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New Buccaneer Collection Drama by Newbies


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After waiting for over 4 months since we put our deposit down on our new 2019 Buccaneer Aruba, the day was set for delivery, February 1st 2019. We were really looking forward to it.

 

Mrs CD decided it would be a great idea to book a site local to the dealer for two nights. The Friday and Saturday. That would give us a great opportunity to fully test the caravan and get to grips with everything in close proximity to the dealer. Just in case.

 

Great idea. Booked.

 

Key facts. This was our FIRST caravan. EVER.

 

I had only towed ONCE before. Two weeks ago at the Manchester Caravan show for 20 minutes dragging a small van with a Volvo around the Trafford Centre. Literally to try to get a feel for it. No issues. All good. Still never hitched a caravan up though. Never used E&P levelling. Never used Motor Movers. Nothing.

 

Arrived at the dealers on Friday at about 12pm. Car packed with everything we needed for the weekend. The plan was to have a detailed handover, get the van set up at the site and then Mrs CD would drive the 70-odd miles back to West Yorkshire to collect the 14 year old Daughter, after she returned home from school, and the Dog and drive back to the site for our two night adventure.

 

In the week leading up to the Friday we watched the forecasts VERY closely and the snow that had been forecast on and off for a number of days, looked like it had hit the South and the North of England looked clear and would miss out on the white stuff for the weekend. Wrong.

 

It started snowing quite heavily during the handover process at Catterick, but wasn’t lying so didn’t seem too bad. After a few more hours, around 2:30pm we decided that we would pospone until another weekend and left the dealership after 90% of the handover was completed.

 

We decided to take the 10 minute detour to the campsite on our way home to see what it was like . Scar Close in Hudswell. Nice little CL. Great spot hardly any snow. Perfect.

 

Sod it we thought let’s go and get the van. Called the dealer and said “get everything ready” we ARE taking it this afternoon.

 

We literally rushed through the final bits, paid the balance on the Caravan and hooked up and left the dealership at 4pm. We knew we had to get to the site in 15-20 minutes to give ourselves 40 minutes of final day light to get it all set up. Remember, we’ve never done this before. First time.

 

Driving with the MASSIVE van for the first time. How was that? Good. All good. It felt fine. I was very focused and careful but I was okay with it. Taking it easy.

 

As we came into the centre of Richmond Sat Nav was trying to take us down a road we didn’t like the look of. I drove past to get to the next option, but in the confusion Sat Nav had re-routed to take us around a loop and back down the original road. I turned right up a hill to follow the re-route. BIG mistake. As we climbed higher and higher, We had to stop to take stock. The next right hand turn was way too tight and steep to attempt. We couldn’t turn right. We couldn’t go back. No room to turn around. The only option was straight on. In a hope to find a turning point.

 

After another 5-10 minutes of climbing on what was now a narrow country lane and in at least 4-5 inches of snow covering the entire road, narrowly missing a rogue Pheasant running across the snow covered road, we had to stop again. We let a car past us and asked if there was anywhere further up that could enable us to turn this massive rig around. “Yes, follow me” said this chap, “There’s a t-junction half a mile further up this road”. Great, Tried to set off, no chance, even the Range Rover Sport was having none of it. Spinning out and even in Snow and Gravel mode; No chance. Every time I tried to get going the car was sliding and the caravan was starting to drag us back down the lane. Job was knackered. Snow was now coming down VERY heavy and it was starting to get dusk. It was about 4:30pm.

 

Mrs CD had a great idea. Unhook it, and turn it on the Motor Movers. Then get the car past and hook it back up. Go back down the lane and find our way. Great idea Mrs CD! That's what we did. My very first time of unhitching and using the motor movers was in the dusk, in heavy show and on a hill covered in snow. What a baptism of fire. I mean really?

 

At this point the adrenaline had kicked and I went into survival mode, or Bear Grylls mode. The motor movers were FANTASTIC. I mean they really saved us that night. The drama continued quite a while as I was assisted by a few very kind locals in getting the caravan turned and re-hitched.

