Please select your home edition
Edition
Leaderboard new launch 2023 Spring

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

The 2024 Burton Blizzard
The third leg of the East Midlands mini-series The Burton Blizzard is the third leg of the East Midlands mini-series. A series hosted across Burton, Ogston, Staunton Harold and Notts County, that attracts some of the finest local, national, and international sailing celebrities. Posted today at 7:12 pm
Bartley Beast week 4
A light wind forecast met the band of club members and visitors for the fourth and final day A light wind forecast met the band of club members and visitors who gathered for the fourth and final day of the Bartley Beast series for winter 2023/24. Posted today at 7:04 pm
Kinsale Yacht Club Dragon Gold Cup entry opens
60+ teams are expected to participate in the prestigious event The Notice of Race has been published and Online Entry is now open for the Kinsale Yacht Club Dragon Gold Cup sponsored by Astra Construction Services Ltd, which will be held in Kinsale. Posted today at 6:35 pm
BoatLife 2024 affirms position as key UK boat show
Solidifying its position as an important sales show for the UK boating community During its four-day run, BoatLife 2024 - Powered by Suzuki, solidified its position as an important sales show for the UK boating community. Posted today at 6:14 pm
Global Solo Challenge update
Winter storm on Philippe Delamare's route to finish Philippe Delamare is charging on towards A Coruña and the end is in sight. His distance to finish is now approximately the same as a Fastnet, Sydney to Hobart or Middle Sea Race, just over 600 nautical miles. Posted today at 5:20 pm
Arkéa Ultim Challenge-Brest day 45
Tuesday interview, fifth placed Éric Péron (Ultim Adagio) Every Tuesday we check in with a skipper and gather their thoughts and ideas. Today, it's time for Éric Péron, the only competitor to start on a non-foiling ULTIM. Posted today at 5:13 pm
RORC Caribbean 600 day 2
Leading MOD70s negotiating the infamous wind shadow of Guadeloupe By morning (0800 AST) on day two of the RORC Caribbean 600, the vast majority of the fleet was negotiating the northerly extreme of the course, weaving through the chicane of islands; Saba, Sint Maarten, and St. Barths. Posted today at 4:51 pm
2024 Spicare Omaezaki Japan World Cup day 2
Bernd and Motoko win Marathon Day After a massive day of over 10 hours of competition at the Spicare OMaezaki Japan World cup, Bernd Roediger and Motoko Sato have emerged victorious in dramatic finals. Posted today at 2:47 pm
IRC Rating publishes valid boat data
In a major move towards increased transparency In a major move towards increased transparency IRC Rating is now publishing the valid boat data for all boats with an IRC certificate issued since 1st January 2024. Posted today at 1:31 pm
Layer up with a Musto fleece
An essential piece of outdoor kit, whether on or off the water A fleece is an essential piece of outdoor kit, whether on or off the water. From full-zip Polartec® designs to insulated pullovers, we've got a style to keep you warm. Posted today at 12:00 pm