Would you be concerned about trailering your boat in wind gusts up to 50 mph?

Started by tjspiel, Apr 04, 2023, 02:27 PM

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In the "it's always something" category, after clearing my yard of snow in preparation to bring the boat home tomorrow, now the forecast has wind gusts up to 50 mph.

Not having the biggest tow vehicle I've already decided I'm going to skip the highway and stick to the 30 mph roads. Any other tips? Am I overly worried? Not worried enough?



You can't catch a break!

50 mph winds would get my attention. How far do you have to go?  Can you leave the boat & trailer outside at the storage facility for a day?

If not, I'd just be careful & go slow as you've indicated.

Fingers crossed!

Precision 165 "Simple Pleasure"
Sisu 22 "FogCutter"
Portage Pram "Tiny"


Tom, yes I would be! It is the gusts that make it dangerous and unpredictable. So if you are on the highway at high speed, then yes. Going slower reduces the risk of course. So, would depend on speed and distance. 30 mph should be fine, assuming decently wide the lanes and shoulders!

Brian N.

The boat on the trailer presents lots of area for wind gusts, I think being extra cautious is a great idea. I've had experience hauling a small cargo trailer in windy conditions, and could not relax until the trip was over. Slow is much better than the trailer oscillating all over the road. 
Fair winds
Brian N.

Quantico Frank

Precision 165 "Spirit" built 2011
Home port Quantico, VA, Potomac River

Charles Brennan

tjspiel, I have an 18 foot Windrose, a little heftier than your Precision, but not by much.
I have no problems with someone being conservative in their trailering, but my experience is different.
I had a power boat for a while with a flared bow and when I traded it in for my sailboat, I discovered that the more streamlined shape of the sailboat hull towed much more easily and also dropped my mpg consumption by 2 mpg, compared to the power boat.

When you are traveling on an Interstate at say, 55mph and you get passed by a semi doing 65-70mph, as it goes by, the semi's pressure wave pushes your hull/trailer a little to the right, then the partial vacuum as the truck goes by sucks it to left, slightly.  How is that different from a gust?

One year, traveling from south Florida to Wisconsin, I got caught in a few different thunderstorms with strong gusts approaching 50 mph and I quickly discovered that handling the tow vehicle is not much different than sailing in a following sea.  A wave pushes the hull one way and then as it goes by, it pushes the hull back the other way.  You CAN steer to correct and then counter-steer to get back on course, but you do a lot of hacksawing back and forth, until you learn to just steer half the amount that you think you need.  It's very much like that steering a tow vehicle.  When you get hit with a gust, suppress the urge to immediately correct, or at least, correct with just a slight turn of the wheel.
In the same way you learned to sail in heavier and heavier weather, you can also learn to tow in heavier and heavier weather on the road.  Try towing at 30mph, but kick it up incrementally say, to 35 or 40 mph for a few minutes and then drop back to your comfort zone.  After a while, increase the speed again.  You'll be driving in heavy weather before you know it!

Hope this helps,
Charles Brennan


Man, Dan is right, you just can't seem to catch a break Tom!

The only other thing I'd add is to avoid going over any bridges if possible. That is where I've felt wind and wind gusts affect towing the most. The worst was crossing the I-10 bridge over the Mississippi in Baton Rouge when I was on my way out here. There was some nasty wx a-brewing, and even in the right lane doing the minimum speed limit, I was "very concerned". And Charles is spot on: small corrections are a must, even if counterintuitive. If you have the tongue weight correct, the trailer should still track correctly.
1985 Rebel Spindrift 22 - Rum Line
1985 Achilles RIB - Achilles Last Stand

Dave Scobie

Go slow!

My driving through western mountains and high plains more often than not with strong winds.  Wyoming especially has a crazy amount.  I've driven in 60-90mph conditions... SLOWLY.  Seen many a scattered along the road semi-trucks and RVs.

Winds always seem to be blowing in the eastern Montana, southern Idaho, Dakotas, western Minnesota, eastern Colorado, and Kansas.

A heavier tow vehicle is easier as one avoids the tail wagging the dog.

If it feels sketchy don't go!  Like reefing if you think about it it is already to late.