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Old 09-15-2017, 07:58 PM   #1
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Hauling/blocking/hydraulic trailers

The winter storage facility we use just finished hauling and blocking our OA 440 in the heated storage building (Great Lakes). They use a standard Travel Lift to lift the boat from the basin, then transfer the boat to one of those hydraulic trailers to move it to the storage slot in the building. The trailer is rated at 60,000 pounds. The boat weights around 35,000. The trailer rating is BS if the pads buckle the hull. The four lift pads on the trailer are about two feet square. The rear pads lift about 75% of the weight on our boat given the fuel tank and engine location when on the trailer. When the crew lower the boat onto the keel blocks it's a herky jerky motion, and these guys are crawling around under a very low slung trailer in a relatively dark building trying to get the blocking under the keel shimmed correctly (evenly between the stacks). They seem amateurish.

So they dicked around for about twenty minutes raising and lowering onto blocks and called it good. I subsequently climbed onto the blocked boat to sop up water in the AC trays and in the bilge, and notice that the door to the aft cabin won't close...it's cocked in the frame by a goodly amount. Never happened in the previous ten years before they got that freakin' trailer. Boat always settled gently onto the blocks and shimming was relatively easy and gentle with the travel lift. The door was perfectly aligned when it came out of the water. Crew had left for the day when I discover this. Service manger was gone to meetings when this happened and hasn't returned my calls. I'm not pleased and am inclined to go after this guy with management. Am I making too much of this?

(I despise hydraulic trailers...an infernal invention to facilitate stacking boats inches apart instead of feet required for a travel lift).
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Old 09-15-2017, 10:25 PM   #2
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Rufus, I would take it up this the management. The door frame should not be cocked so something did get twisted somewhere. I would check the whole vessel over closely to make should nothing else is out of line or crack or whatever.


Best of luck to you Mate.


Cheers.


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Old 09-16-2017, 05:51 AM   #3
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Get it straightened out today?

Jumping to management right away isnt the best unless that urgent. Even then it will come back down through him most likely.
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Old 09-16-2017, 05:56 AM   #4
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Get it straightened out today?

Jumping to management right away isnt the best unless that urgent. Even then it will come back down through him most likely.
Yes. Talk to them asap.
Shouldn't the weight be on the keel?
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Old 09-16-2017, 08:09 AM   #5
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Yes, the weight should be on the keel...as it is when on the Travel Lift slings. I've had zero problems over twelve years of annual haulouts and blocking when using the Travel Lift (24 evolutions) . Lift by the keel, set it straight down on keel blocks. Now this trailer comes along using pads under the hull instead of under the keel, and something gets damaged.

After I gave this some thought last night I remembered the crew were having problems getting the pads on the trailer to separate from the bottom of the boat when it was set down on the keel blocks. The frame and wheels of the trailer were actually lifting off the floor...the trailer must weigh 5000 pounds. Like the landing gear on an airplane. That means the pads on the trailer had somehow wedged themselves into/onto the hull!

The storage facility is closed weekends and the service manager hasn't returned calls. I'll start with him, but he's a certified jerk who will deny his equipment and his judgement are at fault....even though the trailer operator told me he couldn't believe they were instructed to move boats this size and larger on those pads. Anyway, the facility manager is next, then the actual owners. Then my insurance company. Then an attorney. I think this will require some serious structural engineering expertise to identify the extent of the damage. Most of it would be hidden under the two layers of new bottom paint. Adding to the frustration is the boat is at a Great Lakes facility and we are about to depart to our home in Texas. I'm venting....
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Old 09-16-2017, 08:33 AM   #6
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As it tuns out, since I have owned it my boat (35000 lbs) it has only be hauled and launched using a hydraulic trailer. However the pads should Never be carrying the full weight of the boat, the removeable cross ties are for that. When the trailer goes into the water to lift my boat, the crossties are already in place. The pads are only meant to stabilize and center the boat, the keel rests on the crossties. When it is shifted to shoreside blocking, cribbing is put in place under the boat and the entire trailer is lowered until the keel rests on the cribbing at which point the crossties are removed and stands put up, the pads are lowered and the trailer pulls away.

Ken
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Old 09-16-2017, 10:54 AM   #7
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I watched a lot of boat moved in and out of water at my marina, from different movers using different trailers from small to very large semi truck and boat were always on pads but plenty of them like 5 or 10 each side. I am really not an expert so I am surprise to read it should not be done like that. On a side note one of the mover I watched was truly amazing driver. The guy went reverse with his semi truck with a 45 feet boat on the trailer, between a car and another boat on the hard, he did not even had a retry, first time right on target!

