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Tartan 27' owner
5,238 Posts
I was trying to keep myself from posting this story but since it wasn't my boat, trailer or tow vehicle I will spill the beans.
Sometime last month I was helping a friend move his trailer sailor to a property on LI from Yonkers, NY. My friend had replaced one of the tires which had become flat while the boat and trailer where sitting in his front driveway. As we were working on the wiring for the trailer lights my friends son remarked to me that: "That tire has not been torqued." (the kid works in a diesel mechanics shop). I thought that he was pulling my leg and was not present when the tire was replaced so I did not have a clue.
After much dithering about we decided that I would follow the tow vehicle in my car and we set out. We made it to the NY State Thruway without a problem and started what would have been at least a 3 hour drive. Shortly after we got up to highway speed (@ 60 mph) I noticed the trailer starting to act a little 'squirrely' and not following a smooth line. The next thing I knew the 'new' tire had come off the hub and was bouncing along through relatively modest traffic as it headed for the pull over lane. Meanwhile the trailer was shooting out sparks as the tire mount was the only thing holding up the port side of the trailer. The boat handled like a champ and stayed put on it's trailer as we both pulled over to the shoulder to inspect and assess the situation.
What we found was that there were no lug nuts on the tire mount (obviously they had not been torqued) and the tire was recovered about 100 yards behind where we had stopped. We had car jacks but no lug nuts and desperately wanted to get off the Thruway so I went in search of an auto parts store while my friends wife called AAA.
I found the auto parts place back by where we had got on the thruway and finally found the 1/2" open ended lug nuts used on this trailer. When I got back to my car I could see my cell phone and car keys sitting on the passengers seat! This is not something I do every day but of all days to pull this bone headed maneuver. About 2 hours later with the help of a good samaratin named John O'Shea I got back into my car and phoned my friend and bought this fellow a beer (which was all he wanted for all his time).
Meanwhile my friend was being helped by the thruway people who jacked up the trailer and put the tire back on and 'borrowed' a few lugs from the other tire and they were escorted off at the next exit.
I met them back at their house and I could only laugh at our folly and how lucky we were that no one else was hurt and the boat had moved to the opposite side of the driveway after a short but harrowing trip.
Lots of lessons were learned by all during and after this experience.
#1 - Do not take your trailer for granted.
#2 - Never lock your keys in your car, ever.
There were a lot of finer points but for the sake of brevity I will leave it at that.
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