July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow


June 20, 2013
New Adventures


May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug


May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference


May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy


April 15, 2013
In The Middle


March 29, 2013
On The Hook


March 18, 2013
Tinker Time


February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix


February 15, 2013
Time Travel


February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation


January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending


January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports


December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current


December 1, 2012
New Neighbors


November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?


November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?


October 15, 2012
CHANGE OF LATITUDE


October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable


September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem


September 1, 2012
Promises


August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options


August 1, 2012
Go West!


July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination


July 1, 2012
Propane


June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly


June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour


May 15, 2012
Making New Friends


May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New


April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast


April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler


March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature


March 1, 2012
Last Dance


February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique


February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound


January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World


January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation


December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell


December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds


November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love


November 1, 2011
On the Water Again


October 14, 2011
First Impressions


October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun


September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road


September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!


August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row


August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat


July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home


July 1, 2011
One Step Closer


June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future


June 1, 2011
Made in the USA


May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice


May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around


April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude


March 15, 2011
Helping Hands


March 1, 2011
THE PERFECT BOAT!


February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options


February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!


January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing


December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing


December 15, 2010
The New Plan!


December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg


November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water


November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile


October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough


October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?


September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool


September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder


August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland


August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"


July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time


July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!


June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous


June 1, 2010
On the Hard


May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West


May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board


April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance


April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures


March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise


March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound


February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters


February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise


January 15, 2010
New Frontiers


January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences


December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port


December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady


November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello


November 13, 2009
A Cult Following


October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time


October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye


September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature


August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote


August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North


June 1, 2009
Northern Migration


May 15, 2009
Priceless


May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye


April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!


April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy


March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound


March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?


February 15, 2009
Slow Motion


February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View


January 15, 2009
High Anxiety


January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands


December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure


December 1, 2008
All Together Now


November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike


October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River


October 16, 2008
Big City Lights


October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins


September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop


September 1, 2008
The Space Ship


August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle


August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!


July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around


July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop

   

Summer Without a Boat
By Kismet, Monday, August 1, 2011

For Lisa and I being boat-less in the summer, is like rum without coke, Christmas without snow, Thanksgiving without a turkey. So, on a recent early, summer night we headed to a local beach to watch the sun set, we wanted to be as close to the water as we could since we couldn’t be on a boat. With drinks and food in hand we sat back to enjoy the wonders of nature as the sun began it’s descent over the hills along West Grand Traverse Bay (Traverse City, MI).

With daylight starting to disappear, a stream of trailerable boats started to make their way to the nearby boat ramp, bringing an end to their day of boating on the water. As the setting sun put a warm glow on our picnic spot my attention was drawn to a boat making its way to the boat ramp. My friend Mike and I wandered over to the ramp and struck up a conversation with the crew on board, a couple from Ohio, who had just returned from their inaugural cruise on their new Chris Craft 26. They had smiles from ear to ear after having a wonderful day out on the water with their new boat. I thought to myself, what’s not to like –perfect summer day, new boat, time with family on the water with a beautiful sunset to boot.

Another day at the beach… food, friends and fun with our friends, Mike and Lynne.

Of course, we remained on the dock and watched as they brought the tow truck over to retrieve their new prized possession. As the trailer was backed into the water, it dawned on me that I’ve kind of taken the trailer part of our new adventures a little for granted.

The trailer is such an integral piece of the trailerable boating equation and without the properly configured unit trailerable boaters would not be able to get easily out onto the water.

As Mike and I watched them load the boat onto the trailer and extract it from it’s natural habitat, I began to closely examine their bunk trailer all the while thinking of how little I knew about this important piece of equipment.

Here you’ll see an oil bath hub, located at the center of the wheel.

Ranger Tugs offers EZ Loader trailers as an option for buyers of their boats. I knew from talking with Jeff Messmer, at Ranger Tugs, that the trailers were semi-custom made and they had taken every possible step to ensure there was good marriage between the boat and the trailer.

With that said I was still in the dark about what I was getting in the trailer that will come with our boat. I didn’t know how it was built, what safety features were built into it, or what its weight capacity was so I called EZ Loader in Woodinville, Washington and spoke with Scott for my “trailer 101” class. Boy did I learn a lot!

EZ Loader has been a leader in the trailer business since 1953. They’re headquartered in Spokane, Washington and have distribution and production assembly facilities throughout the United States; they serve the boating community worldwide. So, even though EZ Loader makes trailers for every conceivable style and size of trailerable boat my interest was specific to the one that would come with our new Ranger Tug R27.

We can hardly stand the wait until we hook our GMC up to this good-looking EZ Loader/Ranger Tugs combo!

