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ROWDY's Re-Launching, and Trailer stuff - Corpus Christi, Texas - updated October 5, 2015  

November 13, 2014. After nearly 2 years of hard work by Jerry Slaughter, and even more years of her patient waiting, ROWDY, Marcot/O'Day #5 is finally back in the water. Her story is on her webpage - click here to go there. But this is a story about her getting wet. Jerry tells it best (emails consolidated and minor edits)

Hi Ron,

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.

Click here for a larger image - For more on ROWDY's Trailer click here

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


October 5, 2015 Jerry and your webmaster exchanged a few emails that included stuff on trailers. They are below - edited - and started with a update on Marionette's summer and a request looking for the latest on Rowdy and her trailer.

Hi Jerry

I had hauled Marionette in mid August thinking I might trailer her up to Rockland, Maine since it didn't look like I was going to get the time necessary (a week) to sail her up there for Fall cruises. Then, that plan fell thru and the sailing trip morphed into a driving trip.....

The boat was in the barn waiting, and when we got back,  I didn't have the energy to launch her again and set her up. Then the weather forecasts started to get interesting and I was glad she was in the barn - while the hurricane (Joaquin) turned east, thanks to another front we still had 25-25 knots, gusts to 45!!! for several days. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Yesterday, I winterized her water systems and pumps and she is ready for the winter.   Over to you - a trailer report would be good - a favorite subject for present and potential Dolphin owners.  And, ROWDY must be chomping at the bit....



Hi Ron,

Glad to hear that you dodged the weather bullet. Here you are putting Marionette to bed and we, down here, are getting ready for some cooler weather sailing. I went to a yacht club event last week and dropped by Rowdy to check her out and to fit the hatches for the battery boxes. I need to do some tweaking on the hatches but I think they are going to workout. When I get done I'll send a photo or two.

The only other things I need to do is hang a new fuel filter (I've been putting that job off because it will be stinky and I hate stinky) and fine tune my manual bilge pump. I'm not sure I've got enough throw on the handle to suck water so a test is in order. Next time I go down to the boat I will try the mast raising rig to see if it will work as expected.

If you recall, I hauled Rowdy to Houston a while back to have some thru hulls moved and to launch for a maiden sail. That trip turned to be a little worse than I had hoped for. It was about 250 miles from Corpus Christi to Galveston Bay and the trip seemed to be going swimmingly. I had a tail light that didn't work but everything else seemed ok. When I pulled into the yard my sailing buddy suggested I look at my trailer hitch and on inspection I found that only one small tack of weld was holding the hitch to the trailer frame. It was on the verge of snapping off!

I believe another mile would have been all she wrote. I guess I should have bought a lottery ticket that evening but I passed up the opportunity. I got the boat work and trailer repair done but didn't have time for the maiden voyage, alas. So there I was hauling back to Corpus when I decided to stop for a break. This was about 50 miles down the road. I had never been happy with the tire wear on one of my axles and there happened to be a tire shop where I pulled off the road so I asked one of the workers to look at my tires and give me an opinion on the wear.

He jacked up the trailer and grabbed a tire and the darn thing almost fell off the spindle. The bearings were shot and hot. Now I had been checking for wheel temps on the trip up and everything seemed hunky dory and this was the first stop on the return trip, again fate seemed to be on my side. The boys did a half assed job on the bearings but it sufficed to get me home.

I'm going to replace the axles this winter if I an find some affordable galvanized ones and hopefully no more problems with the trailer.

Well that's about it. Exciting, yes?



Hi Jerry

The tale of the disappearing Dolphin/trailer has already been well told on the website by Dave Rogers http://dolphin24.org/disappearing_Dolphin.html. Such tales are amusing, when reading them, not experiencing them.

And, no question being lucky is the best defense for trailer issues - I dodged a bullet on a 250 mile trip to Maine a few years ago http://dolphin24.org/Marionettes_trailer.html.

When I get a chance I'll edit and add this exchange to the Dolphin trailer lore.

Stay in touch






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