by Churchouse Boats
TRAILING A DRASCOMBE
REGULATIONS After all
the kerfuffle about the new regulations laid down by the EU, it turns out
that boat trailers are special purpose trailers, not brought into the
legislative net until October 2013. MOT testing;
the inevitable follow up to these regulations has taken a twist. It is now
most unlikely to apply to our boat trailers, at least for the moment.
Anyway, onto the interesting stuff:
After all the kerfuffle about the new regulations laid down by the EU, it turns out that boat trailers are special purpose trailers, not brought into the legislative net until October 2013.
MOT testing; the inevitable follow up to these regulations has taken a twist. It is now most unlikely to apply to our boat trailers, at least for the moment.
Anyway, onto the interesting stuff:
Swinging cradle trailer for a Drascombe Coaster (with optional hitch lock)
One of the great benefits of a Drascombe can also be the source of the greatest traumas.That is the trailing, launching & recovery of your valuable and beloved boat.
You can play Spot the Dog at any launching site or trailer park! Trailers with rotting frame members, seized & broken rollers, boats balanced on only a proportion of the keel rollers provided, bilge rollers so tight they threaten to join the skipper in the cockpit. We have all seen them. At the risk of deep blushing, we may even own a Dog.
A well maintained & set up trailer can be a joy to use and stop the gilt being well & trulyknocked off the ginger-bread when a great days sailing is spoilt by a pig of a recovery & damage to expensive gel-coat or trailer failure on the way home. The ultimate heart-sinking moment is when you get overtaken by your own trailer wheel!
In this section, we will:
The current law is that an unbraked trailer may be used if the towed weight is less than:
In most circumstances, this means that a Lugger is OK but a Longboat is marginal. Anything larger - you have to have brakes. It is up to you to check your own particular circumstances with your local Police Station.
An un-braked swinging cradle trailer for the Drascombe Lugger
We can supply a range of excellent quality swinging cradle trailers, all galvanised & fitted with winch/webbing strap & jockey wheel, using high spec components from European sources, jointly specified & detailed by us to be the finest trailer available from any source. These represent superb value for money and will provide years of trouble free service with only routine maintenance. Call or e.mail us for prices.
You may think that the swinging cradle trailer is a pricey bit of kit. It is! However, this is the new generation of trailer based upon a swinging cradle at the aft end of the trailer. This receives the bow of your boat into 4 sets of rollers which centre & guide it. As you winch in, the cradle rotates to become bilge rollers and the boat is brought onto a line of traditional keel rollers.
This arrangement makes single handed recovery a normal routine. There is no risk of the boat moving off line and graunching off the rollers. The wheel bearings can always be kept dry. The trauma of recovery becomes a thing of the past & the rate of bearing failure hugely reduced.
All our trailers are fitted with top quality suspension units and tow like a dream. They come complete with winch, jockey wheel, lighting board on extender brackets.
The Coaster version also has a 2 speed winch as standard (available as an option on the others). All come with a manufacturer’s guarantee of one year. They will be modified to suit the new bureaucratic regulations when these come in on 1st October 2013.
These trailers are such a quantum leap forward from the traditional spine trailers of old that I no longer offer the older style. If you purchase one of our swinging cradle trailers, you will derive pleasure from having made the right decision every time you recover your boat. These trailers cannot be too highly praised & we have testimonials about them.
A sequence showing a Dabber being loaded onto a swinging cradle trailer
With any trailer purchase, the one other accessory you should consider purchasing at the same time is a pair of Spansets. They are more secure than rope tie-downs and a lot kinder to your boat. They take very little time to set up and are a joy to use. The primary Spanset goes across the boat at about the axle line. We have specified ours to keep the buckle clear of the gunwhales but within easy reach & to have anti friction sleeves at the gunwhale points. It also has proper carbine hooks on the ends so they dont drop off the hook while you are round the other side. We think, you benefit! None of your cheap market-stall ones will have these facilities. The secondary Spanset ties down the bow. It has a soft eye at the top to fit onto the bow mooring cleat, another at the bottom to either fit over one of the stempost handles or to loop it through an eye on the stempost. The buckle will remain within the boat. Both well worth the money!
Under normal circumstances, it is not necessary to immerse the brakes on your swinging cradle trailer With any trailer but there will be times when it happens either by necessity or unintentionally. For those occasions, we can fit your new braked trailer with a brake flushing facility.
The following Notes on Trailing & Launching may be helpful to you:
You will know that you are not allowed in the third lane of a motorway whilst towing. Ten to one the bozo hogging the middle lane in front of you will not!Stay cool. Don't be tempted to take to the third lane. Blue, flashing, quick will result!
Do keep your trailer board lights working & in good order - they have a hard life. Carry some spare bulbs. You will rely on your lights & indicators even more when you are trailing.
Use a short line to tie the jockey wheel to the trailer chassis. The jockey wheel clamps have been known to vibrate loose, dropping the jockey onto the road!
