View Full Version : How in the world........?

Lee Ann
05-20-2000, 10:09 PM
I need to submit a question on behalf of my internet-challenged father, who has spent the last four years building an 18' sailboat in our garage- and now we have no idea how to get it out of the garage and onto the trailer!

Sorry if this has been discussed already, but there were so many boat discussions to wade through (pun intended).

Anyway, it is sitting on a cradle, and there are about four pipes underneath to act as rollers. The plan is to pull the cradle with the truck, adding rollers as it leaves the garage. Assuming that will work, how the heck do we get it onto the trailer???

I'd appreciate the help!
Lee Ann

Ed Nye
05-21-2000, 01:43 AM
At 18 feet, maybe you can get a bunch of "Beer" buddies to pick it up. Otherwise, I once built a frame from 4X4s and etc., jacked it up, hung it from the frame with straps (heavy ropes) and them rolled the trailer under it, jacked the trailer up to the boat and then let the whole contraption back to earth. Took a while, but worked.

05-21-2000, 05:50 AM
I will face the same problem in getting Toad Hall out of his garage building space. Also 18' on deck, Toad will displace about 3,600 lbs. My procedure will be as follows, and perhaps you can find something here to adapt to your own project. First, I will build a strong cradle to surround the hull. The sleepers (cross pieces on the bottom upon which the boat's keel rests) will be 8"X8"'s. The surrounding suports will be 4"X4"s. The cradle will be constructed around the boat. Before he is cut from the rotating building frame, the cradle will be built to surround the hull. Then he will be cut from the frame to rest in the cradle. The cradle sits on large steel caster wheels (61/2" in diameter) which I salvaged from some industrial dollies. After everything is in place, he will be towed out of the garage with a pickup. (There is 2" clearance between the top of the tabernacle and the header for the garage door, though the door will need to be removed. That's the plan anyway.) Toad will not be kept on a trailer, but to get him to the launch site I plan to use a car transporter-type trailer which is rentable from U-Haul, or hire a professional boat transporter that I am familiar with. If the trailer, then the ramps for the car will serve to haul the boat up on to the trailer. The trailer is rated at 2 tons so this should be sufficient. After that, some blocking and securing straps and its off to the launch site.

Oyvind Snibsoer
05-21-2000, 08:16 AM
If you've spent 4 years building a boat, I'd think the cost of renting a flat-bed truck with a hydraulic crane shouldn't be all that significant?

Gary Bergman
05-21-2000, 08:30 AM
Rent a forklift with fork extensions, pad the forks with carpet scraps, adjust the forks for the width you are comfortable with, but not the same as the trailer pads, pick it from the stern and go for it. I unload boats this way sometimes at the S.F. boat show at the cow palace when tight spaces won't allow me to get a crane in position.

Paul Frederiksen
05-21-2000, 09:48 AM
Well,... here is what I am going to do. After my boat (20 footer) is out on the driveway (it will get there the same way your father plans. I am going to use cheap lumberyard 4X4's to build six "A" frames these frames will be a bit higher than the deck of the boat when it is high enoug for the trailer to pass underneath it. At the base they will be around 30' wide. At the top they will be 8" wide with the cross piece attached on top of the uprights so it can bear the load.

The boat and frame will be jacked up and set on blocks or bricks at the proper height. Then the "A" frames will be arranged around the sides of the boat so that large straps can be slung under the boat and tied off to the tops of the "A" frames (taking care not to have any straps where the supports on the trailer will touch the boat. Then additional 2X4's will be attached to the tops of the "A" frames and braced against the corner of the house or staked into the lawn so as to keep the whole arrangement from falling over sideways.

Then the building cradle will be dis-assembled and removed from under the boat. The trailer will be rolled under and jacked up maybe a total of an inch till it just begins to lift the boat and stabilized with some blocks or bricks. The "A" frames will be removed and the trailer lowered back down to the ground.

I know this sounds a bit involved but the nice thing is that it requires a minimal investment (4X4 some of which I have laying around already) and is flexible to almost any environment.

I hope this is helpful.

05-21-2000, 11:05 AM
$450 to get a crane on site is not insignificant at the end of a four or five year building project. Nor is a box of corn flakes. Bread and water anyone?

I had to raise Prairie Islander about two feet to get the 450 lb center plate into its slot. Tried the A frame thing but didn't have the details worked out as well as Paul does. So....

I put two 10' long 2x4's, crosswise, near each end of the boat. Between them, at each end of the set of 2/4's I built a triangular structure to keep the boat from tipping. I then put a hydralic jack under one pair of 2x4's at the keel and raised that end, placed blocks about 4' off center, and removed the jack. Repeat on other end, back and forth until the unit is high enough. Roll the centerplate under and lower the boat by reversing the above.

