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post #145 of Old 08-14-2010 Thread Starter
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To add to what Pat has said about trailers—

Tandem axle trailers should have brakes on all axles, not just one. This isn't always the case, and is illegal in many states.

The towing capacity of the vehicle needs to be well above the stated weight of the trailer and boat for any serious towing. I'd also point out that many boat and trailer combinations are far heavier than the manufacturer says.

Checking your trailer and boat against a calibrated truck scale is a good idea.

Weight distributing hitches are a great thing for heavier trailers.

Originally Posted by rgscpat View Post
One thing about towing that people might not think about is that the published towing capacity of a vehicle is really only a starting point. A little bit under doesn't mean you're necessarily okay. The trailer being towed, windage, wheelbase and weight distribution of the towing vehicle, tires, brake set-up, terrain and altitude, and weather will all have their say.

In general, you can get away with bumping your limit when moving a tow a few blocks to a boat ramp with moderate slope and good traction whereas you want to have a huge amount of reserve capacity for towing cross-country through mountains, weather, traffic, etc.

Overhead power poles are of course a sinister threat. Trailer tires generally need quite a lot more pressure than car tires, so check frequently. Protect tires from sun damage. And don't forget to be sure to have your hitch ball and coupler match, lock your coupler, and cross your chains. For a big cross-country trip, I could see wisdom in having pre-greased and bagged spare wheel bearings.

We once had a power outage at our lake cabin when someone towed a sailboat away from the lake -- until they encountered their first overhead powerline, which knocked the boat off the trailer.

We once know someone who tried to tow about 7500 lbs. with a 3500 lb. capacity towing vehicle. It sort of worked -- until they got to the first downhill and the trailer decided to pass them. Fortunately, the body damage that resulted was to the Cherokee and not to any people.


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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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