 

We made it back down and through Richmond and by the time we got to the site, the snow was VERY heavy and we had about 6 inches on the ground. Enough to cover your foot when you walked in it. Oh and by this time it was pitch black outside. We arrived on site at 5:20pm. After leaving the dealer at 4pm 10 miles away!

 

By 7pm everything was up and running. First time. I set off to do the journey back to West Yorkshire to collect the Daughter and Dog. Arrived back to the site at 11pm (delayed slightly after the A1 was shut due to an accident!) and opening the wine. Mrs CD had set up all the new bedding, put all of the cutlery and crockery away and made our new home 100% ready.

 

You couldn’t write it. But we did it. What an introduction.

 

WE LOVE IT. We love our new found adventure. We love our new caravan. Although it was dropped back at the dealers on Sunday to get some snagging sorted and we collect it again next weekend.

 

The CD’s.

 

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You certainly showed resourcefulness and proved that most things about caravanning are basically common sense. Well done!

The things that jumped out at me reading your account was that you believed the Sat Nav without question, so maybe there's a lesson there for future trips away. I note that you have the "Sport" model of towcar, so wonder what tyres were fitted, and was there sufficient grip for the conditions. With the wrong tyres, four wheel drive simply means that four wheels will loose grip instead of two (I speak from experience here). Finally you have noted that none of us is immune from problems with caravans, no matter how small, and "snagging" was needed for your caravan. Our first new caravan (bought in the 1980s) was totally fault free when we picked it up but every one since then (and there have been many) has needed attention of some sort to bring it up to standard. They may only have had minor problems such as missing screws, or misaligned catches, but none have been perfect since the first one. Apart from faults that have developed in use that required specialist attention, I have rectified all of the minor faults myself - even though that should not have been necessary had the PDI been carried out correctly prior to handover.

Welcome to the land of caravanners. I hope that things can only get better now after your first trip away!

Gordon.

Fourwinds Hurricane 31D Motorhome. Also MGTF135 1. 8i Roadster (fun) & Volvo V70 3.2Ltr LPG (everyday car)
Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan Talk.

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:lol: Thanks Gordon. Agreed on all points. Note to self. Get a map. Don’t rely on Sat Nav and get some winter tyres.  

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Were you using the Satnav in the car or a dedicated stand alone like a TomTom Caravan and Camping version?  We never sue the in car Satnav preferring to use the TT which has all campsites listed and you can enter the dimensions of car and caravan so that you are not taken down the "wrong road".  We tow a Buccaneer Cruiser with a Jeep.

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Sat Nav in the car.  

 

I want ant one of the specific caravan ones and I have read mixed reviews for both the TT and Garmin units.  

 

How does yours perform? Ever got you into a difficult situation or totally reliable?

 

 

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Well done you, that was quite an experience for your first solo outing!

 

We have our caravan on a seasonal pitch but when we did tow the old van I used a TomTom Camper/caravan sat nav . Even setting the caravan to 9 foot wide and 7 tonnes it still tried to send us down small roads on occasion, I'm led to believe that it doesn't know all road widths and that if it doesn't know the width it will send you down it.

 

Always use a sat nav purely as a guide but back your route up with checking on a decent scale map, google maps is also a good tool to use to check your final approach especially when you know your going into the countryside where roads may be smaller.

 

Welcome to caravanning, I hope you and the family enjoy it!

 

 

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I hope they gave you free tea and pizza on Sunday at the dealers (and the free drinks holders).

Sat Nav did the same to me on the way to Castleton in Sept, and the motor movers saved the day. Luckily it was nice and dry.

 

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Brilliant write up, you must be made of sturdy stuff if you aren't put off by your first adventure.

We use the car sat nav and sometimes a TT, especially for abroad as it shows which lane to be in on the autoroutes. It also has real time traffic updates so warns of delays on the journey.   Mrs GMC still uses a map on her knee and has often overruled the sat nav - and been right:)

I thoroughly recommend winter tyres for the car - both for solo and towing.

