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Old 20-01-2019, 13:49   #1
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Best Practices Blocking/Cradle Winter Storage

Ahoy,

Can you direct me to a resource which clearly spells out the best practices for correctly hauling, and blocking a fin keel sailboat in its cradle and/or stands? I've noticed some alarming trends at my yard, and would like to avoid becoming a victim.

Regards in advance!
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Old 20-01-2019, 13:56   #2
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Re: Best Practices Blocking/Cradle Winter Storage

Canít help you with the resource, but Iím sure Iím not the only one whoís curious what practices you have seen - would love to hear details. (Unless Iím the guilty one, in which case Iíll deny everything.)
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Old 20-01-2019, 14:02   #3
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Re: Best Practices Blocking/Cradle Winter Storage

I'm completely ignorant to best practices, but have seen alarming sights such as unchained stands resting directly on soft ground, boats resting entirely on their cradle screws with air beneath the keel, boats resting at odd angles in their cradles on the sides of their keels.....etc. these are clearly not the best way to do the job, but;

I'd simply like to see a resource which spells out the correct manner to perform the task which leaves no room for guessing.
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Old 20-01-2019, 14:10   #4
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Re: Best Practices Blocking/Cradle Winter Storage

Yowsa! Youíve convince me there are problems! Just speculating, but I wonder if a marine insurance company would have comments or recommendations.
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Old 20-01-2019, 14:14   #5
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Re: Best Practices Blocking/Cradle Winter Storage

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Originally Posted by AnglaisInHull View Post
Yowsa! Youíve convince me there are problems! Just speculating, but I wonder if a marine insurance company would have comments or recommendations.

That is a fantastic idea. Thank you for it.
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Old 21-01-2019, 08:35   #6
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Re: Best Practices Blocking/Cradle Winter Storage

There is a lot of good information on the Brownell Boat Stands website. They are generally regarded as the best stands on the market.

https://boatstands.com
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Old 21-01-2019, 08:53   #7
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Re: Best Practices Blocking/Cradle Winter Storage

The marina I over-winter in which is in the south of the UK, I think does a good job.
Firstly, most if not all yachts (as opposed to motorboats) are put in cradles. A few yachts are not but these tend to be those with lifting keels so they are closer to the ground.
From seeing (bad) experiences in other marinas they then put straps between the cradle pads from side to side. This reinforces the pad arms and also spreads the loads away from just the pads and onto the broader hull where the straps are. Finally they also put props under the bow and two more each side - one between the props and one behind the pad at the stern.
This might be seen as overcautious but it certainly gives me confidence to go back each year.
They do of course need to remove the straps (by lowering them down the pad arms) for hull prep and antifouling. They are then moved back up once the work is done and even between coats if necessary.
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Old 21-01-2019, 09:35   #8
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Re: Best Practices Blocking/Cradle Winter Storage

I'm sure you'll eventually find references online but to hear of boats resting solely on pads and air under keels gives me the willies, surely you would think that a boat yard would have the knowledge that the majority of the weight rests on the keel and the pads are for support and stability, it seems that is one of those things that just gets passed on, again I'm sure you'll find it written online somewhere.
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Old 21-01-2019, 11:11   #9
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Re: Best Practices Blocking/Cradle Winter Storage

I never suggested there was air under the keel.
The boats rest most weight on the keel as you say. However, there have been incidents where yachts have toppled as pad arms bend in very windy conditions and boats (especially the racing ones) where hulls have distorted through too much pressure in one area.
Also, bear in mind that most yacht manufacturers state that you should not stand a yacht purely on its keel.
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Old 21-01-2019, 14:33   #10
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Re: Best Practices Blocking/Cradle Winter Storage

The original poster mentioned seeing air under keels and all the weight resting on the pads.
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Old 21-01-2019, 18:41   #11
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Re: Best Practices Blocking/Cradle Winter Storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doggerland View Post
Ahoy,

Can you direct me to a resource which clearly spells out the best practices for correctly hauling, and blocking a fin keel sailboat in its cradle and/or stands? I've noticed some alarming trends at my yard, and would like to avoid becoming a victim.

Regards in advance!
Going by what we have observed over several years:

A one piece cradle (with adjustable arms of course) as the basis for the set-up. Pads located under bulkheads.

A decent block of wood underneath the keel (sitting on cross-members of the cradle) to take some of the load - ideally, just the weight of the keel - and to avoid damage to the underside of the keel. The boat is lowered onto this block of wood, and when in good contact, the cradle pads are adjusted up, and chocked, so that much of the weight is taken by the pads.

A pair of props either side towards the stern, with another prop up towards the bow. The timber pads on those props are adjusted to the curvature of the boat with timber wedges between the metal plate of the prop, and the underside of the timber pad. The two stern props should be chained together ideally, but if set up at the correct angle are very solid. Part of that setting up, is timber wedges under the bottom of the props so that they are very firmly in contact with the ground.

The entire arrangement on solid (preferably concrete) ground. Especially be aware of ground that over winter, can soften. Also be aware of a yard that allows furled sails, dodgers and biminis to be left up.

Overall, we need to consider the loads on a boat when floating. The keel is totally suspended, and the hull is bearing the entire weight of the hanging keel. The hull transfers that load to the water - the lower areas of the hull are pressing down into the water to do this (and the water pressing back up). The submerged sides of the hull are transferring load out into the water, (and the water trying to compress the sides in).
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Old 22-01-2019, 05:04   #12
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Re: Best Practices Blocking/Cradle Winter Storage

See the excellent BoatUS article:
A Few Things to Watch Out For When You Store Your Boat Ashore This Winter - Seaworthy - BoatUS
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