It Takes A Lot Of Nerve To Trailer A Classic Boat.

Leaving Jimmy’s Barn yesterday!

It’s 6 AM and I haven’t slept one bit. I am about to head up to Katzs marina for a refresh on WECATCHEM, and to be honest I am sweating bullets. Not sure why? Maybe its that I am hauling a 25 ft Steinway up into New Jersey. If it isn’t the bumps in the road, its the trucks, or maybe the bearings, breaks, maybe the axle is rusted and I cant tell? Maybe one of the bunks will come off? Maybe the truck will break down. Maybe I will have to poop! Oh god, rest stop restroom poops are the worst. It’s endless with all the worries.

Parked overnight behind my office

But one thing for sure, once you are on the road, it all seems better and better, and by the time you are close, you start drifting around turns and drag racing punk kids in their rice burners. Okay okay, maybe I am exaggerating a bit.

Highway to Heaven

Okay okay. a lot.  It’s white knuckles all the way. And there is a reason I am numb after just a 4 hr drive. Especially when it takes 6 hours because I am driving 25 with the flashers on.


33 replies
  1. Frank@Falmouth
    Frank@Falmouth says:

    And funny how everyone who passes HAS to slow to see who is driving such a cool rig! Or pulls alongside matching your speed to check it out, now not paying attention to the cars ahead.
    Or worrying about the idiots on the phone who you worry will rear end your precious tow!
    Towing a classic boat or car is always stressful if only because of all the other folks on the road. Hope all went well, you won’t be reading till after you get there safe. And have a safe drive home. Spring Breakers on the roads!!

  2. Rick
    Rick says:

    You need to get one of those fully enclosed trailers that can back up right into the water. They look cool as all get out. It could also be a cool story. One of your readers must have one.

    • Bilge Rat
      Bilge Rat says:

      OOPS! Didn’t mean to call your boat SWEAT Pea. Sweet Pea. Needed another cup of coffee before I typed. At last I didn’t miss-type Pea.

  3. Old Salt
    Old Salt says:

    Try towing it through the middle of New York City while the broadway theatres are letting out and then out through the Queens Midtown tunnel. After that experience I rarely have white knuckles any more.

  4. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    But…in Florida it is illegal to drive with flashers on..even in the pouring down rain .Use them only when stopped for an emergency. here.

    • David O Hutchinson
      David O Hutchinson says:

      My father owned a 1948 Twin Screw, 25′ Chris Craft Express Cruiser from 1950-1953 in our home city of St. Petersburg, Fl. I, and a friend stayed on board several night when it was docked in the St. Pete Yacht Club Basin. Its twin 95 hp CC Marine engines would reach 30 mph. I do not retain any pictures of the beautiful Express Cruiser, but clearly have many memories of excursions on Tampa Bay and nearby locations in the Gulf. Not until 1954 was the first Tampa Bay bridge built. The 4 ferry boats made daylight trips every 30 mins from Maximo Point to Palmetto with cars. My father owned a wholesale nursery and palm tree business, where his 4 semi trailer tractors could only load on the largest ferry, the Hillsborough. (the 3 others were the Pinellas, Sarasota, and Manatee)

  5. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    Getting out of D.C. is never fun, neither is the NJ Turnpike! But the destination is waaaay cool. Hit your white knuckles in the truck and go have fun!

  6. Briant
    Briant says:

    Sweat Pee? Gross.
    Anyways, after having been rear ended towing our boat, when I ordered up the new trailer last fall, I added 9 inches so that if rear ended again, perhaps the trailer will take the hit and not Zoomer.
    Oh yeah, plug time….RYAN Trailers in Estacada, Oregon !!

  7. don vogt
    don vogt says:

    Always a challenge. Especially easy to get “paranoid” when pulling the boat along after just having the boat revarnished. I remember successfully dodging obstacles until I came upon a highway dept. truck spraying the white line down the middle of the road. I thought “of all things, why me god?” I was convinced I would get overspray all over the boat but it actually didnt happen as a later inspection revealed.

    I think the biggest mistake is pulling boats too fast, which doesnt give the margin for necessary corrective manuevering.

  8. briant
    briant says:

    Ranger – Since 2006, I towed our beloved with a trailer that could easily be best described as ‘Pre-Columbian Art”…

    When it failed, it was time to invest. It was spendy, but the new ease and increased safety with towing and the simple launch and retrieval….made it worth it many times over.

    Should have done it many years ago.

  9. Randy
    Randy says:

    A good ‘stout’ removable bumper to protect what is important (= expensive) is a necessity in my mind.

