Homemade Sunfish Dolly on YouTube

Thread starter #1
For what it's worth, I made a dolly for my Sunfish a few weeks ago. I wasn't happy with the price of the production models I looked for on the internet so made my own, and wanted to share with the forum. I made it for use on a local beach here in Texas. I shot a few videos and posted them on youtube. I don't think I've come up with anything new, but it's well made (if I may say so) and worked great on the beach yesterday..... It was easy to build, cheap, (if I were a scrounger, it would have cost llittle to nothing) lightweight, easy to use and durable.
Check it out, and if you come up with suggestions for improvement, please post here or on the youtube page.

I posted it in five video segments since I'm too dumb to figure out how to make it all one video for uploading! Here's the link to the first one. I made comments on the build on the right side of the screen, click on "(more info)" if you go to the youtube website (click the youtube icon in the lower right of the video screen below).....

1974 Sunfish
1999 Montgomery 17
San Antonio,Texas
...Pretty cool! I like the "kick stand" idea too. Maybe you need a second one for the rear. Maybe if you had them drop down and pop back up when not needed? Also, I could not find your fifth you tube, wanted to see it in action, at the beach.
My next plan is to build a similar one to your's, out of PVC and balloon tires.


New Member
I made mine after watching your video Jorge, so thanks... Little different than yours but basically the same thing... Its been really helpful!!!



Member Emeritus
I made a dolly for my Sunfish ... It was easy to build, cheap ...
Great project dolly.

Being a whitewater rafter in addition to sailing, I am a big fan of cam straps..., glad you included their use..., tight and secure without the hull crushing overkill of ratchet straps.

May I suggest you add some padding and carpet to the dolly bunks. It doesn't appear those hard wood corners are being kind to the boat's hull.

Thank you for taking the time and effort to make such a comprehensive series of videos.

BTW, what was the final cost and time involved, given you used scrap lumber?
Thread starter #6

Total cost out the door was about $100. The wheels/tires were $35 each. The rest was the straps ($14), hardware($10) and hollow steel tubing axle ($6). Not bad considering the "store bought" dolly price. And it was fun to figure out and make. I would have gone for wider wheels with a larger diameter to make going across the sand even easier, but the one's I found on the net are waaaaaaay overpriced (unless someone knows of a source that I didn't find). The rear wheels/tires of riding lawnmowers would have been great but they were expensive and quite heavy since they bolt onto a drive axle. These I found have a simple 5/8" hub. Others I found at Northern Tools had a good diameter but were narrow, like for wheelbarrows and garden carts.

Lance, you cart looks great! Glad I could help out in some way.



New Member
LOL, I dont know if "great" is the right word... Better is the enemy of good enough, and mine is good enough...

I got the tires at Harbor Freight for 5.99, which is a great price considering what you found yours for. But of course, yours are much larger and wider than mine. Then I had the problem of finding hollow steel tubing to fit the diameter of the wheel. I couldnt, so I used 1/2 rebar, which is solid course and has a little more flex than I would have liked, but my drill bit tore through it just fine and the flex isnt going to cause any major problems. I used some old shelf brackets for the braces, due to my lack of a miter saw, which added some weight, but its still manageable.

I do need a way to make it stand upright, ie KICKSTAND.. Your idea wont really work since I used metal braces and unless I wanted to drill through them and I personally hate drilling through metal... I just use 5 gallon buckets...

I primarily use the dolly right now to move the boat on and off the trailer, while Im working on both of them... Im excited to head to Canyon Lake and try it out there instead of using the trailer on the ramp.. But we shall see..

Like you, I had a blast building it and had most of the parts at hand, so besides rebar, tires, and some counter pins, it didnt hit my pocketbook badly, esp compared to what people sell them for online...

See ya around town George since we are both in SA I guess :)

Does anyone have any info/pics/videos on making your own daggerboard dolly - primarily for soft sand transport?
Well,... yes,.... I just up loaded some pics on one that I made over the weekend.
check out this previous thread....I just wanted to show others some easy options to a comon question.


