Building a Simple Fireball Dolly

In the UK this would be known as a Trolley. The Dolly is the person who fetches your trolley for you when you come ashore - the "Trolley Dolly"
The typical dinghy dolly that uses a strap of nylon webbing for the rear cross member is not very appropriate for use on a Fireball due to the boat's hard chines. The chines and the strap will wear against each other, doing neither of them any good. I've learned the hard way that a good dolly can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend maintaining your bottom finish!

I've had a few requests for the design of the simple dolly that I built last year. The dolly comes apart for travel after removing 4 bolts. It is fairly heavy, but unfortunately the rear is bouyant enough to float. The frame cost $Cdn 100 to have built by a local welder (price included materials and painting), and I spent about another $30 on wheels.


The frame is constructed of 1.25" square steel tubing - one long piece, with a second short piece welded on the front at a 45 degree angle. This short piece holds the handle. Form the handle from a slightly narrower piece of square tube (1") that will slide inside the front piece on the frame. If you drill a hole in the piece on the frame, and have a nut welded over it, then by threading in a bolt and tightening it, the friction from the bolt will hold the handle in place. The top of the handle should have a short length of steel pipe welded on top to use as a hand grip. You may also wish to wrap the handle with rope or carpet where the boat comes into contact with it to prevent banging up the bow. Four feet back from the handle you should weld on a piece of flat steel to use as a centre support. Drill two small holes in it, and screw a piece of wood 2x4 (wrapped in carpet) to this. The rear of the frame has another piece of flat steel welded to it to bolt the rear cross member to. Drill three bolt holes through this. To strengthen this cross piece you should also weld in some gussets.


The cross member is based on a length of wood 2x4. I used wheelbarrow wheels bought from an auto parts store, and two lengths of threaded rod for an axle. A nylon lock nut keeps the wheel from coming off. You could just as easily use a steel pipe axle, and a cotter pin and washer to keep the wheel on. Buy your axle AFTER you get the wheels so that you know what diameter axle you need. Two large U-bolts on each side hold the axles in place. Notch the 2x4 slightly on the top at each U-bolt so that they attach flush with the top surface, and then glue and screw on a 2x4 wedge on each end, angled to fit the bilge panels of the boat. Cover the top of the cross-member with outdoor carpet, bolt it to the frame, and you're done!

Phil Locker, CAN 12362