Practical: Labour-saving ideas
John Read comes up with an innovative system to take the back-breaking strain out of lifting a heavy outboard aboard.
Outboard motors seem to know I hate them, and we have an uneasy relationship. Unfortunately, these noisy, unreliable polluters are a necessary evil because inflatable dinghies are next to impossible to row in any sort of wind. They also don't seem to appreciate the marine environment, complete with occasional dunking and salt spray.
There are also two distinct requirements. One is for a machine that you can easily lift on and off the dinghy and is then light enough to be hauled onto a beach. The other is for a more powerful piece of gear able to get the tender up on the plane for serious dinghy adventures and major shopping expeditions.
After much soul-searching, we overcame both the reliability and the dual-usage requirements by investing in both a small and a larger outboard. This has worked out well, but getting the bigger one on and off the dinghy without back strain presented a challenge. Some cruisers resort to building cranes on the stern rail, but we opted for a system using equipment that was already on board, namely the main halyard and the boomvang.
The At this point Janet is in the dinghy to receive the outboard. I hold the halyard aft with one hand and lift using the vang and its jammer with the other. Although the lifting point is at the top of the mast, it is surprisingly easy to keep the outboard from swinging forward by slightly bracing myself.
The vang line is lowered and Janet receives the outboard. The vang is left attached to the halyard so that the whole operation can be reversed when it comes time to lift the motor. Again, holding the block in position with one hand, I lift the outboard with the other hand, utilising the jammer on the vang.
We have been using this system for seven years now with no mishaps or back strain and highly recommend it.
JOHN AND JANET READ
Janet and John Read are long-term cruisers, currently in SE Asia on their Martzcraft 35, Sapphie 4.
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