Technical Articles
Safety Chains, and Trailer Towing
By Rick Burgess
Aug 21, 2007, 17:57

After most regattas end we all have great stories to tell once we get back to our sailing clubs, and having sailed in the North Americans in Vancouver it was going to be just that. Great stories about tankers, currents, sandy beaches, etc, Oh silly me.

After a really wonderful regatta and a truly great final dinner I drove back to my hotel to change my clothing and then start my drive down to the Los Angeles, California area. I did glance down at the trailer hook-up while throwing my travel bag into the back of the van. All looked OK and the so called safety wire was in place, or so it seemed.

Well I went about 1/2 mile when I hit a very small bump in the road, and much to my horror I saw in the rear view mirror my boat and trailer taking a different route than I was. The safety wire did not even start to slow it down and I watched it jump over a curb, go over a walk way, pass between two trees (almost untouched) and then plow through a flower garden and come to a quick stop at the base of a set of concrete stairs, ugh.

Well in the end the damage was minor as to what could have and maybe should have been and no one was injured. After digging the dirt out of the slightly bent hitch and rewiring the light harness, and reattaching the almost straight mast, I reattached the trailer to the van, added a real safety chain and continued on my way.

So if your trailer came to you with only that wire, I would strongly suggest that you invest in a real safety chain as it's well worth the money. Also if your trailer has one of those buttons that shows "green" when attached to the tow vehicle properly, take a second look it also is well worth the two seconds.

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