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Old 04-04-2013, 16:59   #1
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Sailboat in a lift?

I poked around the forum and struggling if there is a better subset for this question (anchoring seemed as close as I could find, but that didn't seem to be a good fit)... Please point me in a better direction on this post if there is a better fit...

I've sailed for several years on and off, but looking seriously at taking the plunge and buying that first sailboat. We live in Southwest Florida with lots of shallow water, so we're looking for a boat ~25ft with a shoal draft or centerboard.

Plan is to put the boat on a lift and if we have a draft of 18-30", that shouldn't be a problem. But I'm thinking about the "next boat"

So first, is that a reasonable plan at this point for a 25 footer with a shallow draft? I've seen some sailboats on lifts around here, so it seems like a good way to avoid a lot bottom maintenance (even with bottom paint, i expect you'll still have to periodically wipe down the belly).

Finally, here is my question -- where is the cut-off draft-wise or length-wise or displacement-wise to realistically fit on a lift? Eventually, we are looking forward to retirement and hopefully extended cruises (which I know will need to get the bottom cleaned up after a long trip, but the rest of the time would be great to keep out of the water and avoid the barnacles).

Any insights or guidance would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-04-2013, 17:19   #2
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

I don't know where to draw the line on draft with the board up, but I think you have a really good idea there.
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Old 04-04-2013, 17:37   #3
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

Not worth it.

Paint the bottom and have it hauled and serviced every few years.

You'll need bottom paint for long cruises, and you can't leave it out of the water for too long with bottom paint.
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Old 04-04-2013, 17:38   #4
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

A Coronado 23 has a fixed keel shoal draft version coming in at a whopping 1',11". Might be suitable for your purposes.
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Old 04-04-2013, 17:50   #5
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

I would think the cost of the lift would be quite excessive for a boat that large. Never seen on for a sailboat, they usually have roofs, the mast would not fit.
If you are thinking 25ft, consider one with a trailer, much less expensive to keep it out of the water. A water-ballasted MacGregor at 26ft has 12" draft and is trailered.

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Old 04-04-2013, 18:17   #6
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

I used to keep my 26 ft columbia sailboat and my 30 ft Lancer sailboat on a lift. In my case, the tide was the main issue. Because I was using a standard cable lift, with medal I beems with and planks that were mounted to them I had to drop the lift to the bottom , then bring the boat in when the tide was within an hour of high tide. same with removing it from the lift. I had nearly a 4 ft draft on both boats.

When I drove on to the lift the keel went right down through the middle and sat there great, In my case the paint on both boats was in terrible condition, but no worries I just sprayed the bottom clean easily on the lift. Also the Keel was partially in the water most of the time.

They make special I beems that are made for sailboats for these lifts, and I have seen a few. The main problem you are going to have in SW Florida is finding a deep enough cannal and a lift that will let you take the boat off and on anytime you want.

In my case it wasn't a problem because when I did take it off the lift, I was gone for at least a week or if I took it out for a short cruise, I would remove it at high tide and tie it off next to the lift then bring it back and tie it off again then put it back on the lift at high tide. Kind of a pain but it sure beats bottom painting and cleaning the bottom monthly.
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Old 05-04-2013, 18:14   #7
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

Thanks all - Several good things to consider!

ssw914, i'll post if I find any definitive measure on when is "too much" to lift...

lgs3 - thanks for the heads-up on bottom paint being out of the water being an issue. I will research if there are variations that are a little more tolerable in AND out of the water.

cc - thanks for the thoughts on the Coronada23 -- I like the idea of a shoal draft vs a swing keel or centerboard. Actually I researched a Rhodes22 a couple years that boasted a shoal draft with a centerboard that actually swung down deeper for sailing to weather -- it looked kinda interesting too...

nm - good points about the expense, so I'm trying to be realistic, but I know we'll use the boat more if we don't have to go through the pain of launching every outing. Actually I talked to a guy who had a MacGregor 25S and was very happy with it in SW Florida, so the MacGregor makes the short list

rm - thanks for your insights - actually I'm hoping the future boat to draw in the 4ft range, so sounds like the lift could still be an option if the displacement doesn't present issues. I'm on a canal that runs about 6-7 in the center, but it closer to 4ft at the edges, so I will research how much depth the lift will take away from me... Maybe I'll have to dink around with high tides for a big boat, but seems worth it to avoid the hassle and expense of having the bottom cleaned periodically - especially SW FL where the growth doesn't take much of an off-season...

Thanks again all!
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Old 05-04-2013, 18:41   #8
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

i used to race against a hobie 33 in south florida. one reason it was so fast (among many reasons) was that the owner dry sailed it. he kept it on a lift on the canal behind his house. it has a five and a half foot draft. he never painted the bottom, of course, just washed and waxed it before/after every race....
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Old 05-04-2013, 18:45   #9
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

The Hydro Hoist has a minimum depth of three feet and can lift 7,500 lbs.

HydroHoist Marine Group
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Old 05-04-2013, 19:07   #10
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim-n-Bev View Post
thanks for the heads-up on bottom paint being out of the water being an issue. I will research if there are variations that are a little more tolerable in AND out of the water.
Most ablative paints can withstand prolonged periods out of the water, which makes them a good choice for trailerable boats as well.
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Old 07-04-2013, 23:47   #11
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

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Most ablative paints can withstand prolonged periods out of the water, which makes them a good choice for trailerable boats as well.

Depends on the type of ablative paint. That's true of the copolymer types.
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Old 07-04-2013, 23:53   #12
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

Another boat to consider, of the water-ballasted/trailerable type, would be a Catalina 250.
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Old 08-04-2013, 00:25   #13
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

My last boat was a Florida sailboat that was damaged when it blew off the lift in a storm. I had to put $20k into repairs. Sailboats and lifts don't go together, just like sailboats and cruising schedules. Bottom paint is cheaper. Factor that into your thinking.
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:29   #14
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

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Originally Posted by Jim-n-Bev View Post
Finally, here is my question -- where is the cut-off draft-wise or length-wise or displacement-wise to realistically fit on a lift?

There's a sailboat on a lift in the marina down the street... looks to me to be about 30-32' and at least 4' draft, maybe 5' draft.

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Old 08-04-2013, 07:11   #15
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Re: Sailboat in a lift?

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Originally Posted by Jim-n-Bev View Post
So first, is that a reasonable plan at this point for a 25 footer with a shallow draft?
Yes. As you have observed, lots of people do it, and it will definitely save on bottom maintenance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim-n-Bev View Post
where is the cut-off draft-wise or length-wise or displacement-wise to realistically fit on a lift?
That is entirely a question of how much money you want to spend. With enough cash to burn, you could own a lift for a 100' mega-yacht. Personally, I would consider that a bit excessive, but the point is, do you? The real question--the ONLY question--is where is your cut-off money-wise for spending on a lift?
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