Wake 101
Home   Articles   Pics/Video   Gear   Wake 101   Events   Community   Forums   Classifieds   Contests   Shop   Search
WakeWorld Home
Email Password
Go Back   WakeWorld > Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old     (rio_sanger)      Join Date: Apr 2007       05-20-2010, 9:10 PM Reply   
I posted about this idea a couple years ago, didn't get much response, and have still never gotten around to undertaking this project.
It's back in my mind again, and input from fellow wakeworlders is always welcome.

We have a boat garage at our river place that is 30 feet to the water. I was thinking of mounting a winch in the garage to launch the boat so that I could drive there in a non-tow vehicle and still launch the boat.

I would like to mount the winch so that it could be removed if needed.
Also, I think the trailer would need a special dolly wheel on the front to roll straight down the ramp.
Here's an example of the type of front wheel I was thinking of on a dolly trailer, and a few pictures of my ramp and garage.

Any input would be welcome!

The winches:

Dolly wheel:
Attached Images
Old     (dohboy)      Join Date: Aug 2007       05-20-2010, 10:05 PM Reply   
A big problem would be when you load the boat back on the trailer. The tow vehicle adds the dead weight to run the boat up on the trailer. Without it the trailer wouldn't be very stable or stationary. But heres an idea for the setup- A hole in the garage floor to put in a pole with the winch mounted on it. This would make the winch easily removable. And a long u-channel that one of the sets of tires runs along. Like the guides at a car wash. This would easily guide the trailer up and down the ramp. And your front center wheel idea there in that picture. The only thing that might suck with the winch is not accounting for the angle change from the garage to the ramp.
Old     (camassanger)      Join Date: Oct 2009       05-20-2010, 10:08 PM Reply   
Go for it. Mount a hitch receiver fitting on your garage wall and mount the winch on the draw bar. Put a wheel on the trailer and your set. You may need some type of device to keep the cable from chewing up the driveway toward the top. Know what I mean? Or maybe mount the winch up high...
Old     (camassanger)      Join Date: Oct 2009       05-20-2010, 10:10 PM Reply   
If you could put the trailer far enuf into the water you may be ok (regarding the tow vehicle comment -I agree tho)
Old     (boardnxtx)      Join Date: Jun 2009       05-20-2010, 11:32 PM Reply   
Would a trailer dolly with an electric motor and brakes work? You would have have 2 people to make launching and loading work. You'd prolly have to get a heavy duty one to handle the incline too. Might be worth a look...
Old     (rio_sanger)      Join Date: Apr 2007       05-21-2010, 2:11 AM Reply   
Great ideas guys! You guys are thinking along the same lines as I was! - keep the good input coming.

That's a good point Rich, about the trailer sitting in the water,and moving forward when the boat comes on. Although it is a pretty sandy bottom and the slope on the ramp might be enough to keep the trailer stable when loading. The river bottom there is relatively flat also, so the trailer sits almost level when in deep enough to load / unload.

The track for keeping it going straight down is a good idea too. i was concerned about it wandering off to the side.

A trailer hitch receiver in the middle of the garage slab was one of the ideas for the quick mount of the winch, quick bolts or pins into sleeves in the floor was another idea, but getting it up off the ground could help with the cable angle. A roller or guide slot could be placed where the garage transitions from flat to slope to keep the cable from rubbing on the concrete.

You can see in the last picture that the ramp is set up with the slope continuing into the garage to just between the two wheels on the trailer, so it is ready to start down as soon as the chocks are removed, and the winch is started.
Old     (dohboy)      Join Date: Aug 2007       05-21-2010, 3:54 AM Reply   
With the angle going into the garage if you took a steel pole and welded a flat top piece of steel you could mount the winch to it. Core drill a hole in the floor and then you could easily remove the pole and have the winch in the air at the right angle.
Old    ajmac            05-21-2010, 6:12 AM Reply   
Just another thought...what about mounting the winch to the wall and then using a pulley in the middle of the garage to make a 90 deg. angle at the trailer. It would be easier on the winch and you may be able to figure something out so all you have to do is pop a post out of your garage floor with a pulley on it as apposed to a heavy winch.
Old     (gdavid)      Join Date: Feb 2010       05-21-2010, 7:05 AM Reply   
I would suggest mounting the new winch on the tongue of your trailer rather than in the garage. You could make up your anchor point in the garage however is strongest, easy and convienent and make a plate up for the new winch that supports the winch and mounts to the trailer tongue.

