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Rock Newsletter 2016                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Shrimper sailing in Rock continues to go from strength as new owners and boats arrive on the estuary.

Please see articles in "The Shrimper" for detail of reports.

We have had some excellent sailing and many fun social activities during the 2015 season.








SOA Member Article

Alan Tomlins (Humbug 238) encloses an excellent article on how to modify your launching trailers.

This makes recovering your Shrimper when taking it off the water much easier and safer.


DIY Docking Arms for the Shrimper Combi Trailer

One of the great attractions for me of the Shrimper is that almost everything to do with launching and recovery by trailer can be managed by one person. I can still (just) manage to raise the mast by myself, launching isn’t really a problem but one really tricky area for me has been single handed recovery.

The older Bramber trolley, with it’s very narrow section tyres and small diameter wheels is particularly prone to sinking into soft sand. This is OK if you are recovering your Shrimper on a falling tide, with the trolley totally submerged but only if you manage to align the boat with the trailer without a hitch first time. If you get it wrong and the boat’s weight has transferred to the trailer as the tide drops it is well nigh impossible to push the trolley back into deeper water. The small wheels dig in when the trolley is pushed towards deeper water. The whole problem is compounded if you are trying to carry out this operation with a strong cross wind and/or cross tide. In other words you have to get the boat successfully aligned with the trolley at the first attempt and this normally means having one or more helpers who are prepared to get very wet guiding the boat accurately onto the trolley.

The situation is less critical if you can enjoy the luxury of a nice smooth concrete ramp. However, I reckon you still need a helper in this situation to ensure successful alignment

Alternatively, do the whole operation on a rising tide, when you can winch the boat “along” the trolley as the tide creeps up. But then you have to move fast to get it out of the water before it floats off again!.

I actually prefer recovery on a falling tide as it gives me much more time and space to pack everything up, ready to tow away.

In 2009 I decided to do something about this. I had heard that Bramber had produced some docking arms, but I decided, without ever having seen any, that if they were any good they might well also prove to be expensive! Fortunately I just happened to have in my garage what turned out to be the perfect materials to make my own. My specification was that they had to be robust, easily removable and sectional for easy stowage – only being deployed when recovering. They also had to be adjustable for width.

I used 40mm square section steel tube with 4mm wall thickness. By sheer good fortune I also possessed a length of round steel tube, also of 4mm wall thickness. The key the success of this little project was that the round tube fitted exactly inside the square tube – otherwise I might well have stopped there.  Fortunately I own a power saw capable of cutting steel, an elderly but very effective arc welder plus a fairly heavy duty pillar drill.

I measured the angle of the Shrimper bilge (37°) from the horizontal and welded two short lengths of square tube at 37° to two 8mm steel plates (from my local steel fabricator) to form sockets for the arms. I drilled drainage holes where the tube met the plate. The socket plates are clamped to the main trolley cross member and provide the means of adjusting the width between the arms. They normally remain in place on the trolley

The rest of the design was fairly straightforward as can be seen from the accompanying photos. The angled square tubes under the bilge and the vertical arms are simply secured with steel pins. The vertical arms project well above the deck level to allow for a fairly steep approach angle. They could be covered in a hard material to reduce damage to the rubbing strake. I will probably wrap mine in plastic tape. I deliberately did not intend use a soft padding as this would be compressed as the boat is drawn forward, which itself could scratch the strake.

The acid test! Does it work? I have so far only had the opportunity to use it once, on the slip at Mylor. Yes, I am delighted to report that it worked faultlessly! I floated Humbug in between the “goal posts”, then simply wound the winch cable in until the stem was up against the snubber, then Humbug aligned herself perfectly as I towed her up the ramp. I see no reason to suppose that this should not also work just as well on a beach.

Cost  - about £30 for the steel and about 4 hours work.

If anyone needs any more details please email me on


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