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Old 10 July 2011, 08:24   #1
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Winch strap breaks again

Just arrived on the west coast after towing for around 250 miles, the latter part on what can only be described as the road to Tobruk! Arrived at destination to find the winch strap had broken. The boat has only been used once before so it's not wear and tear. Luckily I always have a rope from the towing eye on the hull to the winch-post as back up. The rear towing eyes had a ratchet strap through them secured to the trailer. I might look at a chain in the future - as this has happened to me before.
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Old 10 July 2011, 11:20   #2
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I don't use the winch strap for securing the boat on the road, it's a winch strap, not a load strap. The direction of the pull/forces is all wrong. I use a ratchet strap through the winch eye down to the drawbar, this pulls the boat down onto the keel roller & snugs her into the winch post. No bounce & no broken winch straps. The last thing you want to do is weaken the winch strap & have it snap with the boat half on the trailer on a steep slip. Keep it for winching.
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Old 10 July 2011, 13:46   #3
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Best thing you can do with the regular polyprop trailer winch straps is to dump them and move into the 21st century

Mine started to look frayed after about 10 launches and I simply didn't trust it plus it never would wind neatly onto the winch without some effort guiding it on with my hand (I think the winch may not have been fitted quite straight on the trailer).

I replaced it with a length of Dyneema synthetic winch rope and now have no problems with fraying or not spooling on straight plus it's twice as strong:

Superwinch Parts, Electric Winches, Winch, Bumpers, Dyneema® Bowrope, Ropes, Chains, UK - Goodwinch.com

I used the 6mm size rated at 3220kg breaking strain - std winch straps are 1500kg or thereabouts. Better in just about every way and no drawbacks except it's a wee bit more expensive.

I also have the bow tied down to the main frame of the trailer, at the end of the day the whole winch post is only held on with U bolts so it's not bombproof, better to have something attached to the main trailer frame as well.
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Old 10 July 2011, 14:07   #4
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Dyneema seams like a good product. I replaced mine winch straps this year to a 2500 kg rated, i recover from a steep ramp and don't wont to have a strap in my face if something brakes.

How much Dyneema ropes stretch, is like a ordinary winch strap or more? Another question, will it take more or less space on the drum compared to a ordinary winch strap?

Thanks
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Old 10 July 2011, 14:13   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogMonster View Post
I used the 6mm size rated at 3220kg breaking strain - std winch straps are 1500kg or thereabouts. Better in just about every way and no drawbacks except it's a wee bit more expensive.
If you have a secondary method of securing to the bow and you're still putting more than 1500kg through your bow eye on a 4.8m boat (in OP's profile) and it's happened more than once I'd suggest you're driving too fast for the road conditions.
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Old 10 July 2011, 14:41   #6
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Originally Posted by Nos4r2 View Post
If you have a secondary method of securing to the bow and you're still putting more than 1500kg through your bow eye on a 4.8m boat (in OP's profile) and it's happened more than once I'd suggest you're driving too fast for the road conditions.
I would hazard a guess that the winch strap was taking the "primary load" and the secondary mechanism is a relatively slack piece of rope which with the winch connected is not bearing any load? Otherwise something is wrong...

[Edit - that's not to suggest that the current method or driving style is necessarily correct either!]
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Old 10 July 2011, 14:50   #7
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Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
I would hazard a guess that the winch strap was taking the "primary load" and the secondary mechanism is a relatively slack piece of rope which with the winch connected is not bearing any load? Otherwise something is wrong...

[Edit - that's not to suggest that the current method or driving style is necessarily correct either!]
Yes, fair comment. I stand by what I said about driving too fast though-a 1500kg load from a 4.8m boat should be almost unachievable without driving like Clarkson.
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Old 10 July 2011, 16:17   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nos4r2 View Post
If you have a secondary method of securing to the bow and you're still putting more than 1500kg through your bow eye on a 4.8m boat (in OP's profile) and it's happened more than once I'd suggest you're driving too fast for the road conditions.
Yes - but remember that's 1500kg breaking strain (and that's probably not properly certified) when it is new.

Add in a good dose of UV degradation, a bit of chafing along the edges and fatigue from repeated use and shock loading hitting unscheduled bumps in the road, and it will be a hell of a lot weaker than its "rating" after a while.

I simply don't see the point in using a low quality strap that IMHO is seriously under-specified for the intended use when for an extra tenner I can fit something that is a hell of a lot more likely to keep £20k+ worth of boat where it should be, whether that's when you are towing or winching the boat onto the trailer

Back onto Dyneema, it has almost zero stretch (which is why it is used on 4x4 winches - no stored energy if the rope breaks) and the 7m of 6mm blue string I put on my SBS trailer winch took up about the same amount of space on the winch drum as the original strap did - you could have got a lot more on though of course the more layers on the drum, the harder it is to wind in, same trade-off as any winch.
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Old 10 July 2011, 16:37   #9
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Well I have 2 straps at the stern through the ski eyes .. the winch strap .. the bow rope tied to the draw bar.. and a strap ratcheting the bow eye to the trailer drawbar to stop 'bounce'. That isnt an overkill set up .. every part there is there to do a job and it does the job

The stern straps will chaff after a couple of 250 mile journeys and will need replaced due to trailer vibration. My tow motor is a big V8 and I dont notice my trailer .. but my winch strap has never failed from spirited towing ...ok .. I fear a Ribnet Stasi midnight raid for my gay abandoness
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Old 10 July 2011, 17:26   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogMonster View Post
Yes - but remember that's 1500kg breaking strain (and that's probably not properly certified) when it is new.