By having the winch on the tongue you would be able to steer the trailer by the tongue by yourself to keep it lined up on the ramp. Another advantage would be the cable would not be pulled across the floor of your garage, it will lay there and stay stationary because the winch is moving rather than the cable relative to the ground.
Old     (rio_sanger)      Join Date: Apr 2007       05-21-2010, 7:29 AM Reply   
That's a very interesting idea George. I'll add that to my list of options. A 12V unit that runs off the boat battery would work well for your method, so a cord wouldn't need to run up and down the ramp with it.
One issue in my case, the river bottom is such that I need to put the trailer in usually until the tongue is just about in the water, or actually in it, depending on river level.
I guess it could be mounted up higher, sort of like the hand winch is mounted.
Old     (mossy44)      Join Date: Oct 2001       05-21-2010, 7:35 AM Reply   
would a 4 wheeler work? i dont know how steep the driveway is or how heavy that boat is, but what if you just bought a cheap, old 4 wheeler off craigslist or somewhere and left it at your lakehouse?

just a thought.
Old     (gdavid)      Join Date: Feb 2010       05-21-2010, 7:46 AM Reply   
I was just thinking about a hand crank model, the only real requirement would be a large enough spool to allow the amount of travel you will need. Otherwise the stock winch could be routed to do it via a pulley.
Old     (baitkiller)      Join Date: Jan 2010       05-21-2010, 8:14 AM Reply   
23 years ago I lived in Foster City Ca. It was a private lake community everyone had boat garages with no front door. The interesting thing to watch was when you launched your boat you would leave it strapped on and drive the trailer over to the house UNDER the boat! Crazy thing to see for the first time. Most of the houses used a swinging steel pipe gate gizom with the winch attached that locked into a receiver hole in the middle of the ramp. When not in use the (gate, gantry,swing arm looking gizmo thing) would swing out of the way and latch to the wall or peg in the ground. It was a stand alone system red headed into the slab and not attached to the house.

Good luck with an enviable problem.
Old     (jeff_mn)      Join Date: Jul 2009       05-21-2010, 9:04 AM Reply   
save all the money on winches, etc and get the cheapest truck you can find on Craigslist and leave it there.
Old     (camassanger)      Join Date: Oct 2009       05-21-2010, 9:08 AM Reply   
Matt and Jeff are on to somethin here :-) But, I dont think there's an ATV that will pull the boat up the hill to the garage - it would be a huge strain in 4 lo, even if it did work. Not recommended. The cheap truck idea is awesome - but it has to start and run everytime lol
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       05-21-2010, 9:59 AM Reply   
There are a number of ways to design this inexpensively. Install a couple angles into the slab with wedge anchors or epoxy at the appropriate tongue location for launching. Make the angles long enough to adjust for changes in the water level. Then fabricate a triangulated brace with a ball welded onto the top. Once your trailer is on position the brace can be installed under the tongue and a a couple bolts run through the angle legs to act as the tow vehicle. It will keep the trailer in place by preventing it from moving forward or lifting up while launching. My guess is with a winch in the garage secured to the floor, you will be able to easily guide the trailer by hand.

Another option is a riding mower. We use to move a large boat around with an old standard John Deere deck mower with no problem.
Old     (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       05-21-2010, 10:00 AM Reply   
There are quite a few rail systems on the shores of Lake Sammamish, most built years ago & grandfathered in as those kind of things are not allowed anymore. I always wondered if using the trailer instead of a cart & rail system would work. But like you pointed out, you might have to do something to keep the trailer on course so it's not hitting the sides of the path on it's way up or down. Maybe use trailer tires mounted on the sides of the cart to guide it up the rock wall?

I have a buddy with one who uses it to pull his Calabria up into a boathouse. He uses a winch, but it's not 12v. His is AC, and it's just an electric motor with a spool on it, all setup off to one side of the boat house. The winch cable goes thru a pulley in the middle of the boat house, then across the floor & over a roller like you guys described. He said he has about $800 invested in upgrading it all a few years ago. Check out the motors used in boat house lifts like these.

Last edited by bill_airjunky; 05-21-2010 at 10:06 AM.
Old     (rebelman10)      Join Date: Jun 2009       05-21-2010, 10:15 AM Reply   
Train rails are very popular here too. Because of drought, the rails go well into the lake. Just take the tire off the rim so it glides up the rail. Mount a winch to the wall in the garage and a pulley at the slope just outside the garage. It's way cheaper than concrete.
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       05-21-2010, 10:47 AM Reply   
See Chris, I told you you'd get some good ideas on here!

