In the last two blog posts, we looked at securing the boat neatly to the trailer – what else is there to think about?? Mast and Light Board….
Mast first – there are a whole selection of mast mountings very often based upon a bridge in the centre of the boat, and the normal mast support at the front. For years we towed our boats like that, but with mast foot facing forwards, you do find that the rear end (top of the mast) whips around a lot over the bumps. The solution interestingly is to do with modern FF covers. They now have a loop at the back so can be supported by the two ends – thus reducing the whip problem.
I have a car with a high roof (Land Rover speciality), so I need to have a bit of rear overhang. Remember that by law now the most this can be is one metre – you dont need that much on an FF, so you’ll be alright.
We often tie the mast centre to the cross-over strap if we have one to stablise the centre of the mast as well.
Now what of the light board. Again the answer lies in the cover. For many years we all had a light board based on a GRP moulding of a transom which fitted it over the stern of the boat – only needing to be secured forward (somehow). I hated it and and have had two jump off – one near Northampton (God works in mysterious ways) and one towing to the Europeans at La Rochelle. “Never again”, I swore… I don’t have a photo of it – I gave the whole thing to Phil Tinsley …… who collects just anything for his personal FF Fleet.
The answer on newer covers is to have two loops on the back upon which you can mount a standard light board. (see photo above) It works a treat as you can see in the photos. Go this way if you can.
Yesterday we looked at securing the bow, now lets think about midships!!
You will see boats with extra long straps over the top, securing the boat like a dinghy. You don’t want too much pressure in that – part of class folklore is that boats that do a lot of towing develop cracks along the gunwhale surface as this tie-down strap applies pressure at the edge of the boat, leveraging the overhang of the gunwhale design.
What most people do instead, or sometimes as well as, is secure the main weight of the boat by the keel. Hopefully, your kit of straps from your sailmaker includes an assymetrically padded strap that enables you to secure the keel very firmly to the trailer. The assymetric padding is to position over the top of the keel – which is very fine – to protect it.
If you want to put the top strap over then, just thing of it as being there to stop the boat wobbling around. If you have a Hayling Trailer, you should move the side chocks in to achieve the same effect. With the keel firmly secured, the boat is not about to part company with the trailer in any event.
So you have just bought your first flying fifteen and are thinking about the long tow homeward??
If you’ve only had dinghies before you might be tempted to make sure this heavy brute is well tied down. Actually, if you’ve only towed big boats before, you may think the same. So what do we do??
Well, lets deal with the basics. Ratchet straps are great, but you only need two, or three maximum. Straps, specially made for FF’s and available from sailmakers are a great idea too. We shall deal with the light board later, but lets figure out how the pro’s tie them down.
First – the bow is dead easy, but you will either want to go through your mooring eye, or maybe have a little bit is string attaching the tie down strap to the mooring. Otherwise, the strap wriggles forward and slackens off as it goes – you don’t want that.
We shall deal with the securing the boat at the wheel axles in the next blog post.