View Full Version : How do i get my boat off its' trailer? On dry land

18-09-03, 08:51
I now have a leisure 17 on its trailer on my drive.
To aid servicing the trailer and access to the keels and underside of the boat i would like to get it off the trailer.

Could i jack up the trailer and then support the boat in some way.

If so what supports and where.

Any ideas greatfully accepted.


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18-09-03, 09:01
To be honest, the safest way would be a small crane. But I guess you could jack up the boat and support it with chocks at the sides and then remove the trailer from underneath. But it may be a little precarious. I'd go for the crane. (local breakdown truck?)

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18-09-03, 09:40
Another thought ... Is it worth considering taking the boat to a local lake or reservoir and (with permission) launching the boat to free up the trailer. The trailer could then be serviced without the boat on it.

<hr width=100% size=1>KeithH

18-09-03, 09:58
It is possible to get a bilge keeler off its trailer on dry land, but without proper lifting gear, jacking up and inserting supports is, to say the least, very dodgy and rather dangerous, even when you have experience of handling boats ashore.

I have seen a boat this size simply pulled off its trailer by strops round the keels back to a strong point. Using the same technique a heavy winch pulled it back on again - but its not something I would recommend or try with my boat. Even half a ton or so going out of control is highly dodgy! As the man said - boats can be replaced or repaired. People can not.

Do as the rest of us do - tie yourself in knots reaching the underside of the boat while its on the trailer, and leave the trailer repairs until the boat is back in the water. After all its sitting in the garden all summer largely unused!

If you MUST do it all now, find a local boatyard who can lift the boat off and store it for you while you deal with the trailer. I think you will find that far away the cheapest and safest option!

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18-09-03, 10:23
To be honest the trailer is going to have to have some work done before i dare take it on the road again. I reckon the suspension arms (on the hubs) on it are under rated as one seems to have buckled somewhat during the journey home.
The metal work on the trailer is all very sound but the hubs and so called braking hitch are in need of replacing.

It seems that the safest bet will be to leave the boat on the trailer but to jack the trailer just high enough to get the wheels off. Then support it on axle stands and blocks.
I can then leave painting the trailer until after launch day.


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18-09-03, 10:47
Yep, that's the way. Jack up trailer with boat on it and sit trailer on blocks. Big blocks if you are going to work in comfort.

You could remove the whole suspension from the trailor and move it inside to work on at leisure during the winter. when its all done, fit the suspension back onto the trailor.

If you want to replace parts that actually support the boat, jack up the boat in a suitable place using plenty of padding to spread the load. Replace the roller or whatever, then drop the boat back on.

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18-09-03, 10:51
If the trailor is unroadworthy, then you really have got a problem. If the law detects your trailer is dodgy they will have a field day, which could cost you a lot of money - both fines and in retrieving your boat.

It is much easier if you can get a friendly hiab driver just to lift off for you. Otherwise there is no problem to support the trailer on chocks while you sort the suspension. If it is the standard Indispension type swinging arm unit, they should simply unbolt - but you have a much more serious problem if the mountings are corroded, and may just have to fork outfor someone to lift it off for you.

I have seen a boat jacked up, supported aft on an oil drum (with suitable wedges to protect the hull, and forward on a heavy beam between two more drums - again with wedges made up to stop the hull rolling, while the trailer was withdrawn for repairs.

But simply jacking up the trailer, boat and all, and supporting it on heavy chocks (look in yellow pages for a second hand timber merchant, or 'achitectural recovery' specialist for the kind of heavychunks of timber you need to support everything safely. Otherwise the local car shop may have heavy duty axle stands long enough to hold everything safely. Get a 3 ton trolley jack from the car shop to do the lifting (2 tonners are surprisingly weak for lifting even small boats!

But make sure everything is really well supported before you start work. Evenif you are using axle stands, have something under the chassis for it to fall on (e.g. timber chocks) so that if annthing does fail, it will not land on you, and which allows you to get the jack under again.