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Old 09-16-2017, 06:57 PM   #8
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As it tuns out, since I have owned it my boat (35000 lbs) it has only be hauled and launched using a hydraulic trailer. However the pads should Never be carrying the full weight of the boat, the removeable cross ties are for that. When the trailer goes into the water to lift my boat, the crossties are already in place. The pads are only meant to stabilize and center the boat, the keel rests on the crossties. When it is shifted to shoreside blocking, cribbing is put in place under the boat and the entire trailer is lowered until the keel rests on the cribbing at which point the crossties are removed and stands put up, the pads are lowered and the trailer pulls away.

Ken
This trailer has no cross ties. The entire weight of the boat is lifted on four pads in this case. As I mentioned, about 2/3 of the boat weight is on the rear pads if you believe the weight gages on the travel lift. A bit over 10,000 pounds on a bout a 5 square foot pad....and virtually a vertical push on the bottom on the aft "planning section.

I put a flat edge on it this morning and there's a very slight depression in the area of the pad. Also, the middle section of the pad was not touching the hull judging from the mars in the bottom paint. If this was a cored hull, the coring would be flattened for sure. I'm going to attempt to get Ed Monk, the naval architect for the boat, to give me a reading.
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Old 09-16-2017, 07:06 PM   #9
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Brownnell Boat Works from Mattappoisett Mass invented the hydrologic trailer. Used their system for over 40 years. As Ken said never designed or intended to use pads for lifting. The trailer itself is supposed to lift and lower. The keel is always supporting the weight. Good luck.
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:54 AM   #10
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It's a CONOLIFT hydraulic trailer built in Quebec. http://www.kropfindustrial.com/conolift/yard-trailers


They hype their "forklift" design concept for big boats....never mind that it can introduce horrendous twisting and direct force loads into the boat hull. Feckin insane design for larger boats, especially for those configured with a keel.
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:59 AM   #11
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You know you can twist a boat pretty bad with a travel lift too?


Either in the straps or blocking it incorrectly.....


It may not be as much the trailer as the operators....
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Old 09-17-2017, 09:28 AM   #12
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I watch them like a hawk when they haul the boat from the basin with the travel lift. Never a single issue in 12 years and it came out straight and level this time. The previous service manager and I did the entire evolution ourselves...from entering the basin to blocking the boat (all with the travel lift). Then he left, and they hired the current inexperienced efficiency expert who bought the trailer to squeeze more boats in the building.

Unfortunately, I was inside the building prepositioning jack stands when they put it on the trailer (without my knowledge or consent). What I did see is them slamming the hydraulics up and down while they were blocking it, and the fact that they had initially set the trailer too wide before loading the boat so the only jack stands they could put in place were at the rear 5 feet of the hull because the trailer frame was in the way. Then they had to suck the trailer into a narrower width with hydraulics before they could set forward jack stands (skidding the wheels laterally across the floor). If the boat was leaning a bit when they set the four stands at the rear five feet there's a real possibility of introducing a twist...and flopping the boat on it's side....and killing someone.

That said, it's probably a good thing the trailer was set too wide because at a narrower setting the pads would have been pushing upward right next to the hull cutless bearing housings. Now that's a nightmare I don't want to contemplate.

It's both the trailer and the operators. But a keel support trailer has some room for error.


Tomorrow I meet with the service manager unless he finds an excuse not to show up.
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Old 09-17-2017, 10:14 AM   #13
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Yes, your explanation is right. Weight should be on the keel.
Are you taking pictures? Take many.

They sound pretty stupid.
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Old 09-19-2017, 07:46 AM   #14
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I met briefly with the facility manager yesterday. Described the problem in very general terms, then asked to see the service manager. The service manager seemed defensive, but agreed we should walk out to look at the boat. As we were headed toward the boat he got a call from the owner of the company who told him he was on his way to he building. The facility manager had obviously called the owner. There was an immediate change in the demeanor of the service manager....suddenly extremely attentive and helpful.

Owner agreed that the boat had either been twisted slightly...probably when transferred from the travel lift to the trailer....or the pads on the trailer had distorted the bottom during the blocking process. The owner said our boat would never be placed on that trailer again.

