On the Road Again

Here are some tips and tricks for trailering your small one-design or PHRF boat to an out-of-town regatta.

araway regatta
Getting a faraway regatta should be the easy part, especially if you take your time to ensure a smooth delivery.Paul Todd/Outside Images/NOOD

Changing rules

Reviewing state laws regarding trailer rules might save you from getting a ticket. For instance, not all states clearly post lane usage regulations. California is one such state where trailers are generally prohibited in anything but the first two lanes, regardless of how many lanes are on the highway or freeway.

Route me

Like offshore sailing, weather routing is key. Always check for precipitation and high wind warnings. I recently drove from Southern California to Massachusetts and was lucky enough to chat with my father twice a day, who happens to be a router and navigator. By only adding two hours to my overall trip, I stayed far south and avoided a blizzard and high wind warnings.

Fill 'er up

Sometimes filling the gas tank can be daunting, especially in busy cities. So fill up in smaller towns just before the large cities. They generally cater to truckers and are easy in and easy out. There are some parts of the country where gas stations are far apart so I always starting thinking about filling up when down to a ¼ tank. Potential lifesaving tip: The gallon of un-treated fuel from your 4-stroke engine that is sitting in your trailer box can save you from running out if you’re pushing to make the next station.

Seventh-inning stretch

Driving for hours a day can take its toll on your muscles. When you fill up, take time to stretch, loosen up and get your alert level where it needs to be.

Rush hour

It’s difficult to do on longer trips, but always consider traffic. A trailer in big town traffic in big town small lanes is stressful. Work your travel plans around rush hour or even drive that extra hour to ensure you miss traffic the next morning.

Stop and smell the roses

This country is beautiful and filled with interesting history and natural landmarks. If time allows, look at what’s interesting along your route. I once drove from Houston to Southern California and and stopped at White Sands National Park and Carlsbad Caverns, which really made the trip more enjoyable. It also gives you a proper chance to stretch your legs and break the monotony of the long stretches.

Get your Zs

Driving tired is never good and always dangerous. Make sure you are always fully alert and stop when you need rest. I have learned to look for decent hotels on my route. I always sleep better and fall asleep faster at Holiday Inn Express type versus the Motel 6 type.

Health Nut

Fast food can make you feel tired and lethargic. It’s also easy to gain weight, as sitting behind the wheel doesn’t burn many calories. Keep a cooler with healthier foods that are easy to munch on. You’ll feel better and be more alert.

Buddy Buddy

Driving long distances can be daunting. Perhaps you can increase the fleet size by talking another boat into caravanning to the regatta—driving at the same time and keeping in contact. This will also be a benefit if you have any problems along the way.

Lights, Camera, Action

Getting a ticket for bad trailer lights or getting into an accident is silly and unnecessary. Make sure your lights are working properly. Checking and replacing bulbs is easy and cheap.

Spare Parts

Knock on wood, I have never needed a spare tire. But I always make sure it’s ready to go.

The Fuzz

Police officers seem to rarely target vehicles towing small boat trailers, but there is no need to tempt them. I generally see police cars sitting under overpasses, in areas where the speed limits are dropping (generally at the edge of towns or construction areas), and in places where the highways is separated and the officer can sit between the two sets of traffic.