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Old 12-06-2013, 17:03   #16
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

If you get brakes on the trailer, you can tow a heavier weight than you can without.
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Old 12-06-2013, 17:09   #17
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

The problem on ramps is wheel spin... you can have a 3/4 pickup but if it's not 4WD you may not get out of the ramp!
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Old 12-06-2013, 17:17   #18
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

Let's keep this in perspective - for the <1000 lbs load under discussion trailer brakes are not needed. Nor will it be a problem to pull up any but the steepest, wettest ramp. I would not recommend going much over 1000 lbs, even though the hitch is rated for it, just to be ultra safe. For taking out on weekends, and a summer trip (or two) the additional wear will be negligible.

I think the biggest potential issue is with operator experience. Towing is not simply a matter of hooking up a trailer and driving off. And with boat trailers there are additional concerns relating to wheel bearing and signal light immersion. If the OP is good with that, then the Honda S2000+15' Potter should work well.

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Old 12-06-2013, 17:36   #19
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Re: Towing a small boat with a small car

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Originally Posted by tbodine88 View Post
I have a potter 19 and like a dufus I sort of burned out my transmission pulling it up the mountains in California with a ford ranger. The tranny continued to work OK for about six months later when it finally died.

Now I pull it with a new ranger that has a bigger engine. Probably a similar transmission, and have had no problems, but I live in Texas now.

As Denver On says, a Fifteen will be easier to tow than my boat, which isn't hard to tow at all.
Do you have a transmission cooler on your Ranger? I would install one directly if you don't. Not a big deal, could save your transmission. It is definitely the weak link - not the engine. I pulled a potter years ago with a Honda minivan, but I added a tranny cooler.

Just like we say with sailing, it will be more about the operator than the car. I think that car will handle it if you're not pulling it tens of thousand of miles a year. Get the tongue weight right and drive like a granny and sail that things bottom off...
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Old 12-06-2013, 18:18   #20
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

There is a PDF brochure here on towing a small boat put out by the South Australian Government.

I particularly suggest that you read the section on "Overhead Dangers".
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Old 25-06-2013, 02:06   #21
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

Found a trailer installer in the Bay Area that has installed hitches on S2000's. rated well over the Potter's weight. From a towing perspective, I am no longer concerned.

But I looked at a Potter that I was ready to buy last weekend. The seller was quite incredulous about my plan to tow with my Honda. His issue was all about pulling the boat out of the water. Specifically, how far into the water I will need to immerse the back end of the car. Must say, I am now worried about it. Seems very possible that the rear wheels would spin like crazy. I have seen references to a "tongue extender", which I assume can allow the trailer to be immersed deeper. Is that the way to go?

Either that or use the trailer ratchet to pull the boat up onto the trailer?

The more I think about about it, the more daunted I have become.
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Old 25-06-2013, 02:23   #22
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

Chill out.

The Potter draws a whopping 7" with the keel up - wading depth. You will not need an extender, nor will you need a steep ramp. This will be the easiest boat to launch at the ramp. Just remember to bring the keel (and rudder) back up before closing on the ramp at the end of the day.

Once you buy the boat you should get a pair of Bearing Buddies or similar. They are spring-loaded devices that continually force grease through the wheel bearing, keeping the cold water from the hot bearings when the bearings are immersed. Also if the trailer lights are incandescents then disconnect them in advance of backing into the water - again, the cold water hitting the hot bulb will blow it. And don't forget to reconnect before hitting the road. There are other considerations as well, so do your research before trailering a boat. But don't feel daunted: I was towing heavy inboard/outboards when I was 16 - you can certainly do it too.

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Old 25-06-2013, 02:37   #23
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

Geez, I dunno know. If the car is immersed enough for the tail lights to be immersed.. That's a long way into the water. And isn't tire spin a problem? Can on a steep ramp, maybe a little slime on the asphalt.... I need to practice on a hill I think.

Never heard of bearing buddies. Do people use them on rear wheel drive cars?
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Old 25-06-2013, 02:40   #24
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

I am talking about the bearings and lights on the trailer, not the car!!! The rear car wheels will probably not hit the water for this boat, but sometimes people will have to back down to get the trailer into deep water. Still, not THAT deep.

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Old 25-06-2013, 02:53   #25
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

I think you have the answer to the question of towing the 15' Potter with your car: yes it will work. The problem is that you do not (yet) know how to do it. I would suggest that you have the current owner come with you the first time and show you how. Otherwise find someone else who knows the ropes of towing a sailboat. It isn't practical to explain the process here, but one trip with an experienced driver will have you on your way.

Good luck

Greg
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Old 25-06-2013, 03:04   #26
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

In case you have any further doubts, consider this: I towed an 18' catamaran (with a 28' mast) with my 240Z, and launched her in the Atlantic at Ocean City and near the Pacific in Portland, and a lot of places in between. The car was never a problem. As I said previously, I was also crazy enough (in my misspent middle age) to tow a heavy deep vee Mercruiser I/O with the same car, and pulled the boat up a steep wet ramp (doing the clutch no favors at all). Not at all recommended, but a far greater challenge than what you intend to do. You just need someone to show you how.

Greg
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Old 25-06-2013, 04:18   #27
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

I tow an 18 foot fixed keel trailer sailer with an old Ford Falcon auto with rear wheel drive. Ive seen small compact cars with front wheel drive and clutch spinning their wheels up a ramp till their tyres are converted to smoke. The Falcon sedan can tow up to 2300 kg and the rear wheel drive and auto are essential up a ramp. Only cost me $405 for the car as opposed to $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for a four wheel drive.
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Old 25-06-2013, 09:03   #28
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

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I am talking about the bearings and lights on the trailer, not the car!!! The rear car wheels will probably not hit the water for this boat, but sometimes people will have to back down to get the trailer into deep water. Still, not THAT deep.

Greg
Lol, this speaks to how little I know about it and my innate fear of ramp mistakes. I witnessed a launch gone very wrong 25 years ago where a guy's pickup popped out of gear while he was trying to pull his speed boat off the trailer. The truck and the boat floated out a bit until the truck sank and pulled the nose of the boat down. As cruel as it sounds, might have been the funniest thing I've ever seen. A sinking s2000 doesn't seem so amusing tho.

I thought this exercise was going to be all about learning to sail. Seems I need lessons in just getting the boat in and out of the water.
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Old 25-06-2013, 10:38   #29
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

My 1/2 ton pickup would not pull my retractable keel 21 footer out on PNW ramps. Tires just slipped. Fortunately there was usually a helpful soul with 4wd that knows how to tow boats around!
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Old 25-06-2013, 12:25   #30
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Re: Towing a Small Boat with a Small Car

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My 1/2 ton pickup would not pull my retractable keel 21 footer out on PNW ramps. Tires just slipped. Fortunately there was usually a helpful soul with 4wd that knows how to tow boats around!
Ah the days of watching 4 men jumping on the bumper of a pickup to try to get enough traction to pull a boat out of the water.
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