Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Launching and recovering rafts

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Anchorage off O'Malley road near zoo
    Posts
    10

    Default Launching and recovering rafts

    Just became the proud owner of a new Aire 156E (thanks for putting up with my million questions Tracey). Got a steal of a trailer on craigslist ---steel 8x12 tilt with cedar planks, 3500lb axle and 14" rims. Been boating in AK for many years and have seen or been part of just about every launching fiasco known to man (high surf, bottoming out trailer, forgotten plug, etc). Now I know these boats don't weigh much, but was curious if the inflatable experts out there recommend a winch and roller setup or if the old muscle technique is the way to go. Also am considering screwing some of that hard plastic composite (cutting board material) to the deck of the trailer in order to ease the slide on and off. Alaska Rubber Supply sells the 1/4" white stuff for $250 per 4x8 (black $230). I treated the cedar with a spar varnish, but don't want to run splinters into my Aire (or do I need to worry about it?). Any comments? Thanks.

  2. #2
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    5,765

    Default Congratulations on the new raft!

    Quote Originally Posted by fish-n-fur View Post
    Just became the proud owner of a new Aire 156E (thanks for putting up with my million questions Tracey). Got a steal of a trailer on craigslist ---steel 8x12 tilt with cedar planks, 3500lb axle and 14" rims. Been boating in AK for many years and have seen or been part of just about every launching fiasco known to man (high surf, bottoming out trailer, forgotten plug, etc). Now I know these boats don't weigh much, but was curious if the inflatable experts out there recommend a winch and roller setup or if the old muscle technique is the way to go. Also am considering screwing some of that hard plastic composite (cutting board material) to the deck of the trailer in order to ease the slide on and off. Alaska Rubber Supply sells the 1/4" white stuff for $250 per 4x8 (black $230). I treated the cedar with a spar varnish, but don't want to run splinters into my Aire (or do I need to worry about it?). Any comments? Thanks.
    I have 3/4" marine ply on mine and it has lasted ten years or so with little wear. The UHMW plastic you mentioned would help, however it will trap moisture between itself and your wood, and could result in problems later. You might consider plywood decking on your cedar? I would router the exposed edges to prevent splintering though.

    As to the roller, it's not really necessary. If you try to winch the boat up over the roller it can bind as the boat flexes. I've just manhandled my boats onto the trailer; it's not that bad, really. Still, a roller could protect the edge of your decking if it needs it, and might be good in your situation. I would suggest some very strong cargo straps to secure the boat to the trailer though. Get the 2" trucker's ratchet straps, not those wimpy little straps you see around. I've seen those break. We had two of them snap while we were pulling a cataraft on Minnesota Boulevard once (we were going about sixty). The straps snapped and the boat flipped in the air, skidding along the highway upside down on its oarstands... not a good deal.

    Finally, I would ensure that you have a spare tire for your trailer, a way to lock it to the trailer to prevent theft, and the tools you need to change it. Bearing Buddies are not a bad idea for your hubs, either. Also, I use a lock through my hitch, instead of a bolt or a pin. Trailers have been known to grow legs and walk off while you are on the river, particularly on isolated ramps. But you probably already know this.

    See you on the Kenai!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

  3. #3
    Member mski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    north pole
    Posts
    63

    Default

    i just use a snowmachine trailer that i covered with the cheapest outdoor carpet from home cheapos and back into the river and slide my otter right on up,pull out and strap her down. so far so good just dont use it for sleds anymore

  4. #4
    New member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Anchorage off O'Malley road near zoo
    Posts
    10

    Thumbs up Thanks Mike

    Good call on the straps. After years of trailering my ocean boat to the Yukon via the haul road I've learned the wisdom of heavy straps, numerous spares, and bearing grease. Tracey had mentioned running a strap all the way around (under) the trailer. His reasoning is that if you lose some pressure in one or more chambers then your straps go slack...sounds logical to me. My trailer planks are wedged under steel at the bow and stern of the trailer; therefore, if I pull the raft up (by hand or by winch) the bottom is contacting metal versus a wood edge until I get the CG over center. I know these boats are tough and designed to withstand river rocks and occasional dragging, but I would like to mitigate wear and tear. Boat launches and/or 4 guys solve all problems, but I know I'll be solo (or with my young boys) at takouts other than boat launches.
    By the way, great book. I read a great deal of it and lent it to my hunting partner...haven't seen it since!

  5. #5
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Paradise (Alaska)
    Posts
    1,543

    Default trailor surface...

    I tote around two boats similar to yours.

    I just muscle it on and off the trailor. At the upper Skilak Lake boat ramp it really does help to have a buddy with you to keep the boat from wind drifting onto those little three inch high side walls on the outer edge of the trailor sides. (I have considered grinding 'em off, or installing a split section of garden hose on 'em...next winter, right.)

    I covered my trailor floor with indoor-outdoot carpet, and have never been totally satisfied with that decision.

    The carpet surface is fine except...it catches and holds gravel and little rocks. Although I have not had this gravel damage the raft fabric, I worry that a sharp rock of piece of glass could rather quickly wear a hole into the fabric as the boat wiggles on the trailor.

    Well, I have not changed out my carpet surface yet, but I have also considered a smooth plastic or "kitchen flooring" surface to replace the carpet. But, being an imperfect world that we live in, I have a question concerning a real panic braking situation.

    Of course we all strap our rafts down snugly onto the trailor surface. But I wonder if the boat might shift or slide forward, especially when wet, if I were to brake super hard to avoid an accident. Probably not. Anybody have any war stories???

    Dennis
    Alaska True Adventure Guide Service

  6. #6
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    867

    Default

    Having spent a bit of time putting boasts on and off trailers I would suggest maybe 2x12 planks covered with slick material rather than the whole deck. Especially if you will be loading the boat by yourself some of the times. Dirty wading boots and slick surfaces and putting your rump into and good tug could put you on your asset. With the 2x12 rigged to drop into slots on the trailer they can be taken off for other uses with the trailer...

    George

  7. #7
    Member Legospam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Eagle River, Alaska, United States, 108264132534659, Eagle River, Alaska
    Posts
    17

    Default Strapping...

    I use motorcycle straps through the D rings down to four tie down points on my Sled Bed. It seems to work really well and the boat doesn't move around. I've thought about throwing a strap across the top too just to be safe. As far as getting the boat on and off the trailer I just man handle it.
    Attached Images Attached Images

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •