Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Launching and retrieving a sailboat

This time with pictures!

Sunday afternoon, we ended up helping with two major operations involving launching and retrieving sailboats.

We have a member of our club who has made major voyages yo polar regions, and so for the purposes of this blog, his nickname is “Ross.” On his last journey, he encountered rough enough weather that he decided he wanted a bigger and sturdier boat. There were a couple of problems with his new boat, however: Its bottom needed repainting, and it didn’t have a trailer.

The solution was to put it on one of Dumbledore’s boat trailers – the trailer was a little small for the boat, but for the quarter-mile between the boat ramp and Dumbldore’s place, it would do.
After the cleaning and painting was done, it was time to put Ross’ boat back in the water and get Dumbledore’s boat back onto the trailer. As many of the visitors to this blog come in search of information about how to launch and retrieve sailboats, I documented the process. Now visitors seeking information can have not just words, but pictures, to show how it’s done.

A couple of words of caution: Dumbledore has done this so often that he makes it look easy, and Sunday afternoon’s weather was dead calm. Retrieval, in particular, is more difficult when there is a crosswind or choppy water.

Step 1: Back the boat down the ramp to the edge of the water. This was a little precarious, because the boat is bigger than the trailer was designed for.

Step 2: Get the trailer ready to roll into the water.

This involves placing chocks behind the trailer wheels...

... unhitching the trailer from the truck, jacking the trailer tongue up to put the front wheel (usually also the spare tire) in place, moving the truck a little forward, jacking the trailer down onto the front wheel ...

... and fastening a rope (or chain or strap or cable) between the trailer and truck. The rope needs to be long enough to allow the trailer to get to water deep enough to float the boat. In this case, there is another rope tied to the rear of the trailer. That is because there is a sandbar at the base of the boat ramp, and people are needed to stand on the courtesy dock and haul the trailer out into the water.

Finally, get at least one person on board the boat and remove all but one of the lines holding the boat to the trailer.

Step 3: Remove the chocks and let the boat roll into the water ...

... and if you have a sandbar at the base of the boat ramp (as often happens when powerboats ues it), be prepared to pull the trailer over the sandbar.

Step 4: To remove the boat from the trailer, first remove the last line holding the boat to the trailer.

to be continued ...

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