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Old 13 June 2012, 19:23   #1
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New Member with questions....

Hi All,

I'm new to the forum, and hope/plan to be around for awhile!

I just purchased a Zodiac Classic Mark IIC, 15HP 4-stroke Honda OB, and a Load Rite bunk trailer. None have arrived yet, but should in a few days.

Does anyone have any opinions on the Zodiac? Anything I need to look out for? I've been in the market for some time, and I did a considerable amount of research. The Mark IIc seemed to offer a good compromise of all features i was looking for. I would love to hear from people with experience with this model.

My main concern is with the trailer. I had a smaller inflatable (with an inflatable keel) many years ago. I hit some obstruction by the shore, and it easily tore through the fabric on the bottom. Will the (uncarpeted) bunks on the trailer damage the fabric when loading and unloading the boat??

Also, would it be a good idea to deflate the keel while its on the trailer so the taunt material isn't supporting the weight of the boat on the bunks (and could possibly damage)? Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated

Lastly...Air pressure. I intend on inflating the boat to capacity on the trailer, but when it hits the cold water, the pressure will go down. How do you guys deal with this? And the other way around....as the sun beams down on the boat while its on my trailer, will the air pressure increase, and could it damage the tubes??

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide this newbie!
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Old 13 June 2012, 19:41   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum.

I would put as much protection on the bunks as possible/practical. Carpet does seem like the best way to go.

I would reposition if possible the bunks so that they sat a close to the tubes as possible. If you can't then inflated or deflated the boat will still sit on the hull fabric.

The best way is to get a Hand pump with a pressure gauge built in. You'll have to manually vary the pressures depending on the temperature to the handbook. You might be able to buy some pressure relief valves that will prevent tube damage if it over pressurises in hot weather/direct sunlight. Other than that then err on the side of caution and deflate the tubes to a safe pressure when not in use.

Hope that helps a bit.
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Old 14 June 2012, 10:20   #3
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Thnaks for the reply

Not sure if the trailer bunks can be removed, as I haven't received it yet.

Can I use regular carpet to wrap the bunks? i have a lot of carpet that I removed from a room in the house. I'd use galvenized screw and washer to secure it to the bunk (I'd drill on the sides, of course)

Would the carpet help avoid scratches while loading/unloading?
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Old 14 June 2012, 10:51   #4
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Of course the bunks can be removed. Can't weld wood to metal trailer.

Outdoor carpet is best. Indoor carpet is not UV stabilized, and will fall apart in a hurry. Ideally, you want a short-nap pile or loop, as it will not hold as much water.

Simpler and faster than screwing it on is to use stainless or Monel staples. Probably ahve to order them though, unless you have a really well-stocked hardware store nearby.

Another option I've seen a lot of people using (granted, mostly on older boats where appearance isn't an issue) is to replace the wood bunks with sections of aluminum bleacher seat sections. The aluminum is smooth enough that it doesn't do much scuffing to the boat fabric.

Bunks should be set up to support the inside edge of the tubes, and if you can do it, the outer edges of the floor. The two main bunks should extend several inches beyond the transom. Usually, a short keel bunk will help support the nose weight of the boat, and a bow stop bunk will help you get the positioning right.

As to boat inflation, depending on ambient temp and water temp, loss of pressure due to cooling can be significant. I get around that by having an electric pump on-board, and topping the boat off before leaving the dock. That may not be an option for you, but you can still top off with a foot or stirrup pump after splashing the boat.

Again, depending on ambient and water temps, you might want to get in the habit of softening the tubes wen you pull the boat out of the water, as well. A boat that was pumped up in the water, then left sitting in the sun on a trailer can over-pressurize from the heating of the air in the tubes. Don't ask how I know.

jky
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Old 18 June 2012, 14:09   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyasaki View Post
Bunks should be set up to support the inside edge of the tubes, and if you can do it, the outer edges of the floor. The two main bunks should extend several inches beyond the transom. Usually, a short keel bunk will help support the nose weight of the boat, and a bow stop bunk will help you get the positioning right.
The trailer came in, and I'm picking it up next week (waiting for some paperwork)

It only came with two bunks. I'm not usre if I need to purchase an additional set of bunmks for it.

