Towing the H26/260
or any trailerable boat
The H26/260 tows well if you have it set-up
properly and have an adequate tow vehicle. Grease the bearings, check tire pressure and hit
But whoa, there is a lot more to the story if you are
interested. The "set-up" means a tongue weight of
around 10 percent, lots of bungees, straps, and patience. I can usually splash
the boat in less than an hour if I hustle; but it takes me about 1.5 hrs or more
to get the boat ready for the road.
Crunch the numbers before buying your boat
A frequent story we hear is "I bought a H26 or H260, what kind of
vehicle do I need to tow it?" Experts can make your head hurt with all the
technical stuff about towing. If you are the Geeky type, click
here for info regarding towing.
Here's my example. You can plug in those for your
tow vehicle and compare.
My 2002 Ford E-150 Van
has a 5.4L engine with the tow package (this includes heavy duty shocks,
transmission and oil cooler, trailer wiring, and type III/IV
MagicTilt, manufacturer of the trailer,
My actual weights from a certified truck
Here's my bottom line:
Max vs. Actual Weights
vehicle/boat/trailer rig was weighed on a certified truck scale. This is without
passengers and "stuff".
is 11,460 lbs. That means I only have 540
lbs to play with. Seems like a lot; however, after loading two
passengers and a dog, all their stuff, a full tank of gas & water, coolers
and all the boat miscellaneous, I'm probably less than 100
lbs under the GCWR.
Some people allege that auto manufacturers
provide some "pad" to their max weight figures and that since the
trailer has brakes, you can exceed the max weight figures. I doubt this is so. I
bought the van new. In the first two years, the majority of towing was a four
mile trip from my pole barn to the marina and back a couple times a season. I
made two trips under 1400 miles and one 4000 mi trip to Key West and back. The
van handled the rig well, but after only 25,000 miles I
had to replace the front pads. An often cited rule of thumb is that
the load should be no more than 75% of the GTWR of the tow vehicle. I'm
overweight 8 percent by that standard.
I've had the boat/trailer weighed twice just to
make sure, and came up with the same numbers. I've only heard of one other H260
owner who took the time to weigh his boat & trailer and he came up with a
curb weight of 5950 lbs. If you have not weighed your boat, why not take the
time to do so?
Tying everything down
There is lot of stuff that could come loose back there, so I use straps to
tie the boat down at the stern, the rudder up, the engine from bouncing, and
keep the mast from swaying. I learned how important it was to keep the mast from
swaying when one owner reported that the crutch snapped off when towing.
These straps are strong and cheap.
Got mine from Home Depot but I notice they are available at most hardware
stores. I got the strap protectors out of the West Marine Catalog P/N 2600419.
They are a rubber type of material and don't slip. At the bow I clip a
heavy duty chain to the "U Bolt" as a back-up to the winch
cable. Also, I coil the shrouds and tie them to the lifelines with
cable ties. Finally, I use lots of bungees.
This is all cheap insurance.
Twist in straps prevents fraying
How many times have you seen a trailer on the side of the road with one
wheel jacked up and no car in sight? Murphy's Law says tires blow out or
bearings burn up on a Sunday afternoon and everything is closed until Monday.
Cheap insurance is having a spare tire and hub. The brakes/bearings on my
trailer are made by Unique Functional Products (UFP). Go to the UFP
website for information on maintenance of trailer brakes and bearings.
Reduce hump and sway when towing
For the short 4 mile trip from my pole barn to the marina, a standard type
III, 2 inch ball hitch is adequate. However, even with a 10 percent tongue
weight I still get some sway over 55 mph. Uneven roads and passing trucks all
increase the "pucker factor". I wanted a better setup for longer
RV'ers have long known the advantages of using a
Class III/IV, 2" x 2" Ball mount weight distribution hitch for heavy
loads. RV trailers usually have electric brakes, but they seldom become
submerged in four foot of water. Weight distribution hitches are available
Draw-Tite and others but you should make
sure they are certified for use with boat trailer surge brakes. One company that makes a
weight distribution hitch that will work with surge breaks is the Equal-i-zer
lmade by Progress Mfg. located in Provo Utah.
Pictures of "Pole Tongue" setup recommended by
Manufacturer. Also available for "A" Frame type trailer tongue.
Here for more pictures
I purchased the hitch from a third
party vendor at a significant discount. Despite this, the manufacturer's
customer service department provided outstanding support and advice. Their
brochure showed the setup for "A Frame" travel trailers, so I e-mailed
them pictures of the H260 "pole tongue" trailer, and they immediately
responded with instructions for use on a boat trailer and answered all my
questions. Installation was easy. I sent the Equal-i-zer
customer service pictures
of my final installation and they came back with a couple of comments to help
tweak it further.
The product works as advertised. There is no
substitute for common sense and caution when towing 6000 lbs, but the Equal-i-zer
hitch helps stabilize the rig and I get little or no sway at any speed. I got a
lot of experience with the hitch last
summer and recommend it if you are going to do any long distance towing.
No, I don't own stock in the
company -- I just think this is a well designed and well constructed product.