Next step is to establish if there is unseen damage to0 the hull. They offered to hire a local surveyor and I laughed at them. I said a naval architect needs to look at the probable source of the shifted door frame and then decide where to look and what to look for. They agreed and also offered that Carver Yachts had test equipment that can look for cracks and voids...sounded like ultrasonic. So, I'm about to contact Ed Monk, who was the original Naval Architect on the boat. My insurance company is next in the event they have input/advice.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:17 AM   #15
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I met briefly with the facility manager yesterday. Described the problem in very general terms, then asked to see the service manager. The service manager seemed defensive, but agreed we should walk out to look at the boat. As we were headed toward the boat he got a call from the owner of the company who told him he was on his way to he building. The facility manager had obviously called the owner. There was an immediate change in the demeanor of the service manager....suddenly extremely attentive and helpful.

Owner agreed that the boat had either been twisted slightly...probably when transferred from the travel lift to the trailer....or the pads on the trailer had distorted the bottom during the blocking process. The owner said our boat would never be placed on that trailer again.

Next step is to establish if there is unseen damage to0 the hull. They offered to hire a local surveyor and I laughed at them. I said a naval architect needs to look at the probable source of the shifted door frame and then decide where to look and what to look for. They agreed and also offered that Carver Yachts had test equipment that can look for cracks and voids...sounded like ultrasonic. So, I'm about to contact Ed Monk, who was the original Naval Architect on the boat. My insurance company is next in the event they have input/advice.
Sounds very good. I'd suggest you contact your insurance company sooner rather than later.
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Old 09-23-2017, 12:05 PM   #16
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I am incredibly embarrassed to say that this was a false alarm. After we departed the storage facility in Wisconsin for our home in Texas the yard hooked up some decent lighting inside the boat (It's in a dark building with on board electrical disconnected). They reported that they found loose and missing screws in the freakin' door hinges. So it wasn't a case of the frame being out of kilter, but the door. It's a very heavy teak door, and we never noticed it was loose or loosening. So, I'm having crow for every meal until next Spring.

That said, the fact remains that this hydraulic trailer is dangerous in my estimation. I had a great conversation with Ed Monk Jr. of Ocean Alexander, Tollycraft, Nordland, etc fame(now fully retired), his former partner Tim Nolan in Seattle, and another Naval Architect great from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, Tim Graul (also recently retired). All P.E.s from University of Michigan school of Naval Architecture/Engineering. They all said putting 10,000+ pounds on a 4-5 square foot lifting pad would be inadvisable unless there was primary structure such as a longitudinal stringer behind the hull skin.

I subsequently had a discussion with the storage folks and we agreed that our boat would never be put on that particular hydraulic trailer again....travel lift only from basin to building. And henceforth the trailer operators will have a look at inside hull structure before lifting boats. They will certainly place multiple pads in highly loaded locations. I recommended they get a keel lift trailer if they want to move larger boats.

Thanks all for your remarks and comments.
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Old 09-23-2017, 12:30 PM   #17
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A familiar meal - might I suggest some Tabasco Sauce
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Old 09-23-2017, 02:35 PM   #18
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I am incredibly embarrassed to say that this was a false alarm. After we departed the storage facility in Wisconsin for our home in Texas the yard hooked up some decent lighting inside the boat (It's in a dark building with on board electrical disconnected). They reported that they found loose and missing screws in the freakin' door hinges. So it wasn't a case of the frame being out of kilter, but the door. It's a very heavy teak door, and we never noticed it was loose or loosening. So, I'm having crow for every meal until next Spring.

That said, the fact remains that this hydraulic trailer is dangerous in my estimation. I had a great conversation with Ed Monk Jr. of Ocean Alexander, Tollycraft, Nordland, etc fame(now fully retired), his former partner Tim Nolan in Seattle, and another Naval Architect great from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, Tim Graul (also recently retired). All P.E.s from University of Michigan school of Naval Architecture/Engineering. They all said putting 10,000+ pounds on a 4-5 square foot lifting pad would be inadvisable unless there was primary structure such as a longitudinal stringer behind the hull skin.

I subsequently had a discussion with the storage folks and we agreed that our boat would never be put on that particular hydraulic trailer again....travel lift only from basin to building. And henceforth the trailer operators will have a look at inside hull structure before lifting boats. They will certainly place multiple pads in highly loaded locations. I recommended they get a keel lift trailer if they want to move larger boats.

Thanks all for your remarks and comments.

While boats won't normally be permanently twisted from loads placed where they shouldn't be, I think you were right to be concerned and to call them out on it. A load carefully placed directly under a stringer is one thing, but what they did seems to have been random and could have caused damage. It's great to hear that your boat wasn't damaged.

Ken
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