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Old 05-07-2019, 01:47 PM   #1
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Wood Trawlers and Yard lifts

Greetings all;
I know there are many earlier discussions about the realities of wood trawlers. I don't have a Loop boat yet, but will begin seriously looking next year. I'm familiar with the challenges and added maintenance of wood hulls...for the right price (probably cash) a sound wooden hull offers a lot. Obviously the survey is hyper-critical, by the right person.

BUT...I'm wondering about heavy wood hulls when being hauled, cradled or in the case of the Big Chute Railway lift on the Trent-Severn.

The yards in the PNW or in the far Northeast would have a lot of experience with wood, but I'm in Texas where 'glas is about the only hull material.

What are your thoughts on this specific issue?
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Old 05-07-2019, 02:16 PM   #2
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A lot will depend on the railway and the hull. Depending on the hull and its strength the yard I use will either support the hull with 2 or 4 slings. If you buy a wood hull, you want to know its strength, how it needs to be supported in the slings (and where), and don't let it be hauled without you present.

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Old 05-07-2019, 05:29 PM   #3
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Some yards no longer lift wooden boats. Liability issue. Wooden hull survey expertise experience is critical. Find Nams or Sams surveyor who knows how to survey wood and knows what they are looking at. GL.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:09 PM   #4
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Yards have been hauling out wood boats since ancient Egypt, if not before. I canít imagine why it would be any different now. Prior to purchase agreement, find a good shipwright and ask his advice before you advance to survey stage.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:13 PM   #5
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We haven’t had any issues with our wood hull. Previous owner took care very well. Have had know issues for hauling and surveys.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:15 PM   #6
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There are marinas that will not rent slips to wooden boats or even haul them. They are afraid they will crack during a haul out and worried that they will deteriorate at the slip and the owner leave the boat there and then the marina will be stuck with it to deal with. Like it or not that is the way it is and it is going.
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:55 PM   #7
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My 83' 1942 wood hull lifts out ok with 4 slings. But I prefer a railway.


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Old 05-07-2019, 08:05 PM   #8
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Hi CDreamer,

Good question regarding the Big Chute railway lift. From observation, it appears the lift has multiple slings, which is a good thing, IF your boat fits what appear to be fixed-spacing slings. However, as others have noted before me, hoisting a wooden hull is problematic in a boatyard, and perhaps VERY problematic in something like the Big Chute.

Most boatyards that deal with wooden hulls have travelifts with multiple, variable-span slings. These are spaced along the hull to minimize hogging or sagging, and minimize stress concentrations from the slings. Inadequate numbers of, or improper spacing of hoisting slings can lead to cracked frames, sprung planks, and other uglies. The yards that haul wooden boats with travelifts are VERY mindful of these issues.

Yards that use railways (fewer and fewer these days) have less issues, as the hull is evenly supported along the keel upon haulout. Ditto with tidal grids.

I'd be surprised if the Big Chute operators are equally knowledgeable, mindful, and careful.

Having said that, it's obvious that the Big Chute has been in operation for many years, and equally obviously has hauled many, many wooden boats of various persuasions. My guess is you pays your money, and you takes your chances.

And regarding wooden construction in general, there are no free lunches. The cheapest boat you can buy will likely be the most expensive boat you can own. Cash and Dr. Death for a surveyor be damned.

Regards,

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Old 05-07-2019, 08:18 PM   #9
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Definitely no problem with a steel hull.
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:19 PM   #10
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I think it's wise to keep this haul out issue verymuch in mind with wooden boats, and it depends on hull construction and condition.

My hull is built like the proverbial brick outhouse with Iron Bark, a very dense timber (1105 kg/m3) displacing 40 tonnes and she has a hefty iron keel girder from bow to stern, so I'm ok with hauling out via a lift crane. I know of others who aren't.

It also helps if the yard can use more than 4 lifting straps per side and positions them carefully. It's sensible to always be present at the liftout to make sure this happens.

I don't have any issues (so far) with the boat's insurance, and I'm assuming that the yard's liability policy doesn't have any exclusions.

P.S. I've just seen what jungpeter has written - I concur.
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:39 PM   #11
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I wouldn't worry about Big Chute. They've been transporting big wooden boats for a long time. I've been through a couple of times and have spent lots of time there watching and chatting with the operators. They know what they're doing and have equipment to handle just about anything IMO. It is a marine railway, and they can put the keel on the platform and just use straps to stabilize.

