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Old 14 August 2006, 07:39   #1
Country: Australia
Town: Melbourne
Make: Vipermax
Length: 5m +
Engine: Suzuki DF140
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 181
Single handed retrieval

Can I get some tips on managing single handed retrieval in poor conditions.

I've had a look thorough the threads and it's acknowledged as a problem, but the solutions all seem to involve someone else!

I thought I was doing OK, but in retrospect it's because the prevailing weather is offshore. The RIB is 5.4m so not too big to handle and I've been able to glide the boat from a jetty to the trailer with a bow line and been able to realign it where necessary from the trailer. On the occasions where I've had a cross wind, I've had a passer-by or local fisherman hold a stern line from the jetty to keep the boat straight.

Over the weekend I attempted it with an onshore breeze, maybe 12-15 kn, with my 8yr old on the stern line... very quickly into a mess! Stern swung inwards, not outwards as planned, boy drops the line, bow ends up into the wind, stern bumping against ramp, me in the water holding the boat off, and not a helper in sight. Can't blame the boy for that!

Managed to swing it around and get it on the trailer with only a few minor gel chips and a sigh of relief, but I'd rather that didn't happen again.

So how do you solo skippers manage?

Options seem to be:
- driving the boat on - are there conditions when you don't try this? - is it OK without trailer guides?
- jumping in the water - not part of the launching scene here
- waiting for someone to help with a stern line
- park it somewhere until conditions ease

All tips and situations to avoid welcomed.

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Old 14 August 2006, 07:43   #2
Country: UK - Wales
Town: swansea
Boat name: Too Blue
Length: 8m +
Engine: Suzuki DT225
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 12,791
What you need are vertical guide poles welded onto your trailer at the back. All the commercial boys around here use them. They put plastic pipe over the poles to act as rollers so they won't mark the boat. With a roller trailer you just aim for the gap and drive on. Also don't make the mistake of putting the trailer in too deep - you don't want to float the boat on - the rollers can't do anything if the boat is floating above them!!!

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Old 14 August 2006, 08:04   #3
Country: Belgium
Length: 9m +
Engine: Ob 2*250/2t yams hpd
MMSI: 235030702
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 885
tried doing it with your rib yet Codders??? ( alone)

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Old 14 August 2006, 09:22   #4
Cypman's Avatar
Country: UK - Isle of Man
Town: Douglas
Length: no boat
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 337
I don't believe there is any "magic" solution, basically it is down to experience and practice. Indeed, under certain conditions even the best screw it up!!
However, to give yourself the best chance I agree with Codprawn in not putting your trailer too deep in the water, depending on the make of trailer I believe the wheels only need to be half to two thirds submerged.
Finally, ensuring your rollers are adjusted to the optimum positions with regard to your individual hull shape will also assist in a flawless recovery. Good luck
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Old 14 August 2006, 10:27   #5
Country: UK - Scotland
Town: Glasgow
Boat name: The Black Pearl
Make: BRIG F400S
Length: 4m +
Engine: 40HP E-TEC
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 91
As someone who launches / recovers their boat solo most of the time, a drysuit is a great tool, I use the following approach in rough weather:-

1. Use anchor on the bow-line to hold the boat in waist deep water near the slip whilst I fetch the car and trailer.
2. Leave car well out of the sea and use a 15m rope tied to trailer and a loop over the towbar to secure the trailer and take the trailer into the sea until the rear roller is touching the surface.
3. Angle trailer so that there will be no crosswind during recovery (I use quite a shallow slip so don't have much problems with the trailer moving)
4. Winch boat on whilst standing on the trailer hitch so that it doesn't tip!! Tie the bowline to the winchpost as extra security.
5. Use car to pull the trailer just out of the water, chok it with bricks then reverse the car and hitch up and go!

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Old 14 August 2006, 10:40   #6
Country: UK - Wales
Town: swansea
Boat name: Too Blue
Length: 8m +
Engine: Suzuki DT225
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 12,791
Originally Posted by eupa
tried doing it with your rib yet Codders??? ( alone)

No chance - 9m is a bit big for 1 person but as soon as I get my own trailer I will be fitting the guide poles. Impossible for the wind to move the back end around even if the trailer is in too deep.

I have watched enough of the commercial fishermen doing such recoveries - they make it look SO easy. i saw a bloke on his own with an old Volvo estate recover his fishing boat no probs - 4 blokes with a Rinker and a Warrior 4x4 got bogged down in the same place.