The extra truck idea is way too easy! I want to see this winch thing work. I think George had the one idea I hadn't thought of by mounting the winch on the trailer. That really eliminates the need for a fancy removable winch receiver in the garage and also solves the problem of having the cable rubbing on the concrete.

However, two problems have come up that I didn't think of as well. Being able to run the boat up on the trailer is probably a minor problem because with this system you could put it in deep enough to winch the boat up in front (boat trailer winch) and then make sure it sits on the trailer properly on the way out since the winch will be pulling it up the ramp slowly and all you're going to be doing it watching.

The other problem is with the trailer wandering on its way down the ramp. A short curb on each side of the ramp would solve this problem, but that's an added expense. Obviously, with your current setup, you're going to pay the price if the boat wanders and hits one of your walls. Any other ideas to help with tracking it down the launch ramp?
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       05-21-2010, 10:48 AM Reply   
Chris, is that a single-axle trailer? I would think you'd have better luck with it tracking straight with a single-axle vs. double-axle.
Old     (rio_sanger)      Join Date: Apr 2007       05-21-2010, 10:57 AM Reply   
Some really good responses and ideas here!
No Dave, it's a tandem.
Actually tandems track straighter, ever tried to turn a tandem by hand on a dolly? Not fun.
If you look at the pic of the dolly trailer above, you can see that they set the two axels farther apart for better tracking.

Last edited by rio_sanger; 05-21-2010 at 11:02 AM.
Old     (baitkiller)      Join Date: Jan 2010       05-21-2010, 11:00 AM Reply   
My guess is that tracking will be a non issue. If letting the trailer down the ram with the winch the cable tension will keep the tongue pretty much centered. Deal with that issue when / if it comes into play.

And agreed, the trailer will go in deep enough that the boat will float all the way on. No problem.

Also check Gem Remotes so you can get a wireless fob for your ramp winch. They are pretty cheap, I use them on all my boat lifts.

Picture this: Drive the boat all the way on the trailer where there is a short piece of line attached to the trailer winch mast fitted with a French clip that fits on the bow cleat. Snap this on, pull out the wireless fob and ride the boat right up the ramp. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       05-21-2010, 11:00 AM Reply   
That's why I think you'd have more of a problem with dual-axle. Once it gets going off course, there's nothing you can do other than pulling it back up and trying again. However, not only would a single-axle be more apt to be corrected by gravity if it does get off course, but you could also probably steer it by hand on its way down. However, who knows if it will be a problem at all. If your ramp is steep and level across, theoretically, the trailer shouldn't wander at all.

Last edited by wakeworld; 05-21-2010 at 11:06 AM.
Old     (rio_sanger)      Join Date: Apr 2007       05-21-2010, 11:11 AM Reply   
"Picture this: Drive the boat all the way on the trailer where there is a short piece of line attached to the trailer winch mast fitted with a French clip that fits on the bow cleat. Snap this on, pull out the wireless fob and ride the boat right up the ramp. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy."

baitkiller ~ Now you've got me really excited again on ths project!

I have thrown the old truck idea around, but that's just one more storage and maintanence issue I don't need to deal with down there.
Anyway my ol 3/4 ton 4x4 Suburban with 200,000 miles on it almost fits that catagory right now!! Maybe I'll just leave it down there one of these times;-)
Old     (gdavid)      Join Date: Feb 2010       05-21-2010, 11:36 AM Reply   
In my other life I'm a pretty active sailor, now that I have admitted that I can share what may be relevant.

Some fixed keel boats that are kept on trailers must be ramp launched when a hoist/crane or travel lift is not available. They do this by tying a rope to the trailer tongue and backing the rig down a really long ramp to get it deep enough. They have the added difficulty of the bottom of the boats being 5'-6' off the ground when it's on the trailer. The real difficulty they have is trying to line the boats back up on the trailers when they take them back out. (some one has to swim down and line up the keel, dangerous as hell)

Name:  fixed keel trailer launching.jpg
Views: 6345
Size:  44.2 KB

here is a link of the whole task

My point is that they don't seem to have much trouble guiding the trailer down straight. I think it would actually be easier to keep a single axle trailer straight by hand steering the tongue than a double axle trailer. The double axle may stay straight on it's own easier but once it gets off it would be hard to correct. Your boat doesn't have far to travel up or down the ramp and your ramp looks pretty straight and level. I really don't see where it would be that tough.

