shoestringsailing.com

Sailing adventure on minimal outlay.

Halcyon 27 road trailer.

Ready to sit on its own wheels once again. Budget Halcyon carrier in the making.

Ready to sit on its own wheels once again. Budget Halcyon 27 carrier in the making.

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.

Siezed and useless brakes.

Seized and useless brakes.

One at a time, each hub had to be rebuilt.

One at a time, each hub had to be rebuilt.

New wheels, tyres, brakes and bearings get the old launcher mobile again.

New wheels, tyres, brakes and bearings get the old launcher mobile again.

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.

A quickly compiled note of her hull dimensions were all I had to help guide me on the construction of the trailer. It's for this reason that I've made the support cradle as adjustable as possible.

A quick, between tides note of her hull dimensions were all I had to help guide me on the construction of the trailer. It’s for this reason that I’ve made the support cradle as adjustable as possible.

Support arms taking shape in the workshop.

Mk1 Support arms taking shape in the workshop.

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.

Tractor top links were the only new parts I had to buy for the cradle.

Tractor top links were the only new parts I had to buy for the cradle.

 

Finished (more or less). Ready to support the invalid for the duration of her winter surgery.

Mk1 Finished (more or less). Ready to support the invalid for the duration of her winter surgery.

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.

 

The very patient staff of Retreat boatyard gave me plenty of "fiddling time" for the first run.

The very patient guys at Retreat boatyard gave me plenty of “fiddling time” for her first fitting on the Mk2.

Safely home in her winter spot after a nervous trip down the A30.

Ashore for the first time in a few years. Safely home in her winter berth after a smooth trip down the A30…..

 

Plenty of working space, ideal.

…loads of working space now, ideal.

 

3 Comments

  1. Blimey.. well done.. look forward to seeing more…

  2. Yes – very good work indeed. What was the towing vehicle? Was it the tractor?

    I’ve wondered about trailering the Centaur but from what I’ve read I think a Landrover is the only vehicle rated to pull it.

    Great work though – You can’t beat being at home on a trailer for Shoestring Budget.

    Jon

    • Steve

      December 13, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      Hey Jon. I borrowed my Dads farm pickup (Isuzu) in order to get it back from Exeter as it has a 3.5t tow limit. According to the crane driver, Idris came in at just under 3 tons with everything stripped out of her on the pontoons including batteries and fuel. This is still on the limit if you take into account the weight of the trailer and I was glad it was no more. We only used the tractor to haul her across a neighbouring field and into the back of our property, it was a lucky call as it turned out because it’s been raining ever since and if we tried it today she would certainly sink! When I was thinking about getting a Centaur I eventually had to give up on it because of the weight. They are just too heavy to be trailed. A haulage firm should be able to shift her for you at a reasonable price but for our place they simply wouldn’t get close enough with a lorry.
      Steve.

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