03/05/2021 at 4:05 pm #21705
I am looking for recommendations for combination trailers for the GP14. Do the road trailers have suspension on the axles? Does the hull paintwork become damaged while trailering, if so what’s best way to negate this happening.
03/05/2021 at 5:26 pm #21707sw13644Participant
Do road trailers have suspension on the axles? – yes. Search for ‘dinghy trailer suspension‘ on the internet.
Does the hull paintwork become damaged while trailering? – yes, it can. Search for ‘GP14 dinghy undercover‘ and fit an undercover to minimise the chances of damage. If you have a top end boat, it is custom and practice to use an undercover not only to protect the hull from chippings kicked up from the trailer wheels and vehicle wheels, but it keeps the hull clean from diesel smear and brake/tyre dust. Your undercover will become filthy, so that you boat does not have to.
03/05/2021 at 5:47 pm #21708
Fundamental points that I would look for in any combi-unit:
- A proper shaped cradle for the main support, of large surface area, in order to spread the load, and thus be kind to your hull (the best are excellent, but some are extremely basic)
- The main support a little abaft the centre of gravity, and abaft the road wheels axle.
- Choice of 8″ or 10″ wheels; 8″ are fine for run of the mill towing, but 10″ are probably preferable if you regularly tow long distances. However they will make the loading height an inch higher, which may make the unit just slightly harder to load.
The second of these points goes some way to addressing the issue of the long unsupported overhang, which is arguably an unfair stress on the hull. However the GP14 is arguably somewhat over-engineered, and most of us (myself included) are satisfied that a properly designed combi-unit with the support a little abaft the balance point gives an acceptable compromise which will not strain the hull.
Having the support abaft the balance point also gives useful noseweight to the boat and launching trolley as it sits on the roadbase, to discourage the bows from bouncing up and down on the trailer.
This may however result in the boat being somewhat bow-heavy when manoeuvring her ashore on her launching trolley. This is a consequence of proper support and of a suitable noseweight when on the road base; but if this is an issue for handling on her launching trolley there are at least two possible solutions. One is to fit a (removable) jockey wheel, and the other is to simply move the boat a few inches aft on the trolley when not towing by road.
Personally I like modest-sized vertical (padded) end pieces on the cradle, to ensure that the boat is properly centred on the trolley; but that can be a liability if you periodically need to beach the boat in surf. I normally manage to avoid needing to do so, but it is a question of making that choice as appropriate for your particular circumstances.
Many of the dinghy trailer manufacturers that I have known in the past seem to be no longer offering what I would be looking for, but I have today found two that are worth a look:
Note that the second of these is only the launching trolley, so you would then need a suitable roadbase as well.
Plus this one, which I know nothing about, but which is possibly worth further investigation: https://trailers.co.uk/Product/0000002178/275_470_Gunwale_Hung_Launching_Trolly I note that it does claim to be specifically designed for the GP14, but I would check that point with care! Again you would need the roadbase as well.
The attached photo shows a fairly primitive type of chock, which I feel is best avoided; I will not embarrass anyone by identifying the manufacturer!
Paintwork should not normally be damaged by towing by road, but it is vulnerable to road filth being thrown up, and in certain conditions it is potentially vulnerable to small chips being thrown up, either by the tow car or by passing vehicles. Many owners choose to use an under-cover for protection when towing. Most such under-covers require a two-person operation to fit it and again to remove it, but because I am often single-handed I had a modified one made which fits around the main chock rather than passing between the chock and the boat; the protection is not quite as good, but very nearly as good, and I can fit it and remove it single-handed. Get back to me if you want details
Hope this helps,
04/05/2021 at 1:02 pm #21725
Graham Knox alerts me that West Mersea Trailers are currently the main supplier. Decades ago they were the headline supplier, and then seemed to go through various reincarnations, but at one point appeared to drop out of the marine market and (if memory serves correctly) sold the design to another company – possibly Dixon Bate – and gave an undertaking not to return to the marine market for 3 years.
Subsequently Mersea Trailers, who at one point appeared to be not the same company as West Mersea Trailers (very confusing) I think took over Snipe Trailers.