When you say to line them up so they support the "inside edge of the tube", do you mean right where the floorboards meet the tubes? If so, would I still need a bunk to support the keel? Bear in mine, this is for a SIB. I'm worried sick that I either didn't order the right trailer, or didn't prep it enough and the boat wil be damaged.

Again - Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! the Trailer sales rep is completly useless
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Old 19 June 2012, 10:49   #6
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No, you most likely will not need additional bunks (at least, not full length bunks.) Nothing else solid on the bottom of the boat to support, anyway.

Yes, you want the boat to sit on the bunks such that the tubes and floor are centered on the bunk (looking along the boats centerline.) That way you catch the floor (the only solid[ish] part of the bottom of the boat) without stretching the bottom material.

A short section of bunk on the keel towards the front will give you something to strap the nose of the boat down against. I found my SIBs nose would bounce a lot while trailering; a 1" ratchet strap from the bow grab handle to the trailer stops that, and the short keel bunk keeps things in place.

I preferred using hard tie points to hold the boat down to the trailer (eye bolts in the transom to the trailer corners and the front grab handle), rather than straps across the tubes. Straps across the tubes are wear points due to chafing, and security is dependent on inflation pressure (which will vary with tube temp and/or altitude.) I did use a strap about a third of the way back in case the grab handle failed, but I never really cranked down on it, just snugged it up so it didn't flap around too much.

With a smaller motor, you'll probably be able to keep the motor fully down while trailering, so strain on the tilt mechanism won't be an issue, but you probably want to come up with some method to to lock the tiller so the motor doesn't slam from side to side. A bungie cord to the tube or transom eye will work. Take a look when you get on the road; you may find that you want to triangulate the motor to the trailer to preotect the transom from the motor penduluming (if that's a word.)

One other thing you should do once you get the entire rig assembled is do a weight check. Get overall weight of the boat, trailer, motor, and anything you will normally tote in the boat (fuel, anchor, large cooler of beer, whatever); then get the weight of just the trailer tongue (can be done by using a bathroom scale under the trailer jack on a rig your size.) Tongue weight should be about 7-10 percent of the total rig weight for optimal towing. A bit heavier probably won't make a lot of difference with a smaller rig, but too light and you'll induce trailer sway (which can get pretty dangerous.) Move either the boat or the axle to correct the balance if necessary.

Note that this is all my opinion; others may have different views or problems or solutions. Get used to it, as boating is all about what works for you.

Hope this helps;

jky
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Old 19 June 2012, 15:32   #7
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jky - Thanks so much for the post! Very insightful! I will take all your words into consideration.
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Old 19 June 2012, 18:52   #8
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Who says the bunks are made of wood? Today many are made of composite (Think Etrex) and with a fiberglass hull they make launching and recovering very easy. The boat slides very easily as my friend used them for his Nautique.

If they are a composition of plastic I am not sure how much I like the idea of not having them more padded with carpet for an inflatable boat. Although to carpet them would require glue as I doubt a staple gun would penetrate very well.

My boat has two bunks and they actually do not go under the tubes. I have the GT version though so the speed tubes would get in the way. Instead it is under the transom (Most import part to support) and right up against the tubes on the inside.
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Old 20 June 2012, 00:38   #9
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Same thing, Pete. The outside edges of the floor are the important part to support.

I have yet to see a new trailer with E-Trex as the bunk material (though I haven;t looked at trailers in a while anyway.) I suspect a hammer type stapler (which is what I used) would work fine with normal length staples, even in E-Trex.

But, yes, with composite bunk materials, you probably don't need carpet (see the reference to aluminum bleacher seats above.)

jky
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