BIFFA HQ on EU Trailers…..!!

Interestingly there is a clause in the EU legislation that allows certain aspects of the new requirements that don’t have to be put in place ” if the trailer is used to launch the boat”. I wonder if trailer builders have a) ignored this b) missed it or c) decided it’s too difficult to apply for two type approvals one for trailers that launch and ones that don’t!

Keith Jamieson

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

EU Trailers – A Reading of the Rules….!!

In regard to the most recent Blog, I have had a brief review of the first attachment which appears to be complete E U regulobabble, clearly MEP’s who serve on these regulatory panels are really worth the money!!!!
The second attachment seems quite easy to understand. Post 29th October 2012 small trailers are now to be considered road vehicles. UK medium/large volume trailer manufacturer/suppliers need to have their products type approved by UK’s Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and ‘e-marked’, prior to sale and use on the road.
Low volume UK manufacturers and those who manufacture/produce specialised low volume type trailers will need to have their product assessed individually, after build and before customer delivery and road use, by the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA) – the latter organisation control and monitor the UK MOT road vehicle testing system –
So low volume manufacturers will have the option of having their product inspected and certified? by VOSA, prior to release to the customer and use on the road.
What is not clear is whether a Flying Fifteen road trailer will be considered as a low volume specialist product by VOSA or as a medium volume trailer, and therefore it may have to comply to VCA certification already applied to ‘type approved’ Flying Fifteen road trailers, produced by other manufacturers. ie will all flying fifteen road trailers have to comply to VCA criteria?
Of some significance is the requirement for notification and record keeping for all small trailers manufactured after 29th October 2012. This will be seen as a step towards registration – more expense – and annual testing will then be just over the horizon! 
I think I’ve got it?
best regards

Maybe the Future of Trailers Looks Like This…..

At the Datchet Autumn Open, we spotted this trailer under a Drascombe Lugger (….sorry, sorry, sorry, everyone!…), which might give us a few tips on what is coming our way.

The two major things we noticed were:-

(i) the rear overhang was less than a metre because a frame holding the light board slides out of the forward tubing and is held in place by levers like you get on jockey wheel clamps.  (extra weight obviously – the attractions of aluminium weigh heavily on my mind suddenly)

(ii) If you look carefully, you’ll see that the A-frame of the trailer has metalwork outside the width of the boat at all points. They do this by running the sides forward parallel to each other, which also mean the retractable light board can run away easily when not towing.

(iii) I have a feeling that I have also been told that our vertical side arms may also no longer be allowed.  Major implications if that is true. Guess we shall all find out soon.

Double click to enlarge photos.


Going to Garda?? – Read This ….!!!

I have been informed today that when driving a boat trailer in Italy you will need a a fully reflectorised square panel 50cm x 50cm.  These can be bought at service stations or on the attached link  (thanks to Helen Selden for finding this link)

So you know  The AA says:

Any vehicle with an overhanging load (e.g. carrying bicycle at rear) must display a fully reflectorised square panel 50cm x 50cm which is red and white diagonally striped, a fine may be imposed if the sign is not displayed. This also applies to vehicles such as cars/caravans carrying bicycles at the rear.

The police can also do spot checks on cars in Italy so you need to carry a proof of ownership document (original) and a letter from the owner stating you can drive it if a company car plus a  tax disc and insurance.

And in France you need high visibility jackets and 2 breathalizer testers

(note from Helen Selden – I think it’s a high-viz jacket for all people in the car and not just the driver)…

John Hanson

EU Compliant Trailers – a Glimpse into Our Future……

Have you been following the very interesting thread of conversation about new trailer regulations started by David Hume and then picked up by Ian Preston, Graham Lamond and Keith Jamieson??  You have got to wonder what the RYA were doing to protect our interests and at least inform the debate while all this was going on in Brussels……

I must say it sounds like another EU Bureaucratic bungle, doesn’t it? They probably even think they’ve had public consultation, but we were out racing at the time.

My honest reaction is that anyone thinking of needing a new trailer in the next four years should order one now and keep it behind the shed until you need it.  I bet this takes some time to work through and whatever the answer is, you won’t like it. Especially the extra cost.

My key reason for saying this is that I think my Dragon Trailer was built to these standards.  I know it was for 2 tonnes of boat, plus being a four wheeler, but the cost new from Switzerland was £8,000.  (Double click on photo to enlarge- note the light board sticking out the back)

You will see from my photos that the lighting board has to be extended back behind the transom. If you can make it out from the photo, the bearers slide out from the back of the A-frame where they live normally as inner sleeves. The weight of the lighting board is supported by pre-set wire strops to a rear mast support that sits across the transom. (See photo on right – double click to enlarge…)

You might also see that the trailer has permanent electrics, which for Dragons is no problem, but if we have to include those (see David Hume’s article) heaven knows what we’ll do for submersible FF trailers.

This photo on the left shows how the light board arms retract by sliding into the A-frame when stored at the marina.

Ironically I sold the Dragon to a guy in Greece, and he’s racing it at Athens now when riots permit….!

EU Trailers – now Hamish MacKay’s View….!!

Hamish MacKay is a big time guy for towing. He often parks up at Datchet and I’ve noticed there his extra thoughtfulness in the trailer department….On the subject of EU trailers, he has written this into the FF Blog….

