Blackpool and Fleetwood Yacht Club
Blackpool and Fleetwood Yacht Club


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.

1   Preparation for launch


It is recommended that two people be available to carry out this procedure.


Using the approved club rope, a Descendeur (metal figure of eight) and a screw gate Karabiner, set up the belay as shown here.  

The Karabiner passes through the smaller ring of the Descendeur.

The rope must be anchored beyond the top of the slipway as shown. The loop to slip over the post will already be formed in one end of the rope. The post to be used is shown below.

Run the tail of the rope down the slipway keeping it clear of the track of the trailer wheels.

Position the boat and trailer safely on the flat approach to the slipway then:- 


Having placed the Descendeur and Karabiner onto the rope as shown above, attach the Screw Gate Karabiner to the loop handle of the trailer tow hitch and secure by screwing the screw gate shut.


Note; If there is NO loop handle on the hitch, use a short suitable strength line/webbing loop attached to the trailer frame to make a sling to which the Karabiner can be attached.

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 waters 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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