Squib Keel Maintenance
By Dave Best, Crossfire 797
After becoming increasingly frustrated at not being able to work easily on the keel of my Squib, which as every owner knows goes rusty every time it gets near water, I decided that there must be a safe and easy solution to the problem, especially the underside which naturally takes most of the wear and tear.
The consequential design I came up with was to use two small lifting cradles which bolt onto the existing trailer, and can be raised up and down using a standard car jack.
The tops are shaped to match the V of the Squib underside and are approximately 600mm wide, and have a strip of 12mm timber ply 100mm wide, screwed onto the metal frame. The ply board helps in distributing the weight on the metal cradles, and as a final touch, are lined with a strip of 6mm rubber.
The forward cradle is held in place using 4 bolts and two strips of metal to sandwich the two main beams of the trailer. The rear cradle slides into the end of the main trailer beams. I bought my trailer from Brian Mather and this is normally where the rear light-fixing bracket joins, so the large screws that hold the trailer board also hold the cradle base to stop it sliding out.
The top and bottom fit together using two tube sections, which slide into each other smoothly. The horizontal cross section is welded into the correct position so that when the car jack is used it can expand the cradle to its maximum. When only using one car jack a series of holes need to be drilled through the tubes to lock the cradles at small intervals with the use of a 8mm metal pin. This is so the front and the rear can be lifted in small amounts about 50mm at a time. (I actually used a slotted tube designed for shop shelving systems but plain tubes with drilled holes as described would work the same way)
The principle is to lift one end first about 50mm and lock it off, then repeat the process again at the other end about 100mm and lock it off repeating the process until at the height required.
If you have two car jacks then the locking holes are not really required but I would advise that some holes be drilled near the top position just for added security. Even with two jacks, I would strongly recommend lifting the front and back slowly, alternating one at a time, as the boat will tend to move slightly on the cradle if raised fully on the front or back first.
On the cradles I have designed I can lift the boat by about 250mm – 300mm giving ample room to work on the base and the sides of the keel.
I have also shown a picture of Toby Tailors lifting cradles, which he made for his West Mersea trailer after seeing mine. It works on exactly the same principle and the only difference is he has drilled holes in the trailer to bolt the cradles into position.