I will repeat the process when it is time ot put the trailer under but reinforce the 2x4's by glueing and screwing a 2x8 under each set to make a C-beam sort of rig, and be sure it can support the boat with the blocks at the ends of the 2x4's.

Makes the 450 for a crane seem a bit more reasonable, eh?


Oyvind Snibsoer
05-21-2000, 12:57 PM
$450 for a crane to lift an 18' boat? Sh*t, and I thought Norway was an expensive place. I mean, we're not talking 'bout a behemoth with a 250 ton lifting capacity here. This boat can probably be lifted with almost any truck mounted crane, provided it can get close enough of course (and if you can get a trailer and a car in there, then you can probably get a truck in there too). We used to do this twice a year with my dad's 22' motorboat when we laid it up in our yard for the winter. Don't know the exact cost, but I wouldn't expect it to run very much higher than an equvalent of $100.

OTOH, I realize that $100 will buy a fair amount of cornflakes, too http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif

[This message has been edited by Øyvind Snibsøer (edited 05-21-2000).]

Gary Bergman
05-21-2000, 07:13 PM
Big difference between a boom truck{which will most likely do you little job} and a crane. While you can most likely rent or hire a boom truck for low ball prices, a crane, cannot be hired with competant operating engineer for that pittance. At least not on this side of the Atlantic. Its all in the venacular, but a horse is a horse.

Mike Vogdes
05-22-2000, 08:53 AM
I think Gary is right on target here. We rent forklifts for 200 a day 150 for 4 hrs, and if we can wait for it (or just do it ourselves) 100 will probably do it. Also some carpentry contractors have boom trucks for installing roof trusses, these guys can usually do a little job on their way home for a reasonable price... Think cash and beer (afterwards of course)

Paul Frederiksen
05-22-2000, 09:09 AM
Yeah, but there is something really seductive about doing it yourself.

Jack C
05-22-2000, 10:07 AM
Amen, Paul!!!

05-22-2000, 03:42 PM
How heavy is this boat? Strong winds blew my 16' day sailer off its trailer. I moved the trailer to the bow, righted the boat then pulled it on to the trailer with the wench after two friends lifted the bow to get it started on the roller. Sitting on grass I didn't need to worry about rollers. If it's a heavy boat, provide an incline for your rollers and just wench it up.

PS I put soapy water on the trailer bearers to help the hull slide over.

[This message has been edited by Andrew (edited 05-22-2000).]

Gary Bergman
05-22-2000, 06:55 PM
Please keep in mind that with a boom truck, things like 'working over the side' and swinging can take you quickly into the 'tipping' chart ---quicker than a 'chicken on a june bug' and not so with the forklift. The last thing you want is a lot of very expensive toothpicks, or as you guys say, 'where's the marshmallows?'

05-22-2000, 11:11 PM
So, after using that "wench" to pull the boat onto the trailer, (I can think of lots better uses for 'em) did she leave you?

Paul Frederiksen
05-22-2000, 11:25 PM

How did you get so lucky, my Wench wont pull my boat an inch. http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif


05-23-2000, 06:52 AM
My wench does just fine, thank you.

A year or so ago we got a new refrigerator. The two guys who delivered it moved the old one out & the new one in w/out a dolly but only a long strap looped under the refrigerator & over their shoulders. They rigged it such that they only had to straighten their legs & the frig came off the floor a few inches. No back bending. No arm lifting.

I'd bet that four guys, six if she's very hefty, could do the same w/ your boat. Find some Sears appliance movers. They'll show you the trick.

Ron Williamson
05-23-2000, 12:01 PM
If you can't find enough people,rent a pump truck aka pallet truck,that under the stern and a roller under the bow should get you outside by hand (no trucks pulling).Then use the pumptruck and 6x6 to raise the boat slowly and carefully (remember how long it took to build!)to trailer height.

05-24-2000, 02:32 PM
Well, I won't feel so smug next time I read someone else's typo. I've used the strap technique and 6" pvc pipe rollers to move railroad ties by myself when my wench wouldn't help me.

Ian McColgin
05-25-2000, 11:47 AM
Back to the question - do the heavey iron pipes under the cradel thing but no mickup truck. At least not a moving pick-up. Hitch a block and tackle or come-along outside (maybe the pickup) and have a line or two inside to the rear walls to act as brakes. Your Dad's garage floor is probably pitched a little towards the door anyway.

Sometimes it helps to not only pull on the come-along in front, but lever from the rear. But stick to muscle power for a safe efficient job.


05-29-2000, 02:01 AM
After rolling my 20 foot dory out of the garage on pipe.I was able to winch the trailer under the boat useing the trailer winch. Moving the tounge of the trailer up and down as a lever to take the strain off the cable seemed to help.

