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Horror Tow

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by Phil Herring, May 10, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    957 posts, 267 likes
    Hunter 212 & 170
    us West Palm Beach
    Back when I was a kid, my uncle had one of the older boat trailers that wasn't really intended to go all the way into the water. It just sort of got far enough back so that the bow could float onto the first set of rollers. Then you would CRANK the hand winch to pull the boat up the rest of the way. I remember one day, the polypropylene winch rope broke. The tag end came flying by my uncle's face & ripped the cigar right out of his mouth. The look on his face after that was priceless. It's a good thing that the rope didn't move an inch further over. That would have been ugly.
     


    Will Gilmore likes this.
  2. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    957 posts, 267 likes
    Hunter 212 & 170
    us West Palm Beach
    A couple of years ago, I was down at Jim Barry park, waiting to launch. There was a big line because some guy that didn't speak English was spinning his tires, trying to pull a boat up a ramp. Now, I have used this same ramp for years, & my tow vehicle is nothing special. I have never had a problem there, but here is this guy in a Ram 3500, spinning his wheels & then stepping on the gas harder, which made him slide sideways. Eventually, someone pulled him out so that the rest of us could use the ramp.

    A couple of weeks later, I stopped down at the stub canal near the east end of my local airport to do some shore line fishing. I saw the same guy stuck there too, spinning his wheels like mad. I'd love to be the guy that sells him his tires.

    I pulled him out with my Volkswagen Jetta. The guy had a 2 wheel drive truck & a lot of negative tongue weight. I tried to explain the problem to him, but I just could not communicate with the guy. That rig of his did not belong on the road at all. He was a moving hazard to all.
     


    Will Gilmore likes this.
  3. agprice22

    agprice22

    Joined Aug 3, 2012
    2,067 posts, 385 likes
    Performance Cruising Telstar 28
    US Watkins Glen
    That happens when the truck is manual transmission and the parking brake cable breaks. Seen it happen more than once. Driver puts the tranny in N, locks the brake, and gets out. Cable snaps, trucks rolls in!
     


  4. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,735 posts, 1,167 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    [​IMG]

    - Will (Dragonfly)
     


  5. Valerio

    Valerio

    Joined Feb 10, 2017
    66 posts, 16 likes
    Hunter 41
    Mx Progreso
    This was like 10 years ago, we were in altamirano , guerrero, mex. We were on the ramp of Balsas river trying to lunch our family jet aluminium boat in order to follow one of the biggest river races in the world. The son of the owner of the 15 foot aluminium jet boat with a 405 inch motor, was driving the van into the ramp, we all were standing into the boat. The son put one foot in the ramp and put the van into reverse. Because of the ramp angle the van take a jump down, the son was detached from the van and standing from the ramp and sow us being launched with the van into the rapids of the river. We were lucky, some one take a dive and attach a rope to the van who were now totally below the water and like 20 feet dowstream from the ramp. We were luky enough to be able to start the boat like one mile downstream before a set of big rapids. We could make back in time to stop the rescue mission of the one ton van. They were trying to pull of the water the van fully of water. We stop and we open all doors of the van. It would broke all the suspension with all the weight of the water inside.
     


    Will Gilmore likes this.
  6. jeepbluetj

    jeepbluetj

    Joined Jan 18, 2016
    440 posts, 122 likes
    Catalina 30
    US Dana Point
    Speaking of rigs that shouldn't be on the road..... way way way back when I was young and dumb I liked to waterski. A friend's parent had a small skiboat, and towed it with some massive Chrysler thing. Well one day on the freeway (while towing the boat) the trans on the Chrysler locked up solid which rolled the car, totataling it. Boat was amazingly unharmed.

