Uncle Al sings the praises of, and explains - with photos - the virtues of, his Pamco trailer
(updated 22 November 2020)

From: Al Schonborn 
To: The Fullers 
Sent: Friday, October 05, 2001 9:26 PM

Hi, Darcy:

Sorry to be so long in getting back to you. I am not an authority on trailers but will give you my opinion in red below.

Uncle Al (W3854)

 From: The Fuller's 
To: uncle-al@home.com 
Sent: Sunday, September 23, 2001 6:52 PM

hey Al

I was just wondering what the best way to trailer and launch Wayfarers are?
Would you use a dolly trailer combo or just a trailer?
When I got W3854 in 1977, she came with a UK-built combi-trailer (boat trailer with slide-on dolly). While there are people who swear by this set-up, it was my experience that their suspension was not the best. Every bump in the road went straight to the boat. Having been fortunate enough to acquire a Michigan-built Pamco trailer with W4000 in 1975, I had a basis for comparison - and there was none!!! I kept the Pamco trailer which goes over bumps that jar my teeth in my VW Golf while the baby (W3854) barely vibrates. The bad news is that I believe Pamco has gone out of business, but I will describe the other things that make me love this trailer which is still doing a super job with heavy use over 25 years later - and I got it used! 

I need to rebuild my trailer anyways, but I want to build it so it will be most useful. 
If at all possible, you want a tilt-bed trailer with longitudinal supports (mine fit just inside the bilge keels on each side) set so that they keep the boat reasonably level but do not support significant weight (which should be supported by the keel rollers). I believe Abbott's trailers come with one or two V-shaped wooden but carpeting-covered transverse supports (see photo below)


This more or less requires submerging the trailer until the boat floats off - and in some cases, where the water is quite shallow, that can mean unhooking the trailer from the car and walking in quite a ways. The alternative being to drag the boat off and onto the trailer by main force (below). I do not favour this approach.

This is what happens when you don't buy a tilt-bed trailer!
the tilt-bed (below) the tires - let alone the bearings - barely kiss the water:

My tilt-bed trailer with longitudinal supports invariably gets backed up until the tires just touch the water. After this, we just tilt the bed, and the boat (provided the centreboard is bungeed into the full up position) gently slides off into the water. If the water depth is less than 6 inches where the transom will hit the water, I stand at the back and lift a bit as SHADES slides off to lessen the angle.
Other items that I like (or would like):
We have a nice, adjustable V-brace for the mast above the winch assembly. When we get ready to trailer the boat, we just take the mast down by removing only the forestay from its fitting at the bow. Once the mast is lying flat, we remove the mast pin and, even with the shrouds attached, the mast just nicely comes out from under the deck, after which we just lay the foot of the mast into the V-support above the winch assembly such that about three feet of mast stick out past the transom.
It is good to place the above assembly fore and aft such that the tongue weight is not excessive - I would guess that ours is about 50 lbs. and could/should be less. Once that is set, you want to adjust the centre rollers such that they each bear as equal a share of the load as possible.
We have a tiny wheel at the front of the trailer that was put on when the boats went overseas by plane in 1983. A much nicer set-up is a crank-up wheel assembly that can be adjusted with a crank and folded out of the way once the trailer is attached to the car. I'm seriously contemplating getting one of these since they allow you to store the boat totally level and let any rain water drain out the open self-bailers when the boat is on shore.

We're hitting the circuit next year in Ontario.
We'll look forward to seeing you. There will be an AGM + party in January which you would be most welcome to attend if you want to meet a few of the gang. The details will be posted in the next month or so under Coming Up on the Whiffle Web.

Hope this helps you. Let me know if you want a picture of our trailer which I could get in the next little while if you think it would help.

Best regards, Uncle Al.

Darcy Fuller  W7566 (CAN66)
South Port Sailing Club

----- Original Message ----- 
From: The Fullers 
To: Al Schonborn 
Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2001 10:34 AM
If you could get a picture that would help, too!  I was thinking on making a couple of cradles for the hull to attach to the trailer so it's sitting perfect,  and maybe cut down the dolly and attach it to the trailer in some way.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Al Schonborn 
To: The Fullers 
Sent: Saturday, October 06, 2001 12:41 PM

I'll go out and take a couple of pics right now - but I don't know how soon the roll will be done. Within a week, I hope.

