It’s funny how some articles in the blog attract comments and some don’t… Can you guess which blogs in 2011 attracted most comments?? The ones about cars….. ha!!
So it was with some interest that I read the article in the January edition of Y&Y (published in December, page 68) headed “Vehicles for Towing”. It’s a good article – look out for it. They cover all the major issues to look for. It turns out that quoted weight towing limits for cars are for a specific incline, namely 1:16 or 6%. However, on an incline of 15%, which is 1:6, what happens to the maximum towing weight? In their example, a Saab, it falls from 1600kg to 1000kg – blimey….
Why all the fuss? Well, how steep is your slipway?? At our Club, our friendly convention when the water level is low is that first team out get the car and pull the whole fleet out. Our slipway at low water levels is pretty steep – and we recently reduced a brand new Volvo estate to a clutch smoker resting at the top of the slip….. (I hope it has recovered, Ian!!….) The last part of our slip is probably a lot steeper than 1:6….
The article also mentions that some car models, especially small cars (Ford Ka mentioned) have no type approval for towing….. I didn’t know that.
The weight of an FF Hull, keel, rudder and mast is around 330kg I think. I don’t know the weight of an FF trailer do you? (Ian Preston will know…) Y&Y suggests an SB3 trailer is 215kg, so lets suppose an FF trailer might be 170kg. Then allow maybe 30kg for kit, as proposed for the SB3. So we might be 530kg all up when we tow… Better keep that number in mind….
Best vehicle I’ve ever used to tow a F15 has been a D40 Diesel Nissan Navara. Heaps of torque, great economy, stacks of space in the back for gear, plenty of back seat space for family, reasonably priced….
Type approval for towing is a Manufacturer issue and has nothing to do with the gross all up weight of the vehicle and therefor the weights it can tow in the braked and un-braked trailer categories. If a Manufacturer wishes to obtain type approval for a particular vehicle it has to carry out a schedule of expensive tests to evidence it’s suitability; these tests not only include chassis items, such as brakes and spring s/absorber compatibility, but also strenuous engine cooling capacity tests.
It is not surprising therefore that Ford might not have chosen to pursue Towing Type Approval for their smallest entry level model. The KA and Fiat 500 are a joint project between those two manufacturers and share the same platform, suspension pick up points and drive train; it might be interesting to see if Fiat have had their half type approved?
Some years back Ford decided that it would not be worth obtaining towing type approval for their Capri 2.8 inj Special – a serious rubber burner of that time – and an early, but favourite, project from Ford’s Special Vehicles Operation. I spoke with the Director of SVO, who assured me that the 2.8 would be more than OK, as he had just towed his sports boat – stink pot – to Italy and back in one of their prototypes.
Good advice and without a shadow of doubt I can confirm that the Capri 2.8 Inj Special was the most consumate puller of a 15 that I have ever tried, plus it provided the benefit of an almost unobstructed rear view, because the rear window was mostly below the towed hull of a 15.
Just a question, can you launch a flying fifteen at a normal boat ramp?
You certainly can. We used to fix a 6-10m tow line to the trailer and towball and back the boat down the ramp with the trailer being guided by the other member of the sailing team.
A word of warning though, drop the jockey wheel down as low as possible to help protect the rudder from damage going in or out of the water…