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Published 11.10.2014 | Author : admin | Category : Simple Boat Plans

Dinghy trailers in the UK typically use a rubber torsion suspension system that is tuned to lower weight boats. John Beatty was unable to buy an off the shelf trailer in Fiji, so he designed and built one, buying the road wheels, suspension units and ball-hitch from the UK. I think it's the first time I have seen a design available for home build of a trailer trolley combination.
Does this rule out torsion axles all together, or does it just rule out torsion axles rated over 1000 lbs?
An aside: My boat, a Coquina, overhangs the end of its trailer by enough that the trailer's tail lights are hard to see, so I've been thinking about copying Thorne's rig and making a stern bracket to carry the lights and license plate up where they are visible. I suppose there is some very slight legal risk in the light bar without the side lights, but suspect it would be a very small part of any overall legal fallout from an accident.
Make sure the wheel assembly is not simply attached to the end of a transverse leaf spring. Again, this trailer design question isn't for my immediate needs -- I have two that should work OK for my boats. A few years ago, I read an article about building a wooden trailer, maybe designed by LF Herreshoff? And of course if you are concerned about these you can set up a wiring run to clearance lights on either side of the wiring harness for the light board. An interesting design, but I'd modify it to take a commercial boat trailer axle and the lightest leafsprings possible. I wanted to raise another issue at this point, which is that boat trailers can be too lightweight for some trailering conditions. But when the road ran up onto the top of the levee along the Sacramento River, the wind was blowing across the river with gusts over 70mph, and the boat and trailer were blown up onto one wheel at around 30 degrees -- the maximum that the towball would allow. I suspect that this would not have happened had I been towing my dory skiff (350lbs or so) on the galvanized EZLoader trailer (200lbs or so).
You can download articles from Wooden Boat for very little money, dimes I think, so it would be easy to get a copy of the full article if you have no archive. John L - the Holsclaw is a wonderful trailer, so if you can get yours fixed up it will be well worth the money.
Juniper - While the PWC trailers might be OK for adding a longer tongue for heavier wooden boats, I don't see any rated for less than 1200 lbs, and many higher -- which probably indicates the use of 2000lb leaf springs. Dave W - we'd probably all like that, as the Trailex trailers seem to be the only commercial ones easily available with a suspension rated at less than 1000lbs. If your wanting to reduce the bounce on a generic trailer or one customized to work with boats under 600 lbs then what about using small motorcycle or moped shocks on the axle. Rkler - read some of the earlier posts in this thread about the Holsclaw coil spring and shock suspension.
Inspired by another thread here, I was wondering what we can (or already have) design for a quality home-built boat trailer?
I've never read the Glen-L book on building wood-frame trailers, and am not too sure how the DMV would like that, but am willing to consider all or partial wood frame elements.
Not willing to consider torsion axles, or suspension systems rated for 1000+lbs, both of which seem to be the only lightweight ones readily available from Northern Tool and other major retailers. I understand that commercial trailers exist with all or most of these elements, but prices are usually well over $1200 for the Trailex aluminum models with spare tire, winch stand and winch. If the main spar were made of wood, hollow, thru bolted and glued and with a solid telescoping inner spar it would facilitate launching at shallow launches. It wouldn't be remotely strong enough to handle the weight and forces of trailering unless it was massively thick! As for something like the Yakima trailer, that would be great if we could source the parts separately. My Aeroflow trailer has torsion suspension, and is scary to tow empty as it will do repeated 3' vertical hops on bad freeway sections. Remember, once you get the trailer license and title you can modify or upgrade it virtually anyway you want with no hassle from the authorities. Save them to your computer if you want copies, as things tend to come and go when I need space on the website.
We see a couple of those gorgeous light aluminum trailers with motorcycle wheels every year at the big canoe shows, but a couple grand for a little trailer is far more than I'd ever spend on one. I've converted two of these for small boat trailers, using a long steel tube for an extended tongue and wooden homemade bunks. He mentioned a swinging or removable tongue, which some prefer because it shortens the whole package, making it easier to store. I used a Harbor Freight trailer for several years, but even though I always rinsed it after each launch into salt water, it eventually rusted into uselessness.
