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Old 26 November 2011, 13:28   #1
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Never towed before

As it says above. I have never towed a boat before. I pick my boat up in two weeks or so.

How would you suggest that I approach learning to tow.

Ive got a Kia Sportage 4x4 and am quite a capable and confident driver in all other circumstances.
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Old 26 November 2011, 13:45   #2
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How would you suggest that I approach learning to tow.

Ive got a Kia Sportage 4x4 and am quite a capable and confident driver in all other circumstances.
The Sportage is a decent towing vehicle for a start!
Take things easy and slowly
Remember you will have less stopping power so think ahead
Remember you will have more length (some peeps on ere might think that's an inuendo!) so give yourself more room when turning.
Towing is not a big deal
You may get a bit mixed up when reversing but practice will sort that out
The 'Scouse' phrase comes to mind
'Caarmm Down Carrm down'!

You will be fine
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Old 26 November 2011, 13:49   #3
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How would you suggest that I approach learning to tow.
Practice
Seriously, just take it SLOWLY. Assuming your concerns are reversing - Start somewhere where you can do no harm, a deserted car park for instance, and give it a go. With a 4m boat and trailer, if it starts going pear shaped you can always un-hitch it and start again.
You will need to check out which technique you are most comfortable with, screwing your neck around and twirling the wheel whilst watching the boat, or sitting square and watching the boat in the mirrors - I tend to use either, depending on the situation.
If you are talking about practicing before you collect the boat why not try hiring a small-ish trailer and try reversing with that. Not much help for you, but strangely I find reversing with a bigger trailer to be a bit easier than a shorter one, but all it takes is practice
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Old 26 November 2011, 13:55   #4
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I see your in Manchester - where abouts? I am in that area?

I did some work with a guy called Ben Shaw - A very good guy - I needed my B+E, but he will also do 1 hour sessions - and he has Kia of some kind, a big empty car park, and a box trailer.

Ben Shaw Training Home Page
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Old 26 November 2011, 14:02   #5
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I see your in Manchester - where abouts? I am in that area?

I did some work with a guy called Ben Shaw - A very good guy - I needed my B+E, but he will also do 1 hour sessions - and he has Kia of some kind, a big empty car park, and a box trailer.

Ben Shaw Training Home Page
Ben shaws I thought they made pop
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Old 26 November 2011, 14:14   #6
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Just take it steady it won't be you that's the problem it will be some idiot pulling out in front of you, so be 2 steps in front.
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Old 26 November 2011, 14:31   #7
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Guys,

Thanks for the solid advice. A big car park and a few cones was my plan, glad it meets with approval. Im quite happy with dealing with the other idiots on the road as, amongst my other skills I'm an advanced bike instructor so I'm quite used to thinking ahead!

Steve, im in Leigh - Thanks for the heads up about ben, I hadn't realised that you could actually get trained in this kind of thing. Ill give him a good dose of looking at!

John
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Old 26 November 2011, 14:42   #8
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Shouldn't be a problem for you then you will be used to all the idiots just enjoy your self.
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Old 26 November 2011, 14:57   #9
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Yes seems to be a lot of trainers out there for this, as they changed the licence requirements so I didn't have the trailer bit to my driving licence so I couldn't pull anything of a good size.
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Old 26 November 2011, 15:10   #10
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Make sure the trailer is set up well before you start. Its not uncommon, even on brand new boats, to have very little nose weight. You want something like 50 kg ideally. So it should be hard but not impossible to lift. Then make sure you have safety chains or "emergency brake cable" connected in case it falls off. Check your lights before you start. Check everything is still secure after a mile or two - make sure the hubs aren't getting hot (bearings are dead) - I check mine every time I stop somewhere. You should have an audible warning when indicating - if you notice this has stopped along your journey then your electrical socket has probably worked loose.

Otherwise what the others said. Worth practising stopping quickly somewhere its only then you realise how much of a difference it makes. More time and more space and doing things slowly is the key. Remember the trailer when overtaking/pulling back in etc. Also you'll have less punch when overtaking so things you might have done with little thought might be harder.

Remember you are not allowed in lane 3 on the motorway, and have lower speed limits.

Reversing definitely the hardest bit, with the boat on the trailer its not too bad (although an audience doesn't help, and neither do inexperienced "guides" who say "left a bit" - which, the car, the boat, the trailer, the steering wheel?)... reversing the empty trailer down the slip to recover the boat - an absolute PITA with a small trailer that you can't really see etc!
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Old 26 November 2011, 15:10   #11
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I was surprised to see how expensive it was! I bet this will be the wifes get out from towing the boat!
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Old 26 November 2011, 15:18   #12
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I have found a couple of cheap walky talkys come in handy when reversing.
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Old 26 November 2011, 16:53   #13
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Motorway Driving

To clarify Polwart's comment on motorway lanes.

