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#4 Post by ROLAND » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:41 pm

Bamaman wrote:Unfortunately, loading trailers is sometimes difficult and there are no schools to teach trailer loading.

Anytime I'm loading, I drive my boat on the trailer. These things are too heavy and kite like to deal with ropes on a windy day. Too many injuries happen on slick, wet boat ramps and walking around on wet trailers tugging a boat.

I will be driving into the wind or waves or current, and turn into the trailer with the engine in gear. It's an acquired talent that comes from experience.

Just let me say I've been known to try a second or third time, and I'm quick to throw the boat into reverse, hit the throttle and try again.

I have a next door neighbor that has a doctorate in music. A lake person he's not. When his pontoon was new, he got stranded out on the lake and couldn't get his boat in the boathouse. He had to have another neighbor swim out and drive him in. Needless to say, he has few hours on a beautiful pontoon boat. Like I said, it's a talent acquired from experience.

Bama speaks the truth... two years ago when I first got my toon I got so frustrated trying to load onto the trailer that at one point I was ready to throw in the towel.... many times that year it took me 2 or 3 attempts to get the boat on the trailer.... got a lot of great advice here, the best of which was "go slow".... it will get better with practice... I had to load my boat today in a pretty strong crosswind.... got lucky and got her loaded on the first try.....
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MH Hawker
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#5 Post by MH Hawker » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:55 am

This will solve the problem.
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If it aint broke your not having enough fun

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steveiam
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#6 Post by steveiam » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:21 am

I made something just like this and it works GREAT!
Crosswind doesn't bother this at all. In fact its better to come at the trailer a bit to the side so the guides can guide the boat onto the trailer.
I don't have time to search through all my pics this morning, if you want to see more I'll get them this evening, but hopefully you can make out what I did.
Image
Image
Image
This is when I was working out the kinks, i since added a 2x4 brace on the end, and a longer 2x4 about two feet inside two helps with impacts.
Also of course carpeted all exposed wood, I wish I had current pics, it doesn't look as rough as when I was working things out.
Image
This has made loading EASY!
This is for a two log toon though.
Once you pass the first part of the guide boards just give it a bit of power and you are on straight the first time every time.
I often wonder if Jimmy really did crack corn, and why should I care?

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keosports
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#7 Post by keosports » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:07 am

I just pull up to the dock, put the trailer in the water, use 2 dock lines and pull it right on the trailer, hook up the winch, usually takes less than 5 minutes, I also have those trailer guides like above, they really help a lot, the 4c look great but i think they are about $500, the trailer guides and wood ran under $100
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fiddlebick
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#8 Post by fiddlebick » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:04 am

Thank you for those pics Steve. That is more like what I want to build for my trailer. Your design is much like the 4c product, only simpler and cheaper. I am going to fab up something like that too.
"I may be old....but I am slow!" 2005 Bennington Rfs, 2004 Honda 135.

fiddlebick
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#9 Post by fiddlebick » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:12 am

Steve, from the pics, it doesn't look like you raised the rear portion of the guides to allow for the angle of the loading ramp. Isn't most of the guiding portion of your design underwater as you approach the trailer?
"I may be old....but I am slow!" 2005 Bennington Rfs, 2004 Honda 135.

steveiam
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#10 Post by steveiam » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:35 am

fiddlebick wrote:Steve, from the pics, it doesn't look like you raised the rear portion of the guides to allow for the angle of the loading ramp. Isn't most of the guiding portion of your design underwater as you approach the trailer?
Yes Sir correct I did not raise it any-
I put the white hard vinyl 1x4's on top of my bunk boards and treated them with a water resistant silicone similar to "liquid rollers" So the boat slides on and off very easy-
I generally only back down till the top of the guide boards are showing and that has always been enough in any ramp I have loaded onto so far-and I have used this on several different ramps.
I often wonder if Jimmy really did crack corn, and why should I care?

fiddlebick
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#11 Post by fiddlebick » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:25 am

Ahh I see.....love it.
"I may be old....but I am slow!" 2005 Bennington Rfs, 2004 Honda 135.

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rbiederwolf
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#12 Post by rbiederwolf » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:05 pm

Just watched the video of the 4C. Looks like a good idea however, first does anyone back their vehicle in that far?? On some ramps I am on you run out of decent pavement, and second, definitely not a good idea to pull you boat out until you secure the trailer winch to your boat. If I tried that with my boat it would slide off the back.

I think in general any type of additional alignment guide is a great help, but make sure they are set up properly. My trailer from the factory had additional guides installed, but they were set too far away from the pontoons and basically useless. By moving them away from the center, and closer to the outside tubes, they solved a lot of my difficulties.

However nothing beats experience. I have put my boat on the trailer in some pretty sh##Ty conditions - wind one way, current the other way, rain etc, but taking your time, be confident in your skills and try , try again.

As long as you proceed cautiously most mistakes can be avoided. However I will say there have been sometimes where a little speed to keep you on track helps, but you must have the confidence and experience to know how your boat will react under these conditions.
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fiddlebick
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#13 Post by fiddlebick » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:50 am

If you watch that video again you will notice they also have a quick latch setup on the trailer that locks onto the pontoon as it approaches the front of the trailer. That is an option also sold by 4c. That makes it ok to head up the ramp without the winch attached.
"I may be old....but I am slow!" 2005 Bennington Rfs, 2004 Honda 135.

sunnyside
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#14 Post by sunnyside » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:55 am

rob28 wrote: I'm tempted by something like this - http://www.4c-innovations.com/# - but was curious if other people have other any opinions or other alternatives. I'm sure this situation has been experienced by many a pontooner, both new (like me) or experienced.
I'm still on the steep part of the learning curve in loading my pontoon unto the trailer and have similar feelings. I came very close to buying the 4C-Innovations guide recently and may still do it but am trying additional guide posts first at $40 a pair from the boat dealer. I currently have 6 guide posts (3 on each side) and have yet to try that setup whenever the rain subsides here in the East. I could possibly add one or two more on each side but need more experimentation. One of my concerns with the 4C-Innovations rig is with the third (mid) full length pontoon, ie, mid cross brace and clearance at rear of guides. I've been in touch with 4C-Innovations regarding tri-toon concerns and they said it can be made to work. They indicated a two week back log on orders.

Also, lots of good info/ideas listed above in this thread.
2014 Bennington 2375 RL, ESP Pkg, many options, Evinrude ETEC 225HO

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rbiederwolf
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Re: Loading onto a trailer in a crosswind

#15 Post by rbiederwolf » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:04 pm

fiddlebick wrote:If you watch that video again you will notice they also have a quick latch setup on the trailer that locks onto the pontoon as it approaches the front of the trailer. That is an option also sold by 4c. That makes it ok to head up the ramp without the winch attached.

Oops, didn't notice that. To be honest I have never seen that before -= pretty slick
If you ain't got the the blues, you got a hole in your soul...

Rick
2007 Avalon Paradise Elite 22 Tritoon
2008 Yamaha 150hp

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