Powrlauch your craft  

Self Powered launching system

By Duncan

The company details are as follows...
Powrlaunch Ltd
6 Priory Industrial Estate
Airspeed Road
Christchurch
UK
BH24 4HD
01425 283293
www.powrlaunch.co.uk

Boat Launch
1 Just park the trailer close to the waters edge.
2 Turn on the battery.
3 Engage the rollers.
4 Turn on remote.
5 Remotely drive the trailer to the water.
6 Find the best depth and position.
7 You can position the trailer exactly where you want it.

Boat Recovery
1 Line up the boat and drive straight on.
2 The electrical box and post will give you a visible aiming point.
3 Marker poles can be fitted, so the position can be seen when under water.
4 Secure the front of the boat to the trailer and remotely drive up the ramp by using the handset.
5 When the wheels are out of the water you can step off and collect your car.
6 The trailer can be easily maneuvered to the car tow-ball with the remote handset.
7 Disconnect the rollers and turn off power.

Powrlaunch Mover System

Shortly after taking delivery of my Warrior in 2008 it became obvious that getting it in and out of the drive at home was a 3-man job. Warrior Boats take pride in promoting the weight of a 175 as a virtue and I can assure you - they're right! So the attraction of a system that allows push button and inch-perfect maneuvering of the boat/trailer was obvious.

Powrlaunch is the marine version of the Powrmover caravan mover system found on many larger touring caravans these days. It is made by the same company, based in Christchurch, Dorset, and shares some of the same control components, although the important mechanical bits are different. The system is supplied in kit form for DIY installation, or can be fitted by one of the company's engineers. It retails for around £1800, but I found them open to a deal and got the fitting thrown in too. A 2-year warranty is provided.

The system comprises a 12v motor on each wheel, mounted on a metal framework that clamps to the trailer chassis. The motors drive friction rollers, which in turn drive the trailer tyre's. The friction rollers are engaged and disengaged quite simply with a wheel brace through a locking cam system. Power is provided by a leisure battery (not supplied) contained within a lockable box, also bolted to the trailer. A small remote handset sends your instructions to the on-board electronics, mounted high on a pole near the trailer draw bar. The control box is the only component that needs to stay dry, allowing the whole trailer to be immersed about 5’ deep if needed! Even the battery can be submerged because its container acts like a bell jar to exclude water. Fitting of the Powrlaunch to the trailer does not require any welding or drilling of the chassis, so it's fairly straightforward and should not disturb any galvanised parts nor invalidate the trailer's warranty. A selection of plates and large U-bolts is supplied and they ask for photos of your trailer axle detail to be sent to them to assist with supplying the correct brackets. Actually mine needed 2 engineer visits and some custom brackets to be made up to fit my Rapide trailer properly. I was very pleased I didn't attempt to fit it myself.

In operation the system is very simple and effective, although you won't be breaking any speed records. The trailer can be moved in any direction and turned on its own axis if required. Braking is completely automatic and occurs immediately your finger is removed from the handset button. Fishing trips now begin with me “driving” the trailer under its own power out of the drive and down the lane to the waiting car, positioning the hitch right over the tow ball with no effort whatsoever.

Powrmover’s sales literature makes great play of the ability to launch and recover the boat on a slipway with the trailer uncoupled from the tow car, thus keeping your vehicle well away from the water's edge. I have tried this – mainly to prove it could be done – but in practice I hardly ever do so. We have a 4wd car, so slippery slips aren't normally a problem, plus launching into sand runs the risk of the trailer wheels digging in, spinning and going nowhere. If I ever do need to unhitch, I'd say a big rope back to the car is far more reliable.

Now for the negatives. The big flaw is that most of the steelwork is powder-coated, not galvanised, so within a small number of months of saltwater use this started to peel and corrode. According to the latest photos on the company web site www.powrlaunch.co.uk some components are now supplied galvanised, but not all. For the money you might expect a better design. The other niggles are trivial by comparison – an over-reliance on pop rivets for some of the fabrication means that when these work loose – as they surely will – they make a heck of a racket when going over any bumps in the road. I replaced all mine with small stainless bolts/locknuts so that now I can get to the harbour with a few dental fillings still intact! The clamps on the battery box also rattle like crazy, needing cable ties and foam in the right places.

Providing you can live with the need for a Hammerite brush and ear muffs constantly to hand, this is a good system and, as far as I'm aware, the only one of its kind. It adds about 40 kilos plus another 20Kg for the battery, so you do need to think about weight too. Would I recommend it? I couldn't be without it.. How else can I sneak out alone at 06:00 to go fishing in my Warrior and still have enough stamina to drive to the coast?  


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