A search for West Mersea Trailers now defaults to Mersea Trailers, and they do indeed have a GP14 twin cradle combi-unit; https://www.merseatrailers.com/store/GP14-Twin-Cradle-p155321826 and then match this to their 250 roadbase https://www.merseatrailers.com/store/250-Road-Base-8-Wheels-p154470339 or https://www.merseatrailers.com/store/250-Road-Base-10-Wheels-p154470343 depending on your choice of wheel size. The design of the cradles is slightly different from the earlier West Mersea one, and now seems to be a compromise between having side pieces to help in centring the boat while minimising the risk of damage if recovering her ashore in surf; it might work well.
Graham also draws attention to Sovereign Trailers (part of Welsh Harp Boat Centre); and, of course, Indespension (who make the suspension units) is headquartered in Bolton.
Hope this is helpful,
14/07/2021 at 10:25 pm #22098
So the trailer has arrived. I went through a third party who tows boats for a living and his advice was to go for a Sovereign Trailer ( part of the Welsh Harp group) which Graham Knox mentioned via Oliver. I am very pleased with the trailer and it was slightly cheaper than other makes mentioned.
So thank you once more for advice given.
14/07/2021 at 10:30 pm #22099
Resized and hopefully smaller.
15/07/2021 at 10:17 am #22103
The photo reminds me that recent trailers are now legally required to mount the lighting board and number plate on the trailer itself, as indeed this one is. That is fine when the trailer is empty – but that is something which one would do anyway with an empty trailer; the only difference is that there is now a suitably engineered mounting system rather than having to tie it on.
However when the boat is on the trailer I remain convinced that the all-important lighting board is vastly more visible when mounted to the transom of the boat; it is then much closer to the height of eye of following drivers. I claim no legal knowledge – beyond knowing the old dictum that “the law is an ass” – but I cannot imagine that any reasonable police officer would apprehend a driver for having the lighting board mounted where it is most visible!
Certainly that is what I do with my trailer-sailer yacht, even though the trailer is indeed equipped to mount the board on the trailer itself.
15/07/2021 at 11:15 am #22104
You are spot on regards the lighting board. I have in the last hour received an email from Sovereign Trailers saying “so forgive for stating the obvious but the lighting set extension arms are only to be used when the trailer is used without the boat on it, when the boat is on the trailer then the lighting board goes on the transom and the brackets are completely removed.”
This makes sense as I could not separate the combination without taking the board brackets off, and you would need to get under the hull with a spanner to do so.
So that brings to mind a question. With the covers in position how is the lighting board fixed in place. As my covers have yet to be made perhaps a fixing strap either side of the transom (in the appropriate place) could be included when fabrication takes place!!!
- This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by Windychippy.
15/07/2021 at 3:21 pm #22106
You will also need to support the heel of the mast when towing.
Nearly 20 years ago I made up a combined unit for both purposes, which attached to the rudder hangings (using its own pintle and gudgeon). See attached photo; although this shows the boat without any covers that is only because the top cover had been removed prior to taking the photo – it was in place while we were towing. No bottom cover on that boat though, it was my next boat for which I had the bottom cover.
The vertical board attaches to the rudder hangings, and extends above the transom, where it terminates in a cushioned “U-crutch” which supports the heel of the mast. The cushioning was plastic convoluted hose, which I slit lengthwise, and then tacked onto the wood. The horizontal board is the lighting board. If you wanted to use a proprietary lighting board – and I presume from the photo that you already have one – the system could be readily adapted to incorporate a mount for that board.
There is of course a long run of cable from the transom forward to the car, and that needs controlling in some way. Two obvious choices – and I have used both at different times – are to run it under the boat cover (this will usually have an aperture at the aft end to accommodate the boom, so the cable can be fed through this, or alternatively on top of the boat cover but constrained in any convenient manner so that it doesn’t “go overboard”. On my towing cover I have attachment points for shockcords going over the mast, to keep the centre of the cover up and so prevent rain water pooling in it, and I feed the cable between these shockcords.
Don’t forget to secure the cable to the trailer close to the tow hitch, so you don’t have problems with the cable on tight turns.
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