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Old 16 September 2002, 08:28   #1
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Driving onto the trailer

On returning to the slipway on Saturday (after another fantastic day out on the water), I queued up behind a chap on his own in a large (8m or so) RIB. He proceeded to gun the engine to drive the boat up onto the trailer, then left the engine in gear at tickover to keep the boat on the trailer while he stepped onto the trailer to hook up the winch strap, and take up the slack.

He didn't even get his feet wet!

Now is this practice:

1. A neat trick I ought to learn?

2. A little cocky, but basically sound?

3. Dodgy, not to be employed by self-respecting safety conscious ribsters?

cheers,
Simon
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Old 16 September 2002, 08:36   #2
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Recovery

Simon

We used to trail our 7mtr rib for years. All it takes is a bit of practice. It works very well and like you saw you dont even get wet. I did see one person accelerate to hard and hit the back of his own car so be carefull. You only have to go slowly and line up the rollers.

Julian
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Old 16 September 2002, 09:49   #3
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I'm not saying I'm unlucky but if I'd have done this, a seagull would have crashed into the throttle just as I was attaching the winch!!!
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Old 16 September 2002, 10:34   #4
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I know a husband and wife couple who perform this both at launch and recovery time, and most impressive it is too. The wife drives the boat off the trailer and back on at recovery time while the husband handles the winch strap/parking the car etc.
I asked the wife (with that diplomacy for which I am famed), what percentage of the boat driving did she do on a typical trip. "Oh, I never drive the boat anywhere, far too frightening", was the answer. Frightened? Well to see her do the launch and recovery of an 8.5m boat with a howling great 240hp diesel, effectively on her own, you could have fooled me!
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Old 16 September 2002, 13:04   #5
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Simon

I would place this in a modified category 2:

"A little cocky, but you'll probably get away with it"

When it works it's fine, but it really isn't good practice to leave your boat in gear with no one at the helm -- even if it is pushing on to the trailer!

Another problem with driving onto the trailer generally is erosion. If the slipway is very large and concrete then this isn't an issue, but there are a number of slipways where this habit has caused the slip to gradually crumble away.

John
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Old 16 September 2002, 15:24   #6
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If you are going to try this make sure you disembark the boat at the pointy end....It's safer
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Old 16 September 2002, 17:21   #7
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Now they show this on the RYA Boat Handling Video, shot under the bridge at Southampton. I use it as an example of how not to do it.

Great if its your boat, you have driven it for years, there is no tide or waves and there are lots of girls watching.

But if a wave hits you, there is a tide running (Hamble Point slip) or you just get it wrong then off to the chandlers for some gel coat repair kit. Even more concerning is what about other people in the water ready to hook the winch strap on to the boat. Lots of fingers in there. Sorry great on a lake, but in the sea we use lots of manpower and save the hull from the scrapes. Worried about getting wet ? buy a drysuit or even some waders, they are cheap enough.
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Old 16 September 2002, 20:48   #8
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I do it, regularly, but then itís my boat, my trailer and my car. I never teach or allow anyone else to try!

I would never attempt it on an unknown slip or where there is any kind of exposure or swell Ė there is no substitute to man power in these situations.

However, itís a definite Ďcase 2í, with the added comments that itís the most effective way of getting in and out of the water when youíre on your own - as long as there is a pontoon or harbour wall to hand that the boat can be left against to allow recovery of the vehicle from the slip!

One thing to ckeck before you attempt this is that there is no chance of any rollers ending up the facing the wrong way. My rollercoaster trailer rear rollers can 'tip over' and cause great damage if the boat went on with them like this - i use peices of shock cord to ensure they stay correctly orientited.
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Old 17 September 2002, 03:16   #9
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What a brilliant tip Daniel - I've had a few near misses with the rollers - looks like some shock cord will be on the never ending shopping list this weekend.
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Old 17 September 2002, 04:02   #10
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Also dependent on boat length?

The other thing that occurs to me is that this is probably better suited to longer boats. The shorter the boat, the more effect lifting the bow has on the stern dropping, and the less water under the prop as well.

What are the chances of scraping the prop on the slipway with a shorter boat, as the bow lifts up onto the trailer?

(Personally, I think I'll be continuing winding the winch by hand for some time to come ...)

cheers,
Simon
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