then again sometimes they get it all wrong

Name:  oops.jpg
Views: 6489
Size:  95.3 KB

Last edited by gdavid; 05-21-2010 at 11:40 AM.
Old     (tyler97217)      Join Date: Aug 2004       05-21-2010, 11:37 AM Reply   
I think people are right about loading on that trailer without a truck hooked into it is going to be a mess. Bouncing up/down, side to side, and more importantly it will push the trailer up your ramp. Would love to watch, but I don't think it will work.
Hope it works, but I think you are better off buying a beater truck or even a beater tractor to launch it with.
Old     (dcooper)      Join Date: Mar 2005       05-21-2010, 1:38 PM Reply   
How about an old tractor? A lake near us has house on the shore and you see tons of old tractors used to launch and retrieve boats. If not the tractor I would get an old truck.
Old     (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       05-21-2010, 2:28 PM Reply   
Boat House Winch - $900 (Minneapolis)

Google "AC winch" or "boat house winch" for more ideas.
Old     (ajholt7)      Join Date: Apr 2009       05-21-2010, 7:43 PM Reply   
What about these?
Old     (Silverbullet555)      Join Date: May 2010       05-22-2010, 12:09 AM Reply   
The winch might be the easy idea. In areas that have these types of boat garages, they sometimes have trackings that the trailer ride on. Almost like lightweight train tracks. It uses a winch system to pull the cradle up with the boat on it. The down side is that moving it out of the way could be tough.
Old     (Brett)      Join Date: May 2010       05-23-2010, 9:19 AM Reply   
baitkiller- The trailer under the boat thing reminds me of a few boat lifts I helped put in. Steep shoreline without truck access on both of them. We put a lift with canopy together on a large trailer took it to the boat launch and set it on the ramp. Pulled a MC 205 into it and strapped it to the boat. Made our way about a mile to its resting place worked just fine. A little uneasy however....
Old     (bdavis)      Join Date: Sep 2002       05-25-2010, 10:33 PM Reply   
I think an anchor point at the launch point and ratchet tie down to the tongue would secure the trailer for launching and loading. It wouldn't be much more work to add more for water fluctuation. Just brainstorming here... For lowering down the ramp, picture a wheel and shaft with handlebars mounted on top. Turning the bars steers the trailer. A foot lever for the hydraulic brakes, or maybe electric actuator? Probably not doable but you wanted ideas. If you stopped too fast I wonder if it would lift the front off the ground? A 12v winch will suck batteries down fairly quickly. If you found a used electric trailer dolly, you could mount it upside down to a large pole. Then take the tire off the wheel and load it with good rope. That would probably be cheaper unless you wanted to buy a winch anyway. If it wasn't strong enough just mount a pulley to the tongue and now you have 2:1 advantage. If clearing the driveway is an issue, find used rubber boat roller and mount it to a block of wood and throw it in place before the rope starts to rub. Super ghetto idea: back your rear wheel drive vehicle into the garage with the left rear in the center. Jack the wheel and chock the other three. Replace wheel with homemade spooldrum and rope. Not convenient but probably cheapest. Probably not safe either but it's an idea. What kind of vehicle would be down there?
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       05-26-2010, 12:13 AM Reply   
- permanently mount the winch to the floor at one side wall
- mount a pulley block just in front of the resting position of the tongue to turn the pull direction 90 degrees (or more or less if needed)
- roll it with plenty of cable
- winch the boat in or out of the water to your hearts content

I used to winch my boat tongue in first in the garage of my old house just using the boat's winch. It took two times to get it all the way in the garage. I would drive the tow vehicle into the garage, unhook it, use the floor jack and swing the tail to the side then back it out of the way. That was easy... not
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       05-26-2010, 12:15 AM Reply   
one more thing...

Added bonus points if you can double duty the winch with different gearing to pull wakeboarders over sliders!
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       05-26-2010, 7:35 AM Reply   
If your worried about tracking build front wheel that can be steered like a tiller. The longer the lever arm the easier it will be to turn. I don't think it will take much to control.
Old     (srock)      Join Date: Mar 2002       05-26-2010, 7:42 AM Reply   
look at this as an idea
Attached Images
Old     (snowslider76)      Join Date: Mar 2002       05-26-2010, 9:05 AM Reply   
I think you need a dolly type trailer, a square one with tires in the very back and very front. This would prevent it from moving much on loading as you can lock the front tires. Some people on our lake have this same thing, it looks almost like a boat lift cradel with tires on it. Maybe find an old boat lift, get ride of most of it and mount tires on the cradel along with your winch. If that makes any sense. I dont think they have tracking systems on these things the four tires being so far apart keep it straight. Like this but much bigger and tires that can only move front to back.
Attached Images
Old     (baitkiller)      Join Date: Jan 2010       05-26-2010, 2:22 PM Reply   
Go to the river house and throw a 20' chain on your trailer and truck. Try backing it down and pulling it up a few times to determine if tracking issues even exist.