  10. Al Schinnerer
    Al Schinnerer says:

    Try towing a 27′ Chris Craft from Southern California to Tahoe over mountain passes for 8-9 hours (if you leave early enough)

  11. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    All I can say is AVOID TOLEDO, OHIO while trailering a boat. Our route up to Gravenhurst took us through there, and the potholes in the Interstate were EPIC. It’s very disconcerting to look backwards in the mirror and see daylight between the boat and trailer because of getting bounced so badly. On top of that, they routed us around a bridge under construction by having us exit the current Interstate, get on another one, and make a U-turn by exiting, crossing another bridge, and re-entering the Interstate, ALL DONE AT FULL SPEED. Scared the crap out of me, nearly literally.

  12. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Hauling a 6 figure customer’s Chris Craft from Michigan to Montana and entering the interstate I got in the passing lane to overtake a tractor trailer 150 ft ahead and out from beneath that tractor’s trailer came a spinning chunk of metal one foot across looking like a demon dreidel whirling out of control headed for my van. I whipped it over as close to the median as possible as another chunk of metal bounced off my windshield and the spinning top hit the side of my van and rear wheel leaving its mark on the side and gouging my rear aluminum wheel. I gasped in horror at the possibility of what damage it could do to the side of the 26′ CC triple and quickly pulled over to the first off ramp.

    Luckily, the boat was undamaged in spite of the dings and gouges my van had sustained. We jumped back in and finally caught up around Chicago and saw that the tractor trailer had lost one of those steel wheels and spindle on the jack stand used to support the disconnected trailer. When it fell off hitting the highway, it began spinning wildly from the speed it was running. Heavy traffic prevented me from getting up along side to motion to the driver to pull over, if he would have ever done so. Fortunately, the rest of the trip was uneventful except for having to change my shorts and wishing I had a valium or some other drug to bring my anxiety level down from DEFCOM ONE.

  13. pat chaps
    pat chaps says:

    Thanks for all of the great stories about your adventures of trailering.
    Now I’m really having a major stress attack.
    I’ll be trailering my CC 23ft Lancer Custom from Mich. to Keels & Wheels Show in Texas leaving April 30, 1,100 miles.
    Maybe I’ll just stay at home and go to the Algonac Show in June with Greg L.

    • Floyd r turbo
      Floyd r turbo says:

      Wow, did you cut the sides down on that Lancer at the sheerline and re-deck it? Looks awesome from that shot need more pictures

  14. Stan Petersen
    Stan Petersen says:

    One summer my wife and I towed Little Nell II, a 25′ R&W Express, almost 7000 miles. Nervous? Yes. But we conquered it. Lots of fun. The “thumbs up” along the way, made it worthwhile.

  15. Danny B
    Danny B says:

    I really dislike towing my boat any distance. While it’s no baby gar, it’s priceless and irreplaceable to me, and seems most of the wear and tear it gets is the beating it takes when trailered on the mostly lousy roads typically found in this area. Maybe I’m a bit nuts, but I doubt I would ever tow it that far unless absolutely forced to do so.

    PS: + one on the crapping in rest stop crappers. Ew.

    PPS: “Sweat Pee” is the best misspelling ever. Your boat shall forever be “Sweat Pee” in the confines of this twisted mind.

  16. Greg & Janice
    Greg & Janice says:

    We sweated bullets when we purchased our Lyman in Maine and towed it back to Michigan. But, the Michigan part of the journey was absolutely the worse part of journey – road condition-wise.

  17. jim g
    jim g says:

    You need a very good cover with a soft liner. Miss America IX has a cover made of Sunbrella and a soft liner stitched to the inside. The boat has survived roughly 25,000 plus road miles in the last 15 years.

    The cover has saved it from damage from 13 quarts of hot diesel oil spattered all over it. (thanks to the Ford dealer for stripping out the threads on the drain plug on a 8,000 mile truck).

    From a dent when 2 truck drivers got in a fight at a truck stop and one of them threw a wrench at the other and hit the boat with it.

    From damage when the rear trailer tire peeled the thread off and slapped the side of the boat. I spent 10 minutes picking bits of metal tire cord out of the outer cover. Cover still shows the black mark from the rubber.

    With a good cover the is no reason to worry and if something really bad happens. Thats why we have them insured. So we don’t have to worry. It just becomes another part of the boats survival through history.

  18. Scott M Ales
    Scott M Ales says:

    Here’s some perspective…

    When towing the two Riva Aquaama’s around, the later ultimately being proven to be worth over $1M. (pinkey to my tooth) Folks would ask if it was scary towing something that valuable. I finally developed a suitable response to bring things into perspective.

    I would say, “Do you ever have family ride in a car with you….?”

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