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Old 25 November 2010, 04:35   #1
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Drive-on trailer - windy conditions

The major issue I'm having with the Vipermax is launch and recovery.

It's simply not possible/safe to do a drive on recovery on the current trailer (keel rollers and four side bunks) and in our often (usually!) windy conditions here, as I found out last weekend, single handed recovery is a bloody struggle - it took me about 20 min to get the boat back on the trailer by myself as there was a strong breeze blowing onto the stern from an angle and it took several attempts, a lot of sweat and cursing and quite a bit of cosmetic damage to the front of the boat (bow ran up between the keel roller and one of the little side rollers just next to it, doesn't seem to have gouged the gel coat but has left black marks on the hull that won't come off with anything which I am really pissed off about seeing as its only about the fourth outing

Thinking about this over the last couple of days I have decided that if the boat is going to last more than six months and not have a massive accident, I need to either get a new trailer or do something pretty drastic to the current one as it simply isn't working as it is - no fault of either the trailer or the boat and recovery is dead easy when it's calmer, it's just not the right combination for the windy conditions here. Nor is a conventional roller trailer which would rule out drive-on recovery on rocky beaches (rocks through the prop) - it has to be something you can hit with a bit of speed to let momentum do the work and a roller trailer just isn't strong enough.

So ... what are people's thoughts on the best design of trailer for drive-on recovery in windy conditions? My old trailer (photo attached - built by the original owner of the boat) had big wide wooden bunks full length keel and side and was great for this (if there was enough water...) as you could hit the trailer at about 3-4 knots and whizz her up almost to the winch post where it would sit 100% secure while you hopped out and attached the hook, but you could not recover in shallow water and launching was only possible if you had quite a bit of water as well - the boat used to stick on the bunks. On balance I'd rather have that, than what I have now, as it's usually windy and 30 sec for safe recovery is a lot better than 20 min of cursing and ending up with damage anyway.

The best compromise would be easy drive-on recovery in windy conditions, usable shallow water winch-on recovery in calmer conditions (less important) and not too hard to launch from, but it has to support the hull really well travelling on rough roads and also fit the curved hull of the Vipermax which is another issue with the current trailer - 8 nice big keel rollers of which only 3 touch the hull at any one time.

Anybody out there designed a one-off that I could pinch some ideas from? At the moment I might try and modify the existing trailer, I might buy something new or I might get something built locally and perhaps re-use some parts off the existing trailer but something is going to have to be done before the boat gets wrecked and last weekend was getting a bit close to my "and to hell with the consequences" temper limit!

I'm thinking a row of closely spaced keel rollers with solid bunks going right up to the edges of the roller brackets could fit the bill but would be interested to hear any other ideas especially from those who either launch and recover in windy places (especially beaches) and those who have built their own trailers as I think there are a few on here. The bunks would have to fit between the Vipermax hull chines which is another complication, but I think it could be done.

Thoughts please?

Ta
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Old 25 November 2010, 05:13   #2
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i'll post some pic's of my trailer, basically i've got centre rollers 2/3rd along the frame for support a swinging beam at the back, some rollers either side of the centre roller frame and then some more rollers about halfway along for positioning, seem's like over kill, maybe, but it works, the rear beam and the rollers either side of the center rollers position the boat (even if i get it slightly wrong it holds it in place), once i've steered it straight i give it a handfull on the throttle and she's on, i have no winch on the front just a chain and shackle, at over 8.5m and 2t i've never had a problem
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Old 25 November 2010, 05:32   #3
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Drive on Trailer - Windy Conditions

Hi have you thought of using an electric winch on the trailer winch post with either radio control or flying lead ? This will allow you to guide the boat onto the trailer keeping her true wearing your chest waders/ dry suit.Probably cheeper and safer than a prppeller driven power recovery.Avonmon.
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Old 25 November 2010, 05:57   #4
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Just seen this, my first thoughts would be so fabricate some uprights either side of the trailer bed, so that it forms a "cage" and not allow the boat to drift off the centre line.
Although I dont have time to search yet, what I have in mind is the sort of thing the RNLI use with their tractor launch/recovery, which can be used in very extreme conditions virtually hands free.
Steve
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Old 25 November 2010, 06:16   #5
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Biffer - that would be great, ta

TBH I don't really want an electric winch (additional complexity and small electric winches are not that reliable - what happens when it packs up) and I don't want to get wet and/or mess around with waders - I could recover my Humber onto the old trailer in a pair of trainers if I had to and not get wet feet, so I want to end up with something I can use in no more than normal wellies.

RNLI - interesting idea... ta what do the boats sit on when they are on the trailer? rollers or bunks?

I'm waiting for prices from SBS for their adjustable keel rollers so that would sort the keel part to support it properly, and they also do some sort of roller bunks for the side so I can see some ideas coming together here

I have to be careful on the throttle as there are no proper slipways to launch from so sucking rocks off the bottom when powering on is a risk at all launching sites.
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Old 25 November 2010, 07:42   #6
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Sounds like you need to lose the keel rollers 'cos they're too small a target to aim at. It should be okay just sitting on the bunks, as with the yank trailers.
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Old 25 November 2010, 08:15   #7
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Would cradles not be the answer. You can design how many independent free moving rollers you want on each cradle and they would centre the rib as you go on. It would give you a bigger 'target' to aim for, as DHD suggests. This se-up works for me and I am using in the west of scotland.
Hope it helps.
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Old 25 November 2010, 08:26   #8
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Agree with DHD on the keel rollers. I've had three trailers under 2 ribs, and none had a keel roller that actually did anything.

You could move the front roller beam assy back, interleaving the rollers with the ones on the swing beam (more rollers - less liklihood of missing), then replace the front one with bunks and you get the best of both. Then add a couple of sturdy uprights with plastic pipe over them (essentiallty a vertical roller) to keep the back end in place.

If you also had a couple of "halfway" verticals you could feasibly have a couple of bits of rope which you can fix one (whichever is o nthe convenient side that day) to a solid point inside to allow you to get forward & clip to the winch?


Also might cost but someone (Bramber or Mersea / Snipe rings a bell?) does blue "non marking" rollers.....



BTW, what's your current trailer?
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Old 25 November 2010, 08:30   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 250kts View Post
Just seen this, my first thoughts would be so fabricate some uprights either side of the trailer bed, so that it forms a "cage" and not allow the boat to drift off the centre line.
Although I dont have time to search yet, what I have in mind is the sort of thing the RNLI use with their tractor launch/recovery, which can be used in very extreme conditions virtually hands free.
Steve
I used a set of these made from 1" bsp tube covered with hose worked a treat always recovered single handed

Jim
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Old 25 November 2010, 08:55   #10
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If the slipway is wide enough could you not just Jack Knife the trailer so the end is pointing into the wind so you get blown on to the trailer.

My prefered method is drive it onto the trailer ala Biffer either way both methods are cheap.
Ta Tim
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