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Old 01 September 2011, 15:18   #1
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tractors for launching

Does anyone have experience of launching with tractors. Thinking of getting one to launch at low tide and was wondering if a Grey Massey Ferguson was big enough....
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Old 01 September 2011, 15:37   #2
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Does anyone have experience of launching with tractors. Thinking of getting one to launch at low tide and was wondering if a Grey Massey Ferguson was big enough....
Should be .. has it got a diff lock ? .. soft sand at the upper reach of the tide is your enemy ... I use vintage fordsons for a lot of mine but they do need a lot of maintenance to keep the salt at bay from the brakes and the tin work .. should handle up to 9M no problem unless you got some loose shingle or something really steep ?
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Old 01 September 2011, 15:49   #3
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you should be ok with a grey fergi, though a lot depends on the individual beach eg type of sand /shingle and how steep it is .

As bigmuzz says top of the beach is sometimes the problem bit .we had a spate where the council would tip back the dry fine sand that had blown/washed off the beach onto the road at the top of the ramp leading to the beach that caused a few problems, at the moment we use the club slip thats concreate right down to the water ,even that has its problems with weed.
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Old 01 September 2011, 15:51   #4
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we had a small David Brown 2 wheel drive it was spoton never got stuck even with warrior 175 and merry fishers on
only down side was stopping going down the slips way just could not stop the larger boats
we have Massey fergusions at present
hope this helps
Geoff
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Old 01 September 2011, 16:00   #5
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Thats cool, they seem to be the most available tractor and not too big. Would petrol or diesel make much difference?
The beach is very flat and quite chalky.
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Old 01 September 2011, 16:26   #6
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Diesel every time. Much more resistant to a soaking.
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Old 01 September 2011, 16:29   #7
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I agree and easy to maintain as well cheap to run
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Old 01 September 2011, 16:44   #8
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Grey diesels will be harder to find but much preferred due to lack of electrics
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Old 01 September 2011, 17:57   #9
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Dumper truck?

Have you looked into dumper trucks, often alot cheaper but without the height adjustment on the hitch, also plenty of room to put stuff on the way to launc
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Old 01 September 2011, 19:13   #10
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A word of caution with 2WD tractors. A bloke here who had a Rigid Raider tried recovering it with a 2WD Ford tractor (a lot bigger than a Fergie) and totally wrecked the launching beach with it, digging big holes everywhere.

Main problem in that case being the RR is a heavy old barge and a 2WD tractor (regardless of make) is largely designed to gain traction on its rear wheels via weight transfer from the trailer/implement - hence the fact most tractor-trailers have the wheels at the back of the trailer and a very heavy noseweight, to load up the driven rear wheels.

A boat trailer of course usually has a light noseweight to allow on-road towing by a vehicle with suspension, so you don't get either the weight transfer, or the grip, that a tractor needs to perform properly.

I guess it wouldn't really be a problem on a proper surfaced slip but without the weight over the rear wheels (and assuming you haven't compensated by filling the rear tyres with water or fitting wheel/3 point linkage weights) you don't have as much traction as you might expect. However the gearing is excellent compared to anything else, and a 4WD tractor is a completely different story.

Brakes on older tractors are also almost universally crap... we've got 3 old Fordsons on the farm (by old I mean 1950s/1960s) and none of the brakes work on any of them.
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Old 02 September 2011, 02:12   #11
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We used one on teh beach in cornwall and it was ideal, one option is to have a front end loader version, attach a ball hitch to the front and use this.

It means you can see where you are going, you can adjust the height of the ball with the arms to keep the boat level on the slip and allows you to add a weight block on the rear to overcome the weigh transfer issue.
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Old 02 September 2011, 02:36   #12
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We use a couple of 4x4 tractors and a tracked Bobcat at HISC. The tractors are generally used for the big stuff (yachts etc). The Bobcat is brilliant, being so manouverable and compact. It is near perfect for the job. We have made up a plate with a towball that fits on the front loader arms.
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Old 02 September 2011, 03:08   #13
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Have you looked into dumper trucks, often alot cheaper but without the height adjustment on the hitch, also plenty of room to put stuff on the way to launc
Have to agree on the dumper truck, we used a 2wd case tractor on soft sand and it struggled with @500kg on the back & cost a fortune in maintainance, we've now moved to a 6tonne dumper and it's brilliant with the boats.
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Old 02 September 2011, 05:05   #14
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Have to agree on the dumper truck, we used a 2wd case tractor on soft sand and it struggled with @500kg on the back & cost a fortune in maintainance, we've now moved to a 6tonne dumper and it's brilliant with the boats.
Is that a very small tractor or a very large jet ski?
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Old 02 September 2011, 05:51   #15
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It's a small tractor It only had @45hp when new in 1963 & was used around the yard at Vauxhall's factory, it had never been serviced when it came to us as scrap @ 2004
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Old 02 September 2011, 05:54   #16
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The centre I used to work at used to have one of these Kubota B1410 compact tractor 3750+vat | eBay to launch and recover boats.

It had the grass tyres on it as shown and would pull the centres Ribeye 785's and 23' diesel launch up the slip way no problems in 4 x 4 mode even when they were green with slime. We had front counter weights on it or the front loader bucket fitted at all times in order to keep the front wheels on the floor and maintain steerage but no water in the tyres. I don't ever recall having to use the diff lock or low ratio to maintain traction.
We also had a pto driven brush which fitted to the 3 point hitch on the back to clean the slip way.

We got a towing bracket made to go on the 3 point hitch so attaching boats was really easy, just drive up to it and lift the hitch to lift the jockey wheel off the ground with out even getting off the seat!
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Old 02 September 2011, 15:37   #17
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Wow, thanks for all the advise, will keep looking so I have something for the summer...
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Old 02 September 2011, 15:41   #18
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Have you looked into dumper trucks, often alot cheaper but without the height adjustment on the hitch, also plenty of room to put stuff on the way to launc
Nightmare with the starter motors so low in the water had nothing but hassle with these
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Old 02 September 2011, 16:54   #19
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Nightmare with the starter motors so low in the water had nothing but hassle with these
Agreed .. but that Pikey Mollers will be around in a minute to defend that point (if he's back from another holiday that is )
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Old 02 September 2011, 17:07   #20
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Agreed .. but that Pikey Mollers will be around in a minute to defend that point (if he's back from another holiday that is )

Had a club full of the same took 4 years to bring over to the dark side

Tractors are built for towing and playing in soft stuff especially with a 8 meter dive rib fully kitted ou dam heavy club training day

Dumpers carry stuff

we had a JCB fasttrack

monster everyone was scared of it shame
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