I want to comment on tire pressure, first thorne you are correct that an underinflated tire is not good. This suspension looks interesting and it's not something I've seen in Australia .I wonder how 2 motorcycle shockers would go in place of the spring and auto shocker ? My camera angle misses the shocks that are outboard of the springs on the aft face of the frame member. The trailer that came with my wodden Melon Seed Skiff had the same sort of wheels and tires as the Apache Camper. An option that can be considered for lightening the load capacity of the springs to handle lighter boats is to cut down the springs.

I actually don't mind the distance between bow and hitch, as it allows launching on bad ramps and beaches without submerging the car's exhaust in salt water, and gives you room to hop up on the trailer tongue to get out to the winch stand. I do not think cutting the coil springs shorter will actually give you a softer ride, if that is what you are trying to do.
Shorter springs will just reduce the amount of travel (compression) that is available before the spring starts to bottom out against itself, and this can actually result in a harsher ride. There are probably more Holsclaw motorcycle trailers out there than intact small boat trailers. One cool thing about this is it can be converted back to a motorcycle trailer in about an hour. Don't forget that sway-bar, or whatever that diagonal gizmo connecting the frame and axle is.
Paint: It may be a very low-tech approach, but I've been amazed at how well just knocking off the big rust chunks with a wire brush and brushing on a couple coats of Rustoleum has held up - and mine sit outside year-round.
I really appreciate your comment about the rustoleum because I have spent more time trying to figure out the best way to paint it.
My problem with Todd's Holsclaw is that the suspension makes it very high and therefore accentuates the sway on the highway, plus having to put it further in the water to launch. Couple of points on home built trailers, the pitching load is important, as is the swaying stress on long tongues caused by bumps. Using wishbones and a cranked cross-member allows me to launch without dunking my hubs, a primary consideration. I don't know squat about all your theoretical stuff, but I've been using that same trailer for almost 25 years now with a variety of boats - sailboats, inflatable motor boats, multiple canoes and kayaks stacked two-high and my iceboats and have never noticed any sort of sway (or any other undesired driving characteristics). My objections are all about the current rubbish systems that are normal and bounce around the road, giving the boat a rough ride.
If'n you're building your trailer from scratch, how about sort of turn the above design upside-down?
2) On an original, the spring is probably a rising rate spring, so it automatically adjusts to momentary loads and is somewhat self damping.
3) This is a true trailing arm suspension with the locating points well forward, which provides a more fluid range of motion over larger arcs than does the conventional and simpler leaf spring set-up. 5) The load carrying beam is attached at more than one point - ie: at both ends of the tuning-fork shaped frame member. Seems to me that if you are equipped to do the simplest of welding, it would be pretty easy to self-build for a lot less than the usual purchase price. I used to build a few trailers for Lotus Cars, in the days when Colin Chapman was running it. I have both an original Holsclaw (slides over the tingue and pinches it with bolts) and one other (top mount using U bolts) that I can measure and photograph if you need additional design ideas. Does your ice boat have a wing like the Blackbird on your sight that is a mean looking sail. Our current iceboat is a modified Arrow side-by-side two-seater - comfortable and not too extreme with a normal fully-battened sail. The Blackbird design is one that I drew up a few years ago for a little bow-steerer based on some of the big Skeeters with the aft-mounted sails.
I used to have a little iceboat that was only about 7' long and it was a blast to sail, except for the fact that it had foot-pedal steering.
If my wife ever wins the lottery, I plan to hire a couple full-time employees to build some of my crazy prototypes, just to see if any of them work - because at the rate I'm going, I'll never get around to most of them myself. I found a piece of 2" square tubing in my steel pile that I am going to use for the bow post.
This is an interesting site the library has lots of classic boats in wood fiber glass and aluminum. Just as far as the ride, it seems that summarizing a lot of the comments on this thread, most of the light trailers have springs too stiff and no shocks, so even if you had a simple generic design to add-on shocks to a HF (or other typical) trailer and optionally also remove a leaf, then we could get a soft ride without a lot of fuss and expense?
It's better to think of the shock absorbers as dampeners, as in they dampen the springing action of the (leaf or coil) springs that do the actual work of buffering the bumps in the roadway. The key is to start with springs that are appropriate to the load, don't use a 2000lb suspension on a 200lb load, it won't flex nearly enough. He kindly wrote upthe build and supplied the drawings for the design which was for a Welsford Truant.
This would also allow me to remove the lights and store them in the car before launching the boat, thereby keeping them dry. My first canoe yawl once adopted an alarming and noisy list at 50 mph, and it took me a good 10 minutes to find where that wheel went.
