Tom Dually 2.4
Stare at something long enough, and you might begin to see it.
The “finishing touches” on this trailer marathon have begun to cloy a bit. I think I’ve spent the better part of three days crawling under that heavily laden lattice work of steel beams. It’s not that I’m looking for a shady spot for a noonday nap, or anything like that. More a matter of close-but-no-cigar. Considering how far we’ve come, things are looking pretty good. But, the boat just don’t wanna’ slide on and off without getting crooked. The geometries are just plain complicated. And, yes, had I kept a couple sets of articulated rollers from a couple now-forgotten trailer projects I would have been done a week ago. Those babies just wiggle and squirm on demand. The exotic dancers of the trailer world, perhaps. But, no. I had to try something new and innovative. And, that’s been the trouble.
Speaking of geometry.
This whole caboodle has to do with something my high school geometry teacher, Mr. Robertson, was probably talking about while I was sketching boats on the inner cover of my Peachees notebook in the back row. I think it’s about that thing called a “tangent to a n’arc.” Anyhow, there’s another geometric stumbling block here. Something I’ll call a “constant curve, with a variable radius.” So, here I sit, 55 years later, wishing I’d paid just a little better attention back in Geometry class.
I did try a conventional solution. I put a couple of those stikeeuppee guides on both sides to try and get Miss Kathleen to line up on the centerline rollers. Seems to work for JimBob and the metalflake bassboat contingent. Didn’t work for me worth even half a hoot. MK is just too heavy, and roundee, I suspect. So.
The next Bright Idea was to improve upon the keel guide setup that had morphed and metastasized and not ever really worked all that well. I’ve been going and coming back and forth to the launch ramp every couple hours this past triumvirate of days. There’s a bunch of tradeoffs involved. But, simply, get it too close and things get jammed. Too far away and things go awry. Just right is very elusive depending upon ramp angle, trailer depth; and I think barometric pressure or the current price of hog belly futures must have something to do with it.
Of course, the Engineering Department, here at Frankenwerke, seems to have all taken the week off. Just me, and the ghost of Mr. Robertson, are the only ones willing to crawl into those just-about-impossible spots under the boat and trailer, to work on those n’arcs and radishes. But.
Every time we put in, and haul out, the boat ends up farther aft on the trailer. Yep. There is a law of diminishing returns things operating here.
At first, I tried to follow the example of our august Senators and Congressmen/women. Every time the boat was too far back, I just moved the winch stand to match. Near as I can tell, that idea only works in DC. Certainly the laws of supply and demand out here in Almostcanada would indicate that the demand for more trailer will outstrip the supply. So.
The whole problem has to do with this thing with floating the boat on and off the bunks and rollers. Yeah, I know. If only I had put in those articulated roller arms, it would be fait accompli. But, winter’s just around the corner. The launch ramp gets locked up in only a few days. I need a workable solution. And, like everybody knows, a short cut really SHOULD work. So, we keep trying essentially the same thing, earnestly hoping for a different result.
So, there I was. Holding the morning staff meeting out in the driveway. The moon was still up, the sun not so much. Still below freezing out there. There I stood in my bathrobe and slippers, just staring vacantly at that frosty trailer.
And, then another Bright Idea emerged. Same parts. Same nuts and bolts. Different arrangement.
Worth a shot. I got dressed, and went out there to giv’er a try. This, without any help from any Real Engineers. By high noon, I was able to erase a couple things from the TODO list. And, since most of the Real Engineers of my acquaintance would likely just be getting to work by noon; I guess doing it the hard way wasn’t all that unreasonable. Actually, this job has required me to think like a watchmaker, and behave like a stevedore.
This rearrangement of heavy stuff took a bit of groaning and cussing. But, then almost nothing worth doing, can be done without that.
The whole effort was to get the winch to pull up, instead of down when bringing the boat the last six inches onto the trailer. Now, that I recall from someplace in my distant past, something about six inches has always involved a whole lot of groaning and cussing. You probably remember better than I do. So, anyhow, everything got taken apart, and moved and re-bolted and moved again and re-bolted again. And, it still wasn’t going to work worth a peewaddle.
All along, the biggest impediment to my happiness on this project has been the need for the tow strap to pull at a changing angle THROUGH the very thing that stops the hull from moving forward—when reaching that Everest-like summit. I tried this, and tried that. Dragged a pile of odd bits and wonderwhat stuff out. And, then like a tortoise track snaking across the desert at sunset, it finally dawned on me. One of those simple-but-elegant solutions.
And, that my friend, is the essence of that geometry problem of the tangent to a n’arc with the variable radius. Wow. I think Mr. Robertson might have given me extra credit. He might have even upgraded my final grade from a “Gentleman’s D.”
