July, 2011. Jeff Robinson and I take off from Fort Collins, CO. to Bob's Resort in Gettysburg, SD. 660 miles at an average of 70 mph. Everything runs great. We get to Bob's resort and meet up with Tommy and Bil. Great dinner, a couple of brews and we are off fishing the next three days. The third day, we load the boat at the dock, and proceed up to the cabin (about 2 miles). As we are backing the boat up to the cabin, with another group of 6 fishermen watching us, the entire back bottom of the boat trailer collapses.
The motor skeg is on the ground.
Wow. Backing up at 1 mile per hour, were our guardian angels watching over us? Thank you Floyd and Leona.
No one can believe what they just saw. A great you tube moment was lost with no video. The best part, was the recovery. The fellow fisherman in the next cabin had a floor jack with them. We jacked up the boat and using heavy straps, strapped it to the sides of the trailer so it had ground clearance of a few inches.
We then went up to the resort office and asked around for a welder. After a couple calls, we found Jack White, who had his son's MIG welder and a shop available about a mile away. Jack said he would wait for us. We dropped the boat off at the dock, and Tommy and Bil parked it around in a cove.
Jeff and I took the trailer over to Jack's. Jack's family homesteaded the land in 1880. Jack did not know how to weld, but Jeff and I did. Since Jeff was the better welder, we used a hammer to get all the parts in place and started welding. In 40 minutes we were done. We asked Jack how much he wanted, of course he said nothing, so we gave him a C note, our hardy thanks, and headed to the dock to pick up the boat.
After that Bil, Tom, Jeff and I had a great dinner, Jack was in the corner booth eating with his wife and friends. And a good trip back to Fort Collins. A couple of months later, Rob Coakley did a complete reweld of the trailer. Now, it is better than new.
What are the chances, that the trailer would fail at that perfect moment ? If we were going down the highway at 70 mph the failure may have thrown us into a ditch or the other lane.
We should have suspected something was wrong earlier. In Fort Collins, we would do the stern tie downs, and when we would stop, they would be loose, We never thought the trailer could be the reason. Good thing for any boater to double check.
Good luck. Be safe.
P.S. Did you notice not once did I mention alcohol?