Trailer Issues and Solutions

I trailered Shackleton over to Port Townsend and back last week.  We had an excellent time, but I learned a few things while trailering Shackleton this far over the road.

First Issue:  The front bumper pads rubbed against the pram bow.

DSC00420This is from one trip to Port Townsend and back (1,750 miles).  Though the front pads seemed like a good idea, in practice, they perform a disservice.

DSC00416So, I went to the wood pile and pulled out a scrap piece of UHMW.  I routed the edges and used a counter sink bit to set the 1 1/4″ SS screws.  I’m hoping the carpet, will allow some give in the UHMW as the bow makes contact with it.


DSC00421All mounted up read to place back onto the trailer.  Will it work?  Only time will tell, but there should be less friction for sure.

Second Issue:  The trailer seemed to squeak while trailering.  I thought I would try to lube the leaf springs to prevent the squeaking.  Here is what I noticed:

DSC00416This side looked correct, with the leaf spring running between the upper and lower bolt.

DSC00417This side, however, has the leaf spring running below the lower bolt.  This didn’t look right so I called Carnai Trailers to inquire.  Yes, they agreed it was wrong…but also stated it was impossible.  Their manufacturing processes are so good that this simply could not be.  Well, that’s why I sent these pictures to them before I placed my call…so they could see that it was wrong.   My request to Carnai was for them to pay to have a tire shop simply jack up the trailer, remove the bolt and lower the frame.  They said they would not pay to have the spring relocated.   Remember, it was impossible.  Finally, they would gladly look at the trailer if I just pulled it to Spokane.  This was not only impractical but flat out ridiculous.  After hitting them over the head with the simple logic of how ridiculous this was, they finally agreed to pay for the fix.  Truth is, I’m going to fix it myself, but it didn’t leave a very good taste in my mouth regarding Carnai Trailers.


You have to get acquainted with your gear.  Look closely at it…if it doesn’t make sense, something is probably wrong.  It will continue to take some time to work through all the little details that I want to get right.  

Center Board Trailer Support

I didn’t want the center board to be hanging on the uphaul line as I bounced down the road trailering Shackleton.  So, I looked things over and decided to build a center board support to take the weight off the uphaul line.DSC00410I took a left over piece of 3/4″ okoume plywood and made a few notch outs to better fit the trailer.DSC00408Then I found some old leather I had laying around.  DSC00411I made a 6″ x 8″ cut out.DSC00413This is approximately where I want the leather to fit over the wood.DSC00414I used stainless bolts to secure the support to the back trailer cross member.  I used fender washers for a good purchase.  The notch outs allows to board to fit flat and rest on the trailer side member.  I then screwed the leather to the top of the plywood support with smooth pan head screws.DSC00415This photo shows the center board in the down, unweighted position, resting on the leather pad (I could have positioned the pad even further forward, but it picks up the center board just fine).


I plan to drop the center board down onto this pad when trailering with Shackleton.  Note that even if I forget to raise the center board when launching Shackleton, the boat will still slide right off the trailer, as the board rest on top of the trailer cross member and butts up to the roller.  Not a hard modification and makes me feel a lot better about the highway miles I’ll be traveling.

Shackleton on Trailer, Mutineers Onboard

After turning the boat upside down, I discarded the building jig, knowing I would place the boat on the trailer for the remaining steps.  So, today (drum roll please) I placed Shackleton on the trailer.  DSC00075 I positioned the thick part of the skegs just forward of the rear rollers (similar to what others have done).  I also lowered the rollers to keep the boat low on the trailer.  DSC00076I attempted to move the 4 x 4 carpeted bunk to the rear 12″ but I couldn’t get the lags out of the bunk.  So, I decided to leave it where it is.  Not ideal, but close enough.  DSC00039Preston volunteered to crawl through the bulkhead and install my bow eye.  He is taller than me and reached the bow without even getting all the way inside.  DSC00060Future Idaho Sailors.  Delight mixed with mischief.  DSC00044   DSC00050I sense a mutinous plan in the works.  I know that look very well.  DSC00070I called my dad (first generation ham n egger) to help me bend the front bumpers slightly to better align with the pram bow.  Here’s a man with all the tools.  DSC00074With a little ‘friendly persuasion’ the bow bumpers now fits perfectly.


The tongue on this trailer appears to be much longer than necessary.  Has anyone else felt this way?  I would say it’s 2′-3′ longer than it needs to be.  After I build a way to carry my mast, I’m going to hook up the trailer and see how much length can be removed. This is just too long for me, but still a very impressive trailer.

Scamp Trailer

I needed a good trailer for Shackleton.  Living in Idaho has many advantages, but sailing is not one of them.  I will need to trailer long distances to reach some of the sailing waters I plan to explore.  And, It’s no fun to break down when you’ve worked so hard to build a boat and planed so well to pull off an adventure.  Hence, I was not looking to save money…I wanted the best trailer possible.  I contacted Dave at Gig Harbor boats to discuss the advantages of the trailer they designed specifically for Scamp.  After hearing about all they’ve done to optimize this trailer, I was sold.  I’ll discuss a few of the advantages below.  DSC00035This baby is well built.  The uprights are solid.  I think you could step on the fenders without any problems…though I may avoid doing this.

DSC00036I sprung for LED taillights.  For an additional $60.00 I felt the upgrade was well worth the solid state advantage.  I don’t want to worry about taillights going out…hopefully these prove advantageous.

DSC00037The rollers are self centering and adjustable.  With the trimmed down skegs on Shackleton, I believe she’ll roll right up onto the trailer.

DSC00039Buddy bearings are easy to lube and offer a internal spring, pressing the lube into the bearings.  The cap is a nice touch to keep grime out.

DSC00040Cap removed showing grease fitting.  The galvanized wheels appear utilitarian and practical…just like Scamp.

DSC00041These trailers are made in Spokane, WA.  I made arrangements to pick up the trailer at the factory, since I live closer to Spokane than Port Townsend.  DSC00043Another thing I really like are the galvanized tubes.  All the tubes are open ended for water to run out.  Additionally, the end-cuts are all galvanized as well.  This should provide excellent rust inhibition.

DSC00044Notice how all the cross members, posts, bunks and axel are bolted together and hence adjustable.  This will allow me to fine tune the tung weight for ideal towing behind my Subaru.

DSC00035The front bunk has been upgraded to a 4″ x 4″ presumably for better water drainage toward the rear scuppers inside the boat.  All carpets bunks are well wrapped and secured.  I can’t find fault anywhere here.

DSC00046The hitch takes a 2″ ball.  Notice the safety pin riveted to the hitch.  No more loosing the safety bolt.  I also had Dave install a front wheel jack for easy maneuvering of Shackleton on the trailer.

So, how much did it cost?  Call Dave…I think it was a bargain.

I’m really glad Gig Harbor offers this trailer.  I couldn’t have designed a better trailer if I started from scratch.