We know a couple of owners have come to grief towing the Riva Destiny. The chap I bought mine from had fitted a stabiliser which he passed onto me with it. He said he had experienced snaking when towing and had bought the stabiliser as a result.
There are discussions on the use of stabilisers in the technical section of the forum and the very valid point has been made that a stabiliser can mask instability and give a false sense of security. What happens if it fails? Like any protective device its function is not to allow an unsafe situation to persist but to help mitigate the worst effects should an unsafe situation arise in exceptional circumstances.
To understand the Destiny better I have towed it a couple of times without the stabiliser fitted and I have learned what a snake feels like. Just a minor one, but I certainly wouldn't want to experience anything worse. I experienced it once well below maximum towing speed when I had to brake reasonably sharply, and again when I pushed the speed just a little above legal towing speed but on a clear straight road without any of the other features generally associated with the initiation of snaking.
Thinking about this I am close to concluding that the Riva Destiny, packed in what I believe is the originally recommended manner, could be considered to be inherently unstable.
When I first got the Destiny the members here helped me out with some questions I had on weight and stability. I thought at the time I might be overly concerned about such matters, after all it's not a caravan. Now I know I was right to be concerned and I suspect that the highside Destiny design may have less regard for such issues than the typical caravan.
I think improved weight distribution is called for. The main storage areas on the Destiny are under the bench seats and thus rear of the axle. We haven't got anything particularly heavy in there - mainly bedding - but it all adds up. I'll have a think about what can be removed.
A bigger issue is the packing methodology that was passed on to me by the previous owner based, I think, on the original Riva instructions. The table folds down onto the floor between the bench seats. The two seat back cushions go on top of the table and the kitchen side seat base cushion on top of them (the other seat base cushion remains in-situ). The cooker/sink unit lifts off its base and goes on top of the now bare bench seat. The wardrobe goes on top of the cushions that have been placed between the bench seats, and the loo door goes across the top of the stowed cooker/sink and wardrobe.
This is eminently practicable as it leaves most of the floor area clear for removing roof poles / folding the sides, and leaves all that space for camping chairs / water containers / step / etc. Again though, it is putting some fairly heavy components rear of the axle.
The other potential issue is side-to-side weight distribution. I don't know if this is considered highly relevant to towing stability but I would have thought it to be a contributor. With the loo, fridge, and cooker / sink unit all on the kitchen side I imagine it is significantly heavier and I certainly won't have helped by putting a large battery in the bottom of the kitchen storage unit!
So, in addition to looking at how and what is stored under the seats, my thinking is that I need to fit a quick release connector on the gas hose to the cooker unit (the water pipe already has one) and look at storing this on the floor over the axle, hopefully the wardrobe can also go here, perhaps just leaving the loo door across the seat cushions at the back. I can also make sure that the under-sink kitchen cupboard is empty and try to get anything heavy in the cupboard on the other side.
I'd be interested in how anyone else with the Riva Destiny or other larger Dandy does their packing and any experiences of instability when towing these units.