When hitching the trailer onto the tow vehicle, look carefully at the small button on the ball hitch. It has a red top. When the hitch is successfully on the tow ball, that button will lift to show a green band. Green is go. Red is don’t go! When loaded, the essential nose weight has been known to avoid the true penalty of outrageous sin! There is also a wire strop to put over the tow ball as a back up in case the ball hitch ever fails (extremely unlikely other than a result of operator error!). On a braked trailer, this cable will pull the brakes on if the trailer becomes unhitched.
When leaving parked for any length of time, chock the wheels & release the brakes. There is always a chance of the shoe sticking to the drum. This can be resolved by using the tow vehicle to jerk the trailer backwards & forwards. This may seem quite brutal but it does the trick! Best to avoid the situation arising.
PREPARING FOR TOWING
The objective is to organize all the various bits so that they are still with you at the end of your journey, dont damage each other on route & do not require you to stop every so often & tighten things up.
With the Lugger & Longboat, mainmast, mizzenmast & gaff lie along the centreline of the boat with gaff jaws & mast band (top of mast) astern over the outboard well. Your primary Spanset can be used to support the gaff & mizzen mast which do not reach far enough forward to reach the mast thwart.
Store your oars & bumkin on the floorboards one side & your rudder on the other.
Lash the mainmast, mizzenmast & gaff to the sheethorse. Incorporate the traveller ring into your lashing & keep it quiet on the journey.
At the other end, lash the spars to the mast thwart using the downhaul & belaying pins.
Secure the aft locker lid(s) with a tie through the staple.
Finally, tension the mainmast by sitting on it amidships &, using the centreplate uphaul, lash the mast & the centreplate arm together. You will be amazed how secure this makes the whole rig but do not leave this lashing in place after journeys end - you do not want a permanent banana mast!
Taking the mainsail off the gaff & the mizzen off its mast each time is a bit of a time consuming nuisance. There is no elegant & simple solution to this but rolling them around their spars & having some sleeves made up to protect them is about the best you can do. Alternatively, tow with your cockpit cover on fitted over the spars & under the Spanset.
If you tow with an overall cover on, put the primary Spanset under it to prevent chafe between webbing & spars which will considerably shorten the life of tour cover.
THE COASTER ALTERNATIVE
Tying down a Coaster can be a bit simpler.
The mainmast lowers down into its crutch with the luffspar alongside it.
Tie the mast down at the crutch with a rope from one aft mooring cleat, up & round the mast a turn & back down to the other mooring cleat. use the free end to capture the traveller ring.
The other spars & sails can be put into the cabin, leaving out the lower washboard, & tying them down using the centreplate uphaul rope & some padding to stop the companionway threshold biting into anything.
The drawback of this system is possible water ingress into the cabin & general loss of security for which we offer an elegant solution. We can supply spar stocks to replace the lower washboard which will cosset your spars & oars each in their individual, leather lined cradle. We also have sail socks - a pair of short sleeves (in white washable fabric with Drascombe logo) to fit over spar & sail to protect the length exposed beyond the cabin. This keeps the spars & sails safe, keeps water out of the cabin & allows the hatch to be locked for security.
If you are the proud owner/user of a Churchouse Boats rudder stowage gizmo, you may also tow with the rudder in place, supported on it's gizmo, provided that you securely tie the tiller to the mast. Not having to wrestle with the malevolent monster is a big plus!
Some people insist on taking the engine off each time & stowing it on the floorboards at the front end or even in the tow vehicle. I am far too lazy for that! Lash the engine leg to the transom so you are not relying on the engines own mechanical tilt lock & dont forget to cover the prop with a decent bag or sailing bucket. I have an eye bolted to the inside of my transom. The drawstring of the bag that covers the prop ties up to it to act as lashing.
LAUNCH & RECOVERY
On any half reasonable slip, you do not need to get your bearings wet. Reverse down the slip until the tyres are wet but the hubs are not.
Control the rate of escape with the winch if required. If the opposite is required, use the back-winching technique. Pass the winch strop down one side of the bow, under the first keel roller & back up the other side to the towing eye. Pad the hook off your gel coat (your best linen handkerchief will do this nicely!) & winch in whilst keeping an eye on the route of the strop round the roller.If you wind it tight into the gap between roller & carrier, expletives may follow! Also be very careful using this back winching technique. If you go at it too hard, you may accelerate the boat so that the winch strop goes slack as the boat goes backwards. Then it snatches tight again & could cause the winch to spin dangerously. When launching my Drifter 22, which weighs some 1300 kg, I tend to use the back winching technique but add a check rope from the towing eye back to a dry turn round the stempost handle to allow a controlled rate of descent.
To recover the boat, back the trailer until the wheels are in about 6" of water. My rule of thumb is to put the wheels into the water but not the hubs. Pull the boat into the cradle & clip on the strop. Provided the bow is within the cradle rollers & within about 40 degrees of inline with the trailer, go back to the winch & wind. The boat will self line & self level thanks to the cradle on your trailer. If there is too much wind or tide even to stay within the 40 degrees, run the boat hard onto the slip & recover it from there. With our trailers you can pick the boat up off the floor if needed.
For intelligent conversation & help, ring: 01256 896292
The Sail that becomes a Way of Life!