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Old 16 June 2010, 10:03   #1
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Have just ordered my Ribcraft 4.8 and will be towing with the above vehicle which unbraked weight I only 650kg. Am a bit concerned about launching down the slipway even though the weight will come in at about the maximum. Has anybody ever towed with this vehicle or can offer some advice (Not get another car cos I can't afford it)
Thanks
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Old 16 June 2010, 10:27   #2
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Have just ordered my Ribcraft 4.8 and will be towing with the above vehicle which unbraked weight I only 650kg. Am a bit concerned about launching down the slipway even though the weight will come in at about the maximum. Has anybody ever towed with this vehicle or can offer some advice (Not get another car cos I can't afford it)
Thanks
I haven't towed that specific combo, but unbraked trailers and relatively small cars has been my boating life. If you are worried that the car won't stop on the slipway and slide into the water then don't. At slow speed the car will have no problems stopping the trailer even on a reasonable slope.

The time you will wish for brakes on the trailer is when you need to stop quickly at high speed (e.g. doing 50 mph on a country road and something pulls out in front of you). But this is about being sensible, slowing down a bit, and leaving a bigger gap to the car in front than you normally would etc.

The time you will wish for a different car is on a tricky slipway. Either it is too steep for the weight of boat (e.g. if the boat is full of water) and the clutch doesn't like it, or its a slippy mess or a beach and you want 4x4. In either case you can usually overcome this with a long, strong rope that keeps the car on good (flat with nice surface) ground. Some wheel chocks or improvised boulders are useful if you need to this in stages (e.g. if not a lot of straight run out at the top). Just remember to take it really slowly on the rope. Its tempting to shoot off with the boat once it starts to move - but bear in mind there is nothing to stop the boat when it gets to the top. You can use a similar approach for launching if necessary.
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Old 16 June 2010, 10:58   #3
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Thanks for that. I think my main concern is starting at the bottom of my slipway with the boat. Guess I will just have to wait until the boat arrives and try it out keeping everything crossed. The wife will kill me if I have to look for a new car as well. Lol
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Old 16 June 2010, 11:10   #4
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I'd get a braked trailer if possible. If it only just comes in under your maximum , is that including fuel etc onboard the boat?
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Old 16 June 2010, 11:40   #5
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Thanks for that. I think my main concern is starting at the bottom of my slipway with the boat. Guess I will just have to wait until the boat arrives and try it out keeping everything crossed. The wife will kill me if I have to look for a new car as well. Lol
You won't end up in the water. Worst case you will be struggling to get the car and trailer up the slip:

  • Handbrake on.
  • Chock the trailer wheels to stop it rolling into deeper water.
  • Disconnect trailer from car.
  • Drive forward carefully until car is on less steep/slippy ground. [if at this point car won't move then you need to get some traction under the drive (front?) wheels. I've found a few handfuls of grit / sand from the beach work well - and scrape as much seaweed/slime as possible away.
  • Handbrake on.
  • Join car and trailer with strong rope.
  • Remove chocks.
  • Drive forward very slowly. If you run out of space, stop, chock the trailer and repeat process with slightly shorter rope.
If that doesn't make sense - I'm sure there is a youtube clip or something on line - or it should be covered by good instructor on an RYA powerboat 2 course.

As Nos says if it really is "borderline" then you'd be better with brakes - but this is for stopping from speed not to stop you rolling back into the sea.
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Old 16 June 2010, 11:53   #6
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I tow a Ribcraft 4.8 on an unbraked trailer, but admittedly with a larger car (was a SAAB 9000, now an XC90).

Never had any problems, but generally launch and recover with a rope just to keep the car away from the water and on the drier bit of the slip.

I take the points about braked trailers being better for towing, although mine tows fine. I think another key point is when you're launching, never forget that you haven't got a brake to halt the trailer when you need it. That's one of the reasons for keeping it on a rope, so you can stop it at any time.

One time I launched without a rope, I unhitched the trailer to find that I'd forgotten to take off the safety clip/wire connecting the trailer to the towbar. Was stuck on the (fairly steep) slope holding the boat with not enough strength to move it up the couple of inches to get back on the tow bar. If I'd moved the car back, the trailer would have just slipped back again. The trailer wheels were well in the water, so my wooden wheel chocks would have just floated away!

Fortunately a fellow boater saw my predicament and helped me pull the boat back up on to the tow bar!

Gerry
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Old 16 June 2010, 12:28   #7
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Thanks

Guys,

Thank you all for your comments/advice. Everyone keeps telling me I should be OK so fingers crossed. Cant wait to get on the water anyway.
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Old 17 June 2010, 11:48   #8
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At least here in the States, many trailer brakes don't actually work in reverse - the hydraulic "surge" style only works going forward. I think most of the electric brakes work both forward and reverse but those are rarely installed on modest trailers, only the super heavy ones get that style (way bigger than a RIB would ever be). You can partially compensate for no brakes by driving slower and increasing your following distance.

I towed with marginally undersized vehicles for years and at low speeds backing down the launch ramp ("slipway") really never had a problem. The boat & trailer actually weigh less once they start to go into the water. When I did have problems (sporadically), it was gettting back up with the boat on the trailer, only 2WD, and seaweed all over the ramp etc.
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Old 17 June 2010, 14:57   #9
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I've launched a Ribcraft 4.8 with a Punto, Fiesta and a Focus and all were fine. When I first learnt to drive and crashed my car my father gave me an R reg Scenic (2l auto petrol) which I used to launch and recover a 6.something Humber Ocean pro. You will be fine. If you are using a soft/muddy slip use a rope though.
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Old 23 June 2010, 13:10   #10
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Hello,

I drive an Opel Astra 1.4 petrol and tow a 4.0m Valiant with unbraked trailer.

Never had a problem going down the slipway, only going up, once, on a very muddy concrete spliway...

Used the rope technique to get out of that jam, and now I carry a pair of wood chocks just in case...

The bigest problem is, like everybody said, breaking on the highway at 120Km/h. Gotta have a safety space between me and the next vehicle.

Cheers!

Hugo
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