I am still inclined to go with the light bar and just hope I never run into a (ahem) law officer with an inclination toward strict compliance.
Just last night you could see more pages, including a dimensioned profile and a cross section looking forward at the axle. To get WoodenBoat delivered to your door or computer, mobile device of choice, etc, click WB Subscriptions. It's a superb trailer and nothing using leaf springs will ever even be remotely close when it comes to a smooth, quiet ride.
Mine is very hefty, but a guy who built a Slider sister ship found a johnboat trailer that was narrow enough that the hulls sit outside the wheels, so that he can use a much shallower ramp than I can.
But in the world of the American business economy companies do not do things because they are easy, they do things because they are profitable.

My $.02 is that they have suspension travel needs the average trailer won't use, slamming through ditches and boulder fields with a boat behind your truck it might be handy but who does that to their precious boat? It's isolated from the brackets on both sides of both ends by thick rubber washers where the bolts go through. I built a small trailer with Renault parts (Le Car, over there) Very soft, but firmed up as I loaded it.
I should have said that the height makes it look as if it might have problems with sway etc. Panhard made cars from the turn of the last century up to sometime in the 60s, when what was left went to Citroen.
I'm really limited for space in my web closet, so things tend to come and go depending on what I'm working on at the moment. The faster you went, the more touchy the steering became and at about 45 mph it got downright scary.
It was a concept cartoon for a high-performance dedicated sailing canoe and was placed opposite a Rushton old-style sailing canoe.
Made from a hunk of 3-sided channel, cut open on the bottom so that it can slide down over the tongue.
As a practical matter it seems there is typically additional height available on the sides by the bunks for the additional height required for shocks as opposed to jacking up the entire bed ala Holsclaw? Fancy-pants adjustable shocks have adjustments for both the compression and rebound side of the equation and you fine tune them along with the spring rate to get the ride you are looking for. The files are posted on the Welsford Yahoo Group so any one can join the group, many probably are members already, and download the files. It would be nice to have a very lightweight trailer for a very lightweight (say 350 pound) boat, but stock hardware tends to be heavy.
A trailer such as you desire would be easy to design and make, but I do not think there is enough demand, or those few who do demand one will not pay enough, to make it a profitable venture. Using a solid axle limits the amount of travel too, it needs room to move vertically under the platform and most of us want the boat as low as possible for easy launching.
The torsion bar extends from one side to the other rather than being in the middle of the axle. I also heard that it does not take much removal of the length of the coil spring to significantly change the capacity.
If there is anything that causes concern about it at all, it's that it rides so smoothly and quietly that you have to remember that you're pulling a trailer when going through traffic.
In theory it's more efficient that way, but for home-built or specialized, it's easier to engineer them separately.
The Blackbird will have tiller steering, which is a lot easier to control and it should be a pretty interesting ride with so little visible structure out ahead of the sailor.
Maybe what we're really searching for is very economical, lightweight but durable rolling parts.
Its the same reason that no wooden boat manufacturers are out there building thousands of skiffs to sell, there is not enough demand.
Spring steel is real tough to cut so a carbide disk on an angle grinder would probably be necessary. You can also change the coil spring with relative ease if you change the load it has to carry.
There are about a jillion off-the-shelf units available with a wide range of characteristics. If anybody wants copies of the pictures, it would be a good idea to save them to your hard drive as there is no telling how long they will be in there. There really isn't a plan as such for it, as it would need to be developed on a case-by-case basis in order to match the sail's luff curve and spar bend allowance to the flex patterns of the mast.
They are willing to fit it with an extended tongue, or one can use the usual growth tricks on your own.
The Yakima Rack and Roll weighs 150 pounds and only carries 250 pounds and is ridiculously high in price..
I probably have 2000 miles on my trailer at this point, inspect it regularly, and nothing has moved.
I don't know, but if that's the only complaint I have with it after all those years, it's pretty close in my opinion.
Going back to Thorne's original brief, it would also help in reducing the storage length, by being able to disconnect the front towbar section. Back when I used to sell them, the capacity on most of the Holsclaws in that size range was 500-600 lbs. After all, the function of a trailer is to transport, launch and retrieve the boat without tearing up the boat or the car and without annoying the driver or being a pain in the ass to use.
Originally staged to celebrate the lifting of the speed limit from 5mph(!) and not having to have a guy walking in front with a red flag.

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