Monday, 14 April 2014

Brakeless in Balvicar

One week ago I motored north, up ta strangely quiet M6, across the border (no passport required - yet) into Scotland and up to Pitlochry for an overnight stop with the Scottish Herbalist in her downsized abode. After doing the usual chores (hanging curtains, in this case) and a good nights sleep, I arrived at Balvicar at lunch time on Monday to find Vagabond in pretty good shape.

The condition of the tarpaulin and the rope holding it on was another matter entirely!

The new 6 mm rope had been utterly shredded down to one or two strands in several places. The tarpaulin exhibited some interesting wounds wherever it had been in contact with a deck fitting, and also showed pin hole along almost every fold. In some places it looked as if it had perforated deliberately to enable the wind to "tear along this line".

So it was "off with the tarpaulin" and down to work. First, underneath. Knock of the little bit of week growth along the stainless steel strip on the keel. Move the front anchor point of the trailer so that I could pull Vagabond further forward to keep the flap valve for the ballast tanks clear of the trailer rollers. Visually check  the pin for the centre board - fine. Visually check  the hull for damage and general fouling. None. Gosh this Copper Coat stuff is really good.

Now for a job I'd been meaning to do for some time - adjust the various rollers on the trailer so that Vagabond is given better support. This means crawling under the trailer with a big spanner to hand,

Wait a minute, what's that silvery bit there flapping about on the brake rod - shouldn't it be attached to the brake cables?  What's happened to the bits stuck on to the cables that attach them to the silvery bit?

Help, there are NO BRAKES ON THE TRAILER. How long have they been like that?

I searched about and eventually (a day later after a significant shower of rain) found them in a puddle nearby. As you can see from this photo of the ends that should have been attached to the cables. the metal had failed (cracking where the swageing tool had bent them to fix them to the cable).
I called  Swallow Boats, really to let them know there might be other trailers like mine with the same problem. They are now in discussions (meaningfull, I hope) with their trailer supplier.
No doubt I'll be given a fix in due course: it is of little consequence at the moment as I am not intending to tow Vagabond more than a couple of hundred yards until we have completed the bit round Scotland.
So it was back to adjusting the brackets and rollers as it came on to rain; at least I was sheltered by the hull...
Tomorrow, I'll get inside Vagabond to find out how she really weathered the winter.


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