Compliant Trailers – Who Voted for Europe??!!!
I was at the Welsh Harp this morning buying bits and line for an unmentionable boat – one short of a tall mountain – so I popped in at the trailer workshop to see developments.
Some pretty happy guys there who, after nearly two years of hard hard work, have finally achieved accreditation and type approval for their complete range of current boat trailers. I spent some time with them and I cannot recall all the detail, but it is important to understand that it is not only the trailers that require type approval/accreditation but also the materials, process, equipment and tools used to build the trailers. There is a documented process for everything – yes even a spirit level needs to be validated on a scheduled basis, there will be a log to support this schedule even to include the qualification of the person validating it.
The key thing for me was to grasp the concept that a compliant trailer is now a road vehicle, to the extent that every trailer on show included a jockey wheel fitted.
I looked at a small combi trailer/launcher unit suitable for a 12/14 footer, which at the rear end had two short demountable arms extending from the side chassis members which then ended in flat vertical plates. Ideal for mounting a number plate board? For the trailer alone maybe, but this board could be 4/6 foot in front of the transom of the boat on the vehicle. No these demountable arms were part of the rear protection system and have to be installed at all times the trailer/vehicle is used on the road.
Under EURO regs it is clearly of secondary importance how much damage is occasioned by rear impact to the boat, whilst being towed on the highway. The prime import is the security of the vehicle/trailer. Why does this protection system require to be demountable? Well it prevents you destroying the underside of your dinghy, when you pull it and the launcher onto the vehicle/trailer bed!
Wiring Loom. the trailer/vehicles all have a short flex and plug of normal configuration for connection to the towing vehicle. This flex feeds immediately into the same style connection as fitted to the rear of your vehicle but mounted at the base mast support/front steady. So instead of plugging your transom board into your vehicle for road use, you plug it into the trailer/vehicle. Why? because there an extra loom within the trailer/vehicle that feeds riding lights installed close to the widest point of the vehicle/trailer on the wheel covers.
Other detail. The side chassis members have to remain parallel with each other for a specified proportion of the trailer/vehicle length. Reflectors are required to be attached on the outer side of these chassis members close to the point where the chassis bends in towards the mast support and hitch assy. The side chassis members are also required to be Horizontal -parallel to the road – whilst towing. This requires a ‘step’ for the tow hitch assy on trailer/vehicles with small road wheels.
None of the current standard mud flaps available within the UK matched the criteria for side wall cover, so the Welsh Harp designed their own. These bright yellow plastic wheel covers include spray deflectors, just as with your road car.
The guys at the Welsh Harp are currently not aware of any other boat trailer manufacturer in the UK who have achieved accreditation/type approval, they have been too busy to be interested. I guess we may have a clearer idea after the Dinghy Exhibition in early March. It was jokingly suggested to me that there appeared to be a ‘good’ stock of trailers in the UK that were built before the deadline!!!!!. I mentioned the self build route and was advised that MOT testing stations charge £75 to approve kit cars and kit trailers. In the case of trailers we have some idea of the standard they are looking for. but at £75 for each and every inspection one would need to get it right quite soon!
They had a Fifteen trailer on display to EURO spec, very sexy with it’s yellow wheel covers and it’s rear protection system. The latter an extra storage item prior to launching!
That’s it I think