Looking forward to your write up of your next trip away.

 

Graeme

BMW X6 M50D + Buccaneer Schooner 2017

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1 hour ago, THECDs said:

Sat Nav in the car.  

 

I want ant one of the specific caravan ones and I have read mixed reviews for both the TT and Garmin units.  

 

How does yours perform? Ever got you into a difficult situation or totally reliable?

 

 

We've had the TT version for a few years now, we've used it with motorhome and caravan all over Europe and have been very impressed with its performance. It's never guided us down a route that was too narrow or that had a weight/height restriction BUT. .....

Be aware that they do tend to take you on slightly longer routes than a car satnav (to avoid narrow roads) so you tend to use more Autoroutes on the continent and VERY IMPORTANT - if you change your mind or miss a turn on the journey they just revert to guiding you on the shortest possible diversion, regardless of obstacles. AFAIK from talking to users of other makes of satnav they're all the same in that respect.

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What an adventure, really enjoyed reading your account on your first encounter with caravaning (really gripping unlike the car :o:D)  seems you had everything under control, excellent and  well done for not handing it back to the dealers and running a mile lol,  all the very best with your future outings :)

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When I read that you were following the Sat Nav, I knew it was about to go pear-shaped.

 

I had a similar experience when the Sat Nav tried to take us through a Farm on one of my early caravan trips. Luckily the outfit was tiny in comparison and I could 3-point turn without much faff.  

 

+1 for tyres over 4WD. I opted for Michelin Cross Climates as a way to avoid swapping/storing tyres.   So far they have been a talisman to keep snow away! 

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I've found that TT has a weird sense of humour when it notices country lanes, I prefer the Mio or Garmin.  

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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16 minutes ago, Paul_B said:

I've found that TT has a weird sense of humour when it notices country lanes, I prefer the Mio or Garmin.  

We have never had any problem with our Camping and Caravan TT as it recognises where it cannot go due to the width and length of the units.

58 minutes ago, segapod said:

Be aware that they do tend to take you on slightly longer routes than a car satnav (to avoid narrow roads)

When in Devon we tend to leave it on the towing caravan mode to avoid some of the tracks they call roads in Devon.   LOL! 

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Glad you arrived at the CL safely, we stayed at Scar Close last year and thoroughly enjoyed the site and surrounding areas.

The only advice I can give you is when you are five miles from site,  turn your sat. nav. off and read the directions to the CL in the Sites Directory.

Enjoy your caravanning and hope to hear from you again soon 

 

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Discovery 4 & Lunar Clubman SB.         Sailing close to the wind

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Great report, thanks for sharing it. Have had similar situations but mine have involved steep entrances to sites (as well as sharp turns) and these big twin axle caravans do not handle either of these well.

Full marks for perseverance though and be rest assured it will get better and better as the weather improves.

I think your maiden voyage could be described as ‘character building’!!!!

Powrtouch AWD Movers. E & P Compact Levelling System.

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I reckon after a first tow like yours it would be 50/50 as to whether most people would give up and buy a time share!

I always remember an  early mistake we made with our first caravan when I accidentally turned into a leisure centre carpark. It was very tight and the only way to get out was to unhitch and push the caravan round 180 degrees by hand.

No harm done to anything but our pride. Luckily we only had a small two berth back then. A good lesson learned and now I use a Caravan Garmin and I always like to know of any potential problems on route seeing as we have an 8ft wide Adria.

Well done for surviving treacherous conditions, I would have taken my new van home and waited for a nicer day. What a coward!

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formerly ClassikFan

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Smashing wee story and well done being a "Newbie" . ... Smashing set up for a first timer . .. Stay safe. .

 

GAS . .:)

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"to be auld and wise you must first be young and daft "

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Superb, all of it is character building!

 

I tend to look at google street view of anywhere on my journey which looks challenging - so I can get a flavour for the roads before setting off; it often helps doing the same thing into a caravan sites entry as I discovered at Cote Ghyll in Osmotherley!

