One of my customers recently broke a transom stay and when I went to recover the craft for repairs I realised that the other stay was also about to rip itself out of the floor. I found that the engine was being trailed in the tilted position and the trailer had negative weight on the hitch; this combination was causing the trailer to bounce more than usual and the motion was whipping the motor with disastrous results.
A poorly balanced trailer and a large tilted motor can play havoc with your transom supports. The best advice is to get as much weight on the tow hitch as both you and the car can take and therefore transfer weight off the trailer. Do try to trail with the engine in the down position if you can, without clobbering the skeg. Fitting larger wheels and mudguards will help to achieve the extra and perhaps necessary height.
If your trailer starts to ‘snake’, when trailing, don’t try to brake whilst snaking from side to side as you will end up in the ditch, or worse. Try to accelerate just a little to straighten the trailer behind the car and then slow up without using the brakes; proceed slowly to where you can pull off and do three things.
(1) Check that the RIB is secure and not rocking from side to side.
(2) Winch the boat further forward to increase the nose weight.
(3) Pump up the tyres to their maximum stipulated pressure.
You should now find that this will cure the snaking, if it doesn’t, then you will have to move the axle backwards down the frame by about 6 inches to start with and more if you have to. Always carry some spanners (17mm is a favourite) and a hammer!
Webbing straps should not be tightened over inflatable collars as means of securing but, if you have to, put a few twists in the webbing to stop it vibrating and wearing your tube tops away. Better, tie the craft down using ski hooks and a line at the bows pulling backwards to the trailer frame. Use the winch rope if you have one, to pull it forward. Number/lighting boards should not be allowed to swing and rub the underside of the tube ends.
Lastly, trailer spares. Without these, you may have to call for a relay home with some delay, aggravation and egg on face. A spare wheel and bearings are essential if you want a trouble-free journey. Learn to change your bearings, have a tub of the correct (high melting point) grease and a good jack. Oh yes, and do stick to the speed limits, save points, petrol and further embarrassment. Good towing!
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