I don't have a "you tube" video of the making of it, but it is simple, and inexpensive (my favorite type of project). I believe that it would do well in soft sand, it does well in grass, gravel, hilly terain......It balances nicely, when moving it around. When at rest the bow sits up, The tires are at 25#, and could be lowered for different conditions. It is small enough to put inside of a trunk, or back seat of a car. Padding can be added to the keel supports. Inserting is easy, if you can tilt your hull to drain water out of the starboard drain, then you should be able to set it up. It is so simple to make that you could make changes as you build it or make the changes after wards.
The tires are from Home Depot @ $25 each (Universal fit, by Marathon Ind.) They come with many different sized bushings, so that you can choose the axel that you want to use. I used 3/4" threaded rod cut to 19" long, 6 nuts and 6 heavy duty washers. I don't know the price on the rod,nuts and washers, as they were from a project that I did 15 yrs ago. The wood was free. The dagger board starts at 3/4" plywood @ 24" long by 9 3/8" wide. The 2 4x4 posts are 9 1/2" long and the keel supports are 19 1/2" long by 6 3/8" ( slightly scribed with a belt sander). The hole for the axel is 3/4" drilled through all of the lumber, in the centers. I had to custom belt sand the dagger board to fit the into the trunk slot. There is 2" between the hull and the top of the tire.
I didn't paint it, as I'm not sure if I am finished yet, and also it will be covered when outside.

I hope that helps you out .
The ideas have been great ... Ben & I have gathered up some yard sale go-cart wheels & axles, a few 2x4's & borrowed Mike's table saw to whip up this little beast.

Its a bit taller to allow ease on/off of our trailer (utility rather than boat)
The wheels are not ballon as they are used just at the MSA ramp, lawn & concrete.
Test drive yesterday worked 99%... it floats away & now has a painter of its own.

Bill TGH

Freddy Beach NB
I didn't see parts 2 - 5 in this thread, so I included them here:

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBo-FvTaCF8&NR=1"]YouTube - Sunfish Sailboat Dolly...Homemade Part 3 of 5[/ame]

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FTeBx3C1w4&feature=related"]YouTube - Sunfish Sailboat Dolly...Homemade Part 4 of 5[/ame]

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI7o1-_tQ5A&feature=related"]YouTube - Sunfish Sailboat Dolly... Homemade Part 5 of 5[/ame]

just a follow up on actually using this dolly... it works great on grass, gravel & concrete ramp. If anything, its just a hint taller than it needs to be, which means I get wet launching... we'll probably just raise the axles 4 or 5 inches. The glue we used on the softwood joints doesn't like long term immersion, but everything is lag-bolted, easy to lossen, re-glue & pop back together. Finally, some sort of water-proofing or sealant to slow or stop the swelling of wet wood (now I sell this stuff at ICI, I have no excuse for not sealing this puppy) I am really appreciative of the how-to videos...

Bill, who sailed from summer into autumn last night on the Mactaquac Head Pond.
I know this is an old thread, but I have been searching for a decent dolly for use on the shore of the lake we sail on and wanted to share.

I drew up a rough model in sketchup and came up with a material list.

(2) wheels (George uses a 6" wide, approximately 15" across) of your liking, with a 5/8" axle diameter
(1) 5/8" x 44" long steel tube for an axle. Could be a solid piece if you like.
(8) 5/8" large fender washers
(8) cotter pins
(2) P.T. (pressure treated) 2x4's.
(2) P.T. 1x3's.
(1) P.T. 1x2
Various 1" webbing, as needed.
(4) 3/8" x 4" eye hooks with washers and nuts.
6' of pipe insulation or pool noodles (optional) as padding.

Obviously you can use stainless steel fasteners if you decide to, and I may beef up the 1x to 5/4". I generally mocked this up as per his original videos, but added two additional cross pieces for extra stability. This is a prototype and may be modified further, as the sunfish will likely sit on this dolly when not in the water until I can build a rack this summer.

dolly 5.jpg dolly 3.jpg dolly 4.jpg dolly 2.jpg dolly 1.jpg
I like mine that I built out of PVC pipe. I just upgraded it to a better pipe insulation for padding, and then added bunk carpeting on top of the insulation.