Monday, October 3, 2011

Rocket Launch Pad

Thought I'd share what I've cooked up here for dry sailing the Rocket from our in water slip.

Our marina does not have a lift. We can dry sail the boat but it involves using the boat ramp. The ramp is not too bad but sometimes can get clogged with fisherman trying to get in and out with their boats.

We finally got a slip this year but even a month in and out of the water cleaning the gelcoat every week has left some algae coloration on the bottom which will have to be cleaned off this fall.

I'd been researching lifts a bunch because it just seemed like an ideal solution. Jim Lanter had his on a hydrohoist which looked pretty cool except that the height the boat would sit out of the water would not work here at our marina.

Instead I decided that I wanted a lift I could sail into with the keel down. I would leave the keel down as well. We had our keel bottom painted this Spring with white Petit Vivid ablative paint. It's been very easy to clean this season.

I saw that some powerboats in the marina are already using the airdock system and love it. However, the airdock does not work with keelboats.

So I concocted a system where I got 4 old windsurfer masts. I created 2 sets of spreader bars using the masts. They are bound at the forward keel end with ipe wood spreaders and stainless steel hose clamps, making a tuning fork like arrangement where the aft end is open to sail into.

Now we simply sail in and out of the bag when deflated. I take a sail tie and bind the masts at the aft end BEFORE inflating the bag which makes the arrangement quite sturdy as the bag inflates.

I couldn't be happier. The system is very fast up and down. It can be easily deinstalled for the winter and rolled up and stored in our basement.