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TOWING AND SAILING EXPERIENCE

 

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 The above photograph shows my current Swift Challenger 4oo SE Small Touring Caravan which I have owned for about 14 years and the current Land Rover Discovery which I have owned for 11 years. 

 I previously towed the Swift with a Rover 3500 SDI SE V8. Although I followed the CC’s advice this van (the Rover 3500 should have been an excellent tow car)  started snaking on the motor way as soon as I was over taken by anything fairly large.  I always countered by slowing down until the oscillations died away. Most people do not realise that slight oscillations are potentially very dangerous; if a following large vehicle with a bow wave in phase with the previous oscillations over takes before the snaking  has subsided, a catastrophic snake could immediately take place.

Addendum 25-1-08

I should have reported above that my Discovery is a better tow car; I was reminded of this by another respondent to T&T.com. The aerodynamic factors are very different when towing a caravan with a car than they are when towing with a mini bus or 4×4. These factors should be quantified so that clear advice can be given to the public.

I also started a Forum on www.practicalcaravan.com  (the Practical Caravan Magazine) and  had a reply from the Editor of the PC Mag suggesting that aerofoils on caravans needed to be over the axles. I would add to this that the aerofoils need to be just forward of the axles to ensure that there is a chance of the correct weight on the towing hitch being maintained as speed increases.

 Another reply to the Forum welcomed the new editor (it seemed to me that this was a response representative of the Caravan Industry). The above item then disappeared.

I intend to appeal for assistance from owners of large sailing cruisers (with weights comparable to HGV trailers).  I feel that HGV drivers need to be advised of the area of sail that these large boats use in a gale force wind (about 44mph) to push them along  in smooth sheltered water comparable with a road. I am sure that the relevant sail area will be much less than the side area of most HGV trailers and would  remind drivers of the fact that although exposed stretches of road get closed to high sided vehicles by the police in Storm Force winds,  gale force winds will most probably cause some HGV trailers to snake.

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The above photographs show the Bradwell 18 Sailing Cruiser that I owned between 1976 and 1988. In making these reports I am heavily relying on my towing experience aswell as my knowledge of Physics.

At various times I towed the Bradwell 18 with a Vauxhall Victor 101  1600cc; a Morris Marina 1800cc; an Austin Princess   6 cylinder 2200cc and a  BL Ambassador 2000cc which was a development of the Princess. 

In addition my deductions concerning the air speed at which a caravan is likely to become subject to snaking depend not only on my towing experience but on a knowledge of the effect of the wind on sails of roughly the same area as the side of my current small touring caravan.

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