by Kent and Audrey Lewis
We have spent years moving small boats around, and for us, dollies are indispensable for boat storage, transport, launch, and recovery. They reduce dependence on paved launch ramps and open up new areas to explore, especially for adventurers with larger boats that carry a crew of three or four. And the less effort it takes to move a boat, the more often you’re likely to use it.
We first used dollies about 20 years ago, after years of toting around a 140-lb Sunfish. Life immediately became easier when we could roll our boats to and from storage, load them on and off trailers, move them to the beach, and launch and recover from the dolly. Because we did not dunk our trailers so often, they lasted longer. Dollies also reduced the number of scrapes and gouges on the hull, as well as the amount of labor required for repairs. We now own six lightweight dollies that are easy to store when not needed.
Dollies from Dynamic Dollies and Racks are made of marine-grade parts. The initial assembly of the kit takes less than 30 minutes and requires only a screwdriver; the plastic fittings are molded with hexagonal recesses to hold the stop nuts, so a wrench is not required. The stainless hardware, the UV-protected plastic, and 1-1/2″-square, anodized aluminum components have proven durable and maintenance free.
The Dynamic’s noncorrosive wheel hubs roll on Delrin ball bearings so our boats travel easily over our yard and slightly sloped beach with firm sand. The 16” x 4” pneumatic tires have inner tubes and do not deflate over time as fast as non-tube tires. The air pressure can be reduced to increase footprint for soft sand, and while wider 18″ x 9-1/2″ tires can be purchased as an option, we prefer the standard tire for the resulting overall narrower width of the dolly. A quick rinse with fresh water is all the dolly gets after a dunk in the salty bay. For more convenient transport or storage, the dolly breaks down into five parts by pressing three quick-release buttons and removing two bolts with wing nuts.
The Dynamic product line is built in the USA and can carry boats as large as the Thistle or 13′ Boston Whaler. The bulk of their dolly business is with owners of Sunfish, Lasers, and Optimists. Dollies are built specifically for each type, which ensures proper load balance, hull protection, and conveniently spaced tie-down points. If your boat doesn’t appear on the company’s list of standard dollies, they’ll design one to fit.
We see dollies as a great way to optimize access to soft launch areas while protecting our boats. We can roll our boat to our favorite launch spot, and the crew is a lot happier along the way!
Audrey and Kent Lewis live on Florida’s Emerald Coast and enjoy small-boat sailing, restoration, and boatbuilding when she’s not designing costumes and when he’s not flying. Their fleet includes several fiberglass Sunfish, a wooden Sailfish, wooden Sunfish, a Catfish catamaran, an O’Day daysailer, a Drascombe Lugger, and a Drascombe Dabber. They have also rescued and fostered over 30 boats since 2011. Some people describe them as “boat-struck.” They document their boating pursuits in their blog.
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