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Trailering long distances With Cover On or Cover Off?


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Beautifulday

I just purchased a 2016 22 VTX from out of state and my brother will be trailering it for 8+ hours to get it to me. Looking for recommendations if he should keep the OEM cover on to protect from road debris, bugs, etc. at the risk of rubbing gelcoat off, stretching cover out or possibly tearing it. Currently the forecast looks clear so rain will not be an issue.  Thanks for suggestions.

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The cover by itself will chafe the crap out of the gelcoat. I never tow the boat with the cover on, unless we need to secure our stuff in the boat on a long drive. If you are going to tow with the cover on, we cellophane the boat, put the cover on and then cellophane it again to keep it from moving around. 

Edited by dwc032
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I trailer with and without the oem cover, depending on the weather, road conditions, and distance I'm traveling.  I haven't noticed chaffing but trailering with the cover on definitely puts extra wear and tear on the cover itself, which is over $1000 to replace.  Chaffing on the boat and wear / tear on the cover would be the main "cons" to trailering with the cover on.  If youre driving through an area with a significant headwind (or your brother likes to drive much over 65mph), I would at least be ready to take it off, because the oem cover really isn't designed to be trailered in the first place.  One of the best "pro's" to trailering with the cover is the added windshield protection you get from rock chips.  Windshields are very expensive and take a long time to find, covers - on the other hand - are $500 to $1500 and can be shipped to you next day in many cases.  Another pro would be that the boat is a bit more secure if you have to stop somewhere and leave the boat unattended.  Good luck with your new boat, cheers.

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Last year I had my 25 LSV towed over 1,700 miles without any cover on it. In this case I knew the weather was going to be pristine for the journey. The factory cover is not really designed as a towing cover. It’s basically a mooring / storage cover (and not a very good one at that). 

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I never tow with a cover no matter the weather. I would rather spend an extra 10 minutes cleaning the boat once I got to my destination than spending hours buffing and polishing out scratches. Let alone wear and tear on the cover.

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I'm getting ready for a trip that's 8 hours one way with the new boat.  I'm going to trailer with the cover to protect from grime, debris, bugs, bird crap, etc.  I've done this with @bamaboyand we did what @dwc032mentioned and it worked very well.  Granted, it was a Nautique G23 and the cover is made of scratch free silk.  However, the point is it worked great and there was no movement nor chafing on the boat at all.  I plan on towing our new boat down using that same method.  Generally, when I tow shorter distances, I've done so without the cover.  It's worked well, but it's also a total PITA to clean bug debris off the boat, tower, and tower speakers.  An absolute PITA that I don't really want to deal with.    

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Well, put me firmly on the other side of this argument.  I tow a lot.  At least 5000 miles per year.  Some years closer to 10,000. 100% of those miles are with the cover on.  

The first two years I owned the boat, I used the Malibu cover.  I would say that lead to VERY minor wear on the boat, just a spot under the tower that did buff out.

Yes, it is harder on the cover.  At the end of each year I had a upholstery shop (owned by a friend) re stitch a couple places.  Not a big deal at all.

I did upgrade to an Evolution cover, mainly because I was lucky enough to find one used.  I guess that would be about 4 years ago now, and I've never needed to do any repairs to it.

What do I see as the downside of trailering not covered?  I guess possibly it depends on the weather, but I did tow a fishing boat from Rapid City to Denver through about a 30 minute rain storm a few years back.  Spent hours cleaning it after that.  There is the real possibility that you will have cushions or carpet blow out.  I do leave our boards and my hydrofoil in the boat, I'd be worried about boards blowing out, or possible theft when stopped uncovered.  Someone already mentioned no protection from the windshield.  I also believe that fuel economy will be worse (I know that is true from towing fishing boats).

Personally, especially on long trips, I'll always tow my Malibu covered.

Here is a photo of one of many journeys the boat has made to Powell with the OEM cover.  1000 miles round trip.  70 - 80 MPH on the interstate.

 

F923658F-C44E-44CD-87E6-78C2EA1F9342_1_201_a.jpeg

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I am a firm believer of towing with the cover on as we usually have lots of goodies in the boat.  I have an Evolution cover but for any long distances I actually wrap the boat with pallet wrap from just below the rub rail to anywhere the cover may contact the gelcoat.  I seem to never have good weather and would much rather spend the time to cover.

 

 

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I don't trailer much - usually to the storage and back - but when I do I try tocover it, mostly becuase of the risk to the irreplaceable windshield.  The few times I've gone coverless, it has rained.   Figures.

