Safely Lifting Shackleton

One of the first things I realized after building Shackleton, is the need to maintain Shackleton.  Occasionally, this will mean lifting the boat off the trailer for recoating of the bottom or center board maintenance.  In my case, I wanted to add a retrieval line to the center board, so the boat needed to be lifted.

Well, I learned quickly that lifting and rotating this boat is not easy.  During one attempt the boat fell about 12″ onto the rear Starboard quarter.  It didn’t do any damage, but I knew I needed a better way to safely lift this boat.   DSC00416I pulled out my Sailrite Ultrafeed sewing machine.  I purchased this machine a few years ago because I wanted a man’s sewing machine.  You know…one that would sew leather and canvas, not lace and petticoats.  This machine is bomber and easy to operate.  It has proven handy for several project, the last of which was making a cover for my backyard fire table.

DSC00417I took two cargo straps and sewed a loop into each end.  These will become the lifting straps and fasten to my block and tackle.  One fore, one aft.

DSC00416Then I took left over strapping and made two cross straps, with loops in each end.  This will keep the lifting straps from spreading.  Scamp is very shapely.

DSC00421This photo shows the cross straps slid over the lifting straps.  I made one cross strap for each side of the boat.  Before lifting, I teased these cross straps into position below the boat.

DSC00424I called Chuck at Ductworks…he set me up with a system that I believe will work.  Initially, I tied the top blocks to the eye bolt screwed into the rafters.

DSC00427But I didn’t like how it felt, so I added a carabiner.

DSC00416This shows the entire set up.  I have 4 blocks and one cleat at the top block.  With this setup, I can safely lift my boat off the trailer or even lift the boat off the ground heigh enough to set onto the trailer.  This is exactly what I wanted:  Simple, effective, lightweight and easy to operate by myself.

DSC00417I raised my boat off the garage floor high enough to set onto the trailer.  The cross straps keep the lifting straps from spreading off the ends, but you still need to keep an eye on things.  The balance point is just aft of the veranda.


  1. A ‘Come a long’ would be total over kill for this type of lifting.  I doubt the weight of Shackleton would even pull the cable out of the real.  Plus, these always look like they are waiting to take your finger off at any moment.
  2. A hoist lift was way too expensive and way too slow for this type of lifting.
  3. The cargo straps work horribly.  First off, they have very limited range of motion (before the bail is full and stops catching) and second, they only lift and do not lower.  These straps are really designed to secure a load on a trailer.  I needed range of motion and the ability to lower after lifting.
  4. Though not cheap, the block and tackle system seems to be the right tool for this job.