05-30-2000, 03:17 PM
Lee Ann - Be sure to let us know the outcome

Art Read
05-31-2000, 02:04 AM
Well, this is something I've been contemplating too... Current thoughts run to building a cradle with heavy duty casters that I can finish construction on and then use later for annual haulouts, hiring one of those flatbed "wreckers" that tilt down to the roadway at the back for hauling in "totals" off the highway and having them use their winch to haul it aboard and drive it right underneath the travel lift. Anybody else tried this?

Ian McColgin
05-31-2000, 11:11 AM
Lee Ann. If she's a centerboarder, the approach of winching her up onto the trailor will work. If a keel boat, you'll have to jack her up outside enough to ease the trailor under and if the trailor is not designed with removable centers, you'll need to jocky the keel blocking as you move the trailor back into place.


08-27-2003, 07:04 PM
Funny..this is still a funny read...we need some more "funny" on this forum..... smile.gif ..and she never did let us know what finally happened.

[ 08-27-2003, 08:06 PM: Message edited by: Norske3 ]

High C
08-27-2003, 10:52 PM
Sometimes you can just use the trailer winch. Have the trailer not hitched to the car/truck.
Push it up to the bow of the boat.
Attach the winch to the bow eye and crank.
Lift the bow up onto the back of the trailer while someone cranks. Helpers needed.
This will pull the trailer up under the boat.
The boat pretty much stays in place while the trailer rolls underneath the boat. Easy. (usually)

08-27-2003, 11:01 PM
The answer is simple and easy. Jack the building up, mount wheels to the 4 corners of the building. Bolt a trailer hitch to the building. VOILA! Self contained boat trailer/boat house! :D

08-27-2003, 11:18 PM
This was a flipping party and this is one of the last pix's after we rolled the boat over onto carpet.
The wreker extended the boom as far as he could and picked the bow up as high as he could.
The trailer was unhooked from the truck and the strap was unwound and hooked to the boweye. The winch pulled the trailer back under the boat.
The whole process with the rollover took 1hr at a cost of $50.00.


Mr. Blimp
08-27-2003, 11:24 PM
I don't know about getting it out of the garage, the 4 wheels on the 4 coners sounds like a good concept to me, but once out you can try what I did with my Lightning.

I picked up 3 - 2X12x14 preasure treated boards ands built a Indian TeePee tripod right over her about midship. I laid out 2 of the boards in a A and nailed a 1by across them up near the apex of the angle. I stood that up on one side and then laid the last board up the other. I tied the whole thing together with about 50' of poly cord. All I needed was the canvas and I had a TeePee ready set go.

Then I used some climbing rope I had laying around which I ran through a block and tackle, that I also had laying around. The block had a big hook on it which I hung in the wrapped cord.

Ok, since its a Lightning, it had a three point cradle setup so I could just connect and lift.

If it wasn't for that I'm sure I could have come up with something for a sling. Spare rope, strap, etc....

I also used this setup to pull the CB.

OK, the Lightning only whieghs in at 700+ and yes I had the block and tackle, but a comealong could have worked just as well if not better. They run like $20-30 andf are a far cry from the hundreds for the crane/forklift.

I also have to admit that ther first time I moved her off the trailer my wife, son and his girlfriend helped me to just pick her up and carry her over to where I had built a work cradle, and the time after I used my invention I was lazy so I parked the trailer next to her and just singlehandedly muscled her over. In hindsight I think that maybe I wasn't that lazy after all.

08-27-2003, 11:36 PM
Lee Ann, maybe I missed it somewhere, but obviously 18 feet isn't the issue. How much does the boat actually weigh, approximately, and what is the design? Centerboard, full ballast keel?

08-28-2003, 05:19 AM
Did this with my boat. Jack up the cradle so the keel is at the height of the keel rollers on the trailer. With the trailer attached to the tow vehicle slowly winch and back up the trailer under the bow of the boat. Then remove cradle parts as they interfere with the progress of the trailer. Soon the trailer should be able to prevent sideways tipping and all you have to do is provide blocking under the unsupported aft end of the boat. If you proceed about one foot at a time adjusting blocking as you go it is on the trailer in no time. Worked for me.


08-28-2003, 11:08 AM
Dudes, Lee Ann is long gone. She posted the initial question 3 years ago. By now her daddy has circumnavigated in the 18-footer and built a 44-footer. smile.gif

08-28-2003, 11:51 AM
Originally posted by AngWood:
Dudes, Lee Ann is long gone. She posted the initial question 3 years ago. By now her daddy has circumnavigated in the 18-footer and built a 44-footer. smile.gif :D :D :D Well in that case I hope the darn boat is still in the garage!!!!!