The whole effort seems to look promising now. Still gotta’ deal with brakes, and fenders, and wiring. But, that stuff is pretty much old hat around here. In fact, even with all that tryfer stuff under the hull still not really “permanent,” we managed to back into a rather stiff side wind.
And, only rotated about an inch off of center.
So, yes. I think we’re getting there. Tangentially, speaking.
Tom Dually 2.5
He’s still at it.
In fact, I was right there, when it happened. The entire night shift crew, just up and quit. It was only about 2100. Still a couple hours of planned work left in the day. Everybody just walked off the job. Hard to figure, but true enough. And, here it is, almost 0530 the next day. Nobody has shown up for work yet. Stuff scattered around. Tools piled up. Nobody working. Just plain shameful.
Nothing but excuses.
First excuse. And, I was there, too. So, I have to agree. I decided that crawling under this mongotious trailer with the boat on it, and laying under all that on the cold pavement outside was just not as much fun as it used to be. So, we went down to the ramp and headed for Lon and Kathy’s place to leave Miss Kathleen overnight. Again. There was a grand total of ONLY TWO boats out yesterday morning. One, apparently for pleasure. The other one for necessity.
Part of working alone is not having anybody available to handle lines. Most of the time, I let the boat swing back on the lines in a fairly repeatable trajectory, while I put the truck and trailer in a parking stall. Usually works out OK. Not yesterday. Wind was gusty, and did I mention? COLD. Mostly, I just have to get the creaking joints to hobble faster when it’s like this. And, after a short motoring off to weather, we were situated. Well, at least more or less ready to get to work.
Note the paucity of other people and boats. Certainly, wherever they all are, is warmer. Anyhow, the mess that night crew left did result in some stuff getting done.
There’s a partial catwalk bolted up for standing on, when hooking up the winch strap without (hopefully) having to wade out to do the deed. It’s hanging from a new cross-support that will have a “chin roller” mounted just as soon as the boat can be got back aboard to fit it.
And, I see from this shot, that somebody has been toying with a second winch to tension the boat into the bow chock when on the trailer. An, interesting idea. Wonder who is working on such a thing, when the skedboard specifically says, “#1. Get wiring run, and get boat back on trailer” (???)
I see that there is another new cross-support bolted in and painted up to disguise the sloppy workmanship. There’s a new keel crib set on an adjustable mount to (hopefully) get that 3,000# boat properly lined up on the trailer. Not a completely done deal, it seems. And, at the heart of that crib is a set of rollers the keel will actually stand on. It sits at an up angle of about 5 degrees, to (hopefully) assist in the comings and goings. The white thingies between the rollers are chunks of high-dollar UHMW that stand proud of the metal channel mounting thingie by just enough to carry most of the weight the hard rubber rollers are advertised to be able to carry. I have already discarded a couple of those guys from their heroic work in similar circumstances on the old trailer. And, then, there is that winch stand.
At this moment, the Harbor Freight winch is actually lifting the hull by about 6/10 of a foot until we haul out of the water and let gravity take over, from flotation, in MK’s hindquarters. We have already broken that winch strap repeatedly. I‘m really hoping this roller bracket will offer some mechanical advantage. Talk about re-inventing the wheel. Can’t proceed on that one without the boat in place. So, I’m wondering why that night crew left this stuff strewn around. Some sort of a mutiny, maybe?
Then there is this business of putting fenders on a somewhat crinkled fender mount. The original EZ Loader box fenders were not only badly mauled from their prior job as stikeeoutees on a hay trailer; they are too small to fit the mondo tires TD now sports. In the interest of time and expense, somebody came up with the hairball notion that it would be OK to use the remains of a sheet of half-inch mdo and just manufacture a fender thingie. I’m pretty sure whoever that was, also intended to add some sort of trim pieces. I think that’s supposed to happen after the wires get run.
I’m also told that those cute little periscopes at the back end of the fenders were supposed to guide the boat onto the keel crib. Seems, the pole-extensions just bent over and didn’t really serve that purpose. Now, I think they are still there to both hold up the fenders and to serve as a depth gauge in backing in for launch/recovery. I also think there is supposed to be some sort of tall/narrow LED taillight hung up on these periscope thingies. Wonder how that’s gonna’ work out.
If that night crew would just quit with the excuses, and clean up their messes from all that drilling and bolting and finger smashing; and get those wires run.
Well, maybe we could get back to that skedboard. Maybe even bring that boat home, before it snows.
Boy, howdy! Them guys are sure messy. Tired, too, I suppose.