Originally Posted by Nick Hearne
What happens when you revers the trailer?
In the uk you have auto revers which means the brakes will not work going backwards!
They do work in reverse but not as sharply as forward and a rig can run backward a bit before the autoreverse mechanism allows the brakes bite. The autoreverse mechanism on most trailers (in Europe - the US often use electric relays) prevents the leading brake-shoe from self actuating by pulling it back slightly from the brake drum in reverse.
I had a wire rope snap while helping recover a friends RIB last week. Right after I made the safety tie down fast I went for another notch on the winch to snug it against the bow stop while the trailer was still in the water. It just snapped without warning. I say without warning but it was rusty like most winch wires are after the first dip in saltwater. If we'd pulled up the slip way wihtotu a bow safety a slight jerk would probably have snapped teh able and sent the RIB careering down the slipway.
If you have a wire rope on a winch I'd swop for a strap because even if it never snaps, wire rarely spools on evenly and you can wind up with the rope wedged immobile into the winch drum at the worst possible moment. It's also a lot more destructive than a strap if it breaks under load.
One thing I'd also emphasis after recovery is to tie down the bow at least to teh drawbar but really to use a check strap from the bow back along the trailer. Both measures reduce the chance of the boat riding over the back of your car in a crash stop. I'm shocked at how often I see boats unsecured at the front other than the winch or where the bow is tied down it's not prevented from going forward if the winch or indeed its post gives. Keep in mind that most tiedowns at the transom are already trying to force the boat up and over the winch post even without heavy braking.