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Old 01-17-2016   #1
Grand Junction, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 339
What type Winch for Trailer

Im getting a trailer rdy for my raft and Im trying to decide on what type winch to use Cable or Strap what are the pros and cons I know it may be a dumb question just thought Id ask

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Old 01-17-2016   #2
Pinecliffe, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 447
No such thing as a dumb question. The worst question is the one left unasked. They do make raft winches I've seen some great ones on the boat ramps.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. KARL MARX
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Old 01-17-2016   #3
Learch's Avatar
Dundee, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 655
I think it's up to personal preference. The cable would most likely last longer, but I like that straps better myself. We just had our local raft repair expert from Goldwater boat works speak about raft repair and maintenance. Winching rafts came up. Be careful how you winch your boat up. You trailer either needs to be in the water or it needs to be empty or close to it. He has had to repair rafts pulled up on a trailer loaded several times.
From my personal knowledge base, raft D rings have a load rating of no more than 1000 lbs, and many times you can only trust a D ring to about 500 lbs of load. pulling a raft up on a trailer by a winch can be done safely, just keep those limitations in mind to avoid a messed up raft.
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Old 01-17-2016   #4
Grand Junction, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 339
Thanks Learch for the info my boat is goin on mainly town runs not gonna be loaded down and of course ill empty it first I'm gonna go with the strap set up I just worry the cable might unwrap and become a hazard for the boat I just ordered the part so we will see how it goes thanks agian!
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Old 01-17-2016   #5
Coastal, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 258
We use straps on all our trailers winches, no reason to have a cable around an inflatable. We also make a 3 point harness for customers so they can pull on the 3 front D-rings at the same time while loading.

I have never used a winch loading a boat unless it was straight down the bank. We just back in float the boat on and leave most of the time.Click image for larger version

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Old 01-17-2016   #6
mattman's Avatar
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,042
Go with the strap, cables fray and can stab ya in the hand with meat hooks of wire.
Ya, be careful about winching loaded boats onto your trailer for sure, especially cataract take out( ask me how I know!) I get away with it sometimes, but you can rip d-rings right off, multiple d-rings are best to attach to, a flying d-ring could remove flesh. Got a good winch from bass pro I like.( 3 ton?)
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Old 01-17-2016   #7
Grand Junction, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 339
Im not just winching it Im mainly getting it as an assist to help I wouldnt just winch the boat straight up most the time its just 2 of us me and my lady so a little help will go along way thanks for all your replys and a 3 anchor system would be the way to go for sure!
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Old 01-17-2016   #8
curtis catman's Avatar
Rivertown, West Virginia
Paddling Since: 9:45
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 416
Cable gets you a lot more length. Now you can purchase Kevlar rope that is twice as strong as wire rope. So if you are going to be winching down a long ramp get Kevlar rope. If not get nylon strap. Kevlar rope is now affordable.
I am an American Whitewater member. One of 6300. There are an estimated 100000 paddlers in the U S. If you are not a member you should join. AW is fighting for our rivers everyday and could use some help.
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Old 01-18-2016   #9
Cortez, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 151
The main advice I would give about winches is that gear ratio matters. Besides choosing one of adequate capacity (1500#, 2000#, 3000#, etc), make sure it is at least 4:1 gear ratio, and higher is better.

As others have said, a strap (instead of wire) is fine and friendlier to work with.

And I agree with others about the folly of pulling on D-rings, but the way I do it seems to work. I pull from the 2 rear D-rings (on either side of the center stern D-ring), running my stern rope under the boat to the bow, forming a V, then clip the winch strap into that V (you want the V to be a foot or so back under the bow). This V line is best rigged while the boat is floating in shallow water, then float the boat around to the rear of the trailer and clip the winch line into it. This divides the load into the 2 D-rings, and by running the V strap under the boat, it also lifts the bow up onto the trailer. Also, I loop a 4-5' strap through the bow D-ring and around the winch strap, to keep the bow from rising too high as it approaches the tipping point on the trailer roller. With it rigged this way, I can trailer a loaded raft. I don't often do it, but on a crowded ramp, I have and it works fine. And though a helper is nice, I can load it by myself. Another thing I did on my previous raft, was to tie a loop (a butterfly hitch) in each side of the chicken line, right where the rear rocker starts, and I'd clip my V line into those loops (and under the boat), which spread the load around the rear 1/3 of the boat's D-rings. That worked well, too, and obviously, my chicken line was stout enough for that load (a loaded raft).
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Old 01-18-2016   #10
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Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,042
Hmm.... Thanks for the idea grumper!!
Getting enough lift on the front of my raft, to get it up onto my trailer, is all way's an issue, that would solve the problem quite well.

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