Tuesday, March 19, 2013

CANOE TRAILER - THE UKCT1

Friends from the UK have emailed me asking about my canoe trailer after viewing the write-ups I've posted on their web site about the Mohawk Nova 17 canoe.  The name of their web site is "Song of the Paddle." http://www.songofthepaddle.co.uk/
Their site is a canoe site and is really interesting.  Super nice folks and a lot of good, experienced information about canoes for those interested in such things.

For those interested in seeing what the trailer kit looks like out of the box and some detailed assembly instructions - go here:   http://garysoutdoorwanderings2.blogspot.com/search?q=canoe+trailer

You may have to copy/paste to get to the entry that shows assembly.  You can compare what the finished product looked like as the factory intended on that entry and compare it to what I've created after my alterations on this one.  The pictures on this entry are as the trailer exists today and I must say it's a great trailer - now. 

The model name of the trailer is UKCT1.  It weighs 240 pounds.  After assemblage, I found it lacking in many ways.  The bunks were too low, especially the front one.  They were too short also.  The structure that supported the bunks to the trailer frame were too wimpy also.  When carrying a 17 foot canoe I discovered that the end of the canoe facing the receiver hitch came precariously close to touching the bumper.  The supplied bunks, or I should say, front bunk support uprights didn't allow clearance for the nose of the canoe to clear the receiver hitch.  I can't understand how a manufacturer could miss that fault.  Anyway - I re-manufactured the bunk supports front and back, lengthened the bunks, added a 18" extension to the draw bar and incorporated small braided cables extending from bunk to bunk to counter any movement in the bunks from rough road travel which would cause the bunk carpet to abraid against the gunnels and mark the wood or plastic.  Below are current pictures.
Notice below the extended 18" draw bar
I installed a caster wheel under the tongue for obvious reasons
The uprights that support the bunks were really reinforced.  I actually replaced all the factory supplied supports.

The trailer was ordered as a single carry trailer and I widened the bunks to just inside the fenders.  It now carries two canoes any width and length.  Notice the guy wires.  The bunks, even though firmly supported, still had a little movement that would mark the top of the canoe gunnels.  I criss-crossed the guy wires from the tops of the bunk supports thereby eliminating any movement at all.  In other words the tension of the wires pulls an opposite ends of the bunks restricting reactive movement to road irregularities.  Hard to put into words.
Here's a better look at the guy wires:



I think you can get the idea behind the guy wires.  A black dog comes in the box with every trailer.
The suspension is great.  No problems at all.  It's simple and basic.  Nothing new there.
Wheels.  I'd recommend always getting the 12" wheels on a canoe trailer.  They roll down high speed hi-ways much safer than 8" wheels.  The tires last longer and most importantly, the canoe will ride easier and safer.

Lastly - the wheel bearings are of the water proof style and set up.  Of course, canoe trailers probably will not be submerged as motor boat trailers are.  
And that's it.  I encourage you to visit the entry describing the assembly in order to view the trailer as the factory intended.  The cost of this trailer is not bad at all.  I figured I'd have to alter it in some ways but, not as extensively as I did.  Canoes cost a ton of money and there's no sense throwing it on a sub-par trailer.  The benefits of a trailer are obvious - if ya have a horrible back as I do.  Keep on paddlin!!!