• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

Trailer tongue weight

Jul 23, 2019
81
Hunter 18.5 Revelstoke
I know I should be between 10% - 15% total trailer weight (including boat and all it’s accessories) but am finding mine is way light... like I should be 220 - 330 lbs and I’m only 60 -80 lbs.

Not wanting to pull the motor off every time we trailer... looks like the boat can move about 2” forward on the trailer with some effort, this should help but will still probably be light. I see weight distribution hitches but they seem more aimed at heavy tongue weight so I don’t know if it would help?

Any ideas other than moving heavy objects every time we tow? There’s not a lot I can think to move forward during transport as I keep the boat pretty empty except for sails and a small toolbox
 

srimes

.
Jun 9, 2020
112
Macgregor 26D Brookings
Move boat forward on trailer (prob. more than 2"), move axle back on the trailer. Put heavy stuff in the bow. Simple but aggravating.

Important to prevent sway.
 
  • Like
Likes: DrJudyB
May 24, 2004
6,335
CC 30 South Florida
Let's start from the beginning, tongue weight should be measured with the rails of the trailer parallel to the ground on a level surface. If your hitch ball is too high your tongue weight will be too low. It is necessary that the majority of the load in the trailer be located in front of the axle. It's a juggling act, move the load on the trailer forward or the axle backwards, lower or raise the hitch ball to get to that ideal 10% of tongue weight with the trailer parallel to the ground. If you have a tall truck get an adjustable ball mount and you can adjust the heigth and dial in the tongue weight. Small adjustments from the trailer paralell to the ground are ok but if large adjustments are necessary then the load needs to be adjusted.
 

Attachments

Aug 1, 2011
3,835
Catalina 270 255 Wabamun. Welcome to the marina
Not wanting to pull the motor off every time we trailer...
Yank the motor, and build yourself a bracket to put the motor at the front of the trailer. A simple and very effective way of loading up the front while you unload the back, and it only takes a couple of minutes to move the motor. That's what we did on our old MacGregor, and the addition of an 8hp up front made all the difference in the world. Failing that, you are moving the axle, loading the bow or getting the boat further forward.
 
  • Helpful
Likes: justsomeguy
Aug 1, 2011
3,835
Catalina 270 255 Wabamun. Welcome to the marina
We had it down to 25 minutes flat. Little things like a roller in the mast crutch, a 4:1 on the raising system, shaves a few seconds as there isn't as much line to pull, the red alligator straps all came off and went in a bag, and there was literally three bolts, one for the mast, one for the rudder and one for the pull cable. The genny lived on the furler and the boom and main went on while the tank was filling.
A lot of the things we learned have been applied to the little Catalina, but this one takes about 2 hours, not including the Loos gauges.
 

srimes

.
Jun 9, 2020
112
Macgregor 26D Brookings
Good idea on mounting the boom and sail while the tank is filling. I'll have to try that. I've been getting the boat pretty much 100% ready, including sails, while on the trailer.

I recently decided to skip the mast raising system and just deadlift the mast from the cabin top. Not too bad and much quicker with less to set up.

How is your front trailer motor mount rigged?
 
Aug 1, 2011
3,835
Catalina 270 255 Wabamun. Welcome to the marina
Welded to the bow stop. You'll notice that there is a built in step, and a rod to stop the assembly from twisting. There is a plywood bracket to use the motor clamps against. I played with the saturation of the picture to try to bring out some more detail.
DSC03786 copy.jpg
 
Apr 5, 2009
1,189
Catalina '88 C30 tr/bs Oak Harbor, WA
I did the same thing to get tougue weigth on my C25 swing. Made all of the difference. It was also much easier on the motor mount. On the one (and only) trip with the motor in the back on the mount, my brother in law was following in his car. He told me that in addition to the terrible sway that I could feel at every bump, the motor was bouncing all over the place. He told me that he backed off an extra 5-6 car-lengths so that when it broke off, he would have a chance of dodging it.
Moving it was easy enough. unlock, unscrew the mounting clamp, lift and carry to board mounted on the tongue. When my brother in law set his boat up, he build a platform on the tongue that he mounted to outboard to laying on its side.
 

