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Transporting a vintage sailing dinghy

kalanka

Member
Joined
21 Jan 2005
Messages
217
Location
North West Scotland
I have a 60 year old clinker built sailing dinghy of sentimental and historical value. I need to move it from the Highlands to Greater London, with or without its trailer. The logistics of towing the trailer to London are discouraging. Can anyone suggest an alternative? Thanks
 

dombuckley

Well-known member
Joined
11 Apr 2005
Messages
980
Location
Norfolk
Hire an extra-long wheel base van. Mercedes Sprinter and Renault Master both have versions with a 4.2m load space (width about 1.8m).
 

sarabande

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Joined
6 May 2005
Messages
34,592
Location
up on the moors.
Is it a proper National ?

There are number of load-sharing websites where empty return trips are offered. e.g.

Loadup Delivery Quotes | Return Loads For Trucks, Vans & Removals

I would hesitate to keep the dinghy on its trailer for a really long journey, preferring to flatbed the boat into a wooden cradle/frame and put the trailer on top.


I suppose the alternative is to buy a 12ft trailer in Scotland, load and trail the boat to London, where the 12ft trailer can be sold at a premium.


I took an Enterprise from Sussex to N Yorkshire in 1966 before motorways, and it took me 2 whole slow days. Running a 1200kg trailer behind a standard car from deepest Somerset to St Andrews in the early 2000s was a day's journey. Do you have a trailer licence, or grandfather rights ?
 

fisherman

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2 Dec 2005
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15,714
Location
Far S. Cornwall
I had this problem with an 1898 wood boat, fragile condition. As it turned out it is quite stiff and I put it on a flatbed with tyres under. This dinghy would be good upside down on, say tyres, strap hull in compresssion. Inside a van is favourite, but, although I was dubious about towing a 20ft x 7ft6in trailer for 350 miles it was no trouble at all.
Every time I mention towing a trailer any distance everyone says "take a set of bearings".
 

sarabande

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6 May 2005
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34,592
Location
up on the moors.
Assuming a van length of 6.5m, the overhang of the mast does not need flags.

If no roof rack, then wool sheets or similar in heaps to support the mast, and lots of lines through windows, under van etc
 

JumbleDuck

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Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
23,170
Location
SW Scotland
I have a 60 year old clinker built sailing dinghy of sentimental and historical value. I need to move it from the Highlands to Greater London, with or without its trailer. The logistics of towing the trailer to London are discouraging. Can anyone suggest an alternative? Thanks
What are the logistical problems with towing it?
 

kalanka

Member
Joined
21 Jan 2005
Messages
217
Location
North West Scotland
No vehicle with tow bar; trailer needs new tyres, bearings for a proper journey.. I am too old to want to drive 600 miles at towing speed and then drive back again.... None are insuperable - just unattractive.
 

TernVI

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Joined
8 Jul 2020
Messages
4,192
Whatever you do, the hull needs to be properly supported and you need to minimise the stress and vibration.
Towing it on a good combi trailer with properly fitting padded cradle should not be a problem.
For a boat like that, I'd get 10 inch wheels on the trailer and run them at fairly low pressure, according to the weight.

A lot of trailers are terrible, with horribly stiff suspension for small boats.

When going a long way, I tend not to carry spare bearings. I take spare hubs and wheels.
If I was going to tow my trailer 500 miles, I'd probably shell out for new wheels and tyres, it's the easy way with 8 inch wheels. I don't trust the little tyres on the motorway when they're getting old.

It's what 500-600 miles. 10 hours, two drivers.
A van is an option, but can be just as rough a ride as a good trailer. If you can put the boat on the trolley in the van that might be good.
Mast on the roof is OK, but if it looks to be anything other than properly secured to a proper roof rack, you may get pulled. The rigging can do a lot of rattle and chafe, maybe best to remove it all. Is the mast wood? 1 piece?

Back when that boat was new, people used to have them sent around the country by train for open meetings!

There are companies like 'sailboat deliveries' who trail up and down the country and internationally with dinghies for big events, might be worth a chat? Any big events scheduled near you?
 

dunedin

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Joined
3 Feb 2004
Messages
7,406
Location
Boat (now back in) the Clyde
Key question is what are you going to do with it when you get to London? If you are going to leave it in one place afterwards, maybe the van or lorry delivery is best.
But if going to want to trail it and sail it in the south, then worth fixing up the trailer and towing down. If tyres are over 7 years old definitely bin them and get new. Possibly cheaper buying new wheels and tyres than fitting nee tyres. Keep one old one as spare?
Also check suspension not rusted solid. Perhaps do bearings if ancient, but most dinghy trailers don’t go into the water so bearings less of an issue.
Then check cradle, and if necessary either mould a GRP cradle to fit the hull (allowing for width of carpet padding), or make with wood. Strong tie on bow, and double ties at each place on safety critical things like mast.

