Our regular reader will immediately recognise that this post is (yet again) something to do with the trailer. Terence had behaved perfectly with an under rated set of wheels when carrying Vagabond but seems to have taken a dislike to carrying Riff Raff on the new, higher specification, wheel set. I had surmised that this was because the new axle was fitted about a foot * forward of the original. In a previous post I hinted that I had moved the axle about 6 inches** backwards.
I suddenly realised that this might stop the “sway” of the trailer but would probably affect the down force on Martina’s tow hitch. This bears the warning “no more than 80kg”.*** I thought I’d better check this out.
So, armed with a suitable load cell, various blocks of wood and a hydraulic jack, I set off for the marina on the week of the Bank Holiday for a day sail.
But first I had to clear my doubt about the downforce. After using the various bits of wood to move the jack into position under the tow hitch on Terence but on top of the load cell, I measured the downforce. “Blistering Barnacles”, as Captain Haddock would say, the down force was 125kg. I thought this was probably outside the tolerance of Martina. So the axle needed to come forward a bit. But not to much, otherwise the sway would not change
There was no room in the marina berths to park Riff Raff, so this had to be done with her still aboard. More blocks of wood were sourced from the boat yard, Terence was jacked up until both wheels were off the ground and then put on blocks. The U bolts holding the axle were removed. It promptly fell to the ground but at least I could roll it forward to approximately the right position, before jacking it up against the frame, hitting it firmly with a hammer until it was square to the axis of the trailer. Ubolts were tightened, the brakes adjusted and Terence was eased back to the ground. A quick check showed that the down force on the tow bar was now 83 Kg – I thought that would do…..*****
We went sailing. The wind was blowing at 12kn gusting 14 from the North West. I had still the reef in from our trip back from Cowes, so we motored out into the fairway, out the bow into the wind, and hoisted the main to the first reef. We turned SE and wooshed down the first leg of the channel turning more southerly once past the fork to Emsworth. The jib was hoisted and we ran before the wind in a stable goosewing configuration. Our speed increased to an indicated speed over the ground of 7.5 knots. There didn’t seem much showing tide on the buoys……
I was surprised how stable the goose wing was – there was none of the flapping of the jib and then I remembered that this was also the case with Vagabond. Then I had concluded that the power of the un-reefed main meant that the jib was always being overtaken by the boat and deflated. It seemed a reasonable theory and a lesson I had forgotten. I wonder what else I’ll rediscover….
In no time at all we were almost level with the sailing club just before the “exit” from the harbour. It was time to turn back. I lost count of the tacks on the way home, turned to port to take the Northney leg of the channel to find the wind square on the bow. Down came the sails, on came Freddy (well, in reverse order to how it’s written) and we chugged back to the slip. The Ninja warrior on Terence did it’s stuff and, almost without effort, Riff Raff was dragged from the sea and secured for another week.
I drove home and found the M25 almost empty of traffic. The holiday season was not quite over. It is now and my next trip to Northney will not be so free of vehicular traffic.
* 300 mm, or thereabouts (this is known as a “metric foot” to those in the timber trade
** one foot = six inches – work out the metric equivalent without using a calculator (or you phone)
*** 12 stone 6 lb 6oz (give or take a bit) – do bear in mind there are 14 lb in a stone and 16 oz in a lb****. This is well within the capacity of my load cell – the trusty electronic bathroom scales.
**** Sorry, I forgot – 1 lb is another way of writing one pound avourdupois
***** The perceptive reader will notice that I still have no idea whether all this axle moving mularky will have cured the sway. The only way to test this (as far as I am aware) is to pack Riff Raff up for towing and get out on the Queens Highway. That will have to wait until the end of the season……