row2k Features
Trailer Hack: Rewire Your Brain to Back Up Better
April 8, 2021
John FX Flynn

As we touched on in a Hack two weeks ago, with the return of racing amongst the schools and clubs lucky enough to pull it off, this rowing show is back on the road--which means it is high time to dust off all your trailer driving skills and tricks.

With that in mind, here is a super simple, "why didn't I think of that" tip that makes backing up that now-fully loaded trailer a breeze: just grab the bottom of the steering wheel instead of the top as you look over your shoulder and, well, Back Up Better!

This is one of those secret bits of arcane wisdom that the boatmen have kept to themselves for years, but it is a workaround that every one who hops behind the wheel of tow vehicle should know. Sure, sure: trucks these days come with back-up cameras and some even sport that clever "make your trailer invisible" tech with their onboard cameras...but whether your truck has all those bells and whistles or is just an old-school workhorse, knowing this fool-proof way to control the back end of your trailer in reverse will never let you down.

How does it work? Well, it is a little bit like the backwards bicycle experiment on Youtube: grabbing the wheel from the bottom rewires the brain a bit...or, more accurately, lets you use the same wiring, but unusual grip means you are actually working--excuse the pun--in reverse, which is exactly what the rear of the trailer needs to head in the direction you want it to go.

We recommend practicing it of course and, let's face it, if you have not been "over the road" in a good year or so, then taking your trailer for a short spin to shake your own rust off is probably as important as the practicing you are having your athletes do before they put it all on the line. After all, it's hard to race if the trailer has a mishap out on the road, and that load you're hauling is not just expensive but downright priceless when it comes to having the season you want to have with no interruptions.

So, whether you are maneuvering out of that tight gas stop because you forgot this classic Trailer Tricking advice or dropping the trailer off at the regatta site by backing into the row of trailers that beat you to the easy spots, knowing how to back up is a pro skill--because, even if the goal of any smooth trailer trip is to never back up, those situations do present themselves.

Next time it does, instead of scratching your head or just hoping it goes well, just shrug like a wizened boatman and flip your grip, cause you got this!

Got any trailer tricks you swear by? If you have any ideas that get your trailer rolling right, share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

Have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion here? Send it to us!

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