First Sightings of New EU Trailers……!!

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
Best regards

New Keels Coming ….!!! Science Arrives…..

The first person who mentioned CNC Milling of keels to me was Charles.  I had to go and look it up!!  “Computer Numerical Control” is what it stands for – and CNC milling is I guess  a vertical milling machine that can reproduce a 3D object from a digitised image….

(Some reader is bound to correct me – but here is the wikipedia entry )

We’ve all heard stories in the bar about the old mould for our class producing twisted and overweight keels – and how they had to be worked by the craftsman’s hand to make them true.  Then we will have all heard something like the mould for Aussie keel was imported here so that we could cast ‘true’ keels and get them to minimum weight easily. In fact, I think I might have had the first of these on 3934 in the autumn of 2008. Then have you seen the beautiful sculpted shapes and winglets that have been appearing too??  All this is basically an art form by artisans  – so when is science going to arrive, you may wonder??  Well, I think the answer maybe “any moment now….”

As you will all know, we can now simulate drag, windage and all that stuff on a computer now, way before having to build anything in real life.  The keels are still cast in sand, like the Romans did, and there is a tremendous labour content in casting and finishing our keels – did you know a new one costs about £1,500 by the time you get it under a hull? Well, the Blog has heard that P&B have two experimental CNC keels under wraps. They have digitised the shapes and are starting to try and figure out more systematically what the optimum might be.  And we might actually get cheaper keels maybe?! In this case I think the CNC milling machines are used to create an acrylic plug, from which the lead keels would then be cast.

What might we expect??  Well nobody has ever been definitive about the best tapering bulb shape – and there must surely be an answer that’s not “forty two”!!  The thing I recall Charles pointing out is that the flow line of the keel must bear some kind of relationship to the waterline of whatever hull it sits beneath.  You would think for example that the central fore and aft line through the keel needs to be parallel to the waterline for example – well, who have we ever heard being definitive about that?  Especially when we went from Mk 9 to Mk 10 hulls which float a bit differently.  Hmmmmm …. well, hopefully, we are about to find out.  And I bet it’s not forty two…..

The Composite Craft Console….

No surprise here – the Console in the Composite Craft Flying Fifteen looks a lot like a Dingwall.

That’s by no means a bad thing and this one is finished in fabulous looking carbon.

You’ll note too plenty of room to move your helmsman’s feet forward of the console and also the location of lead correctors right down in the double floor.  The self bailers are also set away from the centreline to bail best at a slight heel.

FF Epsilon Masts… Selden Sail Feeder…

Recognise This??  It’s a sail track feeder for an Epsilon Alloy mast.  Now there was a time that the sail track on a Selden/Proctor mast was sort of gently curved outwards so that the mainsail could get entry – and the surface was smooth and kind to the sail.

Now the slot is cut away. It leaves sharp edges which can damage the sail, so it needs an attachment – and that is what you are looking at in the photo on the right. It is secured to the inner mast wall by a monel rivet.

It looks simple enough, doesn’t it? Well – you must admit it also looks frail.  After just two years I have just had one snap off one of its little ears at the top. There’s not much holding them on ….

I’m sorry the photo is a bit blurred – my little automatic camera was busy focussing on the grass in the background – but I think you’ll see the starboard ‘ear’ that snapped off. It exposes a sharp metal edge on the sail track entry – sharp enough to rip stitching and sailcloth (on the hoist)… as we found out to our cost.

Replacing it should be simple enough –  though in our case, when drilling the old rivet out, the d….. thing started spinning in situ. Anyway – we got the thing extracted eventually, only to find that the nose of the rivet gun was too large to nestle inside the sail track. Our rivet stands a fraction proud. So all in all, not a very impressive setup.

The main reason for writing about it here is that they only cost about a fiver from P&B  – with rivet. So for all you folks going to Hayling in July for a couple of weeks racing, I suggest that if you have one of the newer Selden masts with this fitting, take a spare or two with you. Plus a pointy nose rivet gun….  Else you may spoil your fortnight !!