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How To Correct Too Much Play at Trailer Winch

Trailering > How To Correct Too Much Play at Trailer Winch

Challenges with trailering abound during the boating season. This month, with the help of our experienced iboats Boating Forums members, we address the issue of having too much play left when you have winched your boat onto the trailer.

A forum member wrote, Just bought a used 22 foot deep V center console and took it out last night. When I tried to load it on the trailer I winched it tight to the bow stop roller and when I pulled it out of the water the bow eye was approx 6 inches away from the stop. I tried this several times with the same result even after winching as hard as I could and trying several trailer in the water positions with the same result. Finally got tired of the mess, fired up the engine and ran her up like a bass boat then winched tight, pulled out of the water and this time it settled back only an inch or two. The transom is past the end on the bunks by 5 inches. The previous owner isn't any help. Any idea is welcome.

Response 1: Look for safety chains over in the trailer hitch section of your local hardware or sporting goods store (or online at iboats.com). Most come in a set of two chains. I took one of these chains and used it to connect the bow eye to the winch post of the trailer. It sounds like the winch is slipping as you're pulling the boat out of the water. The chain will keep that from happening AND if your strap ever breaks it will keep the boat from sliding off the trailer.

Response 2: I would get longer bunks and support the transom. There is a lot of outboard weight on the transom.

Your winch is slipping, broken or you don't have it locked down. Once you're winched up to the bow roller your boat should stay there.

Use of a bow eye chain is a must have, but you will have some slack there also. I use a short 2" ratchet strap and chain to hold everything in place and relieve the winch strap stress when towing.

Response 3: My 23 foot Chris Craft did the same thing, luckily it has a total adjustable winch stand - which we had to lower, change the angle, and move.

Response 4: Sorry, but I can't imagine pulling out of the water without the safety chain hooked up. Watched the father-in-law pull his 18.5 Lund out at the landing and the strap broke. Thankfully he had his safety chain hooked up or it would have been really ugly.

(Editors Note: When replacing your boat trailer winch, make sure you get a quality product that will protect your investment and ensure your trailering safety. Check our web site for all your trailer parts and accessories. )

Regarding winches, our iboats Boating Forums members had this to say:

Forum member 1: Gear ratio is the key to effective winching. Its all about leverage. A winch with a 40:1 ratio will retrieve line/cable at a faster rate than one with a 50:1 ratio but it will take more power to turn the crank. The 50:1 will crank easier than the other but will require more turns to retrieve the same amount of cable. A winchs rating in pounds (1500#, for example) is the ability of the winch to handle the weight being pulled without coming apart. It has nothing to do with ratio. So -- when comparing two winches you want one that meets the weight or pull requirement and if they are the same, pick the one with the higher ratio.

Forum member 2: Fulton makes a decent winch. Get it bigger than you need, makes no sense to save $10 and end up with something that is undersized for the job. You should be able to get a nice single-speed one for around $40-45, and under $55 with the strap. They make a nice "2 speed" winch (for $85 to $100), which is nice if you ever have to do any real heavy winching, say to get the boat on the trailer at a very shallow launch.

(Editors Note: The forum member inserted an unsolicited plug for iboats when he or she added the following information.)

They are available online at many boating sites, like HERE (iboats.com)!!



Forum member 3: Go with a Fulton. I bought one of those cheapies off ebay and the gears stripped 1st time on my 250lb aluminum V hull fishing boat.

(Editors Note: iboats.com also offers many other hand winches from Dutton Lainson, SeaSense, and Dr. Shrink, as well as a full line of electric winches from Powerwinch.) ]

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