The main mistake I see people make is trying to float the boat on - they then wonder why it moves all over the place when they pull the trailer forwards - one nearly fell off sideways!!!
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Old 14 August 2006, 11:35   #7
Country: Other
Town: Stanley, Falkland Is
Boat name: Seawolf
Make: Osprey Vipermax 5.8
Length: 5m +
Engine: Etec 150
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 3,655
I always just drive mine on right up to the top of the trailer but it has big sloped side bunks so as long as the water isn't too deep it is quite a secure guide and unlikely to damage anything - and it would need a lot to winch it on and I am worried about the strength of the bow eye.

The way I do it - developed as trial and error! - is that I approach the trailer with enough speed to keep steerage (sometimes quite fast, if it is windy, but you have to be very careful then) Bump on to the keel bunk, then once I am sure everything is lined up (i.e. the bow is not hanging off the side) then a squirt on the throttle to push it up a bit, back off and check position, a bit more throttle, check again, till it bumps against the front of the trailer, lean over the bow and hook up the winch, and that's it, hop out on to the trailer drawbar and walk to the vehicle on dry land

I don't know if I would like to try doing it this way with rollers though....

Agree on water depth, a very high tide the last time I was out meant that it was too deep and the trailer was underwater, it was a pain to get on as the boat wouldn't sit securely in the bunks and kept twisting, took 4/5 goes to get it right which annoyed me as I thought I had got it down to a fine art!

I wouldn't like to try it with a strong cross current either as even a bit of wind needs too much speed to maintain steering, and if I hit the trailer at the wrong angle going too fast it could be V F expensive but I am thinking about guide poles at some point which will remove some of the risk.
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Old 14 August 2006, 11:58   #8
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Country: UK - England
Town: Leicester
Boat name: Vixen
Make: Ribcraft
Length: 6m +
Engine: Suzuki OB 175
MMSI: 235071839
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,621
I have had some hairy retrievals.. but that's a different story! The worst kind of retrieval is wind shearing at 90 degrees to the trailer or slip or waves/chop just big enough to lift the boat up and down usually moving it about on the rollers, this is when rollers are can be a pain. Having done recovery in dodgy conditions with people I'd only attempt it in ggod conditions.
New boat is here, very happy!
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Old 14 August 2006, 12:38   #9
Country: Other
Town: San Carlos, Mexico
Boat name: INDE
Make: LOMAC 730
Length: 7m +
Engine: 200 Merc.
MMSI: Please press 1
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,688
Send a message via Skype™ to Limey Linda
Drive on is the only way to go but it does take some practice in poor conditions. You may have to approach the trailer at an angle if there is a cross wind/ tide. Codder's suggestion to install guide bars with PVC pipe over really does work. Also, if you have a roller trailer you can add bunks by purchasing the brackets , wood, carpet etc. This will make an enourmous difference. I agree the key is not to have the trailer in too deep. Alway err on the shallow side as once you have the boat aligned and secured to the trailer, with the painter, or you can leave the engine running , in gear at low speed to keep it in place. Then you can always hop over the bow onto the trailer and then back down another couple of feet and winch her up. of course a friendly pair of extra hands is always, most useful. Have done the above many times with a 26ft Yacht in some really bad conditions. Hope this helps. T.

PS. Do not be afraid to make a practice run for the drive on. Back trailer into water, untie boat from jetty and back out and make a practice run so you can get a good feel for the leeway; if it looks good then go for it, if not go around again for a second try. Always approach trailer into the wind/tide as you will have much more control.
Running around like a head with it's chicken cut off.
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Old 14 August 2006, 13:06   #10
Country: UK - England
Town: Bridlington, E Yorks
Boat name: Stormchild
Make: Ribquest 5.8
Length: 6m +
Engine: Suzuki DF115TUL
MMSI: 235030489
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 83
My advice is to stop and think about what you're going to do and how you're going to do it, in the conditions you've got. i almost trashed mine earlier this year trying to get it out at flamborough south Landing. putting it in was easy because the tide was out and its a drive onto the beach job into shallow water, then just ease the boat off. getting her back was horrendous. the beach becomes very steep at high water - on that day with the breakers rolling onto the bottom of the slip, which has large limestone / rocks as big as breeze blocks - The trailer is on these. The only good thing about it was the car is well clear of the water and the trailer can be put into the right position.
It was a nightmare. I got the boat lined up and clipped on, the surf was washing it up the rollers with every wave, and i couldnt winch it in fast enough to take up the slack. The boat was full of water to the top of the transom. I should have thought about it before I tried it. Luckily I didnt damage the boat with the exception of a scratch on the keel near the bows.

my advice is if there isnt any help - go get some, I will next time !

The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice that which we are for what we could become. (& then get the RIB out !)
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