Add in a good dose of UV degradation, a bit of chafing along the edges and fatigue from repeated use and shock loading hitting unscheduled bumps in the road, and it will be a hell of a lot weaker than its "rating" after a while.

I simply don't see the point in using a low quality strap that IMHO is seriously under-specified for the intended use when for an extra tenner I can fit something that is a hell of a lot more likely to keep £20k+ worth of boat where it should be, whether that's when you are towing or winching the boat onto the trailer
I can't disagree with you on anything you said there at all. What I am saying is that even if the breaking strain is down to 500kg, you shouldn't be able to break the winch strap if you're driving properly to the road conditions-Ie, not accelerating like an F1 car. If you don't notice the trailer, it doesn't mean you have to drive as though it's not there
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Old 10 July 2011, 18:33   #11
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I can't disagree with you on anything you said there at all. What I am saying is that even if the breaking strain is down to 500kg, you shouldn't be able to break the winch strap if you're driving properly to the road conditions-Ie, not accelerating like an F1 car. If you don't notice the trailer, it doesn't mean you have to drive as though it's not there
I mostly tow with a Tdi Defender 110 so losing the boat off the back is not gonna be due to the acceleration

What about hitting a big pothole you didn't see / couldn't miss? No idea how much of a jerk this would put on anything but it does make things bounce!
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Old 11 July 2011, 15:05   #12
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What about hitting a big pothole you didn't see / couldn't miss? No idea how much of a jerk this would put on anything but it does make things bounce!
I suspect the strap was either too tight, or I hit a pothole? The roads over are looking worse for wear after two severe winters and little or no repair or maintenance. I'm towing with a A4 2.5 TDi V6 quattro, but I drive like Miss Daisy most of the time!

I'll look at rigging it a different way on the return leg - so that the strain isn't on the strap. I've simply cut off the broken strap and cut back 12" or so and tied it onto the stainless-steel catch so I can continue to use it.
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Old 11 July 2011, 16:58   #13
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I have never had a winch strap break, so far, and I tow some fairly long distances. For example in the last 10 weeks I have towed from Oban to Hull and back, from Oban to Whithorn and back and from Oban to Orkney and back. These journeys are not unusual.
However my winch strap is only for winching, when launching and recovering my front ratchet strap is removed/fitted while the boat is still in the water on the trailer and never before backing in for launching or before pulling up the slip.
There is a ratchet strap through the U bolts on the stern to the trailer at all times on the road as well.
There is no point having suspension on the trailer if the boat is bouncing up and down on the rollers, mine is ratcheted down tight. I don't think you could get tight enough with a rope to stop movement and ratchets are the answer.
They are also quick to fit and take off so help speed things up...........
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Old 12 July 2011, 09:53   #14
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I'll look at rigging it a different way on the return leg - so that the strain isn't on the strap.
I suspect (and this is just a guess) that your problem isn't so much direct loading as it is loading due to bounce. I know my boat, if not secured downwards at the bow, will tend to bounce on the bow stop by two or three inches on a "normal" road (normal being California normal, which leaves a bit to be desired in these poor economic days.) I can only imagine the varying tension being exerted on the strap. So, I now use the winch strap to pull the bow snug to the stop, attach a safety chain and shorten it up a bit (I'll try and remember to get a pic of the that), and use a ratchet strap to tie the bow down to the trailer.


Quote:
I've simply cut off the broken strap and cut back 12" or so and tied it onto the stainless-steel catch so I can continue to use it.
Use a sewing awl or a sailmakers needle, sail palm, and heavy thread, and stitch it back together. Knots seriously degrade the breaking strength of any sort of line or webbing.

You have a stainless hook on your winch strap? I'd love to get one, but they're pretty pricey. I've rigged my strap up for quick replacement of a normal galvanized gated hook, as they tend to rust up pretty quickly.

jky
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Old 12 July 2011, 15:27   #15
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Dyneema is still better in every respect
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Old 13 July 2011, 01:23   #16
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Perhaps a daft question but if I was to replace my current winch strap with dyneema rope how does it attach to the winch? The current strap is looking a bit tired and does tend to twist when I'm winching in.
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Old 13 July 2011, 05:27   #17
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Very easy - most 'proper' flat winch straps attach to the winch with approx a 6mm bolt which goes right through the drum near the middle and goes through a sewn eye in the end of the winch strap. Take bolt out and throw it away, feed the end of the Dyneema through the 6mm ish hole where the bolt was so the end is sticking out the side of the drum and put a knot in it - job done

The only other thing you need to do is that if you regularly use a lot less than the full length of rope to winch your boat in, then you need to wind the bottom layers on under a bit of tension. You can of course buy as much or as little as you need (unlike straps which are usually 7m with a sewn eye in the end) and splicing the hook end is dead easy as well, 10 minute job to do a professional splice and you can undo the splices relatively easily if you need to change the hook.
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Old 13 July 2011, 13:00   #18
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Thanks very much - I will investigate.
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Old 17 July 2011, 12:01   #19
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You have a stainless hook on your winch strap? I'd love to get one, but they're pretty pricey. I've rigged my strap up for quick replacement of a normal galvanized gated hook, as they tend to rust up pretty quickly.

jky
Apologies... galvanised (not stainless)... much cheapness hook.
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Old 18 July 2011, 11:24   #20
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sounds like winch strap not tight enough .... and may have loosened on the trip as strap settled on drum. As soon as its loose then continual shock loadings from a bouncing boat front end on the strap is gonna see it off. The problem I have seen with this thin rope stuff is that the layers dig into themselves on the winch drum, then its difficult and sometimes nigh on impossible to pull the rope out again
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