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18-09-03, 11:07
I have been using this method on a boat tat displaces 1.7 metric tons.
1) put the trailer with boat in the position you want the boat to stay.
2) lower the front of the trailer as much as possible, thus lifting the stern in the air.
3) using either a long beam (if the trailer has to be cleared) or some sort of trestle with chocks that can take the weight of the stern.
4) put a beam (longer than the trailer's width) under the bow. lay one end of it on a trestle (or similar) and jack the other end using any jack (I used a simple non hydraulic car jack, remember you are will b lifting only roghly 1/4 of the total weight of the boat).
5) make sure the boat is well clear of the trailer, then pull out the trailer from under the boat.
6) chock the boat under the keels, and lower the beam, so that the weight is taken by the keels.
7) once your trailer has been overhauled, reverse procedure.
8) If I may, I'd strongly suggest that you undertook this task with no more than one sensible and helpful hand, and not a party of blokes. It is a rather simple task, that nevertheles needs fore thinking and concentration. Also make sure you have enough of timber and material before you start.

Cheers, Alexis

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18-09-03, 11:17
Ok. if you really need to take the boat off the trailor. There is a lot of danger being written about here, which is probably not too missplaced. You just have to think ahead. We have as a family taken 30ft boats of trailers, you need a few sets of hands.

The basic premise is to leave the boat still and rigid and move the trailer from under it. I have to say at this point that I have never removed a boat with bilge keels, and this may not be possible with your type of trailer, but I will describe an option that might work for you.

You will need plenty of wooden blocks, big blocks, you do not want them toppling. And something to support the sides of the boat, to stop it falling over, either big beams or as often used 45 gal drums with more wooden chocks to knock in.

Hopefully your trailer will be open in design, with some beams crossing along itís length. The first job is to gently lift (jack) up the bow, and then fit blocks under it. You should have these blocks forward of the trailer cross beam, if there is no space put them behind the first cross beam, lower the jack, the bow should now be clear of the trailer, you only need about an inch.

It may be a good time to start chocking the boat with the wooden beams or barrels to stop it toppling. She should be balanced so you are only holding her from falling, make sure the beams cannot dig into the ground. Now, jack up the aft, and fit in wooden blocks. Lower off jack. If she was bigger I would suggest blocking the mid part of the hull, but she should (?) be ok with just the two supports and side supports at this point.

Now you have her off the trailer. If you have set your chocks right, you should be able to pull the trailer out say 12 inches. The next job is to put new chocks forward of the first ones. Once the aft chocks are clear of the trailer they no longer need to be touched. You are only needing to set the forward chocks apart the width of the trailer beams; build up new wood blocks, jack up boat, remove first blocks, let settle on new set. You keep doing this and moving the trailer out little by little. You should be able to leave the side supports in place, as the boat should not actually move during this operation. Putting the boat back is a reverse of this procedure.

If you are unhappy about chocking, it is worth you visiting a boat yard and seeing how they do it, soft wood and rags. Above all take your time, if at any point you are unhappy stop, restart, or give up. I am only describing how I have moved boats about, where I used to live and sail, we did not have cranes, and needed to move large boats about, and bring them to yards.

I hope this helps in some way, I also realised it will not be possible if your trailer has keel rollers in the centre, or at least it will make it much harder.

<hr width=100% size=1>Julian

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.topcatsail.co.uk/TC_IrishCruise_2003_00.html>Irish Cruise</A>

18-09-03, 12:29
That is exactly the method I used unloading a Vivacity 20 onto my drive. The secret is to get plenty od large wooden blocks and two strong beams. If I remember correctly I used oak beams of 6" x 4" section and then put them on similar beams on the ground.
Take it slowly, making sure everything is solid before removing the trailer, and then gently lowering onto the ground.

<hr width=100% size=1>dickh
I'd rather be sailing... :-) /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

18-09-03, 18:32
I reckon that I could just about do the work that needs doing with the boat on the trailer. Except that some of the bolts that hold the suspension units have there heads under the keels, which sit in two trays which are lined with two planks of wood which inturn have been countersunk where the bolt heads are.

It might be possible to loosen the nuts from underneath. Which I will try first.

Otherwise its jacks and props all round.


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18-09-03, 20:45
Its done with trolley jacks and sleepers and blocks. The sleepers MUST be longer than the width of the trailer and wheels combined.

If the trailer is an open frame style that you can place blocks under the bilge keels ...... great.

But lets assume yoy cannot block under the keels direct.

