winter storage

so, this weekend I trailered my wet ‘Fish up to my folks place, to store it for the winter in their barn.  my dad had given me permission to store it there, up in the hay loft (2nd story – usually more just storage space for “stuff” than actual hay storage).  since my dad was out of town, it was potentially going to be just my wife and I getting the boat up there – but I was able to sucker my brother-in-law to come over and lend me a hand.

about a week or so ago, I had bought a block-and-pulley kit (similar to the picture shown here) at my local Harbor Freight store – it was supposed to be rated for 440lbs, which should’ve been more than adequate to lift up my boat. so as I tried to rig up this system, I realized that the supplied rope wasn’t going to be nearly long enough, at least not to achieve the 4 to 1 mechanical advantage… so I de-rigged half of the setup, leaving me now with plenty of rope, but only a 2 to 1 mechanical advantage.  I had brought along an extra 100-ft rope, but the diameter was just barely too big to fit into the junk pulleys that came with this setup.  my dad’s barn wasn’t really set up to have a hoist, although there was a stub section jutting out from the wall at the peak.  I threw a loop of my 100-ft rope over the stub section, and then hung the block-and-pulley kit from that rope.  I then tried to initially lift the Sunfish.

that wasn’t happening.  the supplied rope was just too thin and it was too hard to get sufficient leverage, so my brother-in-law and I brainstormed a bit.  our solution was… haphazard?  ugly? dangerous? foolish?  all of the above? sure, but it worked to get the boat up there, and I have a few months to figure something better out.  anyway, here’s what we did:

I switched the hoist line location and used the block-and-pulley hoist to hook onto the bow handle, and then we slowly raised the Sunfish until it was almost vertical, with the back end still resting on the trailer bunks.  we then positioned my dad’s john deere tractor with a front-end loader bucket at the back end of the boat.  we used a big tarp for padding, and then lifted the boat’s back end into the tractor bucket.  I ran up into the barn to guide the front while my brother-in-law used the tractor to then lift up the back end of the boat.  this all sounds pretty good right?  a heavy duty tractor to lift the boat is way better than a cheap pulley system, right?  well, the next problem arose in that the bucket could only lift the back end up so far… and not quite far enough for us to just slide the boat in.  so we ended up having to carefully lean out and grab at the boat’s cockpit and just muscle it up and in the rest of the way.  all in all – not a very pretty or easy process.  definitely leaves a LOT of room to improve on for getting it back down in the spring.

Img0153_054

then, we maneuvered it over to the side of the barn, and struggled mightily to get it lifted up and into rope cradles I made using the 100-ft rope – it was a lot harder than I expected, because the rope kept sliding up on the curved surfaces of the boat.  I had looked several times at the store to find a fan (not exactly in season since the weather has been in the 40’s), and finally settled on a window fan (discounted to only $10!).  as I couldn’t find any painter’s tape and plastic to really seal off the cockpit area, I ended up just throwing something together to start the drying process.  the fan is set on low, and I have my screens over each of the holes, so I’m not really worried about critters or anything, but the next time I’m up there, I’ll spend a bit of time to make a better system sealing off the cockpit and really getting the air flow moving through the boat.  as it is now, the fan sucks air out – so air enters the hole up near the coaming, flows in the and through the interior of the boat, then out the hole in the sidewall of the cockpit and to the fan. see my previous post about cutting the holes for more information.  I think it should work pretty well for the few months I’ll have over the winter to let it dry out.

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5 Responses to “winter storage”


  1. 1 tillerman October 20, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Wow. What an operation! And I love those pictures.

  2. 2 David Harns August 2, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Pictures courtesy David Harns


  1. 1 10 stone 5 « my2fish: a blog about sunfish sailing Trackback on July 31, 2010 at 8:33 pm
  2. 2 winter storage 2010-2011 « my2fish: a blog about sunfish sailing Trackback on January 10, 2011 at 9:24 pm

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