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NEWB QUESTION...Towing with cover on?


SmoothbrainA22

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I may be terrible with the search engine on this site, but I couldn't find anything that covered this.

Is it OK to tow with the cover on the boat?

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Posted (edited)

You can, but I’d recommend against it long term. The constant air movement can flap the cover against the gel and leave marks.

are you talking about 20 min or a 2hr tow?

Edited by Stevo
  • Like 1
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I don’t, but I’ve never had a windshield crack because of it. @ahopkinsVTXhas a good idea that I’ve never considered.

this is a Chevy vs Ford thing.

There are reasons for both. For me, I don’t cover and choose to take the cleaning at the end of the trip and risk to windshield/other damage to towing with cover and choosing the risk of losing the cover while driving, ruining the cover because it partly comes loose and flaps itself into oblivion, and the potential for gel coat damage.

choose your poison.

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ahopkinsVTX
26 minutes ago, braindamage said:

I don’t, but I’ve never had a windshield crack because of it. @ahopkinsVTXhas a good idea that I’ve never considered.

this is a Chevy vs Ford thing.

There are reasons for both. For me, I don’t cover and choose to take the cleaning at the end of the trip and risk to windshield/other damage to towing with cover and choosing the risk of losing the cover while driving, ruining the cover because it partly comes loose and flaps itself into oblivion, and the potential for gel coat damage.

choose your poison.

I have my doubts it was from road debris to be honest. It blew out the entire windshield but figured I’ll take an extra precaution and then if it happens again I can prove my point that it was the boat flexing. There was zero damage inside the boat and I know I haven’t seen every windshield shatter in the world but all the other ones I’ve seen from road debris is a through hole and not a complete blowout. To me this is like the sheet of glass was twisted. Who knows though. 

9E1A0AA1-DD63-4C76-A847-4B2275934A1C.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

When we go on our one long trip each year (3-4 hour tow), I usually have the cover on.  Not so much as windshield protection, but to keep all the road grime out of the boat - especially if it rains.

I do run a wrap of shrink wrap around the rub rail and above before putting the cover on.  

Edited by oldjeep
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13 hours ago, Stevo said:

You can, but I’d recommend against it long term. The constant air movement can flap the cover against the gel and leave marks.

are you talking about 20 min or a 2hr tow?

At some point this summer I may be taking her from VA to TN with the family, so at that point probably roll with cover off unless we are stopped for long periods of time. I will mostly be driving between my house and my parents house in Elizabeth City, they have a spot on the water where I will take the boat out most often - about an 1:20 away.

1 hour ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

I but the wide shrink wrap from Home Depot and go around the boat 3 times to cover anywhere the cover touches

What a concept! Thanks man! Does this help with potential gel wear I assume, reduced flapping/friction?

1 hour ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

I have my doubts it was from road debris to be honest. It blew out the entire windshield but figured I’ll take an extra precaution and then if it happens again I can prove my point that it was the boat flexing. There was zero damage inside the boat and I know I haven’t seen every windshield shatter in the world but all the other ones I’ve seen from road debris is a through hole and not a complete blowout. To me this is like the sheet of glass was twisted. Who knows though. 

9E1A0AA1-DD63-4C76-A847-4B2275934A1C.jpeg

Ouch.

 

45 minutes ago, oldjeep said:

When we go on our one long trip each year (3-4 hour tow), I usually have the cover on.  Not so much as windshield protection, but to keep all the road grime out of the boat - especially if it rains.

I do run a wrap of shrink wrap around the rub rail and above before putting the cover on.  

Seems like shrink wrap is the answer. Home Depot here I come!

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13 hours ago, SmoothbrainA22 said:

but I couldn't find anything that covered this

FYI just realized my unintended pun...

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1 hour ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

I have my doubts it was from road debris to be honest. It blew out the entire windshield but figured I’ll take an extra precaution and then if it happens again I can prove my point that it was the boat flexing. There was zero damage inside the boat and I know I haven’t seen every windshield shatter in the world but all the other ones I’ve seen from road debris is a through hole and not a complete blowout. To me this is like the sheet of glass was twisted. Who knows though. 