    So my buddy and me still want to go skiing and look around for another tow vehicle. I had a 1.8L Subaru Brat. Yup, we two idiots put a hitch on that tiny vehicle and went skiing. Boat wasn't all that big of a boat and it was in the middle of Ohio so the biggest hill was an overpass. Towed the boat just fine, actually. Got to the ramp, launched the boat, had a great day, and put the boat on the trailer - all no problem at all. Getting the trailer up the ramp, however, became another issue. Gentle on the gas, not gentle enough, front wheels spin, boat and Brat go backwards down the ramp. I lost maybe 4-6 feet of ramp sliding backwards before remembering I could put the Brat in 4wd. Idiot self engages 4wd and it came out without a worry.

    Probably launched that boat with that Subaru 20+ more times over the next coupla years. One of the best vehicles I ever owned. Bought it for $600, sold it for $600, oil changes and two tires were the total maint for 3 years. Oh, and the cost of a trailer hitch.
     


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  7. pateco

    pateco

    Joined Aug 12, 2014
    2,098 posts, 549 likes
    Hunter 31 (1983)
    US Pompano Beach FL
    In high school, we towed a 19' Roballo fully loaded with dive gear, camping gear, and many cases of beer all the way to Islamorada behind my brothers 1980 Jeep Renegade V6.
    jeep.jpg
    Scariest ride I have ever been on. The boat and gear must have weighed 3 times as much as the tow vehicle, and wanted to push us all over the road. It was summer break, and while we had all told our parents that we were going camping/diving in the keys, none of them really understood what we were planning. Luckily we made it there alive. On the way back, we loaded all of the gear in another friend's car, and the beer was all gone, so while it was still overloaded for the jeep, it drove a lot better.

    Yes in fact you can learn important lessons from youthful stupidity.
     


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  8. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,735 posts, 1,167 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    That is the very vehicle I was driving while dating my wife in high school. Those jeeps were only good for cruising down main street with the top off. It was a horrible off-road vehicle. I rolled it in a snow storm going only 10 mph when it slid off the crown in the road and dropped its driver side wheels in the ditch. It's only redeeming quality was the front bumper winch. It got a good workout often.

    - Will (Dragonfly)
     


  9. Scott T-Bird

    Scott T-Bird

    Joined Oct 26, 2008
    3,380 posts, 480 likes
    Starwind 27
    US Barnegat, NJ
    I've wondered why a powerful truck will spin the wheels on gravel. Several years back, my stepson had a huge diesel truck that was made for towing. It had a huge towing capacity and could easily tow a 10,000 pound boat. One day, we wanted to move our ski boat from a side yard gravel area to the driveway and his truck was right there to do it. We hooked it up and tried to pull it, but the wheels just spun and made huge holes in the gravel. He was trying to just barely touch the pedal to get the rig rolling. But it was like it was chained down and no matter how slow the wheels turned, they just displaced grave. It is a level area, maybe just a little uphill. But I had never had any problem towing the boat out of that area, no matter how wet the day could be.
    My normal tow vehicle was a Ford Edge at the time, which just barely has the capacity to tow the 3,900 pound rig. After we gave up with his truck, I got the Edge out, hooked up the rig and pulled the boat out with barely any effort at all. To this day, I still wonder why that big truck could do nothing except displace gravel. Is it the weight of the vehicle and all that power in the rear axle that makes the difference? I can't understand why we could not even get the boat trailer to even start rolling before the wheels dug holes in the gravel. BTW, that gravel was not loose until his wheels started moving it. It was densely packed gravel that didn't give under any weight.
     


  10. kappykaplan

    kappykaplan

    Joined May 1, 2011
    787 posts, 120 likes
    Pearson 37
    US Lusby MD
    Torque! Diesels have boatloads (pun intended)!
     


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  11. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,735 posts, 1,167 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    I have a dirt driveway that is uphill to the road, about 300' long. In Winter, my kids, their friends, even our own friends have trouble getting out of our driveway. I get behind the wheel of the car my son and his friends have just spent 20 minutes trying to get up our driveway and I drive right out. I don't spin or rev. It looked, to people watching, like a simple drive right up and out. I know how to back down to the flat spot, to get my momentum, to put just enough pressure to keep it moving and also, where the ground is likely to be good and avoid the glossy ice spots.
    Tires make all the difference.

