Trailer for a Wild Duck

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Trailer for a Wild Duck

Postby Billaboard » Sun October 17th, 2010, 7:05 pm

For 20+ years our Wild Duck has sat on a launching trolley every winter with gradually increasing patch welds to hold it together. We dug the original trolley, which had big castors, out of a doctor's widow's compost heap, added an antique solid bar axle and wheels, and it has been fine, but the wheels have rotted and they and the tyres are unobtainable. So, because of this and certain family circumstances I've been looking for a road going trailer. We hope this will give us some flexibility with storage and affordable mooring sites.

We weighed the boat complete with rigging and the lifting chains on the crane - 2.8 tons - so we reckon with everything taken out we are looking for a trailer of 2.5 ton capacity. I've been looking for a month or two locally and of course the sellers all say what they have would be ideal. This week I looked at 2 with big A frames on double axles. One A frame was 4 x 2 inch box section and rang as if fairly light, the second was 3 x 2 inch and sounded much thicker when hit. How does one judge what strength any particular material provides? Both these trailers had rubber torsion suspension units of unknown rating and, of course neither trailer had visible plates to give their designed capacity.
I've learnt about reading tyre load capacity off the sidewalls and discovered that there are a lot of trailers out there on dodgy tyres. Also, many 2.5 ton boat trailers are designed for bigger boats, and so won't fit in at least one of the sheds we have an eye on for winter maintenance..

My local trailer person has retired and his company has changed from a bunch of welders in a yard to a sales team with brochures of unaffordable delights.

I'd welcome any discussion and guidance about affordable trailer choice. If it's relevant, I'm in North West England and the boat is in NW Wales.

chris s
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Re: Trailer for a Wild Duck

Postby chris s » Mon October 18th, 2010, 12:54 am

Do indespension still do trailer fittings? for my original Senior (1992) trailer I bought all my suspension units & tow hook from them, they had a brilliant shop in Wigan, I will google it & report back.

Yes they do, Link here.

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Re: Trailer for a Wild Duck

Postby Billaboard » Mon October 18th, 2010, 11:48 pm

Thanks Chris. I went to the nearest Indespension stockist this morning and found that they do stock all the parts even though they no longer fabricate one-off trailers. They were extremely helpful, bringing various sizes of suspension units from the back so that I could get an idea of what the various ratings looked like. They say it's very rare for them to get secondhand large boat trailers, and the replacement parts for a trailer for a 2.5 ton boat are pretty costly.

They did say that suspension units and tow hitches are all clearly marked with the ratings, but the two we were looking at as he spoke seemed to have no markings that he or I could find.

I now think the two local trailers I've been looking at seem just slightly too lightweight, which is a shame as the dimensions were ideal. It looks as though once again guesswork and perseverance is the only way, but based on more research.

Looking today on ebay, I'm beginning to wonder whether it might be possible to adapt a "3.5 ton plant trailer" . Has anyone considered this?

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Re: Trailer for a Wild Duck

Postby JamesH » Tue November 9th, 2010, 12:02 pm

How about getting parts off ebay and going to agricultural engineers and getting them to weld one up.
Sure they are used to this sort of thing only prob is it will not have weight plate,
Or could use caravan chassis though most only weigh 1800kg or so.
Yours James
Hi looking to build an WW!
any thoughts.
Have many of the materials for keel and frame.
Yours James

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Re: Trailer for a Wild Duck

Postby Billaboard » Thu November 11th, 2010, 12:14 am

Thanks, James! I did actually go through the process of looking at all the bits of the launching trolley that look OK and trying to price up the necessary parts to convert it, but it came to quite a lot of money.
In the event, I've found something, bought it off ebay and towed it to my son's house where there is a reasonable amount of room to measure up for supports to match the Wild Duck. It has a long keel support that will have to be cut and adjusted to allow us to get crane slings under the keel. I don't really want to launch ever again from a road going trailer with new brakes and bearings. The trailer has some very simple, clever, removable and adjustable hull supports. I'm a sucker for simple and clever, and that was a major factor in going for this one. That and I couldn't find anything else affordable and available.
Because of torrential rain, I've only just been able to measure to produce some scheme for a competent welder.

