Trolley/wheels for single handed launching

Hi all,

Sorry, I couldn't see a better place to post this question, although not really rigging related.

I am finding it problematic to launch and land my new mirror without help. I have been using a borrowed beach trolley made for an aluminium tender, but it is damaging the paint and there is the problem of stopping the mirror floating away while returning/ retrieving the trolley.

Where I launch is a short section of lumpy grass/shells/seaweed then flat sand/rocks that is often soft.

I am considering two options:

Attaching fold-up/removable plastic wheels to the transom, (Railblaza C-tug or similar). If it works this could be very convenient, but it seems quite sacrilegious to attach such a thing to the Mirror.

Obtaining a suitable kayak trolley that can be stowed aboard. Again the Railblaza brand has one that looks like it would fit around the skeg and accommodate a flat hull. A little less convenient to use but requires no drilling of holes in the boat.

I have seen those Mirror-specific rollers that attach to the skeg hole, but they seem a bit hard to find and look like they would struggle on soft or lumpy ground.

Does anyone have any experience and/or opinion in this area?



PuffinInTegel's picture

Welcome a-online to the forum.
I'm afraid that I have pondered this subject for years without finding a satisfactory answer, particularly as it has not been a pressing question. Most places I've been to where I camped ashore have had sandy beaches or grass and mud, so I was able to simply drag the boat up on her keel.
My favourite idea has been to convert a kayak trolley and attaching it to the hull with a ratchet strap to permit you to pull it aboard once you're in deeper water, then stow it (possibly on the foredeck) aboard.
An inflatable roller would do for short distances but your terrain sounds unsuitable for that.
Maybe one of our members has found an acceptable solution and implemented it, though.

I don't know how robust pool noodles are, but if they can do the job, two or three of those might be do the same job as an inflatable roller without bursting, though it would still be a pest having to tie them on when sailing.

What I'd like to see is a better balanced wheelbarrow solution where you put a carbonfibre structure down through the centreboard slot which projects just a short distance underneath so that you can attach wheels to that instead of to the skeg, and with the parts of this compact enough to take sailing with you.

But the ideal solution would be to design wheels into boats in the first place so that they're always ready to deploy and without having to fiddle with anything under the hull. That would eliminate the need for a trolley altogether. If a Mirror's only used for cruising, you could build wide slots for these into the side buoyancy tanks, most likely just aft of the thwart to take advantage of the extra rigidity of the hull there. A handle could be permanently fitted to the front transom. I reckon this could add a fair bit of value to a boat as it would increase its utility substantially, just so long as it's designed carefully to avoid it becoming a place where rot sets in, for example, by not making the case out of wood.

curlew's picture

Ho James
My Mirror is very heavy when loaded for camping, so I always use the car to pull it out of the water. Going down to the water is possible by hand. I have a standard dinghy trolley with a nose wheel. I have found that rigid wheels are a problem as they are much harder to pull than pneumatic ones.

CaptainZ's picture

For some time I am thinking of implementing something like this - see the link
, since I am not racing my Mirror.... the wheel stays in place and you use the oars as handles.......

I wonder how that works with the wheel retracted. Is there just an open hole there for water to come up into and to slow the boat down considerably? You really want to be able to fill the case with a plug so that there's a smooth flow of water under the hull. Maybe there's a way of doing the most important part of that job if you can get the bottom of the wheel higher than the width of the slot so that a hole-shaped door can swing down from one side to block the entrance, even if that keeps a few litres of water trapped over it (which would only have a trivial impact on performance). It should be possible to put something like this just ahead of the mast in a Mirror, though you'd need to be sure you're putting back in as much structural strength as you're having to remove to locate it there. I'd like to see this done though - boats should have wheels.

Thanks for all the helpful ideas everyone. I’ve gotten hold of a kayak trolley that should at least get me on the water for the moment. It called a “C-tug sandtrax” and the initial test in the backyard looks like it will do the job. It disassembles small enough to fit in the boat. I’ll let you know how it goes.

DavidH's picture

I didn't chip in to this thread last year when the nights were drawing in.

I kayak, and have used the C-Tug successfully over a few years. Mine has solid wheels but the Sandtrax wheels get a good write-up from the kayak anglers so I would think they'll do the job nicely.

The C-Tug is expensive, but a well-designed piece of kit. I imagine it will work well with a Mirror.

DaveCooper's picture

According to a Bell Boats price list from 1967(ish), they offered "MTSL Stowaway Launcher, fits under skeg when in use and stows in boat locker £28.18". But no picture, unfortunately.

The ones that attached to the skeg haven't been available for a long time unless you can get them second hand, most likely along with an old boat. I've never seen the actual thing other than in pictures, so I'd have to guess the size. They place a plastic wheel to either side of the skeg each of which might be six inches wide and with a six inch diameter. I've heard that it's hard to use as you have to lift half the weight of the boat to move it, so it's very different from having wheels near the centre.