Sunday, July 13, 2014

The engineering department has been sacked!

Today we hauled the trailer from VT which has been our primary staging location, to Gloucester for final loading and our ultimate departure.  The trip went well, it seemed, until we opened the trailer after our arrival.  The wooden frame I had built to hold the dinghy chocks and casters and support the dinghy had shattered allowing the dinghy to drop down on top of a bunch of other stuff.  Crap, crap, double crap.  Visions of crushed "stuff" under the tender were running through my head.

After a pause for some lunch and a little pondering, we started unloading stuff to get access to and around the dinghy and to assess the damage.  I got both ends of the boat jacked up and blocked, which freed all the junk that was taking the weight.  As far as our stuff is concerned, we totally dodged a bullet.  The weight was spread out across a bunch of stuff, none of which was damaged.  But the cradle/dolly was completely destroyed.

Here's a picture of the rebuilt cradle, and you can see it's nothing more than two pieces of wood that run fore/aft between the chock mounting points.  The chocks are offset a bit behind and forward of the casters rather than being supported directly by the casters which isn't ideal, but necessary to bolt everything together.  The Civil Engineering department assured be that 2x4s were more than enough for this project.    There is essentially zero span being supported by the 2x4s, and just sheer force on them.  And the Department says they have used this technique successfully many times before for large, heavy tractor implements for storage and moving around the shop.

Rebuilt cradle with blocking

But not this time.  The 2x4s snapped right in two just inside from the casters.  And not just in one place.  All four snapped clean off.  So the whole Civil Engineering department has been sacked over this debacle.  They tried to blame the trailer and driver, and the driver blamed the road crew.   I might have to sack the rest of them too.

Snap points (1 of 4) where old cradle broke

The re-engineered frame uses 2x6s rather than 2x4s, and for transport I have cut up some blocking to put directly under the chocks so the load passes directly through to the floor of the trailer.  I had suggested this to the engineering department the first time around, but they ignored me.

Same design, more wood

Tomorrows project will be to get the new cradle/dolly back under the dinghy while the dinghy is still in the trailer, then pack everything up again.  And here's the trailer, by the way.  The bright side to all this is that the repair was made in my driveway rather than a parking lot in Toledo Ohio.

Trailer and cradle - better here than Toledo


  1. I am sure the engineering department will be retrained and redeployed. Thanks for your detailed description of each and every step.


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