    - Will (Dragonfly)
     


  12. pateco

    pateco

    Joined Aug 12, 2014
    2,098 posts, 549 likes
    Hunter 31 (1983)
    US Pompano Beach FL
    Not enough weight over the rear wheels of the truck. Especially if it had dual rear wheels, the lbs per square inch contact pressure with the gravel was too low causing not enough traction. Adding a bunch of weight to the back of the pickup would have solved the issue.
     


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  13. Meriachee

    Meriachee

    Joined Aug 1, 2011
    2,593 posts, 700 likes
    Catalina 270
    CA Wabamun - on the orange ball
    The 350 with just over 800 ft/lbs of torque can easily spin the tires from a standing start with the boat on, and it pretty much has to be in 4wd low on the gravel at the ramp, or it'll just sit there and spin.
     


  14. Rick Webb

    Rick Webb

    Joined Jun 2, 2004
    2,678 posts, 104 likes
    Hunter 23.5
    US Fort Walton Yacht Club, Florida
    It is just like big fat tires in the snow vs thinner ones spreading the weight out over a larger area. Conversely the wider tires can keep you from getting stuck as the tires do not sink down creating a rut.
     


  15. geehaw

    geehaw

    Joined May 15, 2010
    231 posts, 5 likes
    O-day 25 shoal keel
    US Valdez
    I was towing my river boat back from a trip. Had a 3/4 ton pick up with a huge camper. So was just at the out skirts of town and some guy is waving at me and pointing to the back of my rig. With this camper I cannot see the boat. So I pull over and go look the boat was gone and all I was towing was 3’ of tongue. Well turned around thinking the worst. Trailer hit someone head on or worse. 10 or 15 miles back was the boat on the shoulder like it was purposely parked there. I could see where the tongue was digging in. The boat had gone down in the ditch and then back out and parked it self waiting for me. Used most of my saved up luck that day.
     


  16. Scott T-Bird

    Scott T-Bird

    Joined Oct 26, 2008
    3,380 posts, 480 likes
    Starwind 27
    US Barnegat, NJ
    I think you are right and it did have dual wheels. He didn't even have a bed on that truck. He was always intending to find a bed to put on it. It was just a cab and a chassis! He was just a 20-year old kid at the time with a desire to have a toy truck. He finally got tired of the fuel bills, and I think he had a huge shock over the price of tires and other maintenance items. He finally sold it and I rejoiced! I wasn't happy living with a tractor-trailer rig in my driveway. I used to fume when he would let that thing idle in the driveway. Sue would say "just let him grow out of it". It's funny how I can laugh about it now. He is a really great young man and he always can light up a room. Everybody is all smiles and laughter whenever he is around and compassion flows from him like a spring.
     


    Will Gilmore likes this.
  17. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,735 posts, 1,167 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    Awesome! :thumbup:

    - Will (Dragonfly)
     


  18. Kermit

    Kermit

    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,619 posts, 1,802 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    The horriblest story I have is when I towed mine to VA for @Crazy Dave Condon to work on. I left the sunbrella companionway cover on. Pretty dang shredded from the wind when I arrived. I know, I know. It’s not a horror story. But fortunately it’s the worst I have.
     


  19. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    957 posts, 267 likes
    Hunter 212 & 170
    us West Palm Beach
    I drove CJs with 258s in them for years. I had real good luck with them. I'm looking for a new tow vehicle now & would consider a Jeep again, if the towing capacity ratings were not so low. Back in the 80's, I towed a lot of stuff with those things. As long as you had good trailer brakes, they did a good job. If your trailer brakes were not up to the task, then they were a jack-knife waiting to happen.
     


  20. JimInPB

    JimInPB

    Joined Aug 22, 2017
    957 posts, 267 likes
    Hunter 212 & 170
    us West Palm Beach
    Pickup trucks usually don't have a whole lot of weight on the drive axle, unless you put some there. Setting up your trailer with correct tongue weight is a great start. Carrying some of your boat gear in the bed of the truck is another step in the right direction.
     


    Will Gilmore likes this.

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