I have been following the whole EU Compliant trailer thread.  I see the biggest challenge being the potential need to have the electrics contained within the trailer.  However I actually quite like the idea of the light board being contained on a pull out system as I have used for many years with the Soling, Dragon and H Boat classes.  However we do not always need to be guided by legislation.  You will see the photos in the download below.  Not long after we got the F15 late last year I spent a fair bit of time thinking how I could fit removable side/running lights.  These may seem of little importance to those who drive on motorways that have overhead lights, but for those of us who live north of Preston I believe they make the road journey safer.  When overtaking lorries with a trailer/boat (in dark blue covers) at night often the lorry drivers simply do not see the attachment behind the car and often start to pull out too early.  Made even worse by left hand drive trucks in the UK.  So we now have detachable lights, fixed to the trailer top cross bar and wired into the light board cable with a waterproof plug.  It works really well (I think) and certainly helps be seen at night on dark motorways.


To see Hamish’s article in full with photos, then click here

EU Compliant Trailers – BIFFA’s Keith Jamieson Speaks….

I just saw Ian Preston’s item on EU Compliant Trailers….
Very helpful thanks, Ian; I suppose the question is when we are towing a flying fifteen are we towing a 3mtr trailer with a 6.1 mtr load on it or are we towing a 6 mtr trailer with its wheels in the middle.  If one takes the latter view would we not then have an integral lighting system noted to the back of our boats!

Just speculating!

EU Compliant Trailers – The Wider Implications…..!!

I have not seen or read the regulations, but the implications of what Ian is saying will affect all dinghy trailers I assume, as all boats extend beyond a metre. What will be the effect of this on the dinghy market in general? Also, I think the point is well made that space is going to be at a premium at any sailing club now with all the extra metalwork lying around. As a matter of interest, will existing trailers continue to be legal and also if combi trailers are to be extended i would like to see how that will work?Graham Lamond

Trailer Regulations – Turn Up Your EU Hate Intensity Right NOW …!!

Re new trailer regulations.

The new EU Regs are a classic example of Europe sticking it’s noses into  our affairs without providing any benefit but imposing upon us onerous and pointless legislation that is going to cost us all a lot of money.

All trailers manufactured from October will require “type approval”. This will put the price of your Flying 15 trailer up by at least £100.00. Your trailer will be no better, in fact considerable less convenient to use.

No longer will you be able to attach your lighting board to the back of the boat as we have always, and quite safely, done. The lights have to be integral with the trailer, so now the trailer will have to be long enough so that the boat does not extend beyond the permitted overhang for a load, I think 1 metre.

If the trailer is over 6 metres long and 2.1metres wide, additional front and rear lights have to be fitted mid way down the length of the trailer.

My current proposal for our trailers is to have a removable frame that is “bolted” in to open end of the side members, which will extend the trailer to 5.9999999999999 metres!! The trailer is only about 1.8 metres wide, so no additional lights required. The lighting board can be attached to this frame, and the cable run to the car as is current practice. For launching the frame will have to be unbolted and removed. So wonderful, we now have a dinghy park full of useless bits of steel frame whenever we go to an open meeting!!

What is annoying is that they have done nothing control the manufacture of trailers. Anyone can weld together a trailer with the most ” Mickey Mouse” equipment. This will not change. The Constructional Steel Industry is currently bracing itself for European legislation that will require factory control of manufacture and all welders will have to be proven to be able to weld to a required standard. In my opinion the same should apply to trailer manufacture. How much damage can be done if a trailer fails on the open highway!? But they have done nothing to address this.

The above is how I and other trailer manufactures I have spoken to have interpreted what is going to be required. Please don’t take it as gospel, but as guidance. I may well be (and often am!) wrong, and will not be offended if anyone wishes to put forwarded an alternative interpretation.

Ian Preston


EU Trailer Regulations – Blimey, Take a Load of This…!!!

Bearings and Trailers. In recent years those bearings are becoming the gritty monsters in my life. The bearings on my latest trailer have collapsed after less that two years use; in that time the only time the trailer was used on the road was it’s empty transfer from the supplier to Datchet. Therein lies the problem according to my trailer supplier, the latest needle roller bearings run in a track milled out of the steel hub assy as opposed to the previous bronze alloy inserts. Net result is that the metals will rust where they contact at rest. My supplier has tried a complete pack out with grease to virtually no grease at all, with no measurable change in the rusty gritty outcome. The only answer it appears is to keep those wheels spinning.

In October this year the EU regulators will be having a serious impact on trailers, which will become road vehicles. Therefore each individual trailer design will require type approval. The most significant factor for dinghy and keel boat trailers will be the elimination of the lighting board cable, as each trailer will require an integral wiring loom to feed riding lamps ,which will also be integral to the trailer, and the rear lighting board. I may be old fashioned but dunking your wiring loom and lamps in the briney on a weekly basis seems far from ideal.

I guess the best thing if you are even thinking of a trailer upgrade is to get it before October 2012, in this way you can have it customised to your preferences – how low!!- and perhaps save some of the money your trailer manufacturer will have to spend on homologation and type approval.

EU regs, type approval, homologation? I am beginning to understand the Greek scepticism, if I read my history they seem to have had a completely satisfactory little empire before all this c–p came along.

David Hume

ps good tip – change your hubs with the new bearings – there is not much of an on cost – and changing the bearings alone will not remove the rust corrosion already in the hub tracks.

(Hopefully Ian Preston will read this and make comment on the Lighting Regulations  !! –