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 the road... 

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. 


Click any picture to expand

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 receiver).  

Ford says:

MagicTilt,  manufacturer of the trailer, says:

  • The weight of the boat/trailer combination should not exceed 6840 lbs (Gross Trailer Weight (GTW)

  • The tongue weight should be about 10%

My actual weights from a certified truck scale:

  • The van = 5720 lbs.

  • The trailer = 1320 lbs.

  • The boat =  4420 lbs. (Quite a bit heavier than the manufacturer advertised dry weight of 3200 lbs.)

Here's my bottom line:

Max vs. Actual Weights





GVWR:     7000   5720 - 1280
GTWR:     6900   5740 - 1160
GCWR:    12000 11460   540
GTW     6840   5740 - 1100
TW 517-689    600 10.5%

Note: The vehicle/boat/trailer rig was weighed on a certified truck scale. This is without passengers and "stuff".

My GCWR 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.

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Twist in straps prevents fraying

Extra Insurance
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.


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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 trips.

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 from Reese, 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.

Equalizer Hitch
Size: 1000lb/10000lb 

Pictures of "Pole Tongue" setup recommended by Manufacturer. Also available for "A" Frame type trailer tongue.

Click 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.