Sooner or later we all have to get our boats out of the water. Antifouling, inboard engine prop repairs, servicing plumbing, surveying a boat, whatever the reason it has to happen to all boats, and usually more than once.
There are many ways starting with simply rolling the boat up the beach on logs in the fashion of Polynesian Vakas of days gone by or Wharrams currently. That process will still work on boats with extremely strong bottoms, and no keels but the reality is that government regulation has made that approach somewhat pointless at least in our part of the world.
You can of course use a crane and simply lift the boat out, provided that it is constructed with that in mind. Indeed that is the way Seawind launches all its boats from the factory. With boats that are already rigged that usually requires some preparatory work though!
For most of us there have been two main choices until recently. The older style railway slip, again the boat needs to be designed to take its weight on its keels or under the bridgedeck and the slip needs to be able to be adjusted to suit the particular builders/designers requirements. This is the way Dilligara (my Seawind 1000XL) comes out, its simple safe and easy, particularly given that my yacht club slip can accommodate my boat (just) so there is a large convenience factor.
The majority of lifts these days though are dome by travel lift. Relatively straightforward, these devices are used in many yards, and any reputable manufacturer will supply a lifting point diagram to ensure that owners lift the boats in the correct spot.
One of the key issues with travel lifts is that many yards will not have one wide enough for a modern multi. In my part of the world, none of the lifts in the Manly Boat Harbour, for example, would accommodate my previous cats and tris. There is also the slight inconvenience of spending all that time antfouling your boat and then watching the lift straps rub it as you lift the boat back in the water.
I recently have experienced the “ Sea Lift” system. This revolutionary system uses a remote controlled self propelled “trolley” with dual horizontally and vertically adjustable air bag cushioned fingers that can be individually adjusted to ensure every sort of vessel is lifted in the gentlest possible way. Below is a Seawind 1160 coming out at Boat Works at Coomera . It is very entertaining to watch the trolley being driven by remote control as the operators position it precisely for a lift job. As you can see from the photo, as the SeaLift comes up the ramp, the boat says level.
Craig Humphries, from Signature Yacht Services, the guy that does the work on my boat and the accredited Seawind/Multihull Central service agent in South East Queensland is a big fan of the new technology. “It is an easy, simple and gentle way to lift” says Craig. In the post Sanctuary CoveBoat Show period Craig reports that there were 16 cats out in the yard most having been lifted by the Sealift.
The Sealift system can lift almost any boat, power or sail, multi or mono. General enquiries about its suitability for multihulls can be directed to Craig at Signature Yacht Services firstname.lastname@example.org or 0409 720 329.