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roonedoggie

Been towing with Malibu covers for 24 years and have not had any problems. Where buckles can get exposed or hardware exposed have tied a soft cloth as a shield. I haven not had any issues with gel coat rub to date.  The newer covers don't expose hardware that can move during towing so no longer an issues

 

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I was no cover unless the weather was bad for 15+ years then I went through a hatch of bugs one night and my boat looked like a murder scene. I also had two bow cushion that were upside down and almost flew out.  So now I always have the cover on.  I have had no issues with the gel coat scuffing

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4 hours ago, RyanB said:

Well, put me firmly on the other side of this argument.  I tow a lot.  At least 5000 miles per year.  Some years closer to 10,000. 100% of those miles are with the cover on.  

The first two years I owned the boat, I used the Malibu cover.  I would say that lead to VERY minor wear on the boat, just a spot under the tower that did buff out.

Yes, it is harder on the cover.  At the end of each year I had a upholstery shop (owned by a friend) re stitch a couple places.  Not a big deal at all.

I did upgrade to an Evolution cover, mainly because I was lucky enough to find one used.  I guess that would be about 4 years ago now, and I've never needed to do any repairs to it.

What do I see as the downside of trailering not covered?  I guess possibly it depends on the weather, but I did tow a fishing boat from Rapid City to Denver through about a 30 minute rain storm a few years back.  Spent hours cleaning it after that.  There is the real possibility that you will have cushions or carpet blow out.  I do leave our boards and my hydrofoil in the boat, I'd be worried about boards blowing out, or possible theft when stopped uncovered.  Someone already mentioned no protection from the windshield.  I also believe that fuel economy will be worse (I know that is true from towing fishing boats).

Personally, especially on long trips, I'll always tow my Malibu covered.

Here is a photo of one of many journeys the boat has made to Powell with the OEM cover.  1000 miles round trip.  70 - 80 MPH on the interstate.

 

F923658F-C44E-44CD-87E6-78C2EA1F9342_1_201_a.jpeg

Do you always tow with the anti-pooling strap hung on the tower?  Doesn’t the cover flapping in the wind cause tears?

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9 hours ago, DAI said:

Do you always tow with the anti-pooling strap hung on the tower?  Doesn’t the cover flapping in the wind cause tears?

Yes, and it hasn't torn yet.  Conservatively speaking, 30,000 miles of tow time with the cover.

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I like cover on for long highway trips.  Maybe the roads are clean in other states, but in MN you get all sorts of crap in the boat even in the summer with it not raining.  I do wrap the rub rail area in stretch film to keep the cover from scuffing up the black sides of the boat.

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I have never covered the boat while towing and we two quite a bit, not as much as Ryan, but I would say between 1000 and 1200 a year. Never had an issue until last year when we had our windshield shatter. Was a huge pain - we were on our way up north for vacation. Had to make a gorilla tape windshield and buy a shopvac when we got there. 4 hours later boat was mostly cleaned up and windshield made. We were on a super smooth clean road with zero traffic around us and I have full truck width rock guards so I still skeptical of it being road debris, but I am much more tempted to tow covered this year for our long up north trips. Would make packing easier too as others have mentioned that they just have stuff in the boat. To be honest I am skeptical that a cover would stop something big enough to blow out an entire windshield too, but I am willing to try.

Does everyone use the hangtyte? Poles? I don't need the poles to get the cover tight on our VTX to keep water from pooling so I'd guess I don't need them while towing too?

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granddaddy55
20 hours ago, 06malibu said:

I never tow with a cover no matter the weather. I would rather spend an extra 10 minutes cleaning the boat once I got to my destination than spending hours buffing and polishing out scratches. Let alone wear and tear on the cover.

its not ten minutes by any stretch of the imagination after being caught in a downpour while under way😂😇😎, as @RyanB said its hours!!!

Edited by granddaddy55
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53 minutes ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

I have never covered the boat while towing and we two quite a bit, not as much as Ryan, but I would say between 1000 and 1200 a year. Never had an issue until last year when we had our windshield shatter. Was a huge pain - we were on our way up north for vacation. Had to make a gorilla tape windshield and buy a shopvac when we got there. 4 hours later boat was mostly cleaned up and windshield made. We were on a super smooth clean road with zero traffic around us and I have full truck width rock guards so I still skeptical of it being road debris, but I am much more tempted to tow covered this year for our long up north trips. Would make packing easier too as others have mentioned that they just have stuff in the boat. To be honest I am skeptical that a cover would stop something big enough to blow out an entire windshield too, but I am willing to try.

