Problem winching boat to trailer

A forum for discussing issues relating to trailers and towing MacGregor sailboats.

Moderators: kmclemore, beene, NiceAft, Catigale, Hamin' X

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Tom Spohn
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Location: Seattle, WA '04M Suzi 70

Post by Tom Spohn » Tue Nov 23, 2004 8:33 pm

When we first got our X we could not do the bump. After applying generous coats of Liquid Rollers it bumped very easily. In fact we could winch in most of the way in on the ramp. Our boat was bottom painted and I could not see a difference on the area that was sliding when the LR was applied.

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Sloop John B
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Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: Florida 'Big Bend'. 02x Yamaha T50

Post by Sloop John B » Tue Nov 23, 2004 9:52 pm

Don't do a thing!

I winch up real tight at the ramp. Looks set. I get up the ramp, sucker's back a few inches.

These are the angles and crap that the engineers explain. Anyone else can simply observe and understand from common experience what happened with the bend and then level.

So, first thing, at the ramp, get the ballast out or it will slop out the front vent all over everything.

Okay. Pull her up and go as straight as you can just a few miles an hour and eyeball the rear view mirror. It's neat if you have a long run to experiment in. Push on the brakes and watch and listen. No good? Up to speed and push a little harder faster on the brake this time.

Thump! Get out and check it out. Hey, right in the groove. Thank God the boat was still wet and didn't have all that ungodly bottom paint the slip dinks have to put up with.

Funny thing, I get home and it's slid back at least an inch.

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Post by ronacarme » Wed Nov 24, 2004 2:44 am

What works for me:

To retrieve:
1. Float boat onto trailer with ballast valve and air vent open.
2. Winch bow into v-chock so bow is no longer afloat.
3. Pull up the ramp a foot or two and brake hard enuf to help the boat slide forward enuf on trailer to keep bow snug in v-chock.
4. Winch in hard to hold bow in v-chock.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 several times as you move up the ramp and till the stern is no longer afloat and the boat's waterline is parallel to the trailer frame.
6. This sequence allows time for most of the ballast water to drain on the ramp, leaves the bow within an inch or so of the v-chock, and is best done in midweek and crummy weather so nobody else is waiting to use the ramp.

1. Fill trailer tires to rated max psi or maybe a tad over to compensate for slow losses. I run 50 to 52 psi with 50 psi rated tires.
2. Fill tow vehicle tires to tire maker's max psi, which on my Windstar is way over Ford's suggested everyday psi.
3. Load most of boat's cargo into tow vehicle ( to avoid trailer overloading), as far forward as possible (to compensate for trailer tongue weight added to the rear of the tow vehicle).
4. As above discussed by others, do what is needed to provide adequate trailer tongue weight.
5. On the highway, limit speed and avoid large, sudden, back and forth, steering wheel movements. Also, visualize that passing semi as pushing a bow (pressure) wave and pulling a stern (suction) wave......which seem to be compensatable by pressing (not really moving) your steering lightly toward the passing truck cab as its front end appears in your peripheral vision, and similarly lightly pressing your steering wheel away from the rear end of the semi as it appears in your peripheral vision

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mike uk
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Post by mike uk » Wed Nov 24, 2004 4:38 am

Could anyone please clarify what a "satisfactory tongue weight" should be. Is it determined by the tow vehicle spec, or the tow hitch or the trailer spec or all of them?

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Post by Moe » Wed Nov 24, 2004 5:20 am

A satisfactory tongue weight is at least 10% of the total loaded weight of the trailer, and some safety conscious recommend 12%.

The trailer hitch has a maximum dead tongue weight, as well as a maximum pulled load. On a Class II hitch (1-1/4" X 1-1/4" shank) that's usually 350 lbs and 3500 lbs, which may not be enough for a well equipped 26X, much less 26M.


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Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
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Post by Dimitri-2000X-Tampa » Wed Nov 24, 2004 6:16 am

I load mine between 260-280 (as it says on the placard I believe) and it does not sway below 65-70 mph.

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First Officer
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Location: Layton, Utah, 96X Fast Sunday, 89D Windancer

Winching onto Trailer

Post by Newell » Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:40 pm

Does anybody read any of this?

The Mac Bump is not some sort of Roger Blessing for having bought a Mac. Read my earlier post. Yes it requires a little work but look at the time, wear and tear you will save on both the boat and vehicle loading your boat.

Remount the original winch. That's the solution to Roger's incorrect design.

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First Officer
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Post by Greg » Thu Nov 25, 2004 9:07 am

Thanks for your posting. You confirmed what I have thought since buying my boat this summer. Can you post a picture of your winch setup? ... a picture is worth a thousand words.

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Post by ericorville » Thu Nov 25, 2004 4:48 pm

The very best tip I got from ths forum was alredy described by ronacarme.
Have someone else drive ahead one fooot at a time as the boat comes up the ramp and tighten the winch at each stop . The boat comes right into the vee block. There seems to be no need for abrupt stops.
Works for me

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Post by Dimitri-2000X-Tampa » Fri Nov 26, 2004 7:47 am

Newell, that is a good tip. Sounds like it would be a nice addition to the mods section of the board.

Of course, there is always a negative to every positive. Moving the winch up will likely increase the force on the bow support because of the longer lever. Perhaps this is the reason why Roger put it lower? Afterall, the trailer is custom made for the boat, seems a bit strange why the winch would be too low.

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Post by Zoran » Fri Nov 26, 2004 10:12 pm

Well since I cannot go deep in the water enough (limitations of the tow vehicle, and relatively shallow flat ramp) I have to winch my boat to sit in the v groove. This said, it means that at this point my bow is sitting on the trailer and not floating in the water, therefore regardless of the position of the winch could not be pulled any more forward or higher (relative to the groove). When I pull it out I have about 2-3" left for the bump (no I am not doing it with my vehicle and it do not bother me since the tow is very short). Hovever, the same thing was happening when I was launching with my van and I had to do the bump.
I believe that this is result of the geometry of the trailer and different angles with the boat while afloat and on the trailer. It can be fixed by positioning the grove lower. If I do not forget next time I will take some pictures from the side and measurements, and play geometry to define this position.
For the guys that are able to winch it from the first, is it possible that your ramp is shallow and you have to winch your boat on the trailer while it is still in the water? I ma asking because I noticed the same thing as Duane, steeper the ramp bigger the gap.

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