|  First Published: April 2006

Buying a boat is usually a major milestone in an angler’s life. It gives you the freedom to fish where and how you want to. But before you buy your boat there are a number of decisions to consider such as picking the right trailer.

After they’ve picked the hull and motor many buyers regard the trailer as an adjunct along with safety gear, anchor, oars and similar odds and ends. Too often, the right trailer is given too little thought. I believe that it comes down to where the boat is going to be used mainly and then selecting the right trailer for the purpose. If it’s unlikely that the boat will ever travel off bitumen roads then a ‘standard’ trailer will be fine as long as it meets all the other requirements such as the Australian Design Rules. If the trailer is going to carry the boat offroad then it needs to have exceptional build quality, suspension and a robust and durable design.

Belco, reputable boat trailer manufacturers, have provided a great option in their Offroad Extreme trailer system. I reviewed a 1100kg model, designed to carry around 1500kg of boat, motor and ancillary gear.

The Offroad Extreme model looked perfect carrying a Stacer 395 powered by a Yamaha 30hp 2-stroke. 4X4 sized wheels, ample ground clearance and extra strong side steps and mudguards are features of the trailer’s special design and construction and it’s easy to see how it will survive the most punishing travel. Trips to the Cape and to the Gulf would be easy without the slightest risk to a boat.

The vehicle coupling is a special A.T 35 universal joint style unit manufactured by Vehicle Components of Brisbane and the unit will slip easily onto a standard tow bar in lieu of the balljoint. The coupling has inbuilt greasing facilities and dual locking devices to ensure it won’t ever come unstuck no matter how difficult the terrain.

A huge jockey wheel on the massive tri-frame drawbar makes for easy boat and trailer manoeuvring from the vehicle.

You won’t have any problems with rollers or supports on this trailer, thanks to a series of large and well situated central rollers on a ladder frame held by wide supporting side skids. Once strapped down the hull can’t move and is evenly supported along the bearing surface area.

Ultra heavy duty suspension is a great feature of the Belco Offroad Extreme trailer and there wasn’t any trace of the roughness associated with heavy leaf spring set-ups. The trailer chassis has great rigidity with sports tandem axles linked to A frames set-up with both gas shock absorbers and airbags. The airbags can be adjusted to allow for the correct amount of damping, bump reduction, and clearance between chassis and airbags. Basically load the boat on, pump up the airbags from a source of compressed air and at the same time make sure that the inflated airbags are able to clear the associated bump stops. For lesser loads, reduce the amount of air in the airbags to ensure that the bump stop clearance remains adequate.

The hinged number plate on the right rear feature is indicative of the thought put into the design of this trailer. No matter how steep the creek crossing is the number plate will simply swing up out of the way.

I carried out brief towing trials with the Offroad Extreme trailer and it towed like a dream, just a little hum from the offroad tyres, as one might expect.

I’ve given the unit 10/10 for strength, practicality, and ease of use. These specialized trailers are made to suit alloy or glass craft, according to need. Trailers start from $6,500 with complete packages starting from $14,500. Belco Trailers can be contacted on (07) 3205 7955 or at www.belcocustomtrailers.com.au.

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