Scott told me the EZ Loader trailers are model specific for the Ranger Tugs. When I asked what that meant he went on to state that Ranger Tugs had sent the R27 hull drawings to the R&D Department of EZ Loader so they could apply their Cad-Cam program to design the trailer, with the goal of having it marry up to the R27 hull for the best possible fit. With a blueprint in hand, EZ Loader then produced a prototype trailer that an R27 was floated onto and pulled out of the water with. Scott said they wanted to make sure there were no through hull fittings resting on the bunks, that the bunks fit snug against the hull and that the keel, rudder and prop all had proper clearance. With final adjustments noted they were ready for all future R27 trailer production.

This gives a good perspective of how the transom rests on the EZ Loader trailer… this is the same color red we’re getting on our Ranger Tug R27 hull.

I learned from Scott that the axles and tires determine the compatibility of a trailer for a boat. In turn the boat’s weight determines what those sizes will be, which in turn dictates the towing weight that a trailer can handle and in our case, the towing pounds for the trailer will be 9,000 lbs. EZ Loader does this by constructing the frame from I-beam rails, in our case it will an aluminum frame. The frame is then connected by five cross members that the bunks are attached too. Our Ranger Tug R27’s weight translates into a tandem axle trailer with torsion independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, and 225x75R 15 tires. These are all attached to the frame where the Cad-Cam program results indicated the boat’s weight would be evenly distributed on the trailer, resulting in the safest towing situation.

I was thinking about the effects water has on a trailer’s axles, lights and bearings when we watched the Chris Craft being towed out of the water. When I spoke with Scott, he detailed how EZ Loader builds their trailers to combat the corrosive power of Mother Nature, especially salt water. All EZ Loaders trailer lights are encapsulated LED lights. By being encapsulated water is kept from getting into or onto the wiring and bulbs, therefore prolonging their life. Scott went on to say that water (especially salt water) plus electricity equals corrosion and by keeping it at bay helps a trailers lighting system last a great deal longer than the normal two-year lifespan of the once widely used incandescent light bulbs.

Other mechanical devices important for uninterrupted trailering are the trailer’s wheel bearings. EZ Loader uses what’s called an oil bath system in the wheel hub to keep the bearings lubricated. Without proper lubrication, wheel bearings get hot and can burn up, preventing a trailer from being able to move your boat. For me it’s all about getting to and out onto the water so I asked Scott how this oil bath system is better than greased packed bearings.

I learned that the wheel hubs are a sealed unit with a double lip seal on the backside (to help keep water out) and an aluminum cap with a viewing window on the outside. The sealed unit means there’s less chance for failure and with the viewing window; you’ll always know where you stand. However, it still requires an owner to have a maintenance prevention routine. An owner should check the viewing window before each trailering event to make sure the oil level is normal, that there is no water contamination in the oil and, if there is, take steps to correct the problem. Ninety-weight gear oil can easily be added to any wheel hub by removing the access bolt.

The tongue coupler is heavy duty, as shown here, and receives a 2 5/16 ball.

I remember when our son Ross took flying lessons, he had a maintenance “walk around” before each take off, and I think this ounce of prevention routine is something we’ll apply to our boat trailing.

Before each departure I plan on taking a tour around the trailer to check the ball mounts and chains to make sure they’re secure, do a visual inspection to make sure the tire pressure is normal and that the oil bath in the wheel hubs are all level, test the running lights, turn signals and brake lights. In addition, a check of the 3-point tie downs (bow and two transom straps) to make sure they are tight and secure would be in order. It’s all about getting to the water safely!

Our discussion moved on to why bunks are used instead of rollers for our R27 to rest upon. Scott mentioned, and my researched collaborated, that rollers are easier to use in shallow water boat ramps than bunks but after that bunks have the advantage. Bunks are easier to use in deeper water and steeper inclined boat ramps in addition bunks give the boat’s hull more even spread support, which is especially important on long hauls. Lastly, bunks are less costly and because there are fewer moving parts, there’s less ongoing maintenance.

Just behind the spare wheel you’ll see the Carlisle brake actuator that helps make trailering with a heavy load safer.

Earlier, I mentioned our trailer will have independent torsion suspension, so naturally I had to ask why this was an advantage.

Scott explained that with four torsion units, one to each wheel, the ride is stiffened because each wheel absorbs road conditions independently. With torsion suspension there is less bounce therefore improving the ride, which in turn transfers minimal shock to the trailer, boat, and tow vehicle.

Appling brakes to a trailer, especially with a load in place, is too important not to mention here. We had the GMC ordered with an integrated trailer brake control system (ITBC). With the truck and trailer wiring harness connected. I can adjust the trailer brake gain up or down from the cab of the truck, insuring the best braking for the driving conditions faced that day.

The trailer in turn has an electric over hydraulic brake system produced by Carlisle, called HydraStar. This unit is the trailer brake actuator that accepts commands from the trucks ITBC when the cab brakes are applied. Carlisle states on their web page that their HydraStar trailer brake actuators “deliver the industry’s fastest response time to provide maximum braking safety for your towed trailer/vehicle.” As I stated earlier – for us, it’s all about getting to our next boating destination safely and the HydraStar actuator certainly will help us out. By the time you read this, the production will have started on our Ranger Tugs R27, bringing us that much closer to getting back onto the water so we can start our new trailerable trawler cruising adventures.