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Trailing

Trailers and their uses
Some people use their trailer only for occasional storage of the boat, and as a launching trolley to get the boat into the water. Having arranged the boat on its mooring, the trailer is then put away until the end of the season. Almost any serviceable trailer will do - if not to be used on the road. But an efficient trailer saves time on launching and on recovery.
Other owners use a trailer as a place to store the boat on hard standing between trips. The boat may or may not be towed home to stand free in a yard, or on private land. Next use may mean a drive to any area to launch, and leaving the trailer and car parked by arrangement.
If towing the trailer needs to be roadworthy – particular attention  needs to be paid to tyres and bearings and in most cases must be  braked. Hosing the trailer down after a dunking helps the bearings last longer.


A break-back trailer on the slip at Bucklers Hard

The Linear Glide Trailer
Quite a few members now own a Linear Glide trailer designed for the Sailfish 18. This trailer gives complete peace of mind when trailing. It does not require a stabilizer and its 13 inch wheels and wide wheelbase makes it very stable when towing.
It is galvanized inside and out, has auto-reverse brakes and its unique design means that there is no need to put it into the water (apart from about 2 inches of tyre) so it does not suffer from bearing collapse or seized brakes.
It has a tilting launching/recovery cradle at the back (not a break-back). The boat is launched by giving it a slight push and when the boat’s centre of gravity goes over the cradle’s centre, the cradle tilts and launches the boat but the bow rollers still hold the bows securely so that the boat does not drift off sideways. This gives time to wind the keel down slightly and start the outboard before releasing the cable hook – all without getting the trailer or your feet wet. Recovery is the reverse. The bows are held securely and centrally so that the boat is wound out straight on to the keel rollers.
When trailing, the boat should be supported under its keel, which is the strongest part of the hull. 
There are other trailers on the market which are not specifically designed for the Sailfish 18 and which do not incorporate keel rollers, so the boat is supported at its weakest points. "Not a good idea". --- Roy Birkby

Collecting Your Boat May Not Mean Simply To Hitch On And Drive Away

Most boats change hands because the previous owner has found he has no use for it, in fact may not have used it for months or even years. When you go to collect an unknown boat, go prepared. The problems encountered may test your ingenuity Our journey home had left me with wheel bearings that were very hot indeed. Thus my first task was to replace the wheel bearings, brake shoes, and the brake springs which were on the verge of breaking, through rust.
It takes careful planning to avoid a bad journey. Well we did get the boat back eventually, after the journey from hell. The owner was in Spain and so his friend handed the Sailfish over to us. No paperwork or manuals. I had brought a strap with me to tie the boat down but this was not sufficient (I was expecting there to be at least one strap on the boat already). On the way to the chandlers to buy some more straps the mast fell off. They only had one strap at the chandlers so we tied it down as best we could and set off. We got as far as the middle of Cardiff in the rush hour and a tyre blew out. Luckily I turned left and we were only 100yds from a garage. We got two new tyres (just in case) and some more straps from a Machine Mart opposite. The rest of the journey was uneventful although I was worried the wheels might fall off on the motorway and came back across country. I had tried to be as prepared as possible but obviously I was not nearly careful enough.
This was a risk of buying on Ebay – and not being able to contact the actual owner.


Trailing Abroad
Trailing your boat abroad is a good way to get it to exotic places in a short time, and a way to cross the intervening areas of land. It is one of the benefits of trailer-sailing. Of course, it needs a good car, good trailer, and keen drivers! So if you have a hankering to see some other shore, think about it. You may have a holiday to remember. However, it will involve taking your boat and trailer on ferries, and motorways to reach your destination. Take down a map and plan it.

Arthurs Trailer Conversion

Arthur - I bought my Sailfish in June 2006 from Topsham in Devon. This incurred quite a long tow to get her home to Bishops Cleve in Gloucestershire. Despite regular checks on the homeward journey, our arrival at home left me with wheel bearings that were very hot indeed. Thus my first task was to replace the wheel bearings, brake shoes and the brake springs, which were on the verge of breaking, through rust. Whilst about it I decided to replace the old mini wheels (10") with larger 14" wheels and tyres, and together this has cured the overheating problem and she now tows very well indeed.
The trailer that came with the sailfish was possibly made specifically for a straight keeled boat, but Bob Fairclough assures me that a good many are on the same trailer from the early 70's. The trailer is based on the ladder frame with a set of central rollers, 2 outriggers each with a corner steady roller at each corner and was unbraked. It was felt that this trailer configuration was not best suited for a Sailfish as the boat has a rounded hull, and it could be unstable in high winds and can take some centring on the trailer when recovering.

