|  First Published: May 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. But before you buy your boat there are a number of decisions to consider. One is picking the right trailer.

After picking 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 insufficient thought. I believe that it comes down to deciding on where the boat is going to be used mostly and then selecting the right trailer for the job. If it’s unlikely that the boat will ever travel off bitumen then a standard trailer will be fine as long as it meets all the other requirements such as the Australian Design Standards. If however, 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. It’s easy to see how it would survive the most punishing travel. Trips north to the Cape and the Gulf would be easy without the slightest risk to your 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 rough 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.

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. Load the boat on, pump up the airbags with compressed air and make sure that the inflated bags clear the associated bump stops. For lesser loads, reduce the amount of air in the bags 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, the number plate will simply swing up out of the way.

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

I’ve given the unit 10/10 for strength, practicality, and ease of use. These specialised trailers are made to suit alloy or glass craft, according to the buyer’s needs.

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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