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Old 09-10-2010
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Boat lift: Okay For A Sailboat?

Hi,

we are considering buying our first boat. We took a weekend Sat./Sun. intro. to sailing course in June 2009, and have rented a sailboat twice since then for the day. We'd like to get a used Catalina 27 with a regular keel (draft of 4 feet).

My dad lives at the end/in the headwaters of a creek with shallow water. At the end of his pier it's 4 foot, on the sides less. Therefore, the boat will have to be docked like a "T" to his pier to access the 4 feet needed for the sailboat. Also, the creek is not that wide there, and a boat sitting T'd to the end of his pier is not far from the channel-- which was 8 feet when it was dredged about 12 years ago.

Rather than pay to get 2 pilings put in in order to 'T' our boat to his pier firmly on all four sides of the boat, it seems to make sense to purchase a boat lift instead that we could simply drive the boat onto. They make them where only 2, or even 1, piling is all that's needed. Picture below:



This would solve a number of issues:

(1) Attach to the end of dad's pier where the water is deep enough.

(2) When not used, keeps boat out of water which stops corrosion of various engine parts that normally sit in water, as well as stops a ton of barnacles from hooking themselves onto the bottom of the boat-- alleviating maintenance issues.

(3) allows for winter storage so money would not need to be allocated to pay a marina to put the boat on blocks during the winter.

Before embarking on this, I just wanted to ask more seasoned sailboat owners how they felt about this, possible problems, pro's and con's, and any advice.

thanks!

-Charrob
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Old 09-10-2010
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As long as the lift is rated for the load, and is securely erected, you shouldn't have a problem. I would though, during storm conditions, lower the boat to the water to take strain off of the lift.
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Old 09-10-2010
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Aside from what PBZ said, I'd point out that lifts are fairly particular about how the boats are loaded onto them...and if you don't "park" the boat right, you can damage it or the lift if you try to lift it.
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Old 09-10-2010
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What a great solution.
Well sourced.
I would recomend what SailingDog said.
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Old 09-10-2010
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A bigger boat may not have this problem, but with my boat I have to be very careful to make sure I'm supporting and matching the curve of the hull properly or it will dimple due to the pressure of the bunks. I have a swing keel as well, which adds to the problem since the hull bears all of the weight.
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Old 09-10-2010
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It would have to be a big lift for a 27 footer! I've seen tons of them on inland lakes with power boats. I would imagine it would certainly pay for itself depending on your location!
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"Rather than pay to get 2 pilings put in in order to 'T' our boat to his pier firmly on all four sides of the boat, it seems to make sense to purchase a boat lift instead that we could simply drive the boat onto. They make them where only 2, or even 1, piling is all that's needed...."

Four feet is really thin on a cat-27, the shoal draft wing keel is 3 and a half feet. 6" of wetness below that really isn'r much.
Not to be a contrary old cuss, but why is this needed? Can't you tie off with a couple of lines and some fenders?

Or those fiberglass spring poles that attach to the far side of the boat from the dock...

Not to mention that a cat-27 dry is about 6800 lbs, thats one big lift. The price of the lift and pilings is going to be more than the boat.
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Old 09-10-2010
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Boat lifts can get expensive. I checked one out for my 410 - $30,000. I think not. You need one custom designed for your boat.
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My 27 footer weighs around 10,000 lbs. We had a lift installed a few years ago along with a new dock. The lift is rated at 16,000 and it cost about 16,000 dollars.
One of the down sides is that we don't have a lot of water and I can't launch the boat unless the tide is pretty high. (Perhaps I should be hoping for sea level rise. ) The boat draws nearly four feet herself and the lift adds a bit more than a foot to that.
I have a wet slip too so I just need to plan ahead.
The lift has really given me a lot of peace of mind during storms, although I haven't had to test it during a hurricane yet.
I actually added four extra pilings so that in case of a hurricane I can lift the cradle high enough to put timbers across the pilings and rest the entire thing on those pieces taking the load off the cables. I haven't had to do that yet either.
Having the lift has really cut down on maintenance and eliminated diving to clean the prop and bottom.
Certainly expensive, but I think it will have paid for itself in a few more years.

edit to add: The lift wasn't designed specifically for the boat. Rather it had to be set up specifically for the boat.

Last edited by knothead; 09-10-2010 at 09:43 AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charrob View Post
(2) When not used, keeps boat out of water which stops corrosion of various engine parts that normally sit in water, as well as stops a ton of barnacles from hooking themselves onto the bottom of the boat-- alleviating maintenance issues.
-Charrob
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