Please let me know of any errors or suggestions to improve the site
(either email or use the "Contact Us" on the main site).

Main Menu

Support for mast whilst towing

Started by rosswaddams, July 03, 2017, 07:22:10 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


I've just bought WB25 and, once the trailer is refurbished in a week or so, will be towing it home to the Midlands from Chichester. That's a longish tow for a first effort and I want to get it right.

The boat doesn't come with an owner's manual and so I'm a little uncertain about how to support the mast and spars. There's only a short boom crutch (no gallows, unfortunately). Presumably the fat end of the mast rests in the tabernacle and the thin end goes on the boom crutch. Lash it down and hope for the best. Lash the other spars to the mast.

The boom crutch doesn't look particularly substantial though...

Am I about to make some ghastly mistake?


Congratulations Ross! Many happy years of Winklebriggery ahead!

There is no great science to towing. My advice would be to take the fat end of the mast to the stem not the tabernacle - less overhang at the back. Where it passes through the tabernacle it can be lashed down; lash the boat to the trailer with ratchet straps and webbing under (not over) the bulwarks fore and aft; and Dave Cawston's tip - lash the bow winch eyebolt vertically down onto the trailer as tight as you can. I can't comment on the strength of the boom crutch without seeing it, but if you do as above it isn't taking a great deal of weight. Good luck!


Congratulations Ross,

When I bought WB10 I had a similar journey ( Berkshire to E. Kent). I did  much as Martin has suggested to reduce the overhang but would advise to try and brace the boom crutch with good fore and aft strapping or bracing.  Otherwise don't use the boom crutch but the mast will flex slightly as it cantilever from the coach roof.  I didn't and  found even with the mast/jib well secured, there was a tendency for the crutch to rotate and slip out from under the mast.

Fortunately I didn't lose anything and had stopped before it all flopped around too much.  After bracing the crutch itself  as well as lashing down the mast, it all towed quite happily without any drama.  It is worth lashing the bow winch eyebolt as Martin suggests as I also found that the winch strap would also loosen a little under fore/aft movement.





I prefer to let the mast into the tabernacle, fixing boom and gaffel at the boom gallow and a second, larger and mobile boom gallow for the mast. All other infos to fix the hull you can read above I have made too.

If the bridges on your way are high enough you may transport your WB as shown at the photo below  ;D

But - to be honest, I didn´t  8) 
Life is happy, life is sweet, on a gaff rigged boat of 16 feet!


Thanks, guys. Sounds like a consensus...

1. Lash bow eye-bolt.
2. Mast as far forward as poss.
3. Brace mast crutch (I shall certainly be securing it to the boat somehow so it doesn't disappear overboard).
4. Ratchet straps fore & aft

I've bought a couple of beefy ratchet straps (more to spread the load than for their strength). Routing them under the bulwarks sounds like a top tip - I was wondering about that.

I've got lots of rope, straps and sail ties so I'll overdo it to start with. One can't have too much rope.


Here are some photos, description in next post (hopefully)


Hi Ross,

Yes welcome to the WBers world. 

I normally leave the mast in the tabernacle, makes life simpler. But for the trip to Northern Ireland in September I will be moving the mast forward because of going on the ferry.

The photos above, first one is obvious, second one I am assuming your crutch looks like this, third one shows the position of the foot of the crutch and notice cord around upstand securing crutch in position and finally inboard shot of cord fixing/crutch sitting.

So below is a rear view of Markie as trailed, the all over cover makes life very easy and streamlined for towing and holds the mast securely in the crutch.  Also a photo of the ratchet strap securing Markie to the trailer.  Strap must not be too tight as the hull that sits on the cradle rollers is not overly strong and flexes.  Have a search through earlier posts about this and my hull to trailer support fitting and trailer cradle repairs  Finally check the suspension units and tyres are rated to say at least 1100kg (mine are 1300kg), the earlier trailers were 860kg rated and that is not enough.

Best of luck David


I thought I'd replied yesterday, but obviously not... still getting the hang of this forum thing.

Thanks, Dave, for the photos - that makes it all very clear. Your mast crutch is similar to mine. My boat does have a cover but for the first tow I thought I'd do it without. Also I'm intending to have the boat as light as possible (no gear on board).

I shall be putting some 155/70R12c tyres will a load rating of 88 on, which hopefully will be man enough. I'm still agonising over new 1300 kgs suspension units as, at £500 the pair, they'd be 10% of the price of the boat & trailer combined.

The only way to solve all my trailer anxieties (for instance, this trailer only has four rollers which must point-load the hull) is to buy a new trailer at £3,700 for an Indespension Roller Coaster 7. I don't have the budget for that so I guess I'm going to have to put some miles in and build my confidence up.

The first tow (home) is pencilled in for 18 July so I've still got some thinking time.

David Bone

I wouldn't worry too much, whilst it may be very desirable to upgrade your trailer, I am sure there are plenty of Winklebrigs being towed around the place with just the same trailer. I certainly know of one, around the same vintage as yours, which has been the length and breadth of the Country over several years
If the trailer has been well supported and protected it should get you home okay and you can review the situation then.
Good luck. 


I agree. I am sure you will be fine, Ross. The only advice I would give regarding an unknown trailer is to check the brakes and bearings as you won't know how much salt water they have been subjected to.

I towed with my original trailer for several years. However tempting (in terms of spreading the cost), I wouldn't go down the route of uprating all the components of the original trailer piecemeal as you will spend a few bob and still end up with an 1100kg trailer. Some years ago, when I realised that my boat was weighing far more than the original owing to numerous additions and live aboard 'stuff', I bit the bullet and traded in the old trailer with Indespension for a new Roller Coaster 7. I have never regretted it, but I suppose it depends how many miles on the road you intend to cover. I have done a few!


Well, I made it home! In large part, thanks to all the advice and encouragement above - it was echo-ing in my mind during the two moderately stressful days of the trip.

I'm tempted to start a new thread "Lessons from my first tow" with some photos. I'll maybe get onto that over the weekend.

The trailer did need new tyres, brakes and bearings, and a new tow hitch but is otherwise in better condition than I thought. The winch ratchet is a goner (surprise, surprise) but replacements seem reasonable and I can get a better bow snubber at the same time. I've eased off one of the bearings one flat because it was a bit on the warm side when I got back. And I no longer feel the urge to change the suspension units as it all looked good in the rear view mirror.

The result is I'm now confident future WB trailing will go well. I just need to give the boat a good clean and repair the broken boom jaws, after which the fun begins!

Once again, thanks to you all.