PS. I used to tow double dinghy trailers from Scotland to Weymouth and back over a weekend, solo driver, many many times. Also did Palma to UK and similar. No hassle and having done thorough prep, never had a tyre or bearing problem ever. ( Nor indeed any serious problem, though one co-driver did get robbed in transit in Spain, by somebody falsely claiming a problem with the trailer! He insisted on return trip, “fill up in Palma, and don’t stop for any reason till France”)
 

Daydream believer

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Joined
6 Oct 2012
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11,086
Location
Southminster, essex
Is towing a dinghy on a trailer at 60mph really that bad? bearing in mind the nat speed limit is 70MPH & lots of places the speed limit is 50MPH anyway. I have towed a loaded 3.5Tonne trailer up to Scotland from Essex a couple of times & a 1 tonne luton to the borders a couple of dozen times. I towed my Stella from Cheshire to Grays. It is really just an "attitude of mind." One just sticks the car in cruise control & drives. Lots of people tow delicate racing dinghies on trailers & your Nat 12 will be no different.
Of course one needs a car with a tow bar& a license & insurance to go with it. So if that is the prob then other avenues need to be sought
Otherwise no hassle whatsoever really. Just get the road race & rage out of the brain & enjoy the trip, especially the highlands. Have a couple of days hols whilst there if covid permits.
 

fisherman

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2 Dec 2005
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15,714
Location
Far S. Cornwall
You can probably hire a flatbed/car trailer for £50/day. Boat upside down on tyres? I was going to tie tyres together in stacks of two or three, then lash them to the flatbed in the right places, lash boat on top.
 

Kukri

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Joined
23 Jul 2008
Messages
13,936
Location
East coast UK. Mostly. Sometimes the Philippines
This is us setting out to tow a 1946 International Fourteen, unexpectedly acquired at auction, from Eyemouth, Scotland to Suffolk in 2017. She is perched on a Firefly trailer with a Firefly boom up cover almost over her. No time to buy a better one! She arrived intact:

departure.

9F46C793-1A4C-4908-94D3-B06BA06A8885.jpeg

arrival:

EDA82CFD-9C8B-4E88-BAF4-DA7AAB6CFED6.jpeg
 
Last edited:

wombat88

Active member
Joined
1 Oct 2014
Messages
657
There was a great bloke who did this for the price of fuel plus a few bottles of wine, took a few days because he'd stop off with family on the way. Unfortunately he has passed a way.

A 60 year old N12 would be glued rather than ribbed? If so it should be light enough to go in a van with mast over.

Or...get someone else to do it.

Go the Shiply website and get a quote for putting the boat on trailer on a trailer, leave the request live for a couple of weeks and it will come down and down. Still a long way though, the fuel alone will be ££££s

There are some on Shiply who I wouldn't trust. If they sound like they know about boats it is a start...
 

JumbleDuck

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Joined
8 Aug 2013
Messages
23,170
Location
SW Scotland
No vehicle with tow bar; trailer needs new tyres, bearings for a proper journey.. I am too old to want to drive 600 miles at towing speed and then drive back again.... None are insuperable - just unattractive.
I see your point. You'll need new tyres and bearings (as others have said, buying hubs and wheels complete is usually cheaper) but the lack of towbar is a bit of a damper. In your place I'd try Shiply. I wonder if anyone on that would tow the trailer down for you.
 

wombat88

Active member
Joined
1 Oct 2014
Messages
657
To the OP see my comments regarding Shiply. Also...I'm after a 12ft dinghy in Whitby on a very average trailer that needs moving down to Chichester. I am racking my brains to see if the we could save £££s by combining?
 

Caraway

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Joined
11 Aug 2019
Messages
2,832
Location
England
A lot of trailers are terrible, with horribly stiff suspension for small boats.
I had a an old clinker dinghy. I changed the Indespension type suspension units for some rated at 250Kg (for the pair) rather than the more usual 500kg units. It floated like a cloud without crashing and bashing.
 
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