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Old 05-14-2014   #1
Yukon, Alabama
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 92
Raft Trailer Issues

I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has actually tried a trailer hitch receiver extension on a snow machine trailer for an 18 foot raft. . I am very tempted to try a 12" or 18" Reese solid extender before modifying the trailer tongue to make it longer. Just looking for suggestions if it is even worth the $100 to try. It would only be for hauling the big raft to help with turning radius. I do not expect more than 400 pounds on the trailer.

I've pretty much given up on the idea of installing a suitable 3 foot high winch on the tongue of a 12 foot trailer with 3 foot raft overhang. Seems like the winch would contact the bow of the 18 foot raft. I'm "considering" putting the winch on a trailer hitch extension - or just using a rope come-a-long attached to the back of the truck ladder rack (which I already have). On the other hand, "maybe" I could mount a winch stand angled towards the truck that would provide room. I've never seen a winch mounted with a forward lean - but in theory it might work. Suggestions?

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Old 05-14-2014   #2
Osprey's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 683
Winch posts with a forward lean are pretty common since a lot of boat trailers use that. You should be able to Google up some results easily.

The boat only needs to not be touching the winch by 1". I usually crank mine all the way to the winch then just release the pressure to unhook it. I also don't think you really need the winch to be up high. You could mount it right to the tongue and it'd probably get you 90% of the way there with a few pushes on the back at the end. I've seen a few winches mounted deck level so it must mostly work.

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Old 05-14-2014   #3
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This came up fast... All different lengths and lean angles
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Old 05-15-2014   #4's Avatar
lafayette, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1961
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 495
I have used this and it works great

Ultra-Tow Hitch Extenders — 2in. x 18in. | Hitch Adapters| Northern Tool + Equipment Adapters-_-605683 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2014   #5
Cortez, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 151
Just get one size larger box tubing (about 8" tall) than you are going to use for your winch stand and weld it to your tongue (tilting forward). Then your stand will slide right inside, just like a receiver hitch. Just cut it at the same angle, set it in there and drill them both out for the hitch pin. And drill a small hole near the bottom of the base to let out the rain water. I actually used rectangle box tubing. I suppose you could also do it the other way around, then you wouldn't have to worry about standing water in the base. I am so spoiled by my winch (and roller)…..don't need any help loading the raft.

IMO, it's better (and not that hard) to extend your tongue. Your rig will handle better, than if you have that extender magnifying all your moves and bounces.

Though this ought to be obvious, I'll add it anyway: you can't pull a loaded raft onto a trailer by it's bow D-ring. But you can, if you run a rope or webbing through the D-rings at the back and UNDER the raft to the bow (creating a "Y" yoke). This is most easily done while the raft is floating in shallow water. Then loop a 3-4' cam strap through the front D-ring (hanging down) and run the winch line through that loop, to align the raft and keep the bow from rising up too high. Clip your winch line into the "Y" yoke. If you are in a current, run a stern line on the upstream side and hold it with one hand, while cranking on the winch with other (if you don't have a helper). The raft doesn't have to come up all pretty…..just get it up, then shove it around once it's on the trailer.

I wish I took a few pictures, but I didn't….but I will try to get some and post them, if anyone wants to see the setup.

A few more than 2 cents….but it's what I did and it works well.
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Old 05-16-2014   #6
Canon City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 426
would love to see some pics of the setup, and of how the y yoke rigging works!
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Old 05-16-2014   #7
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Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,659
I've thought about doing something similar to the Y thing described above, but never have. I have 2 D's on the bow and I may simple make somthing that attaches to both, destributing the force to each. Time will tell...

As for the winch stand, I made mine, it's about 3' tall, leans forward and attaches via a plate and 4 bolts, thout U-bolts would also work if they were handy. This way it can be moved to help finalize trailer balance. It's not the greatest pic but if you zoom in you'll get the idea...The little bow stop bar doesn't work with the new boat so I plan on cutting it off and moving it once I get time to modify the trailer (building a bigger deck for it some day soon).

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Yesterday's gone on down the river and you can't get it back. - Agustus McCrae
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Old 05-19-2014   #8
Cortez, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 151
Attached are a few pictures of the "Y" or "V" yoke, by request.

--> In the first 2, you can see that the stern line (which is tied to the stern at 2 points) comes up under the bow and is clipped into the winch line, and that the winch line goes through a 3' cam strap, looped through the bow D-ring. This helps keep the boat aligned and keeps the bow from rising up too high, until it passes the pitch-point on the roller at the rear of the trailer. Also, you can see the removable winch post.

--> In the 3rd, you can see the other end of the "V", where the stern line is tied to the stern D-rings. Obviously, different D-ring configurations require different rigging. I just think it's very important to spread the load between 2 or more points, and that the raft is pulled from underneath, to give it natural lift onto the trailer. And that it be simple. I have marked the rope at the proper tying point, so that it falls under the bow, not too short or too long. With this rigging, there is no need to lift the bow, because the "V" yoke and winch do that. Also, this is a 14' raft, not a 16'er....but I do load my raft loaded occasionally, if it's a crowded ramp or whatever, and it does fine.

--> Is this picture, I am showing my homemade roller. It is a piece of 7/8" sucker rod (from an oilfield pump jack), and around that are progressively sized PVC pipe, up to 1 1/2". That is all held in place by brackets made from angle iron and bolted to the bunks boards on the trailer, and washers and lynch pins on the ends. The roller is easily removable, because I use this trailer for other things, like lawn mowers, appliances, etc. And those strap tie-downs are just big chain links welded on the trailer.

--> And this last one is just an overall picture of the raft on the trailer. Lotsa gear fits underneath!

Soooo...I do hope a picture is worth 1000 words.
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Old 05-19-2014   #9
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,362
Why not loop a 20' strap from the front of the frame, under the bow, to the front of the frame on the other side? Attach the winch to the center and you are pulling on all the Drings somewhat equally, no?

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Old 05-19-2014   #10
Cortez, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 151
You'd get equal pull, but I'd be concerned about putting an awful squeeze on the raft. It's all experiments......what I do works well for me and I am sure there are many ways to make it possible for one person to get a raft on a trailer. On my previous raft, I put a loop at the midpoint of each side of the chicken line and then I'd clip a length of webbing to that and pull it up and that worked okay, too....but it would pull pretty hard on the midpoint of the raft, until it broke over the pitch-point at he back roller. By pulling from the REAR of the raft and going underneath, that is eliminated. One could also rig the "V" yoke to the rear of the frame and go under the rear of the raft and up to the bow.

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