Bob - When the boat first came to Tewkesbury, Arthur and I had a discussion over the best thing to do with the trailer in order to get the most for easy launch and recovery, plus safety when towing. I showed Arthur my Easyglide Bramber trailer and then advised him that it was possible, with certain modifications, to make his trailer a self centring and self aligning unit with certain parts and thus I told him where to get them from. It was some weeks later that I got a phone call at home informing me that Arthur was on his way to visit me at home en-route to the manufacturer and buy the parts necessary for him to modify his trailer. I offered to accompany him and advise on parts to buy.
Now, altering a trailer may, if not done correctly, make the trailer unsafe, overload its design weight and render the user liable to prosecution and heavy fines and possible problems towing. Arthur had already made the most important move, making sure the wheels (14") were capable and in the correct weight ratio for towing a boat of the Sailfish's design weight. All of the items used are correctly designed for handling this weight of boat, the chassis section has to be of sufficient strength and anchored securely to the chassis. The trailer needed further strengthening and 2 lengths of square section (50 x 75mm) were welded to form an 'A' section and were added to the chassis.
The trailer manufacturer was SBS of Macrome Road, Claregate, Wolverhampton. Their helpfulness and advice proved very useful. They could not do enough to help us and we were allowed to just wonder through their stock sorting out whatever we needed. The parts purchased were:
1 swinging axle
1 snubber post
1 rubber 'V' snub stop
1 two-speed winch with hook and strap
2 sets of 8 wheel roller supports and chassis to mount on to the swing axle
16 rubber roller wheels
2 lengths of 80 x 40 chassis lengths of oblong tube section (rated at 3 ton pressure)
All of the 'U' bolts, nuts, washers, chassis zinc paint, spring clips and bracketsThis lot cost him less than £250.00

Arthur - To start the conversion I cut off the end of the ladder section level with the cross member. Removing the rear corner steadies and all but one of the central rollers, at the very front. We need this one as, when the boat is tipped upwards and forward over the new self centring swing rollers and the boat is winched forward, it prevents the keel section hitting the cross member before the side steadies and the swing axle lift the hull slightly, enabling the boat to run cleanly along the main chassis - the front central roller supporting the keel band nicely.
The 2 new chassis members are then placed along the main cross-members and loosely held by the 'U' bolts supplied. This was then moved to its correct position when the swing axle was bolted to the chassis and it all measured and positioned central on the shortened main trailer bed (this becomes clear when you look at the main bed and the position of the new chassis members when positioned for securing).

Bob - Then when all is central, tighten up the 'U' bolts for strength. Arthur then loosely secures the 2 sets of rollers, complete with their 'U' bolts, to the swing axle. It may take 2 or 3 attempts to get the spacing of these roller sets correct for the hull. This is in order to not let the rollers go too far up the hull for the correct lift required to clear the chassis. Only experience can do this, and this is why we do not bolt the roller sets up too tightly as we can adjust them when the boat is on the trailer. It may help if you can do this on a launch ramp as you can very easily let the boat back into the water and bring in the distance to get the rise and lift correct. Too close, and it is harder (but not impossible, even single handed) to winch in the boat to its snub. Too far apart, and the rollers are running high up the hull and makes the winching hard as she lifts the boat onto its corner steadies for correct alignment. When you are sure it is all correct and only then, for added security. Arthur welded the side chassis members to the main bed and painted the trailer to suit his boat.
                                   Arthur's finished trailer
I have watched Arthur launch and recover the Sailfish, it is so easy and single handed, the boat just self centres as you have attached the strap hook to the 'D' ring on the bow, start winching and up she comes like clockwork. It is just that easy. I have replenished and refurbished several trailers and you can even get a new axle with modern waterproof brakes and bearings from SBS, though this will require a new hitch lock with a hand brake or while you are about it, fit an anti-snaking stabiliser/hitch for added safety.....I have. Oh, and it tows a dream, you hardly know you are towing, and that takes some believing if you have had a trailer that snakes and twists 50mph. I can top 60 easily and with complete safety, but then I do it for a living.