Please select your home edition
Edition
Noble Marine 2012

40 Years of Sovereign Trailers

by Pat Blake 22 Jul 2016 15:07 BST 22 July 2016

Whilst researching for the 70th Anniversary of the Merlin Rocket Class I recently spoke to Robert O'Neill who, with his brother Geoff run the Welsh Harp Boat Centre. They make Sovereign Trailers at their premises in north-west London.

It transpires that they too have a big anniversary this year as it is 40 years ago that they made their first trailer. It was a Combi trailer for a Merlin and was sold to a sailor at Cookham Reach Sailing Club.

It all started because the Welsh Harp Boat Centre were dealers for various trailer manufactures and had a lot of quality problems with one particular brand. So rather than continue returning trailers or trolleys, they brought in a part time welder and effected the repairs on site.

Sovereign specialised in manufacturing dinghy combi trailers but sold Snipe Powercraft trailers as part of their ongoing business. In the 1970's the biggest trailer ordered was a Snipe A7500 and it was delivered to Stansted airport for President Idi Amin. In the 80's Rob O'Neill found himself in Swansea High Court giving evidence after unknowingly supplying a trailer to a gang who were landing drugs on an isolated beach in Wales!

More recently they have eschewed the more dodgy aspects of their past by embracing the European directive 2007/46/EC and the need to comply with this ruling to be able to legally sell a trailer for the roads in the UK. The business had to change dramatically. Many manufactures just gave up, the huge costs involved with 'Type Approval' was the last straw. Sovereign do not make any braked trailers but have increased the range of combi trailers. Interestingly the purpose made cradles – they have cradles for most classes, and even for individual designs in development classes - were made by an ex-employee of Rondar Boats when they were based in New Milton. He would make a monthly London delivery. He is now in his 70's and still makes the deliveries but now from the West Country. Their welder Charlie, a relative youngster at 66, has worked for them for 30yrs. He appeared on the national news with other employees discussing how small companies will vote in the last General Election.

So they remain a close knit family business that has developed an excellent product.

welshharp.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=8

Related Articles

Panerai British Classic Week day 3
Historic sailing around the NAB Tower An early start on day three of Panerai British Classic Week as crews prepared to take on the inaugural NAB Tower Race. Posted on 17 Jul
The Hague Offshore World Championship day 3
New winds yet same class leaders In contrast to the past few days of light shifty winds, today's superb 12-17 knot southerly breeze made for fast and furious racing on all courses of The Hague Offshore Sailing World Championship 2018. Posted on 17 Jul
Volvo Cork Week day 2
Breeze arrives for incredible Fastnet Race Barry Byrne's Irish Defence Forces team came from behind to win the double points scoring Fastnet Race for the Beaufort Cup. During the 130 mile race, four teams swapped the lead in an intense battle around the Fastnet Lighthouse. Posted on 17 Jul
Rolex TP52 World Championship day 1
A welcome reminder of the flip-side of the racing coin Croatia was exacting. It was the challenge of adapting to new venues. Cascais is an old friend who punishes mistakes, it is about executing perfectly on a totally familiar race course, one which everyone knows where – and when – they want to go Posted on 17 Jul
Inspirational Day for RYA NI Gold Members
Listening to legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston As a part of the huge Foyle Maritime Festival, which centres around the Clipper fleet currently docked on the River Foyle, the RYA in Northern Ireland took the opportunity to host a reception for their 'Gold' membership on Sunday 15th July. Posted on 17 Jul
Lymington Town SC Early Summer Series race 7
A gentle sea breeze fills in Lymington Town Sailing Club's Summer Early Points race 7 was held on Sunday 15th July. There was very little wind but the forecast was for a gentle sea breeze to fill in around 10:30am and steadily increase during the day. Posted on 17 Jul
French 505 National Championship at Quiberon
41 boats contest the title including a number of overseas entries Over the French holiday weekend for Bastille Day and coinciding with the World Cup final, 40 boats contested the 2018 French National 505 Championship at the Ecoile National de Voile in the picturesque Quiberon Peninsula. Posted on 17 Jul
RLymYC Thursday Night Late Series day 3
More tight racing for the J80s in a strong flood tide With 6-11 knots of breeze and a flood tide, the fourteen J80s were in for a lovely evening. The line bias meant the advantage was to start at the starboard end on port which proved challenging. Posted on 17 Jul
The fighting spirit of the 12 Metre class
Not mellowed with age at New York Yacht Club's Race Week More than three decades after its starring role in the America's Cup came to a close, the 12 Metre class continues to thrill sailors and spectators with competitive racing off the coast of America's first resort. Posted on 17 Jul
Young Brits set standard in Youth Worlds opener
Blistering start on a blustery opening day at Corpus Christi, Texas Windsurfer Islay Watson and 420 duo Milly Boyle and Vita Heathcote got their World Championship campaigns off to a blistering start in a blustery opening day. Posted on 17 Jul