Loading on the Trailer


With the True Grit now out of the shop the next task was to load it on the trailer.  I honestly didn't give this nearly the thought I had afforded exiting the shop.  I guess because I had lifted my Cabin Skiff on to the trailer twice I didn't consider it a major challenge. Sure it was considerably larger and heavier but not that much different. I was wrong! It wasn't until my friend with the small crane was setting up beside the boat and asked, "How high do we need to lift it?" Until then I had not given it a thought.  I then walked down the alley with a tape measure and proceeded to take a measurement.


Yes, I had looked at the trailer previously. And yes, I had taken measurements I sent the company that custom built it for me. But now as I placed the end of the tape on the ground and measured up I was some how shocked that we were going to have to lift the transom about 40".  Now that may not sound like a lot but when you are working with floor jacks the have about a 16" lift it starts to get complicated. It means lots of blocking, jacking and re-blocking to get it elevated. Fortunately I had a good supply of concrete and wood blocks on hand so that at least we would have what we needed. But still having 31' and 5500 pounds of boat propped up on blocks that high was somewhat unsettling.


After some discussion we decided to try first lifting the stern with the crane, blocking it and then moving to the bow.  We quickly found this would not work as the entire hull had a tendency to want pivot on the bow and roll to one side or the other. No, we needed to lift the bow with the crane and slowly raise the stern with the jacks.  And so we began.



Trying to lift the stern first didn't work but this photo gives and idea the size of the crane.



In this photo the height of the bunk can be seen as I rest my hand on it.  That is how high the transom will have to be lifted.


Here we have the crane in place and beginning the lift. Note the overhead wires.


While the crane has the bow we are working on the stern with jacks and blocks.  At this point it was high enough to back the trailer part way under it.


A view of the starboard side.  Here we are working in a shallow drainage ditch.  The healthy crown in the alley surface is also visible. It didn't help tryng to keep the blocking straight.


The rear blocking prevented the trailer from coming all the way back.  We then lowered the boat on to the trailer and removed the blocks. But the hull still needed to be lifted to get the trailer totally in place.  Using the jacks and a stack of wood blocks we accomplished this.  Looking at this photo now it appears much more precarious than I remember it.  But had it fallen it would just come to rest on the trailer again.


And there she is. On the trailer and ready to roll.  The loading process took us about three hours.


The True Grit is now out in the street and ready to head home where she will be stored under roof.  The day had gone very well.  We gotten it out of the shop and on to the trailer with no damage to man or craft.  I was a very happy guy and thankful to all the friends that helped this come together.