"Sally's" Customized Trailer
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The "Sally" - Trailer Project

The rig ready for the road!

First Try

Getting ready for the Galvanizer

Notice the boat is down by the bow; this helps with launching and retrieving. When the trailer is backed down the ramp she is on her lines and floats easily. I do not usually submerge the trailer enough to float the vessel, preferring instead  to “splash - in”; the rollers make this easy. So easy in fact, she could self-launch in the parking lot if you let her! This feature enables her to be launched or retrieved at a shallow beach for example (4 wheel drive recommended).

This is the initial build of the trailer, all the welds and modifications are primed with red lead; it was converted from a used two-axle ski boat trailer manufactured by VM Trailers of Fresno Ca. It came equipped with 10” drum brakes on one axle only and the load rating was 4900 lbs.  Together the boat and trailer total about that. 

The first investment in this trailer was 4 – 8 ply rated steel radials, load rated at 2710 lbs each. This has proven to be a good insurance policy.

My intentions were to use the trailer and work out any bugs then strip it down and have it galvanized. I did work out the bugs in the first year but never got to the Galvanizing part! Sadly the rust set in and when I finally got to strip it down all the lighter weight metal was shot. I had to replace the fenders and the diamond plate running boards. Oh Well! Cutting it all off was the worst part…  

Back from the Galvanizer Details of the winch and mounting Detail of the bow-eye and rollers

This is the winch and bow mount assembly. There are a few features here that are helpful. There is a step to ease climbing up onto the bow, a welded on safety chain and a pair of cavels or cleats to check her weigh when launching.



The winch is a 3700 lb rated two-speed model. This has always been up to the task. Just to the left of the winch you can see the built in jack stand. This can work in conjunction with the jack, and when adjustments are needed the jack stand is handy. When putting the boat in the barn I must shift from the rear bumper to the front, and the jack stand helps!

The bow eye is a custom bronze casting held onto the stem with two ½ dia. bronze through bolts.  There are two types of rollers mounted on the custom bracket used here. The yellow Stoltz wobble rollers are soft and non-marking, they guide the stem onto the black heavy-duty dock roller that the bow eye rests on. This roller has an extra long 3/4 “ stainless pin that doubles as a cleat. No wood is touching the trailer here.

#1 Cross Member

Side View

Side Rollers

This is original to the trailer, just cut out, flipped over and cut and welded to fit. The other cross members required no cutting. More of the black heavy-duty dock rollers with ¾ stainless axles. These are high durometer (hard) and very slippery. They are load bearing on the keel.

Showing the custom side roller assembly and adjustment. This view also has glimpses of the heavier replacement axles (#3500 ea.) the extra x-member gusseting and the carpet padded side bunks. The new fenders and running boards with extra turn signal lights hopefully keep merging traffic away from the boat. The tie-down strap shown goes up over the rub rail to the mast step on deck.

These are the Stoltz wobble rollers, very soft; they accurately locate the bow on retrieval as it comes into the trailer. They do touch the planking but are not load bearing, each roller is located exactly at sawn frames so the planking will not distort. This is the only adjustable component on the trailer and it must be carefully done.

Stern View

Detail of Stern View

Port Aft Tie-Down

Showing the cross members with the added rollers and custom brackets. Notice the welded pipe assembly at stern with reflectors; this is a most important item. It ensures the stern will position exactly on center as the boat is hauled out. There were a couple of tries at building this to get it right; the geometry is tricky for different launch ramps.

This photo shows the stern roller assembly and the bitter end of the centering bracket. Notice that the bronze casting that supports the heel of the rudder also bears the weight of the boat and the abrasion from the centering bracket as the boat settles into the trailer. No wood is touching here – ever!

This is a rugged oarlock, the base at the deck is about 1-1/4” dia and it protrudes through the deck down to the seat riser, about 18’’ overall. The oarlocks and sockets are custom bronze castings to clear the combings.

Lower View of Aft Tie Down

D Ring Detail - Aft tie down Before Galvanizing

This shows another view of the oarlock tie down. Notice the centering bracket at the aft end of the keel turning along the running board; this also serves as a step up into the boat.


The reflective tape is DOT approved "conspicuity" tape required for big rig trailers. This is a great safety device.

All construction details are worked out,  upgraded axles with 4 wheel brakes are installed. Notice that all the rollers are bearing only on the keel at the ballast casting or other metal components. The boat is removed and trailer is ready to strip for sand-blasting and double-dip Galvanizing

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