RussC

.
Sep 11, 2015
1,451
Merit 22- Oregon lakes
Yup. much easier on your motor mount, and only takes a minute to mount it at the ramp..... unless you happen to have a really heavy outboard. mine is only 45lb or so.
P1040551.jpgP1040559.jpg
 
Jul 23, 2019
81
Hunter 18.5 Revelstoke
I was well underway making a motor mount for the front of the trailer knowing full well...... moving the motor every time was going to get old real fast, then I realized I have enough room 8’ ahead of the wheels to mount some 5 gallon cans which I can fill with water and probably be right in the range and leave the motor on the transom.

Also ordered a height adjustable receiver that will get the boat level (it’s currently sitting tongue high) which should help the weight distribution and make getting the boat back onto the trailer from the water a bit easier.
 
Aug 1, 2011
3,835
Catalina 270 255 Wabamun. Welcome to the marina
So let's review; water weighs 10 lbs a gallon (or there about) and if we agree that "some" equals 5? You are planning on adding 250 lbs of dead weight to the trailer, increasing the load on the bearings and tires, and the time to load and secure all that (nonsense) will displace the effort and time to simply move the motor, which in and of itself is likely the simplest way to resolve the original question?

I'd offer that you go back and read the very last line of the original post. That kinda sums it all up.
 
Jul 23, 2019
81
Hunter 18.5 Revelstoke
So let's review; water weighs 10 lbs a gallon (or there about) and if we agree that "some" equals 5? You are planning on adding 250 lbs of dead weight to the trailer, increasing the load on the bearings and tires, and the time to load and secure all that (nonsense) will displace the effort and time to simply move the motor, which in and of itself is likely the simplest way to resolve the original question?

I'd offer that you go back and read the very last line of the original post. That kinda sums it all up.
You helped me see the flaw in my theory...;)
For some reason I thought more weight 8’ in front of the axle would translate to way more weight at the ball.
 

srimes

.
Jun 9, 2020
112
Macgregor 26D Brookings
I was well underway making a motor mount for the front of the trailer knowing full well...... moving the motor every time was going to get old real fast, then I realized I have enough room 8’ ahead of the wheels to mount some 5 gallon cans which I can fill with water and probably be right in the range and leave the motor on the transom.

Also ordered a height adjustable receiver that will get the boat level (it’s currently sitting tongue high) which should help the weight distribution and make getting the boat back onto the trailer from the water a bit easier.
1st, it's very important that the trailer be level or pointing down. This has nothing to do with static weight distribution as that won't change it. It's all about the dynamics of breaking. Trailer force on the ball is in the direction it's pointing while breaking. Pointing up will push up, lifting weight off the rear tires and possibly leading to loss of control. Pointing down does the opposite and is much safer.

Adding ballast to the front of the trailer can work. Previous owner put concrete up front behind the winch post to increase tongue weight after upgrading to a 9.9 4 stroke, which is 95lb. Not the most elegant solution, but if the trailer and tow vehicle has the capacity it does work.

It isn't nearly as effective as MOVING weight, though. Removing 100lb that's 8' behind the axle and putting it 8' in front will change the tongue weight as much as adding 200lb 8' in front of the axle. And now you're 200lb heavier.

I pull with a suburban and 200lb on the trailer doesn't mean much, and the convenience of not moving the 95lb motor for an 8 mile drive is worth a bit.
 

walt

.
Jun 1, 2007
3,410
Macgregor 26S Hobie TI South Park, Colorado
A quick lever arm calc assuming the wheel (pivot) is 12 ft from the hitch and the boat mass is 2000 pounds says you can increase the tongue weight from 70 pounds to around 100 pounds by moving the boat forward to the intended manufactures resting spot (assuming that is what you meant by be able to move the boat forward by 2 inches on the trailer).

This may not totally solve your problem but significantly moves in the right direction. I dont have that boat but know there are things that can be done on trailers that make them load better (ie, get the boat in its intended forward spot against the bow stop). Might also pursue that. Also, moving your boat battery as far forward as possible helps with this issue.