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Thread: Adjusting boat trailer for a NE Dory

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Default Adjusting boat trailer for a NE Dory

    i have just bought a boat trailer for my CLC dory, and could use some advice on the side roolers.

    The trailer came with one set of rollers placed at the stern end (pic 1). Problem is that when adjusted to support the boat in this position, the side rollers take all the wheight and lift the boat of the keel rollers, when the fat belly of this otherwise slender boat passes between...

    Guessing this isn't the right way, I first thought of moving the side rollers forward to a piont just in front of the widest part of the hull (pic 2). But this leaves the boat without any support/guidance when it's half off/on the trailer. Not that desirable either. So what to do - place the rollers at the rear end (as pic 1), shorten the stick and move them lower/closer together, so one roller is on the bottom and the other on the garboard?



    Last edited by ThorBue; 08-01-2016 at 10:18 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
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    SF Bay Area- Richmond
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    Default Re: Adjusting boat trailer for a NE Dory

    Any photos of this trailer without a boat on it?

    Here's the deal: the bottom support on the trailer should take all the weight, with side supports (rollers or bunks) just holding it in position. There are also guides (rollers, short bunks, posts) that help get the boat positioned on the trailer, but don't do anything once it is correctly positioned and strapped down.

    For a dory I'd put a 2x12" with U-bolts right down the center of the trailer. You can cover it with carpet or HDPE once you get it right. The aft roller can either be attached to this plank or to the trailer frame. Due to the rocker in the bottom of the dory, only a portion will rest on this plank at at time - but it does move up and down the plank when launching & retrieving.

    The side rollers or bunks can then be positioned to hold the boat upright and in position. If desired one set of rollers can be used to guide the boat into place -- very handy when retrieving the boat single-handed in current or wind. I'd certainly trim the posts on the rollers that stick down below the frame -- you don't want anything like that to possibly snag when beach launching or on a funky, narrow ramp with eroded sides.

    Don't worry about the support when half off / on the trailer -- it should be doing that in water, and unless you've loaded it or have someone aboard ( !! ), it shouldn't hurt the boat at all for the brief time it is in that position.

    Trailers like these come set up for fiberglass powerboats. You can't expect to just roll a wooden boat onto them and have it work -- you'll need to add supports, move existing ones, etc.

    My dory skiff has a very similar hull shape, and the bunks just hold it upright and keep it from sliding sideways when trailering. Here's a photo of it before I added a sheet of HDPE to the carpeted plank on the trailer to make it launch easier.

    Last edited by Thorne; 08-01-2016 at 11:51 AM.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Adjusting boat trailer for a NE Dory

    Thanks Thorne - can your bunks move and adjust to the boat?

    When on the trailer, the weight is on the keel rollers. I'm replacing the two front keel rollers as the dory has a flat bottom, and even though it is quite light these rollers dont take much weight on the edges. The tilting ones supports the skeg, no problem there.
    My problem was getting the side rollers to hold the boat in placewhen loaded, whitout having them taking all the weigt when loaiding. But I'm beginning to realise that it can't be done. So I guess I'll just have to ad bunks, and perhaps keep the side rollers as guidance when loading.

    here's a pic from a dealers site...
    Last edited by ThorBue; 08-01-2016 at 12:45 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Adjusting boat trailer for a NE Dory

    I'd still be tempted to replace those two keel rollers with a plank, as they don't give much support at all. What will you replace 'em with? You can move one forward to fit under the rockered bottom near the bow, I've done that and it works great.

    Bunks will be best for supporting the sides, and you can get them with curved uprights or make your own from aluminum ladder supports, so they don't have to be directly under the trailer frames. The angled rollers on the sides should be find to guide the boat on and off the trailer, but they may also need curved supports. Google ladder standoffs / stabilizers - https://www.zoro.com/werner-stabiliz...96/i/G7449416/ Cabelas and many other resellers have the angled supports and brackets - http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/brows..._SEQ_104366880


    The tilting thingie at the back is new to me, and sure looks like trouble when mixed with that rear light bar. If that rear bar isn't structural I'd remove it ASAP and plan on hanging it or a wood light bar off the back of the dory -- MUCH better for other motorists seeing the lights, and won't scrape the bejeezus outa your boat if loading on a shallow ramp or beach. It looks like you've removed it already, which is good! The light bar can be built to hang on the rudder gudgeons on the dory's transom if desired.
    Last edited by Thorne; 08-01-2016 at 01:26 PM.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Adjusting boat trailer for a NE Dory

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    I'd still be tempted to replace those two keel rollers with a plank, as they don't give much support at all. What will you replace 'em with? You can move one forward to fit under the rockered bottom near the bow, I've done that and it works great.
    I've founds some flat rubber ones. A plank of course will offer more support, but I'll be able to have the rollers placed under a frame, so i did think that'll be okay for a light boat - 70 kg or so...

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    Bunks will be best for supporting the sides, and you can get them with curved uprights or make your own from aluminum ladder supports, so they don't have to be directly under the trailer frames. The angled rollers on the sides should be find to guide the boat on and off the trailer, but they may also need curved supports. Google ladder standoffs / stabilizers - https://www.zoro.com/werner-stabiliz...96/i/G7449416/ Cabelas and many other resellers have the angled supports and brackets - http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/brows..._SEQ_104366880

    ]The tilting thingie at the back is new to me, and sure looks like trouble when mixed with that rear light bar. If that rear bar isn't structural I'd remove it ASAP and plan on hanging it or a wood light bar off the back of the dory -- MUCH better for other motorists seeing the lights, and won't scrape the bejeezus outa your boat if loading on a shallow ramp or beach. It looks like you've removed it already, which is good! The light bar can be built to hang on the rudder gudgeons on the dory's transom if desired.
    The light bar is removable, to get it out of the water when on the ramp, and for adjusting the lenght to the boat. Also the center beam can be pulled out to adjust to boat lengths from 12-18', I believe.
    I've only (un)loaded the boat in the driveway, but it seems that the tilting rollers works quite well, and will distribute the load much better when pulling the boat on to the trailer. So I'll keep them for now and se how it works.
    Side rollers I'll have to se what to do with. As they are at the moment I cant get much support of them during loading, other than som rudimentary sideway "emergency stops"

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Fairfield, CA
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    Default Re: Adjusting boat trailer for a NE Dory

    What Thorne says. Here's the trailer for my flat bottom skiff - rollers to guide it on but bunks to support:


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Belmont, MA
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    12

    Default Re: Adjusting boat trailer for a NE Dory

    Your trailer looks ideal for my caledonia yawl. who manufactured this trailer? I am near boston and cape cod.
    Thanks
    Rich Vogel

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