The trouble with having the boat too cradled will be that you have to immerse the whole trailer to float the little dear off. My experience is that it's best just to have the keel support the whole weight of the boat - and try to distribute that weight among the rollers as well as possible. Many don't even bother with this - and their boats seem not to suffer that anyone can see.

Best regards,

Uncle Al (W3854)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Al Schonborn 
To: Al Schonborn 
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2001 11:27 AM
Subject: trailer pics

Hi, Darcy:

The trailer pics are done. I'm just creating an illustrated write-up which I will post later today - along with our correspondence. Let me know what remains unclear! Best regards,

Uncle Al (W3854)


Uncle Al talks Wayfarer trailers

I suspect that no one in the Wayfarer world has trailed his boat more often and more miles than Uncle Al - not even George Blanchard. Every year since I learned to drive in 1966, my various Wayfarers have gone to a dozen or more away regattas, and I have trailed my Wayfarer thousands of miles in each of the 35 sailing seasons since then.
While my early trailers were adequate, the real breakthrough came in 1975 when I purchased W4000 along with the Pamco trailer in the photos below. To my mind the Pamco trailer is without any doubt the finest Wayfarer trailer ever made. And now for the bad news: Pamco appears to have gone out of business. I've searched the Internet and been unable to find hide nor hair of them.
What I will do below however, is outline the features that I find important in a Wayfarer trailer and why I have found them useful:

1. This trailer has an excellent suspension. SHADES (above) came with one of those snazzy UK-built trailer/dolly combinations but what I immediately noticed was that the boat got a much bouncier ride than on the Pamco. Of course, I had been getting spoiled since I was used to going over bumps that jarred my teeth in the car while my "baby" on the Pamco trailer barely even vibrated a bit!
2. The lever shown in the photo can be pulled towards you allowing the bed of the trailer to tilt. With this system I regularly back the trailer up only until the tires barely touch the water. This keeps the bearings dry and I suppose prevents a certain amount of grease from contaminating the water. With longitudinal boat supports at the sides (see #16 below), the trailer allows the boat to gently slide off into the water as I gently lift the bow to tilt the bed. Only in rocky water less than 15 cm. deep, do I actually have to be careful not to let the boat slide off at will. In such instances, we keep the winch rope (#10 below) as well as the painter attached to the bow eye. One of us then gently unwinches while the other attempts to lift the transom a bit to prevent the tilt from becoming too steep.
This is a distinct improvement over some trailers that need to be manhandled 100 feet into (and even worse, out of!!!) shallow water before the boat may finally float free!
3. The front assembly of the trailer is very important. I have seen a number of Wayfarers struggle with a system that is less well laid out than this.
4. The V-shaped mast support is now re-carpeted courtesy of Julia. See photo below:
5. Note how our mast is stored for trailer travel. I have seen any number of Wayfarers do abundant unnecessary work here. All we do after lowering the mast is take the pivot pin out. The boat is so well designed that without detaching the shrouds from their chainplates on the deck, the mast can be pulled aft just far enough to get the foot past the aft edge of the foredeck. Then it's a simple matter of sitting on the front seat, lifting the mast over my head (preferably with the crew lifting the aft end - although George Blanchard has a little wheel at the transom mast support so that he can do the whole thing alone!) and passing it forward until the spreaders pass my head. At this point the mast is far enough forward and I lower it into the V-bracket where it is fastened with a simple shock cord loop that goes over both sides of the V-bracket. All that remains of this job is to tuck any shroud bits hanging out of the boat inboard. This works even if you trail without a cover on.
6. The V-strut is adjustable as it is able to slide up and down inside the lower vertical strut and kept in place by tightening a bolt on the far side not shown in these photos (sorry about that!). 
7. One little drawback of this arrangement was that the original lower strut gathered water at its lower end and eventually began to rust out. By the time I drilled a little hole at the side as close to the bottom plate as I could get, it was too far gone. I went to the mast makers, Klacko's here in Oakville and for a reasonable price, they took the pieces of the old one and made me the stainless replacement you can see gleaming above. It was a very worthwhile expense after the annoyance of having the old one buckle while on the road far from home!
8. For SHADES' 1983 flight to the Worlds at Hayling, we had to attach the little wheel you can just barely see. This works OK on paved surfaces but if I could figure out where to put it, 'd get the bigger, adjustable fold-away model shown below in an image from the Canadian Tire on-line catalogue, part #0409035
which would allow me to winch it up to keep the boat exactly level in the boat park so that any rainwater that gets into the boat goes straight back out the bailers!
9. The safety chains that come with the Pamco trailer simply end in S-hooks which hang nicely from the pair of eyes at the sides of my car's hitch - held in places only by gravity. A very simple, fast system - and neither chain has ever fallen off by itself!
10. Ideally, the winch should be at the same level as the bow eye when the boat is on the trailer. Most trailers are off on this and the boat has to be manhandled the last foot or so until the bow meets its receptacle. Even my bow eye is not in perfect position (see photo) but it's pretty darn close!
11. The last Hans Gottschling cover I trailed with (12-15 regattas/year as I have mentioned) lasted me about 15 years. I had expected the cover to flap itself to shreds but have been pleasantly surprised to find that, while I am trailing, the cover simply balloons into a nice airfoil shape - presumably from air that enters the slight aperture where the zipper meets the mast and exits through the mast hole at the back.
12. The trailer-lights board - commonly used in Europe - is a wonderful idea whose time is long overdue in North America. This board was made for me by my long-ago London, Ontario Fireball buddy, Dana Seymour in 1972 when I was sailing a Fireball (note the Fireball transom shape). On the Fireball is hooked onto the boat's two rudder fittings - we got an old bronze pintle and gudgeon - cheap - that have done the job ever since. You could make one that is more a Wayfarer transom size and use two rudder fittings to hold it in place - with appropriate cover holes, of course. I, on the other hand, was too lazy and have been hooking on only the upper pintle while dead ending a rope through the lower fitting (a gudgeon) and tying it in position as shown above.
There are several beauties to this system:
- the lights never get immersed in water during launch
- wiring on a lights board is much easier to repair than wiring inside the angle iron of a trailer
- should the need arise, I can tow someone else's trailer with my board and not worry about his trailer lighting system matching mine
- being at the end of the boat not the trailer, the lights are close enough to the mast tip to avoid any nitpicky constable ticketing me for no extra light on the mast tip - which under Ontario law is, I believe, required where the mast tip is more than 6 feet behind the lights (see #13 above)
- when the wiring goes, I can just take the board and the car in to my garage but leave the boat and trailer behind
- I can sit with the board in my lap in the driver's seat to check that all signals are go (see #14)
15. In this photo you can see two of the three centre rollers that are supposed to bear the lion's share of the boats weight on the trailer. All three are adjustable up and down and have been re-set so that all three are right up against the keel when SHADES has been fully winched up onto her trailer.
16. Even though the longitudinal outer supports cross under the aft bulkhead, conventional wisdom is that they should not support the boat's weight - a task which is best left to the keel (see #15). On this trailer, these supports have been deliberately set a tiny bit low to keep boat weight on the keel. Their only real job is to keep the boat from tipping to one side or the other. These too are carpet-covered of course!
17. By the same token, the trailer strap does not need or want to be excessively tight. Its only task is to keep the boat from falling sideways off the trailer not to press the boat onto the rollers more than its weight already does!! 
I still recall bringing W852 (my second Wayfarer) home from Ottawa after buying her there. We had driven about 100 miles towards Toronto when, after a perhaps slightly speedy left turn off Hwy 7, I suddenly thought: Did I remember to tie the boat down? We stopped - and sure enough - no tie down. What this shows is that a Wayfarer will not easily fall of a trailer (although I managed to make it happen once - in 1966) and certainly does not want to be really strapped down to the trailer!
18. Another add-on to the original trailer is what Canadian Tire calls Wheel Bearing Protectors - part #0408420P as borrowed from their site below:

