Reviewed by Capt. Mike Schoonveld
I put a tip in the Basics and Beyond column I write for Great Lakes Angler magazine in a recent issue suggesting carrying pair of muck boots in the tow vehicle to eliminate having to perform a balancing act on the bumper or trailer tongue each time a boat is launched or loaded. That elicited a response from a reader who agreed the boots were a good idea but he’d eliminated his need for them by installing a Drotto Boat Latch system on his trailer. I clicked it up at www. Boat2Trailer. com, http://www.boat2trailer.com, watched the videos posted there and promptly contacted Rob Waterbury at the company about the product.
Long story short, I found myself at the top of a boat ramp soon after with a 3/4″ inch ratchet and wrench, taking the rubber roller off my winch support at the front of my trailer. I reused the same bolt to attach the DBL and snugged it just tight enough to hold it in place.
Then I backed the trailer down the ramp, pulled the boat forward with the winch strap and adjusted the angle of the DBL to match the slope of my bow. Then I continued winching until the latch snapped closed on the bow ring and snugged down the bolt to hold the Drotto to that exact position.
I once tried a similar devise with a similar purpose. I’d drive my boat onto the trailer until the bow loop entered a slot, something would go snap and the boat would be fastened to the winch assembly. The “earlier version” quickly went on my scrap heap of useless junk. It didn’t hold the boat tight to the front roller, I had to hit the slot perfectly (an inch too far port or starboard wouldn’t cut it) and I could tell from the heft and workmanship, something would break on it – sooner or later – for me, I guessed sooner and at an inconvenient time.
Not so the Drotto. It’s heavy and the metal parts are made of hardened, heavy gauge steel. When loading the boat my approach doesn’t have to be perfect since there’s a vee notch to slide the bow ring a few inches left or right as needed and when the “grabbers” snap closed, the bow is snug on the winch stand.
I have a bunk-type trailer so when launching I can use the lever-action release to un-grab the bow ring while I’m positioned at the top of the ramp. There’s a lever extension included for boaters with roller trailers so the ring can be freed after the boat is backed sufficiently into the water and the lever can be pulled either from a dock or while sitting in the boat.
A video is worth a thousand words so go to the website and watch the short vids posted there. You’ll soon be ready to plunk down $240 to make your launching and loading easier. Leave the muck boots at home.