 

I do this as I nearly got it very wrong in France after driving for 7 hours and ending up in a small town; luckily I ended up threading through streets, because if I had carried on I’d have come across a 1:3 hill no wider than the caravan!

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Let’s see 33 point turn at Symonds Yat,  threading through a French Street Market, Driving through the centre of Metz.   Having to back into a premier inn around a load of brand new white vans and they are just the ones that didn’t include insurance claims.   2 of those incidence Mrs Fred was at the wheel.  I think sometimes the more experienced I’ve got the more worried I get.   Perhaps ignorance is bliss?   

 

Enjoy the new van looks good.  

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Great story, one no doubt that will become family folklore. I also have the 8' wide Buccaneer and as one other has said consult google streetview when leaving the main roads. It will also prepare you for any tight entrances to the smaller sites. Twin axle vans are not very forgiving. I have had a few close shaves.   But well done sticking with it.

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15 hours ago, ian16527 said:

I hope they gave you free tea and pizza on Sunday at the dealers (and the free drinks holders).

Sat Nav did the same to me on the way to Castleton in Sept, and the motor movers saved the day. Luckily it was nice and dry.

 

Hope. No pizza or tea. They have been very good to deal with though. So I’ll let them off! 

15 hours ago, dazza76 said:

 

 

Well done you, that was quite an experience for your first solo outing!

 

We have our caravan on a seasonal pitch but when we did tow the old van I used a TomTom Camper/caravan sat nav . Even setting the caravan to 9 foot wide and 7 tonnes it still tried to send us down small roads on occasion, I'm led to believe that it doesn't know all road widths and that if it doesn't know the width it will send you down it.

 

Always use a sat nav purely as a guide but back your route up with checking on a decent scale map, google maps is also a good tool to use to check your final approach especially when you know your going into the countryside where roads may be smaller.

 

Welcome to caravanning, I hope you and the family enjoy it!

 

 

Cheers. We already love it. Can’t wait for the next trip. With a map. Lol.  

15 hours ago, gmc15 said:

Brilliant write up, you must be made of sturdy stuff if you aren't put off by your first adventure.

We use the car sat nav and sometimes a TT, especially for abroad as it shows which lane to be in on the autoroutes. It also has real time traffic updates so warns of delays on the journey.   Mrs GMC still uses a map on her knee and has often overruled the sat nav - and been right:)

I thoroughly recommend winter tyres for the car - both for solo and towing.

Looking forward to your write up of your next trip away.

 

Graeme

Thanks Graeme.  

14 hours ago, V8Vmarkie said:

What an adventure, really enjoyed reading your account on your first encounter with caravaning (really gripping unlike the car :o:D)  seems you had everything under control, excellent and  well done for not handing it back to the dealers and running a mile lol,  all the very best with your future outings :)

Cheers.  

14 hours ago, Custard Avenger said:

When I read that you were following the Sat Nav, I knew it was about to go pear-shaped.

 

I had a similar experience when the Sat Nav tried to take us through a Farm on one of my early caravan trips. Luckily the outfit was tiny in comparison and I could 3-point turn without much faff.  

 

+1 for tyres over 4WD. I opted for Michelin Cross Climates as a way to avoid swapping/storing tyres.   So far they have been a talisman to keep snow away! 

Winter tyres are definitely on the list!!!!

12 hours ago, VOLVOVANNER said:

Great report, thanks for sharing it. Have had similar situations but mine have involved steep entrances to sites (as well as sharp turns) and these big twin axle caravans do not handle either of these well.

Full marks for perseverance though and be rest assured it will get better and better as the weather improves.

I think your maiden voyage could be described as ‘character building’!!!!

Agreed. I think I said to Mrs CD at the time that this was character building. ..or was it that is was a right royal ****ing mess? Ha. Alls good that ends well.  

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Good on yer. 😀. It’d be easy to panic in that situation, no matter how experienced you are. On a first trip, must have been pretty daunting.  

 

What a tale to tell over over a few drinks in future though.  

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