Sunday, 16 June 2013

Zen and the art of trailer loading

Basic rules - level 1 zen

The trailer is simple enough - just two bars each side, each end:

Kayak trailer
So loading the trailer must also be simple, and we can start with a few basic rules that allow the boats to sit on the trailer securely, and limit the amount of crushing that occurs when they are tied on:

  1. Doubles (tandem kayaks) on top, cockpit facing out
  2. If only one double, you can have a single beside it, cockpit out
  3. Singles two per side = first boat cockpit out, second boat cockpit in and reversed end for end. Bow and stern tucked under the inside boat.
Advanced rules - level 2 zen

  1. Doubles can go on the bottom rack if they are beneath a double on the same side of the trailer (if not, they prevent a single from sitting properly above them because of the curvature of the hull)
  2. Singles three per side (probably one full volume boat, and two smaller boats) = first boat cockpit in, second boat cockpit out, third boat cockpit in and reversed. Bow and stern tucked under the inside boat.
  3. More than 12 single kayaks = 2 to 4 boats riding on 'top' of the others. Bowlines through toggle and decklines and thrown up onto the stack. At the launch site, it is the assistant's job to catch these boats as they rattle down the side of the trailer.
Trailer with 14 single kayaks
 End of day loading for tomorrow - zen mastery

  1. Try to group boats going out the next day (same paddlers or staff) together, and on the left (facing car) side of the trailer so that the right side is empty ready for the 'new' boats that will be loaded tomorrow morning in the 'yard'.
  2. On beaches with fine sand, time loading carefully such that boats go straight onto the trailer as they are brought up from the sea and thus avoid taking even more of the beach back with them.
Few candidates reach the level of Zen Master though many (alright, not that many) aspire to it - if you have tried, but failed so far, take comfort in the knowledge that the kayaks will be on the trailer for but a short time, and you can try again tomorrow:

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