Ski Pylon Installationby Gus Stephens
A ski pylon serves as the attachment point for the rope towing a water skier or wakeboarder. A properly situated and installed pylon provides a number of advantages over attaching the tow rope to the boat's transom. A pylon focuses the drag load from the skier on the boat's center-point and makes tighter, sharper turns possible without unbalancing the boat. Pylons also elevate the tow rope above the engine, reducing the risk of fouling the propeller. An elevated tow rope is more desirable for skiers, too, because they are not being pulled downward as with a transom-attached rope. Also, the higher tow rope does not drag across the top of the boat's wake during turns. Barefoot International's adjustable ski pylon features a center-mounted pylon with two telescoping braces.
Position the pylon base plate on the center-line of the boat. Determine that there is sufficient room for the telescoping arms to extend to their mounting spots.
Mount the base plate to the bottom of the boat with five 1/4-inch by 20 bolts and large diameter washers and 1/4-inch nuts on the underside of the boat. If the underside of the boat cannot be accessed to install washers and nuts, instead mount the base plate to the bottom with 5/16-inch lag screws. Seal the screws with silicone sealant as they are installed.
Screw the pylon onto the base plate, and adjust it to the desired height.
Install the outer portion of the telescoping brace arms into the clevis on the pylon with 1/4-inch by 1-inch clevis hitch pins.
Slide the inner portion of each telescoping brace arm into an outer portion. Extend the arms toward the rear of the boat, spreading at an angle of 45 degrees to 50 degrees off the center line of the boat.
Mark the spots on the deck to drill holes for installation of the two-brace arm-mounting clevises. Verify that you will not be drilling into any wires or control cables below the deck. Make sure you can access the mounting bolts from beneath the deck to install nuts and washers.
Drill 5/8-inch holes at the marked spots. Place washers on each mounting clevis, and insert the clevis through the hole. Secure from the other side with washers, lock washers and 5/8-inch nuts.
Connect the ends of each telescoping brace arms to its corresponding deck-mounting clevis.
Request an assistant to hold each brace arm securely. Using the outer brace arm pilot hole, drill a 1/4-inch hole all the way through the inner arm and out the other side of the brace arm.
Disconnect the braces and thread a 1/4-inch by 1 and 1/4-inch bolt through each of the holes in the brace arms and secure with a nylon nut. Reinstall the telescoping brace arms on the pylon and the deck-mounting clevises.
Things You'll Need
- 1/4-inch by 20 bolts
- 1/4-inch large diameter washers
- 1/4-inch nuts
- Power drill and drill bits
- Socket wrench and sockets
Gus Stephens has written about aviation, automotive and home technology for 15 years. His articles have appeared in major print outlets such as "Popular Mechanics" and "Invention & Technology." Along the way, Gus earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications. If it flies, drives or just sits on your desk and blinks, he's probably fixed it.