9E1A0AA1-DD63-4C76-A847-4B2275934A1C.jpeg

I've seen a M240 windshield shatter exactly like this from road debris.  Thankfully, it wasn't mine.  Two years later, and we still pick the occasional glass sliver out of our feet.  I'm thinking of adding a foam pad between the windshield and the cover to prevent this on my new boat.

I tow with a cover more frequently than not, and with my new boat will go to towing with a cover exclusively (since it covers the entire interior and tower).  It's anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or so to our local lakes. 

Benefits - protect the interior from road grime and bugs, which are next to impossible to remove completely, potentially protect covered parts from road debris damage, protect anything in the boat from casual thievery, and allows you to use the entire cockpit for storage, without concern of things getting blown out.  I've never lost a surfboard when towing without a cover, but I did once see a board that was being blown around the cockpit, while on the highway.

Drawbacks - gel coat burnishing (easily prevented with shrinkwrap, and easily buffed out. I've actually never seen this on my boat), damage to an expensive cover (partially mitigated by keeping a watchful eye for any flapping, and by stopping every so often to check that the cover is still tight), wear on the cover (no way around it, there will be some degree of flapping in the middle, loose part of the cover), cover loss I suppose (unlikely if you start with it on tight, and check it every so often, especially if you start dry, and then enter a wet, rainy area)

Now for the other common debate, tow with the bimini deployed or not?  

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5 minutes ago, bigskydoc said:

Now for the other common debate, tow with the bimini deployed or not?  

There is a debate around this? I'm not sure I would want to have bimini deployed, feel like that's just providing more surface area for drag and opening the door for potential damage to the bimini, no? Ride with it deployed anything you are worried about with road debris you now have to worry about in terms of damaging/ripping the bimini.

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ahopkinsVTX

For what it’s worth, it was $5500 bill for the windshield to be fixed and replacing the skins it tore. You can buy a few covers for that. Also why we decided to tow long distances with it covered. 

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ahopkinsVTX
20 minutes ago, bigskydoc said:

I've seen a M240 windshield shatter exactly like this from road debris.  Thankfully, it wasn't mine.  Two years later, and we still pick the occasional glass sliver out of our feet.  I'm thinking of adding a foam pad between the windshield and the cover to prevent this on my new boat.

I tow with a cover more frequently than not, and with my new boat will go to towing with a cover exclusively (since it covers the entire interior and tower).  It's anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or so to our local lakes. 

Benefits - protect the interior from road grime and bugs, which are next to impossible to remove completely, potentially protect covered parts from road debris damage, protect anything in the boat from casual thievery, and allows you to use the entire cockpit for storage, without concern of things getting blown out.  I've never lost a surfboard when towing without a cover, but I did once see a board that was being blown around the cockpit, while on the highway.

Drawbacks - gel coat burnishing (easily prevented with shrinkwrap, and easily buffed out. I've actually never seen this on my boat), damage to an expensive cover (partially mitigated by keeping a watchful eye for any flapping, and by stopping every so often to check that the cover is still tight), wear on the cover (no way around it, there will be some degree of flapping in the middle, loose part of the cover), cover loss I suppose (unlikely if you start with it on tight, and check it every so often, especially if you start dry, and then enter a wet, rainy area)

Now for the other common debate, tow with the bimini deployed or not?  

Interesting. I don’t want it to be from flex that’s for sure. Luckily no one has found any glass with their feet but I still find pieces in the storage compartments. We were on our way to northern Michigan when it happened for a week long vacation. Great start… stopped at a Walmart and bought a shop vac and two rolls of gorilla tape. Spent 6 hours vacuuming the boat out and taping a windshield up. Then had some pops to drown my sorrows. Was able to save the trip though and that taped windshield held for a long time haha. 

