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Old 07 July 2009, 06:40   #1
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You know how boats bring out the 'stupid' in people .....

.... well, on Saturday, I managed to make an impressive addition to the list of knobheaded things I have done with boats.

The scene is I am preparing to launch the RIB at a slipway on the Thames from its rollercoaster trailer. Remove straps, trailer board, prop bag etc. All ready to go. My son is in the boat and will back off. Done this loads of time - easy peasy. So backing towards and just over the threshold of the slipway. Damn - forgot to attach the mooring line to the bow D-ring. Stopped positively (before the trailer wheels are even wet) expecting to jump out and attach the bow line. What's that thud? Eh - the boat's launched itself and is now sitting on the concrete slipway with the stern just clear of the water. Oh f*** - the winch strap wasn't attached. How the f*** did that happen?

I look menacingly at my son, who's protesting his innocence - "It wasn't me, Dad. I didn't touch it." Sod's law dictated, of course, that on this occasion the boat slipped easily and smoothly off the trailer with just a little encouragement- it usually take a lot more.

Well after a little head scratching (thankfully nobody else around to witness my embarrassment), we manhandled the boat into the water then dipped the trailer and recovered it again to survey the damage. There's a line of white gelcoat/GRP on the slipway but no visible damage other than an abraded area of ~6 square inches right on the 'V' of the stern section, possibly 2-3mm of GRP ground off. I think the hull is at its heaviest point just there so I think I will just need to seal/paint the damaged area to prevent water ingress.

Looking back - I know exactly how the winch strap managed to be unattached. As is often the case, the hook on the winch strap hinders removing the bow line. After I had recovered the boat on the last occasion, I must have removed the winch strap to get the bow line off and then not reattached it. Why I didn't notice that it was unattached, when I was removing the ratchet strap that I use to secure the bow to the trailer, I don't know. Anyway, not too much damage done but I think this may make some of you chuckle and think "there but for the grace of God..."
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Old 07 July 2009, 07:05   #2
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Interestingly, I watched three or four guys launch a big diving RIB (8m+ with 200hp Yamaha) from Falmouth slipway recently. Having undone everything, and I mean everything, at the top of the slipway, and with two or three of them still in the boat, the trailer was reversed towards the water whereupon the tow vehicle braked sharply and the RIB shot off the back of the bunk trailer and into the water

I kid you not, it was a perfect launch...two of the guys on board never stopped their conversation and coffee drinking and the third guy sauntered up to the helm, lowered and started the engine, did a smart U turn and drove away.

It won my applause
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Old 07 July 2009, 07:07   #3
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We had the opposite the other week, had the boat on the trailer on the slipway in sufficient depth of water etc but the boat wouldnt come off the trailer no matter how hard the engine was revved it wouldnt come of. The skipper HAD removed the securing lines etc so thought it was something holding the boat underneath or behind the trailer.

One pull of the trailer out of the water and lo and behold it was discovered that the place the securing line was normally attached to had a 2nd securing line that we never saw before attached to it!

One removal of that and our Ribbing session started (in more ways than one!)
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Old 07 July 2009, 09:49   #4
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Given my recent record, I'm not sure how I'd get on if I had to trailer as well!
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Old 07 July 2009, 10:03   #5
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Saw a classic last week - people trying to launch a boat into our harbour when the tide was right out. The slip flattens off at the bottom and is covered in deep mud for the last 15yds - they had a vectra!!!

Even better the trailer was just a flat bed and would need to be well submerged.

They seemed to have no clue about tides and weren't happy that they would have to wait until the next day. God help them in the Burry Estuary if they don't understand tides - they soon will..........
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Old 07 July 2009, 11:09   #6
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Posted this before, but it's kind of amusing, so I'll write it up again.

A couple of years ago, a buddy of mine, Jeff, stayed down in Monterey past the weekend to get in a couple more dives. Steve, another dive buddy, stayed with him. Monday morning they go to splash the boat, and Jeff lowers the tailgate on his pickup so he can see the trailer. He backs into the water, with Steve tending lines. No go. Jeff backs in a bit more, and the boat doesn't want to move. So, he pulls forwards a ways, backs in, and hits the brakes. Boat still stuck on the trailer. Pull forward again, reverse quickly, and nail the brakes hard. And everything in the back of the pickup slides gracefully into Monterey Harbor. Next 15 minutes is spent recovering cylinders, spare dive gear, the cooler (flipped open, of course), lunch meat packages, heads of lettuce, water and soda bottles, etc. Both of them are giggling like schoolgirls (nobody else around, unfortunately.) Once all the flotsam has been rounded up, Jeff investigates what's holding the boat on. He wades in and, feeling around, finds one of the transom straps still attached. He releases it, and nearly has his head taken off as the boat pops up, and nearly crushes his foot as the trailer drops back to the ramp.

Surprising thing was he admitted it. Of course, I suppose if he didn't Steve would have.

Anyway, I thought it was pretty amusing.

jky
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Old 07 July 2009, 11:56   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leapy View Post
Interestingly, I watched three or four guys launch a big diving RIB (8m+ with 200hp Yamaha) from Falmouth slipway recently. Having undone everything, and I mean everything, at the top of the slipway, and with two or three of them still in the boat, the trailer was reversed towards the water whereupon the tow vehicle braked sharply and the RIB shot off the back of the bunk trailer and into the water
It can be a very effective way of launching. Done well it is very cool, and really shows up the people who faff around endlessly on the slipway.

However it should definitely be considered an advanced technique as there is ample scope for screwing up spectacularly, which is definitely not cool!

It pays to be familiar with the slipway, as it requires total commitment - once you start reversing you can't stop early. With a roller trailer you don't need to be going fast, and don't need to brake very hard.

A slightly less hazardous method (although not quite as cool) is to keep the bow attached and stop when you are a few feet from the water. You can then stop, release the boat from the trailer then back up the remaining distance and launch the boat.

Make sure there's enough water, and try not to swamp the boat
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Old 07 July 2009, 12:49   #8
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We were at Traeth Bychan when this happened. Sorry for nickin the piccy....


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Old 07 July 2009, 12:55   #9
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Originally Posted by codprawn View Post
Saw a classic last week - people trying to launch a boat into our harbour when the tide was right out. The slip flattens off at the bottom and is covered in deep mud for the last 15yds - they had a vectra!!!
You'd be surprised what boat recovery feats a vectra can achieve, even at low tide in my mate's hands!
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Old 07 July 2009, 16:27   #10
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We were at Traeth Bychan when this happened. Sorry for nickin the piccy....


Looks expensive. Gel coat definately scraped. Goodness knows what the sterndrive would be like. And an audience too. Bu**er eh?
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