GP14 Sailing Forums Forum Launch trolley cradle repair

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    • #26335
      Lesley Freeman

      Has anyone replaced or repaired the front fibreglass cradle on their launch trolley? One of the supports has completely rusted away, leaving only one side attached to the trolley. Ideally a replacement of the cradle and fixing brackets is the easiest fix, but possibly not the most economical repair. Does anyone know who supplies/ manufacturers these?

    • #26336
      Oliver Shaw

      I would expect that a new replacement cradle would be the easiest and probably the most satisfactory solution.

      A good starting point would be to ask all the trailer manufacturers who offer specific GP14 trailers whether they can offer a replacement front cradle.   A look at the photos on their websites will be an excellent guide as to whether they are your type of trolley.

      Manufacturers/retailers to try include Chris Brown (cbcoverstore),  Trident,  Sovereign,  Mersea Trailers,  West Mersea;   but please also do your own research online.   Many manufacturers’ specific GP14 trailers are near clones of the original (West Mersea?) design.

      However the design of the front cradle is much less critical than that of the main (aft/midships) cradle;   so you could also consider generic front cradles from any of the boat trailer manufacturers and/or retailers.   Again please do your own research online,  searching initially for “boat trailer manufacturers”;   but such names as Indespension,  SBS,  Mersea Trailers,  Extreme Trailers,  Snipe,  all come to mind.   Many trailer parts retailers,  and at least some manufacturers,  will offer parts.

      Hope this helps,



    • #26337

      Hello Lesley,

      You don’t say how the support is attached to the trailer nor what is the general state of the trolley. My old West Mersea trolley has the supports welded on, so an “off the shelf” replacement may be an unlikely option. If the cradle and its attachment are sound you could consider a local welding engineer making/attaching a support but take Oliver’s advice and do some research locally.

      Happy New Year,


      • #26338
        Oliver Shaw

        Agreed the problem of the corroded support would seem to be a matter for your local welding engineer,  or possibly your local garage.    Be aware that the original is likely to have been galvanised,  and it will probably be impracticable to reinstate that galvanising;   the best you can do in that department is paint,  using a zinc-rich primer,  and then take the trouble to keep that paint in acceptable condition long term.

        But the initial enquiry was asking about the fibreglass cradle,   rather than the support.

        I suspect that you may need to deal with both issues.



    • #26339

      I have some experience in this, given that I made dinghy road bases and trolleys for myself before the law was changed in 2012.

      I still work on my launching trolleys, but not commercially. For a steel fabricator or local garage the steel bit of this is fairly straightforward. Note that some garages specialise in trailers and they would be my first choice.

      Firstly I recommend that you look at the condition of the rest of the trolley. If there is rust on the *outside* of the galvanised finish, it may be sound, but poke about because sometime the rust has arrived at the outside from the *inside* of the hollow section and will be ready to break.

      Depending on how much requires replacement (and if it is just the area around the front cradle, maybe this is economical) the rusty materials can be cut out, replacement steel shaped and welded. Welding galvanised steel is a bit nasty – it’s worth grinding the galvanised finish around where the welding will happen, and inevitably the galvanised finish inside the tubes will also burn off from the heat – having a good ventilation system to take the smoke away is important as it will pour out of the ends of the tubes.

      You can question whether you need to replace the GRP “V” shape when many trailers have a front roller or rubber landing for the bow, which might be an acceptable alternative arrangement and much easier to achieve, or get a new one as described by Oliver, and incorporate the fixing method in the replacement steel design.

      However, all this welding is for nought if you don’t then re-galvanise the trolley, because the inside of the tube or section will now be bare steel and will immediately rust when immersed. Take all the non-steel off your trolley, remove any grease on the axels and any handles, and take the trolley to your local galvanising factory. There are not many in the country, you may have to travel far. I have used Wessex Galvanisers, part of the Wedge Group, many times and I’m very happy with the result. Typically I take the trolley on a given day of the week and collect it the same day the following week. The galvanising of a trolley for a GP14 will be about £180 (2022 price) or so.

      If your engineering work by a garage to replace the steel is about £200 minimum you are likely to be spending in excess of £400 or so to recover your road base. You might want to consider whether the effort and lost opportunity time is worth it. If you have a trolley which is on a roadbase of a manufacturer who are still in business, like West Mersea Trailers, then it might be quicker and easier to buy a new trolley – I have a 2009 West Mersea roadbase and the replacement 2023 launching trolley simply fitted perfectly. If you have a road base made by one of the hundreds of trailer manufacturers who were put out of business by the 2012 law change, then the width and length, and how the trolley mates to the road base at the back will be bespoke to that now defunct manufacturer, and fixing your existing trolley, up to including getting one manufactured from raw steel from scratch and using your existing road base, may be cheaper then scrapping both your trolley and road base and buying new.



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