Haul-out Your Sailboat for the Winter

What You'll Need
Large haul-out crane
Stand or trailer

During the winter when your sailboat does not see that much use, it is a good opportunity to haul it out of the water for storage, cleaning and to do any necessary repairs. Hauling out a sailboat for winter requires a large specialized crane and either a stationary mount or a trailer. Once out of the water, the entire hull, keel and propeller will be at eye level, letting you do what you need to do to prepare it for next sailing season. If you are a member of a yacht club, they may offer an area to store your sailboat, or you can put it on a trailer and bring it home. To get it out of the water will require a few helpers, but if there are several sailors hauling out their boats, there should be plenty of people on hand.

Step 1: Move the Boat into the Slip

The first thing is to board your sailboat and move it out of its berth and into the slipway. This is a channel of water between two parallel docks. The crane’s wheels move down the docks and span the slipway, at which point the crane can haul it out of the water. If there is no slipway, it can be hauled out from the boat launch as well using a different type of crane.

Step 2: Position the Crane

As stated, the crane is a large, boxlike machine that has legs and wheels designed to span a channel. If a helper is operating the crane, it should be moved over the slipway with its wheels on either dock. The crane straps should be well into the water as the boat is backed into the slipway. After the boat is in position, the straps are slowly pulled up and positioned underneath the boat.

Step 3: Set the Straps

In addition to the crane operator, there should be a person at each strap. This is to ensure that the strap is positioned correctly on the underside of the boat. They should be set under the boat so that they are in no danger of slipping off once the boat is lifted out of the water. Additionally, the rear strap must be set so as not to damage the propeller. Take your time maneuvering them into position before hoisting the boat up.

Step 4: Haul Out the Boat

Once the straps are set, the crane can slowly lift the boat out of the water. It should come up evenly with the helpers there to spot the progress and make sure there are no snags. Once it is partially out of the water they can make sure the straps are in the right position. Fully out of the water, the boat’s keel should clear the dock and the ground to be hauled to a waiting trailer or stand.

Step 5: Set it on a Trailer or Stand

If you plan on taking the boat home, have a sailboat trailer waiting. If you will keep it at the marina or yacht club, you’ll need a stand upon which to set it. The crane will drive the hoisted boat to the waiting mount where it is slowly set down atop it. Again, use the spotters to ensure the boat is lowered properly onto the mounts of the trailer or stand.

Now that your sailboat has been hauled out, you can store it until the next sailing season. It is a good idea to take the opportunity to check the propeller, keel and hull. Cleaning off the underside of the boat is good for its maintenance. Remove marine algae and growth and give the boat an acid wash in preparation for next season.