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The recent 2021-22 Annual Bulletin included an account by an AOA Member of a recent accident whilst towing an Atalanta. A ‘snaking’ developed between car and trailer which dragged both from the road. Fortunately their were no injuries and the car was unharmed but the trailer was a write off and the boat damaged. In the article the Member assess the causes, associated with speed and trailer nose-weight.
The article has already attracted some interesting responses.
The was a link to two YouTube videos demonstrating the issue.
- A simple summary https://youtu.be/6mW_gzdh6to
- A more long-winded but detailed assessment https://youtu.be/JeEEC5eVNCk
The second response was from David Biddle, son of the owner of A39 Epenetus in the 1960s and 1970s. In his email to our Secretary he recollected trouble with ‘snaking’ and a very imaginative solution. (The picture is a library picture of an unknown Atalanta and Land Rover in the 1960s.)
I will let David tell the story:
I was interested to read the article in the AOA Bulletin about the sad accident to A1. We towed A39 from Kent to Scotland, Brittany, the West Country and down to Cannes behind a classic old short wheelbase Land Rover which I am sure is a lot lighter than a modern Isuzu. Snaking was always a problem but at much lower speeds. Even on a totally smooth French motorway we could just about touch 40mph much to the irritation of the French! Even then any deterioration in the road or even straying over the lane markings could provoke the beginnings of a snake and two and a half tons of boat can make a Land Rover feel pretty small.
Our remedy was to rig a device which would brake the boat without having to brake the car. Basically we had a vertical metal pole welded to the brake lever at the front of the trailer. There was a pulley on the fixed vertical post at the front of the trailer so that with a rope which ran from the passenger round the pulley to the lever we could brake the trailer. There was also a direct rope to release it.
Of course this was relatively easy with an open backed canvas roofed Land Rover but it may not be so easy with a modern closed vehicle. This was our guess as to how to solve a potential problem and not based on any facts. Since I read the article I have been looking to see whether articulated lorries have sophisticated braking systems to control jackknifing only to find that jackknifing occurs most frequently when trailers are empty but have drawn a blank.
I am impressed by the suggestion in one of your articles that the keels should be lowered onto the trailer, something that never occurred to us. It would certainly reduce the strain on the hull and I am sure it would also improve general stability. For one thing it would be difficult for the boat to move at all relative to the trailer
With kind regards
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