Highlander Rigging Roundup
Tweak Your Trailer!!
By: Mike Perakis
You just pulled the boat out of the water and you notice that the boat is not quite centered on the rollers. After 3 overshoots to either side, you finally get it in the middle. Then, you notice the big black smears on the bottom where the rollers rub on the boat. You also notice your centerboard gasket has two beat-up sections right over the rollers. What can you do to eliminate these occurrences?
You can turbocharge your trailer with bunks instead of rollers. I'm not saying that your boat will fall apart or your hair will turn green if you don't rework your trailer to remove the rollers. I'm just saying that it is much more gentle on the hull because the boat isn't sitting on 4 or 5 points on a flexible trailer (every trailer bends), it's easier to launch and retrieve and can all but eliminate unsightly and damaging blemishes on the bottom. The two bunks allow the boat to float over the trailer as it bends when you hit a bump.
The transformation is really quite simple. The trickiest part is getting the curve of the bunks to match the hull. If you simply slide your boat back on the trailer a few inches, you can trace the curve for the back bunk. If your boat is close to the fenders, don't make the bunks any lower. But, if there's alot of room, go ahead and lower the boat. Keep at least 1" between the boat and the fenders. I just made my bunks the exact same height as the rollers. Remember to allow for TWO layers of carpet, especially at each end where the bunks curve up around the waterline. I used inexpensive, plush carpet store extras. Fold the carpet around the bunks and staple or screw (preferred) it in place.
Attaching the bunks to the trailer is actually quite simple. The adjustable bunk supports (from the old fore and aft bunks) are used to hold the aft bunk in place and, combined with all of the 90Â° clips, holds the back side of the forward bunk (see picture). A piece of galvanized or aluminum angle holds the front of the forward bunk in place. Any spring shop (like car and truck suspensions) can bend up the odd sized u-bolts to hold the forward brackets. The bolts will loosen up for the first few trips down the road. Make sure you tighten them up.
You can leave the middle rollers in place on the trailer, just lower them down at least 1" away from the boat. They will keep the centerboard from dropping onto the axle or the road should the pull up line break. (Hint: I had to duct tape my rollers around the crossmember because they rattle like crazy without the boat on them). Happy trailering!!