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advice need on towing an OC20


monroj
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I'm planning to buy the Ocracoke 20 of my friend. It comes with no trailer so I need one. Any recommendations? Also, I'm thinking of getting a blue ox towing weight distribution hitch to improve the towing handling and feel of my Wrangler. Is this a good decision? Or should I consider an Equalizer hitch instead? I'm no expert when it comes to towing. Thanks for your help.

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You don't need either of these devices on this size (weight and windage) boat. I would recommend good disk brakes if in hilly areas. Sway control is  a possability, though you only need this if you're towing long distances a lot. Sway control is like a horizontal shock absorber, mounted on the tow vehicle/trailer. As the trailer and it's load get blown around in winds, especially at interstate highway speeds, it absorbs the swaying motion and "calms her down" a lot. You have to drive at highway speeds with a wandering trailer to appreciate this. Again, most can live without one. Load distribution hitches are for seriously heavy and/or high windage loads, like a camper or box trailer. What it does is help support and dissipate the tongue weight across a wider area of trailer frame. Again, most don't need this on a relatively light 20' powerboat.

 

Instead maybe you should focus on making trailer easier, such as loading guides, extra keel rollers, maybe putting shocks on the trailer to make the ride the boat experiences softer, better lighting, maybe a walkway so loading is easier, a taller winch tower, maybe with a ladder so you can enter the boat over the bow, etc., etc., etc. There are lots of things you can do to make life towing stuff easier, though you'll have to miss them first, before you realize you need them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I find the most useful stuff for a trailer is access and loading related. By access I mean maybe a platform to stand on while rigging or entering/exiting the boat when it's feet are wet. Additionally maybe a ladder on the winch tower, possibly a road box that will remain watertight when backed in, yet can hold lines, mast hoisting stuff, etc. I also think loading guides at both ends of the boat, are very useful. Most know about the aft mounted guides, which ideally should be set an inch or two narrower than the actual width of the boat, where they land on the rail. This causes the guides to very slightly pinch the boat onto the trailer, like a melon seed between your fingers. The forward guides can be like the aft ones and stand straight up. They keep the bow of the boat on the trailer's centerline, which can be tough in cross winds or obnoxious currents. I like the foreward guides to make an "X" shape below the boat, so it catches the bow low, along the centerline and have them angle up (instead of being straight) so they only touch the boat at the rail. I try to tension the aft guides to push the boat forward into the forward guides, so the boat self captures in the guide system. As many centerline rollers as you can reasonably fit is also helpful. Lastly consider a pair of shocks for the trailer. I use to have an old (1950's) vintage trailer, with a typical straight axle, but it was equipped with a set of shocks and this made the boat trailer much better. I've install shocks on many trailers and it's not hard, though some welding is usually necessary.

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If you have too much tongue weight, then  your trailer undercarriage is located too far back for your boat for starters. Of course there are a wide variety of trailer manufacturers, which also are built for big outboards to deal as a counterweight. So the axle or axles are too far back. With these custom boats most boats use smaller engines for the size of the boat so this creates a heavier tongue weight.  You don't say your location so I don't know what is available in your area. When you find a trailer that you think would work, then maybe post a picture or give us the brand and hopefully we can get more specific about it working without a load of work to it. Many of the aluminum trailers do not have clamps to the side rails and have the side rails bent way too far back. This makes them non -adjustable. This is not always the case with galvanized ones though.

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I found that trailers are mostly built/marketed for boats with outboards as Oyster mentions.  I ended up buying a trailer supposedly for a 14' boat for my 15'-8" Lapwing.  I added a roller a few other details, but the tongue weight came out just right without moving the pedestal or axle. This also meant a lighter suspension which I needed.  In the end my boat is supported on the keel and balanced with the bunks just like it should be.

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