View Full Version : Boat Buddy vs. Bow Roller

08-17-2004, 10:35 PM
The boat buddy has been a real pain for me. I have given up trying to drive onto the trailer and have it latch automatically. My wife puts it on the trailer and I hook up the winch and pull the boweye into the boat buddy and throw the latch manually. This naturally leaves plastic residue on the bow from dragging it through the "v". I am thinking of replacing the boat buddy with a 3 piece bow roller...Any thoughts?

east tx skier
08-17-2004, 10:47 PM
RackAtak, there will be countless opinions on this. Here are my :twocents:

If you have new carpet on your v-block, the black marks are coming from your boat buddy. This was reason enough for me to go with a non-maring bow roller. But keep in mind that I have an open bow. With an open bow, I just walk to the front and crank up the winch when I pull the boat on. It's not too much trouble and I don't have to take acetone to my keel on a weekly basis.

If I had a closed bow boat, I would've gotten another boat buddy. Some will say that it offers extra protection should your winch break while towing (I was told not to leave it engaged). The MC manual online now says to leave it though.

I believe it was Dan who carpeted his. This will solve the black-mark problem if you can get it right.

One thing about the bow roller, you will need to thicken up your v-block bunks a bit because it causes the boat to sit a bit higher and I don't think it's such a good idea to have the very front of the boat supporting much, if any, weight.

08-17-2004, 11:03 PM
I'm sure it's the boat buddy leaving the scuff marks. I watch them form as I crank up the winch. The marks come off easy enough, but I think rollers would cause less drag and marking, but the carpet idea is a good one also. When you say thicken up the "V" block bunks a bit, do you mean adding a couple pieces of 3/4 plywood or similar material? If I left the boat buddy on, is it going to cause gelcoat damage to my bow over time? Thanks for the feedback...

Farmer Ted
08-17-2004, 11:22 PM
Why doesn't someone come up with a non-marring boat buddy?

08-17-2004, 11:23 PM
Look at older MC boats with the Boat Buddy and see how bad the damage to the bow really is. Unless they came in extremely hot, the damage I have seen has always been very minor. If the wheels(front on a tandem axle) are just under water, getting the boat on and snapped into the Buddy is pretty easy. Depending on the angle of the launch you use most, the amount of the wheels that is under water may change. Practice. After a few sucesses, it's really not too hard. Soft plastic(unless it's dirty) will rarely cause a lot of damage to gelcoat, other than depositing some of the plastic. Acetone takes it off easily.

08-18-2004, 07:19 AM
I manually crank mine and it works fine for me. Watch out for slick ramps though! You would look silly falling on your keester.

08-18-2004, 08:02 AM
If you take some carpet, similar to the carpet on the bunks on your trailer, sand the boat buddy and clean with Acetone, place the carpet on the boat buddy and get a basic pattern and cut to fit. Spray the back of the carpet and the boat buddy with adhesive, when both are tacky, stick the carpet to the boat buddy. After it's dry, trim to perfection. Works like a champ. I just replaced the carpet on my trailer and did the boat buddy again. No marks on the bow at all.

08-18-2004, 09:34 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions...I think I am going to try the carpet solution.

east tx skier
08-18-2004, 10:29 AM
If you get a good carpet pattern, let us know. A little late on this answer, but my original v-bunks were 1/2" composite, and I replaced them with 3/4" treated plywood. If they came out with a non-maring boat budy, I'd be all over it.

08-18-2004, 08:07 PM
I've gone through 2 Boat Buddys (Buddies?) on my '95. The first failed after only 6 months, since the dealer told me to leave the pin latched while trailering. When I took it back with the pin worn in half, he replaced it and suggested that I not leave the pin in. Now 9 years later, the second one is worn out and doesn't trip properly. Yes, I've always had the black marks on the bow. I'll try the carpet idea, thanks!

08-18-2004, 08:35 PM
I bought a boat buddy shortly after we bought our boat three years ago and it is still sitting in the box. The wife just got good at putting the old lock bar up. It works good. Was not sure how I was going to mount the thing anyways. It might be for sale if I could find it.

08-18-2004, 08:36 PM
My piece of carpet has lasted one year, 120 hrs of boating. So I guess that is less than 20 launches/recoveries. It is starting to look a little worn, but I think it will last one more season.

Interesting that, as Doug reports, MC recommends leaving the pin engaged for towing. I can understand that from a safety standpoint. But the two people that I know that towed with a Buddy engaged ended up with bent pins in less than two months. I do not tow with it engaged but do have an extra tie down that I place vertically between the bow eye and the trailer. While I trust the strap on my winch (I replace it if it gets frayed) I don't have as much trust in the little ratchet mechanism in the winch. And if I ever have to take evasive maneuvers, I don't want this to happen (see picture).

It always cracks me up when I hear about people not using tie downs on their boat (except those lucky few who just have to go down the street). Do they play the Lottery? The odds of getting in a car accident that is NOT your fault is higher. I have seen accidents where the boat has come through fairly unscathed if it stays attached to the trailer. If it leaves the trailer, well ...... they get their picture put on the internet :purplaugh

Dan K
08-18-2004, 08:48 PM
With a setup like that the trailer is optional. How far does he have to put the wheels in the water to launch that thing? :D

08-19-2004, 07:31 AM
Ouch! :eek:

08-19-2004, 07:56 AM
I replaced my boat buddy with a non-marring roller and haven't had any problems at all. I did not thicken the v blocks. I stop the boat before it goes too far up on the roller and tighten the winch.

08-19-2004, 08:27 AM
I eliminated the black marks I was getting on my X star by sliming the boat buddy before loading. Sometimes on steep ramps I slime the carpet on the v block to just to make the loading process gentler. I would like to see Mastercraft go to the stainless steel protector around the tow eye like Cobalt uses though.

east tx skier
08-19-2004, 10:35 AM
I never towed with my boat buddy engaged. The way I look at it, if things get really hairy, that little pin isn't keeping anything attached to the trailer.

As for thickening the v-blocks, I wanted my boat to be in the same spot on the main bunks as it was before. I should've pointed out earlier that this is what was needed to be improvised to make my setup work, and that things might work differently for other people's setups.

08-19-2004, 11:06 AM
BUSSTUFJ, I have seen the stainless steel protector plate with the bow eye on a Cobalt . I liked it a lot and even wondered if it would fit on my MC.