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I just picked this 2018 25 LSV up and towed it from VA to San Diego! I think it depends on what cover you have.  I have virtually no wind slap/rubbing etc.  I brought it home 2 weeks ago and would probably still be scrubbing all the road grime out if I hadn’t left the cover on. 

the only thing I shrink wrapped was the tower

DZkdOYRl.jpg

wrapped tower after 2500 miles of driving ;)

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4 hours ago, bigskydoc said:

 

Now for the other common debate, tow with the bimini deployed or not?  

I'll admit to doing this, but only between the house and local launch about 5 miles away.  Lot easier to leave it up and deal with it at home when the launch is busy.  Mine is a t top, so not huge.  Besides, the boat goes almost 50 on the water, 50-55 on the trailer doesn't seem to bother it.

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I tow up to 65 with mine deployed.  Dries it out before we get home.  The only time it was a problem is when the guy I was surfing with didn't lock the arm properly. Thankfully, I keep a close eye on the rear view mirror, and caught it before it did too much damage. Just a little bend in the frame that straightened easily. 

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ahopkinsVTX

My Bimini stays our year round at my house because it’s only 2 miles to the launch from my house and all 45mph or under. But if we go anywhere else I stow it. 

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Been towing with Bimini up for past 15 years and 3 different model boats. 10 to 12 miles there and home every weekend up to 55 mph. Never an issue yet.

Longer out of town interstate speeds, it gets stored.

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I tow more than about anyone I know. 5000 miles in a low use year. Twice that some years. Boat is going on its 8th season, that’s a lot of miles. 
 

I tow covered 100% of the time. I don’t think the shrink wrap is a bad idea but I’ve never used it. 
 

I used the Malibu cover the first several years. At the end of each season I’d have an upholstery shop fix a few seams. Changed to an Evolution cover and now I don’t even have to do that. 

D23B60FA-96B7-4B8A-9D53-CE8B156B4645.jpeg

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And an “illegal” black cover at that @RyanB!  It’s always good to hear some real world experience. It seems like the evo cover owners are very happy with towability. 

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I tow cover off to our local public lake for day trips because its easier to pull and stow the cover at home; cover on anywhere else.  It is 160 miles round trip to our lake lot and we do that most weekends.   My current cover is the best I have had with no chaffing whatsoever even towing at speeds I won't publish here.  I have had covers in the past that chaffed and left scuff marks, but the nice thing about gel coat, the scuffs buff off in about 5 minutes.  If you get the right cover there is no real downside to towing cover on unless you forget to secure it properly or something freak happens.    imo.  

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Just want to say I love TMC. You guys are awesome. Being a new owner of a beautiful(ly expensive) machine is much less stressful knowing I can hang here and shoot the sh*t.

Appreciate all the feedback and support!

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My boat mostly sits in the marina with an over the tower “tent”, but when I drive it for short distances I drive without cover. Two times per year we drive to Lake Annecy in France and then I cover it. A 900 km one way drive. Weather in Europe is never consistent so cover is a must.

On the 23LSV I had a custom transport cover made by a local Dutch company. Like a glove.. 

The 23MXZ came with a harbour over the tower cover and original Malibu transport cover and it is tight. No chafing so far. 
 

 

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On 5/21/2022 at 11:29 PM, dalt1 said:

Been towing with Bimini up for past 15 years and 3 different model boats. 10 to 12 miles there and home every weekend up to 55 mph. Never an issue yet.

Longer out of town interstate speeds, it gets stored.

So maybe I missed your initial response - because I did a WOOPS this weekend. Packed her up and was headed home (~40 miles), have the extended bimini option on my A22, few miles in I looked back and the front was sagging quite a bit. Managed to pull over and manually bend the bars back to "just about right" but I'm going to need to take a look and make sure I didn't screw something up.

I'll be packing the bimini from here on out.

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I'm a firm believer in the shirk wrap as well.  My last boat had a lot of black where the cover sits on the boat.  I always tow with cover on long distance and the black never got scratched up, even 3 years in.  Super easy & quick!  I actually take it a step further and wrap the sides as well.IMG_4198.thumb.jpeg.e3c5cd7b65920b3002f7cae6db90ca68.jpeg

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