Place trolley jack under the fron corners of the trailer. Jack it up and tilt the whole affair. Now block it up. Talke out the jacks and place at rear corners. Jack it up to similar height. Now block that end up.
If the boat is now at suitable height - you take sleepers and blocks and place a) across under the aft hull just aft of the bilge keels with padding and wedges at the sides to the hull to sleeper 'joint'.
b) place across under the hull just in front of the bilge keels again with padding and wedges at the hull to sleeper face.

Now jack up one end of the trailer - just enough to remove the blocks ....... then slowly lower the trailer until the boat is sitting on the sleepers. Repeat for other end ......

Now if the sleepers are long enough and the trailer is able to - withdraw the trailer.

Now here comes the clever part ...... to get the boat onto the keels again.

Trolley jacks under the sleepers at front ..... lift only slightly enough to be able to remove the blocks - BUT DON'T REMOVE YET. Place blocks under front edge of bilge keel as far under as possible. NOW you remove the sleeper blocks .... and slowly lower the boat to the keel blocks.
Repeat same at back end sleeper ............

Finally you have your boat sitting on the keels on blocks at a height that is better than sitting on the ground !!!!

Once you have the idea ..... you can actually condense some moves and reduce work ... but at start its best to do the whole cycles .....

<hr width=100% size=1>Nigel ...
Bilge Keelers get up further ! I only came - cos they said there was FREE Guinness !

18-09-03, 21:17
Thats more or less how the boat yard does it except that they don't jack up the trailer. They put a couple of oil drums some heavy pieces of timber and wedges under the stern then create a bridge with an old water tank, a railway sleeper more wooden blocks,wedges and a hydraulic jack just forward of the keels. The boat is then lifted just enough to get the trailer out then blocks and wedges are placed under the keels so that the boat only has to be lowered slightly on to them.
As you won't need them for another boat the oil drums etc can stay under the stern ready for the reverse procedure.

One thing I would add is that you must use large wooden blocks to ensure everything is stable. A pile of little bits of wood is a recipe for disaster.

<hr width=100% size=1><font color=purple>Ne te confundant illegitimi.</font color=purple>

19-09-03, 08:01

As usual you are a mine of information


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19-09-03, 19:44
I am supposing that the boat is on the type of trailer that hasn't too many gaps under the bilge keels and also may be a bit long on the front end.
I used to do it as you say ..... tilting the boat forward and propping the stern etc. Jack up the front and voila the trailer can come out.

I later changed to this more involved way - basically cause often I was working alone and also my boats got a little bigger.

It really is a matter of common-sense and thinking it out. I agree that a 17ft'r is a prime candidate for the easier route - being relatively light.

<hr width=100% size=1>Nigel ...
Bilge Keelers get up further ! I only came - cos they said there was FREE Guinness !

19-09-03, 20:47
I did it accidentally once on our Leisure 17 - I lifted the back of the trailer a bit too high in the garden and the boat just launched itself and buried its nose into the lawn! It scared the living daylights out of me at the time but it didn't seem to do the boat any damage! I also took it off delibrately once using a fork lift truck at the place where I worked (some long webbing straps under the boat and round the forks). maybe that's an option?

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19-09-03, 20:51
Actually, thinking about it, maybe you could make four towers (oil drums would be good) and sling a pair of those 5 tonne ratchet tie-down straps under the boat from scafold poles or planks across the drums. Get the straps tight under each end of the hull so that most of its weight is supported and then let the trailer tyres down. You might then be able to pull it out from underneath.

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19-09-03, 21:49
Oil drums are notorious for failing unexpectedly. They are designed for internal pressure and collapse suddenly when empty.

<hr width=100% size=1>Roger

21-09-03, 08:24
Yes, fill them with water and put the stoppers back! That said a Leisure 17 weighs less than a ton - I think you'd be OK - you can always put blocks under the keels once the trailer is out...

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24-09-03, 20:38
I haven't read all the threads but a local farmer lifted up my pandora using a forklift and truck straps

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24-09-03, 21:39
There's obviously loads of expertise available here.
Would you guys be available to advise on how to stand up the jack-up rig that has fallen over today?

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25-09-03, 08:00
I'll advise on anything, me!

(doesn't mean I know anything about it though!)

Give us a bit more info...

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