FF Insight Zone – Easy Launching and Recovery……

If you are new to Fifteens, or thinking of buying one,  we find that most people are slightly wary about launching and recovery – especially if they are moving up from Dinghies.

The good news is that it’s all a piece of cake.  The majority of clubs use jetty launching – and the whole routine is surprisingly easy and DRY !!   You just need to know a few tips on setting up your trailer, and the new video on the FF Insight Zone will show you the basic ideas you need to get going.

You’ll find the video in the Members area of the BIFFA website.  Go to the website home page and click UK Association/Members/FF Insight Zone.  You’ll need your members password to log in first.

Launching an FF is Easy….!!

One of the most viewed items on the Datchet Blog is our video of launching and recovering Flying Fifteens at our super slipway and jetty.  (Click here for the page and the video links )

For anyone who thinks launching at Datchet is a challenge, try this…


Mervyn Wright

Datchet Fleet Captain

Slipway Winching – the View from Draycote….

Some other thoughts on moving FFs. How about one of these – http://www.shifta.com/ not sure if they are still available new but you can pick them up second hand. This one also – http://www.parkit360.ca/pricing/p360l/eu-uk-az-a-nz.htmlQuite slow but then so is winching. Also, modify an electric wheel barrow – http://www.easybarrow.co.uk/powered%20equipment/big_page_PPP01.html . All need a 50mm ball hitch . Also how about a small garden tractor? Winching seems very inflexible.
Rodger Webb

FF Trailer Tips 3…

What are the smart extras to put on your new FF trailer when you arrive at Datchet for the first time??

Basically, there’s two or three tricks that make launching and recovering a hundred time easier and quicker. Come to think of it, they are are just to make recovering the boat easier.

First mandatory accessories – sidearm extensions…. This is mainly to protect the hull when coming back on to the trailer. If it is a steep slope ramp, the metal sidearms lurk beneath the water just waiting for the hull to thump down upon them. So what all of us do is slide simple builders drain pipe – in around three foot lengths on top of the mast supports. This works an absolute treat.

To keep mine in place nice and firmly (on a Hayling brand trailer), I just tape some pipe insulation material to the post beneath and this makes it a good tight fit with a little shock absorber resistance to it.

The next thing you will want to consider no matter what brand of trailer, is how to secure the boat firmly once it floats into place on the trailer.  If you have a trailer with a bow post, we have this simple arrangement which needs little or no drilling and relies on a trapeze type clamcleat to secure the line. (double click the photo below to enlarge it) We have a simple s/s metal carbine hook to clip on to the bow eye, then one pull on the line and the boat is locked in. Perfect. Lots of teams just have a bit of string, which has to fiddled with and tied – try this! Very fast and extremely secure. It’s the speed you want.  One advanced feature on this one in the photo below is the plastic ball which stops you tugging it in too far….

The last thing I would mention is that many of our members hang something like a garden hoe from the top of the front mast support. Sounds crazy I know, but if you are determined to stay dry when you recover the boat, they use the hoe handle to steer the front of the trailer form the warmth of the jetty. Pretty good, actually.

Last thing to say, is what do you do if your new trailer has no bow post. There are some and we’ve had a couple at the club. With our lovely jetty arrangement, they can be a pig.  The solution is pre-measured lines that run from each side support of the trailer to a stern eye (eg mainsheet eye), or craning eye, or around the rudder post somehow.  You have to be in the boat to do this.  If you ever have a choice when you buy your first fifteen, if the trailer has no bow post, buy the other boat !!!

Last thing – for launching and recovering (and keeping dry!) what lines do you need for jetty launching?

We have two:-

– you need a stout trailer rope.  When you need the length is when the water level is high and the slope at its shallowest.  Our rope is 40 foot long. We have a permanent loop in each end so that the rope never needs tying to the trailer – just kind of a half hitch through the loop if you know what I mean…   I put a series of overhand knots all the way along the length of the rope at about 5 foot intervals to give good handholds. I also have a permanent towing loop half way along the length for when the Datchet water level is very low (steep ramp).  40 foot is the gross length, but it nets after loops and knots at about 30-35 feet. It lives on the trailer when we race, but I take it home with me as it is too stealable during the week.

– the other line is a light painter which lives in the spinnaker bag pocket when we are racing. It is 30 feet in length because we tie it at the mast with a bowline knot … then run it forward through the bow eye. This limits the crew time when wriggling out to the bow, and at launching means there is no climbing out to the bow needed.

– “so don’t I need a stern line?” do a I hear you say?? The answer is no – just cleat the spinnaker sheet on the jetty side, and use that as your stern line. Works a treat…. for both launching and recovering…