Centering guide poles

Boat trailers and trailering

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Location: Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Building Gentry.

Centering guide poles

Post by Trackhappy »

A member has asked about my trailer guide poles, so grabbed a photo or two to give you an idea. Note that I haven't cleaned up and painted them, so the pictures look very rough.
The problem was lining my Gentry up on the trailer to get her hauled out. To start with when the trailer is under water, you can't see where the trailer is (unless it is very clear water), then if you have a sideways current, she doesn't stay put and you literally have to back out and have another go until you fluke it, and as you haul her out she needs to be within an inch or so of centre to sit right on the trailer so some sucker has to ride the trailer, keeping her centred.

The answer was a pair of guide poles, but Gentry is wider in the middle than the rear, so the poles have to be able to spread as you enter, then spring back, centring the boat as she is hauled out. A pair of trampoline springs per side provide the necessary force to hold her in place, which are just the right size and galvanised already. A simple set of ears welded to the trailer, and a matching set on the vertical poles with a bolt through provide the pivot. Plastic plumbing pipe is slipped over the poles, which can rotate so help avoid scratches, and also floats up to remain above the water. I haven't thought of what to cover them with in order to be even kinder on the boat, but some kind of rubber maybe?

I have tried them, and getting her on the trailer is amazingly easy now. Just aim the bow in between the posts, drive through and use the rudder to aim the stem at the winch post. The stern takes care of itself, and the winch cable can be used if she is too high in the water to stay put. Takes all the stress out of the process.
Gentry trailer guide posts
Gentry trailer guide posts
Gentry trailer guide pole pivot
Gentry trailer guide pole pivot
The only change I will hopefully make, apart from cleaning them up is to make the pole removable so as to avoid both the extra width on the road, and to avoid damage as the boat rubs against them on the road. I thought I might cut off about 3 inches up from the pivot and weld a piece of pipe just a bit smaller than the inner diameter of the main guide post. Slip them off and stow away as soon as you are out of the water.

PS, don't know why this picture comes out sideways, it is ok when I open on my PC. Sorry.

Guide Pole
Guide Pole
By the time I have built a boat, I'll be ready to build a boat....

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Bill Edmundson
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Re: Centering guide poles

Post by Bill Edmundson »

If you don't have spring loaded post like this. Another trick is to use bungee cords, boat to post, to help center the boat as you pull it. The bungees aren't perfect. But, I often work alone and anything helps.

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Re: Centering guide poles

Post by hoodman »

Maybe try foam pipe insulation over them if you can get it in the right size to help with chaffing. My jon boat trailer has wooden bunks on each side. I can pretty much ram it on at just about any angle and they straighten it right out.

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billy c
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Re: Centering guide poles

Post by billy c »

still use your guide ons but add sideboards instead for centering where flare of the hull is not as much a factor
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Re: Centering guide poles

Post by kens »

I have PVC plastic poles, guide posts, goal posts, whatever you call them, they are great.

Also, my bow bunks are priceless themselves, the bow bunks center the bow as you approach the trailer, and the goal posts center the transom.
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