Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my dinghy cruising blog about my John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. Built over three years, Arwen was launched in August 2007. She is a standing lug yawl 14' 6" in length. This blog records our dinghy cruising voyages together around the coastal waters of SW England.
Arwen has an associated YouTube channel so visit to find our most recent cruises and click subscribe.
On this blog you will find posts about dinghy cruising locations, accounts of our voyages, maintenance tips and 'How to's' ranging from rigging standing lug sails and building galley boxes to using 'anchor buddies' and creating 'pilotage notes'. I hope you find something that inspires you to get out on the water in your boat. Drop us a comment and happy sailing.
Steve and Arwen

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

A new boat trailer and how to transfer a boat from an old trailer to a new one

 Well, before I could get out the camera to take one last photo of my old trailer, the scrap guys had lifted it onto a low loader and whisked it away. A blink of my eye and it had gone. 😥

Not before they had wobbled each wheel and declared " the bearings and hubs are shot to pieces bud". 

Really? Go figure, I didn't know that! Dur! 😉

Arwen sits on her new trailer. There are still a couple of adjustments to do regarding height adjustable rollers at the front so that her skeg sits properly on the rear most keel roller. This will also require further adjustments to the bunk supports. 

But here is the thing.....this morning I pushed Arwen on her new trailer back off the car ball hitch on the flat road outside the house   ..........  with just one hand. 

Seriously, one handed, the entire boat and trailer moving backwards with barely any force from me. I reckon the new trailer is half the weight of the old one. Now, okay, Arwen is empty. But even so.....the trailer rolls sooo smoothly! 😁

My new trailer is from Admiral Trailers up at Honiton. Regular readers of this blog will know I don't promote any company but on this occasion I am going to do so. 

From the moment I made contact, the discussion and service has been exemplary. Tony gave me two hours on a recent visit discussing my boat configuration, dimensions and what kind of trailers might be suitable. We looked at a fair few types discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each. He got to grips fully with my particular problems of limited road turning space and steeply sloping drive. We examined the 'grounding' potential of different trailer designs, did loads of measurements on different trailers and slowly weeded out the inappropriate ones. Tony proved thoughtful, knowledgeable, curious and reflective. 

Suffice to say, the new trailer reversed back onto the sloping driveway with no problems at all. Plenty of clearance at the front and rear. 

The video below gives a little overview summary of the trailer and the adjustments I had to make to get Arwen to sit correctly. 

Essentially, I altered

  • the winch post and winch post snubber arm for a better fit and to allow the bowsprit to be kept on permanently
  • the support bunks height relative to her keel depth
  • the position of the various keel rollers along the length of her keel

Arwen's transfer from one trailer to another was done by three of us and went reasonably well. There was that one unfortunate moment when for some unfathomable reason the old trailer suddenly dropped down, leaving Arwen partly suspended. She immediately dropped suddenly onto the rear most keel roller and immediately bent it out of shape so that the roller couldn't roll. That needed a repair. Having positioned the various rollers I also decided one more keel roller needs adding under the centreboard case area. Fortunately a trawl through my 'spares' box found one that will do the job well. 

At some stage in the next week or so I will go down the local slipway and float Arwen off the trailer so that I can make the final adjustments and check that all works as it should.  I will also get the opportunity to work out the best, easiest ways of launching and retrieving Arwen. 

I also bought a spare 10" wheel for the trailer and have to decide whether to attach it to the trailer frame (there is room between winch post  and bow bottom for it to lie flat across the main centre beam). There are pros and cons to this. At the moment I think, for me, the cons outweigh the pros. I'd have to find some way of fitting a simple number dial bike lock to it to stop people from removing it when the trailer is left after launching. lying flat, the wheel rim is likely to collect water which will lead to rusting.  Maybe it is just easier to bung it in the boot instead? 

Thank you to the Admiralty Trailer team and to those of you who follow the blog and/or are members of the Facebook Dinghy Cruising Association group. Your advice, encouragement and tips were invaluable. I learned lots. Thank you. 

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