6 ice cold Pale Ales says the back down tracking issue is non existent.
Old     (rio_sanger)      Join Date: Apr 2007       05-26-2010, 4:38 PM Reply   
"Go to the river house and throw a 20' chain on your trailer and truck. Try backing it down and pulling it up a few times to determine if tracking issues even exist."

I thought about doing just that baitkiller, but I'm not sure the little funky plasiic jack wheel will survive the roll down and up the ramp even once. It's fairly rough concrete with ridges in it for traction. Plus, the jack wheel sits off to one side of the tounge, which may have an affect on tracking?

I'll be down there this weekend, I guess I could just give it a try, nothing to lose but a jack stand/wheel.

Last edited by rio_sanger; 05-26-2010 at 4:42 PM.
Old     (baitkiller)      Join Date: Jan 2010       05-26-2010, 6:29 PM Reply   
Hi Chris, you will probably need a better jack wheel. Its just a simple bolt axle on most so 15$ at Northern Tool or whatever can get you into a pneumatic tire near the same size.
Oh I forgot to add.. perhaps it would be a good idea to try this with an empty trailer. You know...... just in case?
Old     (0klahoma_Breakdown)      Join Date: Mar 2010       06-01-2010, 2:04 PM Reply   
Hey there Chris,

I am late to add to this string but wanted to let you know I do much the same but only for storing my boat nose first in my garage up a significant incline-not sure of the grade but it is definitely more than some ramps I use. The winch idea will absolutely work. You just need to solve the issue of the trailer moving around when down the ramp.

Check out this link.......
I invested about $130 three years ago to avoid storage fees and it has worked well. Bottom line is that the winch works very well for the purpose. You may want one with a remote .... I think they make those right?

Good luck!
Old     (0klahoma_Breakdown)      Join Date: Mar 2010       06-01-2010, 2:17 PM Reply   
Also, I forgot to mention on the tracking issue that the trailer will track straight once it is on an incline. I added a 5000# jack to my trailer with a big wheel to handle the stress of rolling up and down the driveway every couple of days. Other than that it works very well!
Old     (wakeworld)      Join Date: Jan 1997       06-01-2010, 5:13 PM Reply   
What if you put the winch on the front of the trailer and mounted it on a swivel. That way you could use it to pull the boat onto the trailer (solving the problem of running it up when it's not attached to the truck) and then turn it around and use it to pull the boat into the garage. You could even use a 110 outlet and a long extension cord if 12 volt doesn't work.
Old     (rio_sanger)      Join Date: Apr 2007       06-01-2010, 7:32 PM Reply   
Thanks for all the replies and great ideas! Some very clever ones, I must say.

I was at the river this weekend and did a dry run with a tow strap connected to my hitch. Tracking was only a slight issue, but I only had the jack wheel down, which is off to one side. Although it could still be steered easily by hand, a center mounted dolly wheel would for sure solve that problem.

But here's an issue no one (even I) considered before:
The trailer stopped in the sand /silt well before it was in deep enough to be able to float the boat. The river bottom is just not steep enough to allow the trailer to roll without a truck pushing it.

Oh well, this was more of a novelty idea than a necessity anyway, as I really doubt I would ever travel there in a vehicle that wasn't at least capable of launching / retrieving the boat.

It would just be so cool to be able say "watch me launch my boat while I sit here on the patio with a drink in one hand and a remote in the other"
Old     (makindue)      Join Date: Jul 2010       07-03-2010, 5:46 AM Reply   
Nice launch witch in your boat. I think it is easier to launch you boat. It is pretty good.
Old     (wake77)      Join Date: Jan 2009       07-03-2010, 11:41 AM Reply   
^^Yeah, what he said.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:09 PM.

Home   Articles   Pics/Video   Gear   Wake 101   Events   Community   Forums   Classifieds   Contests   Shop   Search
Wake World Home


© 2016 eWake, Inc.    
Advertise    |    Contact    |    Terms of Use    |    Privacy Policy    |    Report Abuse    |    Conduct    |    About Us