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Abseiling with your 'Fifteen
Jeremy Arnold 1917

Abseiling with your 'Fifteen

A controlled launching technique for clubs with steep slipways

Reproduced below is an excellent instructional document prepared by the Flying Fifteen fleet at Blackpool & Fleetwood YC which may be very useful to members of other clubs with steep slipways

Be aware that the text of this article may change in size etc, depending upon the type of device you're reading this on - this is because in order to preserve the format of the original document some of the text appears as part of the images. You can also view the document as a single PDF if that makes things easier - see link at the bottom of the article


Blackpool & Fleetwood YC Flying Fifteen Section

Procedure to be used for the safe and controlled descent of Flying Fifteens down the offshore slipway.

With the minimum combined Hull and Keel weight of 676 lbs (307Kg) plus trailer weight – an uncontrolled descent of the slip would result in serious damage/injury and so it is essential that care is taken when launching and recovering these craft.

The use of a vehicle driven by someone confident and competent to reverse down the slip is generally a sound method of launching but at busy times when there are multiple boats being launched prior to racing, this can be time consuming.  Whilst it is recognised that some crews are able to safely walk their boats down the slip manually an alternative method of launching is recommended for those who are unable to do this. This procedure is provided to give maximum flexibility for all crews to be able to safely launch their boats. Those who are able can still continue to manually walk their boats down the slip.

The person controlling the descent of the trailer down the slip should take up a position approximately 90 degrees to one side, holding the tail of the rope, ready to apply tension as the trailer is moved onto the slope of the slipway. The second person maintains a position at the front of the trailer to guide the direction that the trailer takes down the slipway.

2  Launching

The person controlling the descent takes the line and uses the friction brake provided by the Descendeur to control the speed of descent as the trailer is moved onto the slope. Increasing tension slows the trailer, releasing tension increases speed. Note: the rope should be passed hand to hand rather than allowing it to slide through the hands during the descent to avoid rope burns.  

The second person ensures the boat and trailer run straight whilst descending.

At the water's edge, chock the trailer if necessary to remove the Descendeur and screw gate Karabiner from the trailer.

Whilst leaving the tail of the rope running down the slipway, remove the Descendeur and Karabiner from the rope and hand over to next crew to launch.

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