There have been a couple of things happen in the Rowdy Saga in the last couple of days including a bailing, a launching, a repair, and a recovery.
Corpus Christi, where Rowdy resides these days, had a bunch of rain lately. I had not been able to run down and check on the old girl until this past Sunday and when I finally arrived and got a peek in the bilges I found water up to the underside of the floor boards (and she hadn't even been launched yet!) I couldn't get the drain plug out so I commenced with the hand pumping. I had hoped for a dry boat but I must have missed something, in reconstruction, on or under the starboard toe rail because any water collecting on deck seems to work its way inside at the midship shelf. There must be a hole someplace.
I wanted to get some welding done on the trailer that I had been putting off for quite a while. I needed to get the bow snubber set up so that after a sail the boat would set back on the trailer in the proper position for traveling. Most welders down here seem to have a two hour minimum to come to the boat so I decided to take the trailer sans boat to the welder.
Since I needed to put the boat in the water for a short while, I figured it was a good time to work on a launch technique that would be safe, quick, and easy for one person. After a bit of self discussion I decided to "chain launch" Rowdy.
Click here for a larger image
I needed a trailer tongue wheel at the hitch and thought a crank up wheel-jack would work. About 6/8's of the way through a successful launch the new wheel snapped off and the trailer stopped moving! Fortunately Rowdy was partially floating and we got her fully launched. Did I mention that I had the foresight to round up a couple of friends to help with this single man operation?
A special moment - click here for a larger view
Well, off I went to the welder's shop, and recalling your tongue wheel set up on Marionette, I purchased a 1000# rated iron caster wheel along the way. I didn't want to worry about a flat when I wanted to launch thus the solid wheel. We welded a storage bracket on top of the tongue and a launch bracket under the tongue that would not interfere with the jack stand. I use a quick release pin as the wheel axle so the wheel can be easily moved and a split pin secures things.
The snubber template (see picture at left and above picture with the chain) was set up to indicate how long the snubber needed to be so the boat would set properly on the trailer.
The welder used it to cut the tube stock to the proper length and locate the proper spot to weld it up - see picture above. If you look at the photo of the welder-in-action you can see the snubber welded in place prior to the vertical brace going on.
The whole set up is starting to look confused with all the bracing, much of which is not now necessary. The plan is to cut all that stuff away right down to the trailer frame and restructure the mess but for now it can stay.
Meanwhile, back at the marina, the wind had picked up to about 20-25 and I was faced with pulling a heavy boat upwind around some oyster encrusted obstacles and holding the boat in position on the trailer while I pulled the rig up on flat land.
It took some tugging and shoving but it was done without the benefit of helpers
Click here for a larger image
One possible problem that arose during the pull out was that Rowdy would slip back on the keel skeg a little when the trailer starts up hill. All ropes and straps seem to have a little give in them when tensioned and I can't see a way around that problem right now. If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears. Webmaster Note: Nope - when hauling we always get Marionette's nose up to the trailer's non structural nose chock, and she almost always slips back an inch or 2 - we stuff a couple of soft rags or folded rug remnents in the gap and strap the bow down to 'snug' it against the rags/chock for the trip home. Then, in the Spring we pull out the rags, and are pleased to note that, because of the gap, how easy it is to finish polish her nose. Then we stuff the rags back in the gap for the trip to the launching ramp. Its all about planning....
I have attached a few pictures for your entertainment.
ps I re-read your (trailer) squib about pulling out Marionette. It all rang true as I relived it in my mind. I hesitate about depending too much on the bow cleat to hold Rowdy in position while pulling out. I would hate to see the deck lift as I merrily drove up the ramp.
I think I will run two long lines from the aft cleats up to the bed of the truck and tie them off. I don't think this will keep her from slipping back a little during the pull out but the weight distribution should be ok for road work (fingers crossed).
One thing I didn't have with me on this adventure was a boat hook, a real necessity. A short gang plank would have been nice also but you can only carry so much stuff around with you. We will see how the next launch goes.
pps It's not polite to chuckle at other's misfortunes