To let them tell it, this product does the following:
  • Protects bearings from dust and dirt 
  • Water Resistant 
  • Pressure ring keeps grease in the bearing 
  • Eliminates the need to repack the bearings 
  • Grease nipple allows application of grease without removing the bearing 
  • Heavy duty triple plated metal resists corrosion 
  • Comes with vinyl cap for added protection (Al's note: watch you don't lose these since I did lose one and had to use a bright green lid from a can of shaving cream instead until they finally took pity on me earlier this year and replaced it when I was in for service!)
19. I never said I was a technical expert on trailers, just experienced at putting them to use. I went out this morning and checked the tire walls where it says all kinds of neat stuff. I think the reference to tire size says: 5.70 x 8. Is that the size? I couldn't figure out the sizes from their catalogue either. Can someone clue me in here??
What I do know is that a few years ago, I decided to go up from the smallest diameter trailer tires that seem to be standard on most trailers the right size to carry Wayfarers. I gather this reduces heating from friction since the larger wheels don't need to do a many revolutions to go the same distance as the smaller ones. This is particularly useful if you do a lot of expressway trailing - or heaven forbid - want to get there faster than 100km/h.
20. Note the centre rollers (previous referred to in #15) adjusted just right to fit the contours of the keel.
21. You can see here how they can be adjusted.
22. Likewise for the longitudinal outside supports which fit ever so perfectly inside the bilge keel on each side!
23. Note the carpet sewed onto the trailer strap by my wife and sometimes crew, Julia, to protect the paint on the chine.
24. Oops! If your board is prone to falling down when left unsupported (like mine in this photo!), you should make sure you keep that from happening. Since I like the tightness of my centreboard brake which is just right to stay in position while racing but not too hard for my various crews to move, I don't want to use this method - even if could get at it with the board full up! What I use instead is one of those 1/4" bungy cords with metal hooks on the ends. The latter hook nicely under the forward part of the CB box after being wrapped once or twice around the box and the top corner of the centreboard as shown below:
If you don't keep the board fully up in this or some other way, what happens is that when you slide the boat off the trailer, the board angles further down - having been supported previous by the middle roller - and gets caught on the aft roller. If you launch with a certain amount of panache and flourish, the latter comes to a sickening end when the wafer thin trailing edge of the board you spent many winter hours on comes to a sickening, crunching, grinding halt against the aft roller and or the launch ramp!
I've done this a couple of times and would dearly love never to do it again - but you can see above, I could be swearing at the Midwinters if I don't bungy the board up before then.
In addition, it probably does not help your leading edge to have to support all the board weight in that one spot but I've never noted any damage in that regard.
25. Note how we tie the cover onto the boat by going right under everything - trailer and all. See also #27)
26. A close-up of how we tie the trailer lights board into its position after hooking its pintle at the upper end into the gudgeon that is the upper boat fitting.
27. I just use a slip knot to tie the cover on - over the years I've developed a knack for snapping that half hitch with the loop hard enough that it stays on all the way from Oakville to Florida! And it's so nice and easy to undo. Actually, I do a double half hitch on the very front rope which for some reason comes loose on long trips otherwise!
28. One last look at those well adjusted centre rollers!

Our 2008 North Americans "support team" got two pictures of our beloved - if un-looked-after - Pamco trailer.
Note the recently added "Swiveljack" near the front - a much appreciated Christmas present from Julia.

As closer view of the swiveljack as Al (r) and Dave Hansman carefully line up SHADES before the winching starts. We do have to be very precise when we line her up on the rollers. The ones we have leave little room for error and she'll easily slide off them if not perfectly and continuously aligned. One of us winches and and calls to the "shroud holding" other: "Towards (away from?) you a titch!", etc. to keep our keelson perfectly aligned with all three rollers. It's pretty easy if you don't rush too much. Note, too, how the tires are barely touching the water and our axle and bearings never get immersed - even on a far less ideal launch site than this one.