shoestringsailing.com

Sailing adventure on minimal outlay.

Month: July 2016

Halcyon 27 trailer.

Like a great many things in life, an improvement in one area can bring about some unexpected problems elsewhere. Take for example my recent change of sailing craft. The five years spent with “Macavity”, my dear old bilge keel Westerly 25, have been a great experience and have taught me many, many things in a boat that could happily be used around shallow estuaries without concern. The great thing about starting “big boat” sailing with this affordable project Westerly has been that, even with all the work I’ve had to do to her, after selling her on, five years sailing has cost me around £2000 all in. £400 per year. This compares pretty well against most other sports or outdoor pursuits….especially things like skiing! In fact, if I hadn’t wanted to expand my sailing horizons, this figure would have carried on decreasing with every extra year I’d have kept her. The most expensive period of ownership is the year you buy the boat and then have to spend money getting her right.

Macavity 2011. The expensive year.

Macavity 2011. The expensive year.

A beautiful sanctuary the next morning. Couldn't resist a dawn stroll about on our little island before the rest of the world got up and ruined it.

2015. Our last year adventuring together.

I have now of course spent the money I raised by selling “Macavity” on a new, slightly bigger and more comfortable project boat, “Idris” my Halcyon 27. I’m in the middle of my first summer with her and am having a great time finding out just what she’ll do and what she won’t. She won’t, for example, stand up if I’m stupid enough to run her aground on a falling tide. She won’t sail over some of the shallower areas I’ve strayed onto with “Macavity”. Much more importantly though, she won’t fit onto any kind of trailer I have or I can afford to buy.

I did consider cutting up my old yellow twin axle trailer to make a sturdy Halcyon 27 carrier, but it seemed such a waste.

I did consider cutting up my old yellow twin axle trailer to make a sturdy Halcyon 27 carrier, but it seemed such a waste. Luckily, this old Navy boat launcher turned up on ebay in the nick of time.

This gives me a fast approaching Autumn dilemma. I have to get a good deal of repair/improvement work done on Idris over the coming winters, including replacement of the stern gland, some engine repairs plus some bulkhead to hull glasswork and other osmosis or damage repair. Ideally I want to do this at home near my workshop, I can’t afford yard storage anywhere so she simply must be brought back to our house somehow. I have two options then, either pay a haulage firm to bring her back and sit her in a cradle on the drive where she will be immobile until I pay them again to haul her back to the Exe, or to fabricate some kind of heavy duty trailer for her. The main problem with employing a haulage firm are that I would have to do this twice a year every year I owned Idris. I think the cost of this would eventually force me to part with her. The second problem is that she would have to be taken across a field in order to get here.  I know from past experience, this is not always immediately possible due to rain, livestock or crops.

Like all bargain buys though, it is not without its faults. Would you trust these wheels to carry a 3ton Halcyon? No, me neither.

Like all bargain buys though, it is not without its faults. Would you trust these wheels to carry a 3ton Halcyon? No, me neither.

My heart skipped a beat then when, one evening in June, I spotted an old Royal Navy 3500kg  galvanised boat trailer on ebay, sitting in a farmers field with seized brakes and an invisibility cloak of woven Somerset nettles. Surely this old thing could provide most, if not all, of the parts I need for my super trailer? It was built in typical military style, tough as old boots. If those brakes would free up, it could be the sale of the century. I put a speculative bid in of £375….it became mine for £350.  Bargain.

Love me tender…

She needs some tender loving care alright.

She needs some tender loving care alright.

A bit of local work in the next village saw me confronted with what might end up being my next little project (once I’ve got a sturdy trailer welded up for Idris that is). A friend has had this little white lightweight dinghy tucked away under some trees for a good many years with the intention of fixing it up and sailing it. It was apparently his fathers boat and ended up being his when his dad couldn’t use it anymore. Reluctant to sell it and with no time to fix it, it’s got pretty ropey. All of the woodwork has rotted out and the little road trailer is as rusty as an old Cornish Fiat. When he asked me to make him an offer on it I was a bit taken aback. On the one hand, it could be sorted out with some effort and wood scraps for minimal cash; on the other, did I even need it and how much do I offer him?

Bit of a scrub and I think this could be my new tender.

Bit of a scrub and I think this could be my new ferry.

Anyhow, needless to say, it’s now mine. I figured my little green, plywood tender isn’t going to last forever and it’s not quite safe enough for two grown adults plus luggage and dog. This thing should make a fine little sailable tender and I think we’re both happy with the transaction. For now though, it’s going to live under the trees.