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Trailering Issues with Sanderling
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9/17/2018 at 2:38:32 PM GMT
Posts: 6
Trailering Issues with Sanderling

After several seasons with my Sanderling, I am finding increasingly difficult to haul her onto my trailer at our local boat ramp. The trailer which I purchased with the boat from Marshall has two long bunks and keel rollers so it is designed for the catboat. It appears the weight of the boat is on the bunks versus the keel rollers making it difficult to winch the boat all the way onto the trailer. I am wondering if I should adjust the bunk height lower so that the keel is resting on the rollers. 

Are the bunks intended to support the weight of the boat and not the keel rollers? When the boat sits on the trailer bunks, should the keel also be supported by the rollers as well?

Any advice from association members would be greatly appreciated.







9/17/2018 at 4:32:47 PM GMT
Posts: 17
Since I don't know what kind of trailer you have here is a generic answer based on my experience- It is my understanding that the rollers are designed to align the boat and to keep the keel from contacting any cross-members on the trailer as it transitions its way onto the trailer. Bunks are there to support your boat and spread out the weight across the greatest possible surface area. I'm not saying the rollers won't hold some of the weight, but (typically) the bunks should be doing most of the work once the boat is all the way on the trailer.

There are always exceptions to rules and I as I constantly learn that I don't know everything I might contact the manufacturer of the trailer or Marshall Marine for advice. Some rollers are designed to support more weight than others. Some trailers only have rollers. Some have only bunks.

Might be a silly question but can you get the trailer further in the water so you are not dragging the boat up over the bunkers with the winch? Also you mention it has become "increasingly difficult". What has changed? Has something moved? Are the rollers not turning as easily? An answer to one of those questions may help you find your answer.


9/18/2018 at 4:48:37 PM GMT
Posts: 6
Thanks for the feedback. My trailer is a LoadRite with two bunks (one on each side) and keel rollers along the cross members. The trailer was reconditioned by Marshall Marine prior to my taking delivery of both boat and trailer in late 2014 so the rollers are relatively new. Nothing has changed on the trailer that I am aware of but I can see that the bunks are holding most of the weight of the boat.

I just pulled the boat out this past weekend at high tide and the rear tires of my vehicle were in the water so I don't think I could have moved the trailer back into the water any further. However getting the boat onto the bunks forward enough to winch it forward seems to be my challenge every year. The boat ends up too far back on the trailer's bunks to safely disconnect the trailer from the hitch without putting blocks along the back of the trailer. The weight of the boat on the bunks makes it virtually impossible to move it forward by the trailer winch alone which is why I asked about the proper weight distribution. If the weight was on the rollers versus the bunks, it would be a different story.


9/18/2018 at 6:29:21 PM GMT
Posts: 1
Hi John and Matt,
To clarify, although the bunks do carry some amount of weight their main purpose is to keep the boat laterally stable. The keel rollers are designed to maintain the weight of the boat. The center line of the boat is the strongest part of the hull being it has the most glass. Where the bunks rest there is not as much glass and they can deflect if too much pressure is applied.

To summarize, make sure the rollers are in full contact with the hull and put enough pressure on the bunks to keep the boat from rolling side to side. Having the majority of the weight on the rollers will also make it easier pulling the boat up onto the trailer.

Marshall Marine

9/18/2018 at 6:32:03 PM GMT
Posts: 6

Thank you for clarifying.


9/25/2018 at 2:52:18 PM GMT
Posts: 17
Nice, Charlie and Geoff at Marshall are always ready to help! Best boatyard ever.

Good thing Charlie weighed in - and you didn't listen to me :-)

My trailer for my Rhodes 19 has only one little roller to line up the boat. Very different boat and trailer, sorry if I obfuscated things and I'm glad you got an answer from someone who knows.


9/25/2018 at 6:15:29 PM GMT
Posts: 18
It sounds like the challenge isn't with trailering, but rather with getting the trailer deep enough into the water to launch and retrieve. So if the water level has changed, or you're retrieving at different tidal levels, you may now be on a less-steep part of the ramp, and so the water level is a little shallower when the vehicle rear wheels are at the same point with respect to the water.

It's possible you'd benefit from getting a short trailer extension to use while retrieving. These are a bit of a hassle to install, but if you're really having trouble getting the boat on the trailer, they might be the least-worst-bad alternative.

Something like this (which is available in varying lengths up to a couple feet)

9/27/2018 at 4:22:29 PM GMT
Posts: 17
I echo what S. Hartman has said-

Wheels touching the water is not a reliable indication of if you are far enough in. The trailer itself should be submerged the same amount as it is when you launch. Let the water do most of the work.

There are so many variables involved that it is absolutely possible to have the vehicle's rear wheels in the water and the boat is not floating enough to retrieve and or launch.

As long as the vehicle door sills are not in the water you are ok. Can you back in further if the extension is not your solution? Are you trailering from a low sedan?

Last edited Thursday, September 27, 2018
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