bow attachment for towing

GP14 Sailing Forums Forum bow attachment for towing

This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Arthur 3 months ago.

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  • #18971


    I’ve tried to find some information on how to best attach the bow of a GP14 when towing.  There doesn’t seem to be a strong and substantial point where I can hook up the trailer rope and secure the bow to the trailer.  Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

  • #18972


    I’m sure you’ll get lots of advice from regular travellers.  I usually thread a short length of rope lengthways through the bow fitting and take it round the mast support to stop the boat sliding back.  I also wrap a 2″ wide strap, taking a turn round the trailer frame and over the front of the bow.  Years ago I shaped a piece of 4 x 2 about 15″ long to sit across the bow behind the bowplate and provide a parallel surface to avoid the strap slipping forward, but now I don’t travel far I don’t bother.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  norman.
  • #18974

    Oliver Shaw

    There are two separate issues here;   preventing the boat from moving bodily aft,   and preventing the bows lifting vertically (and thus bouncing up and down).

    Note that the usual type of mast support is not designed to withstand horizontal movement of the entire boat;   it is a fairly whippy structure designed to support the vertical load of the mast only,  and it is certainly not up to securing the boat in place.   Indeed I personally use a “body and soul” lashing to prevent the mast from whipping from side to side.

    See the paper “Travelling with your GP14” in the Members Area of this site, which discusses this (and other issues).

    Normally friction will be sufficient to prevent the boat moving aft any more than a couple of inches  –  but I stress that this is no more than the normal situation;   it is not to be relied upon.   Sixty years ago I lost a Heron dinghy (smaller sister to the GP14) straight off the back of the trailer while towing up the hill out of Red Wharf Bay.     One solution suggested in that paper is to use the painter,  or other rope,  provided this is secured to a strong point inside the boat  –  many cruisers will have a mooring cleat on the foredeck which can serve as a strongpoint,  but racers will usually not have such a fitting,  however the thwart will suffice as a strong point;   then lead it forward over the deck,  via the anchor fairlead if you have one (failing which lead it through a shackle or a carbine hook or even a rope loop secured to the stemhead fitting),  and then to any convenient forward strongpoint on the trailer.   Personally,  using a combi-trailer,  I secure it to the handle of the launching trolley.

    Preventing the bows bouncing up and down is already fully discussed in the above paper.

    Hope this helps,




  • #18975

    Chris Hearn

    Yes, check out Oliver’s very comprehensive note on Travelling with your GP, which covers the whole process of packing and trailing.

    Go to the Members Area/All About your GP14 and the “Travelling” article is at the bottom of the section Boat Preparation and Tuning, along with lots of other good stuff!

  • #18998


    Maybe this is an American thing, but Spark #5942 had a bow eye screwed directly mid bow. So far it has proven strong enough to both keep her on the trailer and pull her up if I did not want to completely submerge it into water.


    Please forgive how she looks, this was the best picture of it I had, taken back when I first picked her up after sitting in a barn for 25+ years



    • #19000

      Oliver Shaw

      While away cruising I am struggling with the vagaries of a mobile device – which I increasingly dislike  –  and patchy borrowed wi-fi.   Don’t you just love it when you type a reply and then abruptly lose the lot!

      Thank you,  Arthur,  and it is always good to hear from our American cousins.

      However I don’t think that fitting is specifically an American concept,  and it is well known in at least some revered UK dinghy cruising circles.     No less a person than Margaret Dye (perhaps most famous as the wife of the legendary Frank Dye,  but also justly famous in her own right as a revered dinghy cruiser in Wayfarers,  Wanderers,  and Gull Spirits,  and as a DCA member,  and as a published writer on dinghy cruising),  espouses this system in one of her books,   as a means of hauling a beached dinghy above the tide level.

      However possibly the majority of GP14 dinghies worldwide,  and especially in the UK and Ireland,  are used primarily for racing,  and do not have this fitting;   and even those used primarily for cruising rarely have it  –  perhaps because the boat is light enough to not normally need to be winched onto a trailer or launching trolley.

      Horses for courses;   a useful fitting for a minority of GP14 owners,  but probably not for the majority.



  • #19008


    taking a quick peek around the internet, this is as close to the bow eye on Spark that I can find. I am not endorsing this business, but they are good people to deal with if you should feel the need to purchase one.


  • #19010

    Oliver Shaw

    Thank you for that research.

    For anyone who wishes to go down that route,  stainless steel is likely to be cheaper (and more readily obtainable) than bronze, and more appropriate on a modern GP14,  although owners of vintage boats may well prefer bronze for reasons of historical authenticity.    In the UK,  one of the leading suppliers of traditional fittings,  including in bronze,  is Classic Marine,

    Personally,  if I were installing such a fitting on the stem,  primarily for winching a (heavier) boat onto a trailer,  I would go for the extra strength and reassurance of a stainless steel U-bolt rather than relying on a fitting with just a single fastener.      Most chandlers can supply them from stock;   this link is merely one example of many



  • #19011


    Definitely  Oliver. If I were to install one into a glassfibre boat, I would also consider backing it with a piece of hardwood to spread the stress over a larger area.

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