The trailer has no plate, but all the parts look adequate or are marked appropriately.

The next problem will be having to practice my manoeuvring to turn the 22 foot trailer round on son's drive to tow it to where the work will be done.

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Eventide Owners Group
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Re: Trailer for a Wild Duck

Postby Eventide Owners Group » Sat November 13th, 2010, 11:15 am

Hello there, many years ago, 1979, I built 2 x 4 wheel trailers for 2 Eventide 24's. Bluenose and Mobri. We usede bearing buddies and washed down after every wet launch at Tollesbury, but the rust eventuall got the better of parts of the set up... and had to be repaired.. Cannot have any suspect steel if you are towing 3 tons at 30mph!!! I later used one of these trailers for my E 26, however as the tyres looked somewhat stressed we checked her out on a weigh bridge... Opps with all our kit on board she weighed in at 3.5 tons. Trailer was only good for 2!

A quick rethink.

I added another axle!

Out trailer eventually ended up with 3 pairs of 1.5 ton indespesion suspension units on 3 6x3 RSJ 'U'' section channels Turned upside down of course! The running gear is all Ford Transit and the front and the rear axle have brakes, worked by cable. Today you might have to make that hydraulic, but as you will never be putting a trailer like this in the water, just having boat lifted on an off by crane, having brake fluid on board will not matter. (Of course if you immerse it, you will destroy the brakes, wheel bearings and eventually the suspensuion units will rust up, been there...)

The now 6 wheel trailer, with replacd Indespension suspension units, yes they seized up with rust! It can take up to 4.5 tons, however we aim to be 3 tons and allow .5 ton for the trailer, thuis at the legal 3.5 ton towing limit for the UK.

With the Wild Duck you will have to have very strong supports for the hull, with an Eventide we use the bilge keels.

As a final tip, after 40 years of towing these boats, and both myself and the Brian our fund manager had them, so we used to do 2 launches and 2 recoveries and towing trips a year for a long tine... do not rely on wedges and chocks. They fall out! Chain the boat to trailer if possible, easy with bilge keels, just means 4 x 1/2 inch holes! With long keeled boats you will have to use tie down straps! Any wooden chocks must be lashed or screwed to the trailer!

Hope all this helps,
Web site Coordinator

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Re: Trailer for a Wild Duck

Postby Billaboard » Thu November 18th, 2010, 12:12 am

Thanks, John, that is indeed very helpful. I've been today to the local trailer builder who will check it over and add some extra support sockets for the hull props to sit in. As I said earlier, there is a very simple system for these props - basically a large tube on the chassis, a smaller tube to drop into that with a plate part way up to stop it falling through, then the final still quite large inside adjustable tube with angle adjustable pad on top. It all looks really robust and the days of chocks and wedges should be over.

The central longitudinal keel support will be easy to cut away where the slings will go, and we will add replacement reinforcing sections at a suitable spacing to leave a nice gap. The central section of the keel support will still rest on the two axles, so it all looks like a potentially good job.

The only remaining worry is what overhang is allowed by law when the boat is on the trailer - there will be some and the trailer is very close to the maximum length allowed. It's probably best not to ask. I'm also hoping to tow with my LR Discovery, which is rated for 3.5 tons so should be OK, but it's an automatic and at 30mph will be running with the torque converter below the speed where it locks up. I hope the oil cooler will cope with the long North Wales hills.

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Fiddler's Green
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Re: Trailer for a Wild Duck

Postby Fiddler's Green » Thu November 18th, 2010, 1:21 pm

Pleased that helped!

Re the overhangs etc, we fitted all out trailers with side and read reflectors, plus bright white mudguards etc.

Even bought 2 sets of minature LED bike lamps to fix on front and back of mudguards, just to make sure they were visible at night.

We hung the trailer board on the back of the boat, but ideally it should be as low as possible... An extending bracket from the rear of the trilar is ideal.

The overal length and overhang measurements are so vague even my colleagues in Traffic parol were stumped, we tried New Scotland Yard traffic enquiries, they were equally vague. Basically it came dowN to 'If it looks right it probably is'!

Also fitted an anti snake device between trailer and LandRover as well, just in case!

Good luck

Proud owner and builder of 'Fiddler's Green'

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