Does everyone use the hangtyte? Poles? I don't need the poles to get the cover tight on our VTX to keep water from pooling so I'd guess I don't need them while towing too?

1486213241_PortWindshieldDamage.thumb.JPG.62d3b1a8c5376f568ca5451f9792118d.JPG

IMG_3970.thumb.JPG.90c1a07f0ba9b4a30e3af2f4d7e6d2c0.JPG

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I only tow to and from the dealer in Grand Rapids which is about a 2 hour drive for me.  Once or twice it was raining so I had the cover on.  I always had the poles in to keep the cover as tight as possible.  I haven't noticed any chafing on the boat from it.  I think the cover will definitely protect the glass from any debris since it doesn't sit tight to it. 
I am just glad they fixed I 196 on my way up to GR.  a year or two years ago on my way home from GR, I couldn't avoid pot holes in the road it was so bad.  No damage to the boat, but still made me nervous that hitting a pot hole might rattle something enough or blow out a tire on the trailer.

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1 hour ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

I have never covered the boat while towing and we two quite a bit, not as much as Ryan, but I would say between 1000 and 1200 a year. Never had an issue until last year when we had our windshield shatter. Was a huge pain - we were on our way up north for vacation. Had to make a gorilla tape windshield and buy a shopvac when we got there. 4 hours later boat was mostly cleaned up and windshield made. We were on a super smooth clean road with zero traffic around us and I have full truck width rock guards so I still skeptical of it being road debris, but I am much more tempted to tow covered this year for our long up north trips. Would make packing easier too as others have mentioned that they just have stuff in the boat. To be honest I am skeptical that a cover would stop something big enough to blow out an entire windshield too, but I am willing to try.

Does everyone use the hangtyte? Poles? I don't need the poles to get the cover tight on our VTX to keep water from pooling so I'd guess I don't need them while towing too?

1486213241_PortWindshieldDamage.thumb.JPG.62d3b1a8c5376f568ca5451f9792118d.JPG

IMG_3970.thumb.JPG.90c1a07f0ba9b4a30e3af2f4d7e6d2c0.JPG

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I was told by Corey from Evolution Covers not to tow with the anti-pooling strap hung on the tower.  Not sure this would apply to other covers though.

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44 minutes ago, Hemmy said:

I only tow to and from the dealer in Grand Rapids which is about a 2 hour drive for me.  Once or twice it was raining so I had the cover on.  I always had the poles in to keep the cover as tight as possible.  I haven't noticed any chafing on the boat from it.  I think the cover will definitely protect the glass from any debris since it doesn't sit tight to it. 
I am just glad they fixed I 196 on my way up to GR.  a year or two years ago on my way home from GR, I couldn't avoid pot holes in the road it was so bad.  No damage to the boat, but still made me nervous that hitting a pot hole might rattle something enough or blow out a tire on the trailer.

Good point, guess I wasn't connecting the dots in my head that the cover wouldn't be sucked up to the windshield and would more or less act like a trampoline. 

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48 minutes ago, DAI said:

I was told by Corey from Evolution Covers not to tow with the anti-pooling strap hung on the tower.  Not sure this would apply to other covers though.

Hard to argue with him but my experience is using the hang tyte even with evolution. Otherwise I guess you’d have to take it off as I certainly wouldn’t want it bouncing around at 75 mph. 

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On my previous almost all white boat Malibu I  towed a lot with the stock Malibu cover and never had any problems.  You also couldn't see all the chaffing the cover did to the gel, but I knew it was there.  After 14 years that cover was still in great condition and only needed a few of seems repaired along with a buckle for the cinching strap. I will say, that cover was so think and felt 100 times better then the cover on my current boat, it looked a lot like the evolution cover.

I haven't towed with the cover on my new to me boat simple because I feel just looking wrong at the black gel puts swirls in it.  :(  I will have to try the plastic wrap around the boat and see how it holds up.  When towing with my truck the boat stays relatively clean, but when towing with my diesel pusher motorhome, that boat gets pretty nasty and needs a full wipe down when getting to my destination.  I'm not sure I really want to get the cover nasty like that and have to constantly clean that instead of the boat.  My old cover was black so yo couldn't really tell, but this one is light grey.

I guess for me, there's trade offs to doing both and I have to pick what I would rather clean.

Edited by calilsv
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