A Tale of Two Axles and an Assymetric

Another reader has joined the followers – that makes three! Wow, another step along the monitisation of this blog. I keep getting “helpful tips” from WordPress on this – so far I have ignored them all.

But I digress.*

Now where were we? I think Riff Raff was back at Northney, on her trailer and ready to go. The returen journey from Mylor had been as nailbighting as the ouitward leg – trailer sway commenced at just over 50 (yes, I know it’s the legal limit for towing a trailer but one does try to keep up with the traffic) and Martina demonstrated her new found ability to control the sway on several occasions. I though I’d better check the car manual and found that this ability is a “feature”, so all is well on that front.

I looked up trailer sway on t’internet. A US discussion board (well, I think it was US but you can never be sure these days) recommended I fit a “swaycontrol bar” for a mere $300. One entry suggested that “yous not enough weight on the tow bar bud.”

So that gave me some food for thought. Readers of my blog about sailing round Britain in Vagabond will recall that Terence was her trailer too. We didn’t experience sway with that combination but the axle was only rated at 1500kg, not the 1700 or so that the trailer and boat weighed. I’d had the trailer manufacturer replace the axle with an uprated model. Perhaps this was the cause of the sway.

Suitably equipped with bathroom scales, blocks of wood and a jack, I zoomed down to Northney and measured the down thrust on the tow bar – 59 kg – quite light really for a 1700kg train weight. Riff Raff was thrown into the sea, u bolts undone and the axle slid backwards on the trailer by a couple of inches.

Then we went off sailing in light winds and attempted to fly the asymmetric. Flying it from the bowsprit (very traditional) was no problem – recovery was a very different matter – it didn’t quite go in the sea but it was a close run thing. Needs further thought (and practice).

Riff Raff was recovered, the tow bar down thrust measured – 65 Kg. Well, that’s better but the tow bar can take 80 so the axle could go further back……

Back at home I went looking for photos of Terence. It seems that the”new” axle is positioned at least 6 inches ** ahead of the old one.

So I think I’ll have move the axle still further back…..


* As usual

** Sorry, about 150mm (I think we’re still in Europe***

*** Although I suspect “metrification” and decimal currency will survive BREXIT.

2 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Axles and an Assymetric”

  1. Hi Rob

    I’m Ashley Johnson, Trevor and Judith’s son. Long time subscriber, first time replier …

    You’re on the right lines with the trailer, the pendulum effect is caused by the weight of the engine being so far behind the axle.

    I had a quick dig around, this video shows what’s happening – https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=i2fkOVHAC8Q

    Hope this helps 🙂

    Keep up the good work, I was very jealous of your Vagabond adventures, look forward to more jealousy-inducing adventures in RiffRaff

    Thanks Ashley


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great video I have to say I always keep my anchor in the front of Hardytoo to counterbalance the outboard but the trailer is very well behaved (no name yet for the trailer but I guess as my VW Cali is Hardy and the BayRaider is Hardytoo it will be along those lines)


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