Tongue weight question.

Apr 26, 2015
S2 26 Mid On Trailer
It's 1 percent for 6 inches, on my trailer. So, about a thousand times as much as you think.

But it's important to understand that the amount of load on the tongue is not the issue. The issue is the center of mass position. If the C of M position is already marginal, then even a small shift aftward can be significant. It's a stability problem, and stability is notoriously non linear.
On my tandem axle trailer the lower I go with the tongue the lighter the tongue becomes. The higher I go the heavier. Shift in balance point between the axles. I've had enclosed tandem axle cargo trailers, when empty, the tongue would never touch the ground.

Disagree on the tongue weight not being an issue. I could put 5000# (227kg to you) of lead right in the center of a tandem axle trailer with no tongue weight and the thing would wag just due to tire and suspension deflection.


Jan 15, 2006
Macgregor 22 Silverton
10% of the total weight boat and trailer should be on the ball at the hitch. 45% of the combined boat and trailer weight should be behind the axle for single axle trailers. The trailer should not push vehicle upward when stopping so if the ball is level with the tow axle or maybe even just a smidge below that would be better than too high.
May 24, 2004
CC 30 South Florida
Raising or lowering the ball a couple of inches has approximately 0.001% effect on the weight. Raising it meters would be noticable, but inches? You're all daft!
The weight distribution takes place horizontally along the length of the trailer between the tongue and the center of the axle(s). The tongue can pivot up or down on the axle. As the tongue is lowered the transfer of weight from the axle to the tongue increases in proportion to the length of the lever arm. In a small trailer with a light load the transfer of weight is not that apparent, but get a long trailer with a heavy load and you will see how 100 lbs can be transferred by 1 inch movements. It is the same principle of the weight distribution in the See Saw example most of us must have seen in school.
Jun 2, 2004
Hunter 23.5 Fort Walton Yacht Club, Florida
I once towed a trailer from Norfolk VA to Dayton OH that was so close on it's weight distribution that it started getting squirrelly depending on how much gas was in the car and going down hill it was kinda white knuckley. Going up hill I could go as fast as I wanted but down hill was much slower going. I should have stopped and addressed the issue I suppose but I had few convenient options and pressed on. The trailer was set up fine I think it just needed a larger tow vehicle.

It is so much less tiresome to tow a trailer that is set up properly it is worth the time effort and expense to set it up right.
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Aug 10, 2014
Catalina 22 9874 Newberg, OR / Olympia, WA
When I got my C25 it was also a bear to tow due to little tongue weight. I built a motor mount onto the bow jack and moved the outboard from the stern to the bow and that solved the problem. It was also a lot easier on the motor and mount to not bounce around on the lifting mount.
I just did the same this year. Also, added a spare-tire mount near the trailer tongue (instead of the welded-on mount point near the axle). Overall, I added ~150 lbs of tongue weight.

If you're in the market for a nice adjustable ball-mount, consider the Weigh Safe, with a built-in tongue-weight scale. They're expensive - definitely a lot more than a fixed-drop stinger - but if you were already looking at a good adjustable hitch, they're not a huge amount more. No association with the company, but a happy customer. Recommended.

The hitch adjustment includes a lock - I added a locking hitch pin (to protect the expensive hitch).
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Oct 5, 2021
ODay ODay 17 Daysailor Lake Pleasant
The boat I picked up this summer was a nightmare to tow because the tongue weight was too light, my question is, does the trailer hitch height, (straight, 2" drop, 3" drop etc) affect the tongue weight. Obviously if you lift the tongue high enough, the trailer will tip back, which means the tongue weight goes from positive to negative at some point, so wouldn't lowering the tongue below it's level shift weight to the tongue?
I have moved the axle a few inches to adjust the weight balance, Its a basic fulcrum idea. I've moved the crankhaul along the trailer beam. I have also installed tongue extensions for launch ease..(sq. tube inside - 6' ext.. its great for the smaller sailboats) Lots of creative stuff for your issue..
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