The law is you are not allowed in the outside lane of a motorway with 3 or more lanes. Where a lane is marked as a slip lane to another road then that effectively reduces the number of lanes at that point

Probably not too many motorways with 4 or more lanes in Polwart's neck of the woods.

The speed limits are 60 instead of 70 (motorways and dual carriageways), 50 instead of 60 for singlecarriage ways. UNLESS a lower speed limit applies in which case you can drive at the same speed as without a trailer.
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Old 26 November 2011, 18:35   #14
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At the start of my towing career I found practising with an empty boat trailer in a large car park very helpful, there's less push/revs/effort required and you can see around the trailer clearly which aids confidence when you are just discovering which way to shove the thing and stop it jack knifing. Particularly checking your tie downs bow and stern and lights after a mile is a good thing too, bouncing boats (on trailers at least) is not a good thing and a friend of mine rolled his Bayliner off the trailer in Poole 4 years ago by not tieing down properly/relying on boat weight and a flimsy winch strop to hold the boat. Do think about your route, narrow streets you can leave for later
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Old 26 November 2011, 20:01   #15
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Reversing definitely the hardest bit
A trick I learned was to grab the steering wheel at the bottom; then to move the trailer to one side or the other, push your hands in that direction.

Weird thing about backing is that it's not a constant turn: Once you get the trailer on a different axis than the tow vehicle, you can't go straight back without the angle getting bigger. To keep a constant turn, you have to "chase" the trailer around the curve.

Go slowly, and use many small corrections (rather than less often big corrections), and don't be afraid to abort, pull forward to straighten things out and start over.

While going straight forward, memorize the image of how the trailer looks in your side mirror; that will give you a reference for going straight backwards (which also means you can tell if the trailer is turning one way or the other.)

Once you get used to it, the only thing you have to worry about is backing the wrong way just after removing the trailer.

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Old 27 November 2011, 05:10   #16
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overturned trailer and caravan accidents are not rare and are invariably on the downhill side of a hill!
Going up hill you're fine as the vehicle is actively pulling the trailer and with a decent outfit one can normally keep the speed up and pass all the lorries that are stuggling up the incline.
But on the downhill side the trailer is going to try to push the vehicle and it will snake unless you have things sorted in advance. Noseweight needs to be positive.. as much as the trailer and the car are rated for as there are limits for both... and you need to get tucked in to an inside lane and speed killed BEFORE starting the downhill run. It may be too late afterwards if the rig starts to snake. All those stories of accelerating out of a snaking situation will just try to kill you going downhill as you will end up snaking at an even faster speed that when you were only just slightly frightened! If you get into that scenario try slow gently without using the brakes and keep steering movements to a minimum. Remember to look ahead and plan for hills and then its all easy.
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Old 27 November 2011, 05:20   #17
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I've alwasy found that the longer the trailer the easier it is to reverse. The greater distance between the car and trailer axles helps a great deal. I have absolutely no problem reversing my boat trailer, but quite often stuggle with my small box trailer. A slight twitch of the steering wheel and it goes off at acute angles. And as Jyasaki said, once the trailer starts to go in the direction you want it to, you will have to steer the car in the opposite direction to straighten the rig up and keep it going the right way.

The other thing to remember is to take corners nice and wide. Don't wipe out any grannies standing on street corners.
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Old 27 November 2011, 05:45   #18
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A trick I learned was to grab the steering wheel at the bottom; then to move the trailer to one side or the other, push your hands in that direction.
Handy tip!
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Old 28 November 2011, 11:41   #19
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I've alwasy found that the longer the trailer the easier it is to reverse.
True. Things happen slower with a longer trailer. More time to correct, and the effects are not as quick which gives you more time to gauge when you're heading in the right or wrong direction.

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Old 28 November 2011, 14:13   #20
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I have a small box trailer thats a bitch to reverse with as its small.
very very easy even at very slow revers speeds to get it where you dont want it.
But my roller coaster with a rib on I can park on a six pence.
I also had a 7mtr caravan that was a doddle to reverse park.
used to see people attempt to reverse caravans and fail.
its simple. keep it slow. keep your eye on where the trailer is going and dont over correct.
Good to try backing up round corners on a industrial estate at weekends.
backing into side roads etc.
it will be worth it when you come to back down a slipway.
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