It's a really interesting machine, especially the dual track system to keep the platform level on the escarpment.
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:40 PM   #12
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Big Chute sets the boat on the keel, the straps are just to hold it upright.
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Old 05-07-2019, 08:44 PM   #13
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Another thing re wood boat for the OP.
His world is fresh water country and hull rot is far more prevalent than in salt water. The salt in the water is a great preservative. Here in the NW and up in Alaska mostly the only wood that rots is decks, cabin tops and other wood exposed to fresh rain water.

So hulls in fresh water are much more likely to be weak or rotten from water damage.

And very importantly the travel lift sling compresses the hull in the vicinity of the WL ... not an ideal way to raise/lift a boat. Ideally a travel lift would lift a big flat grid stiff enough and strong that would remain flat during operation. Never seen that done and I’m assuming because the grid would at least double the amount of weight the lift would need to lift.

As to the weight of wood boats it varies from much heavier than a FG boat to somewhat lighter. The lighter boats would be mostly plywood. They are very strong and light. Hard to build a FG boat as light as a plywood boat.
But a heavily built planked wood boat is anything but light if her hull is soaked up or saturated with excessive water due to lack of caulking, paint and maintenance.

So a wood boat may not to probably isn’t a good option in places like Texas. To the OP I’d look around in local boat yards. See if there are wood boats there and inquire about how they lift wood boats.
Another option is to build a plywood boat. Many old plans are available and have very wide ranges of construction difficulty. It’s not hard to find beginner lever plans. Most planked boats are too difficult for those w/o boat building experience.
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:14 PM   #14
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Many places on the Great Lakes will haul the boat from the basin with a travel lift and then place it on a hydraulic trailer to move it to the location where it is blocked. Some of these trailers lift via hydraulically powered pads that press against the outer edges of the hull instead of lifting and transporting with the weight supported by the keel. Be aware! These pad lift trailers are known to have caused structural damage to hulls. I'm aware of at least one punch through on a 39' Sea Ray, and I know several owners who believe their hulls have been warped by these contraptions. Cored fiberglass hulls are especially susceptible to crushed cores (which is not obvious from a visual inspection). I'd think a wooden boat would have many unique vulnerabilities with relatively small pads pushing against ribs, for example. I have banned our yard from using their pad lift trailer to move our solid fiberglass hull boat....which they dislike immensely. Be careful and ask how they will move your boat from place to place.
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:44 AM   #15
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Definitely agree of not using the power pads. Forgot to mention when hauling we use two forward slings and two rear slings jus ahead of the running gear. You usually have to ask them to put the extra slings in prior to the hauling out. Good to have the water tanks mostly empty as well. All good stuff and asking local folks leads you to the right people that care greatly for your wood boat.
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Old 05-08-2019, 07:07 AM   #16
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8 strap 300 tonne lift for us.
With some pressure we get it for the same price as competitors 75 tonne 4 strapper.
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:01 AM   #17
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Refloating is also an issue as many yards don't have personnel or equipment to wait for a wood hull to swell up.

A nice woody was lost here not long ago after a relaunch because it sank while unattended. There may be yards that have employees with wood boat experience but the typical employee has never seen a wood boat.
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:43 AM   #18
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Simi 60,
However many straps used there still is X amount of side pressure exerted on the hull. Helps a bit to spread it out some but the same compression force is applied to the hull at approximately the WL.

And obviously the best way to support a boat is floating in water. Even a marine railway is far inferior to water.
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:53 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jungpeter View Post
Hi CDreamer,

Good question regarding the Big Chute railway lift. From observation, it appears the lift has multiple slings, which is a good thing, IF your boat fits what appear to be fixed-spacing slings. However, as others have noted before me, hoisting a wooden hull is problematic in a boatyard, and perhaps VERY problematic in something like the Big Chute.

Regards,

Pete
Where does one get specific information about the lift system at Big Chute. I'm especially interested in the observation regarding fixed spacing slings. Are there multiple slings under the hull when lifted or just one forward and one aft? Or does the boat actually lift via the keel with the straps only stabilizing?
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:09 AM   #20
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Greetings,
Mr. R. Perhaps you can get specific information here: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/on/trentsevern
We've been through the system but other than the apparent SHEER drop while locking down at Big Chute, I remember little about the mechanics or geometry...



Phone #'s and e-mail...
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