Finally getting there with the road trailer for Idris. After a slow start, progress then stalled completely over the summer before a last minute panic in late September forced me back into the welding gloves. The old royal navy boat launcher required new brakes and bearings all around before I could even move the thing off of my trailer. This proved tricky as it was fitted with old type Lockheed 10 inch brakes. These are no longer available and most of the replacement parts for them are also long extinct. I managed to beat the old brake drums off and save the expander mechanisms but still required some new shoes as the old ones were completely rusted to bits due to salt water immersion by our brave Navy lads. A trawl through the internet offerings eventually revealed a firm in Taunton that had a stock of these 10 inch shoes for a fair price. I collected a full set and got on with assembling the axles again complete with all new wheel bearings and seals.
Next was wheels and tyres. The old wheels had suffered the same fate as the brakes and were crumbling away. The tyres were under rated for the weight of the trailer and so it made sense to replace all wheels and tyres together. Luck smiled on me this time as the stud pattern and wheel size matched an existing Ifor Williams 3.5t axle size. Two second hand wheel sets were sourced through ebay with two more bought new for £70 each. Good so far then. Next was to cut off all of the old unused Navy boat bunks and props leaving a blank canvas to build up my Halcyon 27 cradle. I had made a masterful sketch of the hull dimensions during my between tides scrub off and antifouling weekend in the spring. Anyone who has ever attempted to measure the compound angles of a curved hull surface will appreciate that this still left a fair margin of likely inaccuracy.
Some of the old bits I’d cut off could be used again in the fabrication of the cradle. The rest of it being made up using old steel water pipe of various sizes salvaged from demolition skips over the years. The only new parts used were the screw adjusters for the side support legs which are actually tractor top link arms from my local agricultural engineers.
I spent a good few days looking at the Mk1 Idris transporter from our kitchen window over breakfast, before finally giving a sigh of painful acceptance that it just wasn’t good enough. Those arms looked too long and spindly and would only stop her from toppling by squeezing in at the hull sides in a very concentrated little contact area. There was also no swivel action on the top rollers (themselves inadequate I felt) to compensate for hull curvature. In short, I had to spend another day redesigning the arms.
The answer was to cut 18 inches off of each arm and then find a piece of galv pipe that would slot into the stumpy remains. This would provide the required swivel. Next, weld 6 inches of the original top sections back onto the swivel and find some marine ply to make thick bilge support pads from (the old heads door from Idris volunteered for this). These pads also had to pivot and so were mounted by two pieces of scrap angle to the post tops. Of course, I wouldn’t know for certain if the trailer would fit until Idris was craned out, but I was happier that the odds were in my favour now.