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Old 26-11-2010, 21:36   #1
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Lifting a 55' Marco Polo Sailboat for Transport

Hi all you engineers out there. I am in a pickle.

I have a 55' wooden sailboat in a shed in CA that needs to be lifted to receive a double drop trailer under it for the haul home. We are making a cradle for it now. The cradle is fine for the haul, but is not self supporting to lift. Boat is 16" off a concrete deck to a flat keel timber bottom. She weighs in around 10K. There are 3 main blocks under her with some space in-between.

I am thinking of using what truckers call "landing gear" trailer jacks (about 20K capacity each and max 16" lift) to lift the whole hull so the trailer and cradle can be set under her. These are the jacks you see under every highway road trailer.

Maybe 3 HD lifting straps and 6 each vertical 5"x 5" box tubing steel gin poles placed strategically at gunwales. Jacks welded under or onto gin poles. This gives me 16" and 20K per gin pole. Quite a bit.

My concern is the inner pressure on the gunwales. Rough estimate is about 30-40% of 1/6th load or 833 pounds pressure towards center line. Not much really considering the strength of the hull. I can shed most of that with a spreader bar at each strap if needed.

Is there another way to lift her or does this sound reasonable?

I have included a picture.

Jim
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Old 26-11-2010, 22:33   #2
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why not ordinary marine jackstands? I just used 8 to life a 28' Bertram off a trailer (14K#) If you placed 2x12 planks against the hull first, you would spread the load along several ribs

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Old 26-11-2010, 23:02   #3
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I agree in theory, however, this is a large vessel sort of.

The issue is to get the hull high enough so the trailer back under and can rest the keel - all the while supporting the hull turn of the bilge which is some 8' off the ground before the lift.

Great Photo BTW:
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Old 26-11-2010, 23:09   #4
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/29340731@N08/5210919450/

and again:

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Old 26-11-2010, 23:33   #5
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I think you are telling us your going to lift the boat by the gunnells? Much better to jack it at the keal and use support struts to stabilize like capngeo says. Ive done this with large boats before. Its slow going. There are trailors with hydraulic stabilizers that could fill in while you jack. Probably you have seen all this and for some reason it doesn't work in this case. Is this a Hereshoff Marco Polo? Classic
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Old 27-11-2010, 00:31   #6
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A Marco Polo weighs a lot more than 10K
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Old 27-11-2010, 00:56   #7
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I was a trucker for many years and cannot imagine how one would use the "dollies" or "landing gear" from a trailer to raise a boat. The screw jacks on the marine jack stands would work just fine. If the boat is heavy, use more of them. JMO
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Old 27-11-2010, 02:17   #8
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A cradle that cannot support the boat by itself is hardly a
Cradle in function. What happens when the trailer twists and bends as they all do?

Maybe you need a proper shipping cradle that can be lifted by a crane or whatnot.
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Old 27-11-2010, 02:31   #9
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if you have house movers(the one that pick up the whole house) out house re pilers they have all the jacks and experience you would need
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Old 27-11-2010, 04:29   #10
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The Herreshoff Marco Polo carries over 7 tons in ballast alone, she's a 20 ton boat, but can certainly be considerably more, depending on how soaked she is and what you've got in 'er.

The boat should only be lifted uniformly by her keel, with supports preventing her from flopping over. If you attempt to use jack stands, you'll just break ribs, stringers, etc. The weight has to be born on the keel and preferably lifted at the same time to prevent point loading any one spot. The bottom of this keel is all lead casting, so blocking is important.

Lifting this kind of weight and size is best left to the professionals. I've seen boats flop over in Micky Mouse attempts to move or lift them. This is hard, dangerous work folks and half baked, home brewed methods shouldn't even be considered at this scale. The use of a mobile crane for a few hours, can save a world of hurt and doesn't cost much. I can get a 100 ton crane at my house in 24 hours and a few hundred bucks for a few hours work, isn't very difficult to live with. Trust me, lifting what amounts to a small house, is just much less painful when you have the gear that can do it. These guys lift big stuff for a living and they'll likely have been to this kind of picnic before. So, don't even think about house movers, rail road jacks or Arnold Schwarzenegger like methods. These methods will just force your hand on repairs or insurance policy claims. Most insurance policies have a "bonehead clause" too, so think about this, you may be eating a lot more then broken ribs.
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Old 27-11-2010, 06:48   #11
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Agreed that 20 tons is a different ballgame than the OP's 5! I agree that a keel lift is the way to go. If in a barn where a crane is of no use, I would hire a boat mover with a hydraulic trailer.... easy-pleasy
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Old 27-11-2010, 06:51   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimships View Post
I agree in theory, however, this is a large vessel sort of.

