DIY Launch Trolley Jockey Wheel

I took Custard to the lake for a shakedown at the end of last week. Everything went well, but getting her out of the water up the slipway was almost impossible on my own. Not pleasant. I managed in the end.

Boat on shore with improvised tackle

I did have a long rope and some blocks to help me pull the boat up. There is a winch mounting point at the top of the slipway that I used but the big problem was not having a front jockey wheel, which meant that I had to hold up the front of the boat as well as pull on the rope.

So time to make one. I have assorted wheels, bits of wood and tube so this is what I came up with:

DIY jockey wheels

So we have a wooden U shape that fits over the launching trolley. This is held in place by the axle – 1″ aluminium tube left over from sail battens. Wheels are old ones I had lying around, held on by R clips. The wooden U shape will be located fore-and-aft by exhaust clamps around the launching trolley tube.

Obviously this arrangement doesn’t turn but I don’t think that matters. It should be fine at holding the front of the trolley off the ground, doesn’t weigh very much and is quick to mount and unmount. We’ll see how well it works…

Update – some more pictures:

The bits, ready to fit. From the left: wheel with axle, spacer, U clamp, spacer, R clips and wheel.
In position on launch trolley with axle fitted to hold U clamp in position. Spacer and first R clip are fitted on Port side. Exhaust clamps on launch trolley hold it in place fore-and-aft.
Second wheel and its retaining R clip fitted.

Obviously this wouldn’t normally be fitted when the launch trolley is on the road base, but it is too much hassle to take the launch trolley off the road base for these photos.

Things that might be an issue:

  • Strength of the axle – this is thin wall aluminium tube. I don’t think the load will be high – after all I normally lift this myself – but if it is then I have some 1″ solid iron bar. The aluminium is much lighter so it if works then so much the better.
  • Ground clearance – looks ok but we’ll see how it works on the slipway.
  • Space to store the thing in the boat – definitely bulky but pretty light so hopefully can just bung this into the boat when trailering and not worry too much.

Update: having tested it I’m happy – it worked very well. Strength seemed fine – there isn’t much load on the wheels. Ground clearance was fine. It is bulky but not heavy so got it in the boat ok for transport.

3 thoughts on “DIY Launch Trolley Jockey Wheel

  1. I hope you will post more pictures of the result. It looks as a good starting point! I’m figure out something like this. I was thinking of a kind of roll instead of wheels.
    Good luck with this!


      • Looks good! Strength good be a problem, however the pipe is short.
        I will try to make my front wheel at the boat so I can flip it up. Like the dingy wheels that are sold for the rear. Maybe you have this possibilty too?
        Search for “dingy wheels” or “boat launching wheels” Also check out ‘’ just for fun!


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