The issue is to get the hull high enough so the trailer back under and can rest the keel - all the while supporting the hull turn of the bilge which is some 8' off the ground before the lift.

Great Photo BTW:
Thanks, but Google was my friend on that....... I didn't take it!
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Old 28-11-2010, 00:23   #13
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Hi all,

Thanks for all the kind replies.

To clarify, I would never lift from the gunwales only. That is very wrong. Keel lift only. Straps are always my first choice and safety before cost.

I should clarify her condition.

No Ballast is on the vessel. She is a partially complete boat. She is a fully complete empty wooden hull which several people have estimated to be around 10K. I think she is a bit less at 8500-8900. Thanks to all who clarified weights of the Marco Polo. Your right on at 39K fully finished and wet.

Let me go back to the beginning and add some drivers to consider.

The main objective here is I am looking for a smooth way to get the boat high enough for a Double Drop trailer to get under her and not have to use a hydraulic trailer. DD are very inexpensive. My first choice is a nice expensive $40K hydraulic Hostar, but can't find one for lease. On contract haul, it is a very expensive ride from North CA to Houston TX. Hydraulic trailers are expensive. I know, I priced building one. Single and DD's are in stock and everywhere.

For the Single Drop or Double Drop to work, I just need the lift to be clear of the trailer when it backs under it. The rest is easy. My second issue is that I am going to need to lift her 2 more times (heavier) and haul her at least once more. If I can use what I build for that work, again it saves some cash later.

I guess my "out of the box" trailer jack idea is a bit of a curve ball, so I should should clarify what I was thinking.

Truck Trailer Jacks (Landing Gear as they call it), are very capable of weights well in excess of my needs. e.g. I can get a 2 speed 20K pound jack for about $170. They can handle side loading up to 50% of rated max which is cool. They are simple, lift some 15-17", inexpensive and simply work. I am thinking of using 4 of them if I can work out a design which replaces the traditional chain falls. Straps will be used regardless. Sure, I am not against using 4 chain falls and I have used them routinely in over 100 lifts. I do want to consider a different approach due to final cost.

I have steel sailboat cradle for a 40' vessel in the shop now. It is well made and would require little to beef her up for this boat. Likely another set of stanchions.

It appears I am becoming more committed to building, (again in my shop), a fast erecting collapsible gantry system. I would haul it there and erect in the barn. I have sketched out a design which would rate about 15 tons each lateral section. I would use two gantries, making a 4 point (two strap) lift at this weight (4 strap on heavier load). They would have about a 20' foot longitudinal spread and a 14' inside measure. I would use I-beam trucks if I am using chain falls, but always a strap lift.

My question is was there a cheaper way. Thus the jack idea. They only questions remaining are the cross beam (capable of rated load or just acting with spreader loads) and the lift mechanisms (jacks or chains). One consideration in favor of jacks is the weight of the gantry top beam. Everything needs to be manhandled as there is nothing there but a barn and concrete floor. The second issue is the lifting mechanism (jacks or chain falls). This is where the truck landing gear comes in.

I like simple, I like inexpensive and I like reusable. I just hope I am not making the discussion worse with this post. I don't think so.

If anyone can complicate something it's me. Just remember I have deal with her again at 39K pounds.

Thanks for all your time thinking of this and posting your thoughts. I deeply appreciate it and consider it as a blessing.

Jim.
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Old 28-11-2010, 04:49   #14
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Only 9000#? Lift her from the rafters with chain hoists. Or with two forklift trucks. Or with the jackstands mentioned earlier.

She's maybe 15# per square foot. Easy.
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Old 28-11-2010, 04:57   #15
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Something else to think about is the total height on the trailer. Where I'm at 14' is the limit without a special permit and this requires lifting or remove/replace cable from above.

Good Luck
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