Hit-the-Road Jack

from “Rovings,” Professional BoatBuilder No. 154
Compiled by Dan Spurr

154 brownellljack 488Courtesy Brownell Boat Stands

Brownell, which makes heavy-duty boat-transport trailers and stands, recently introduced this hydraulic jack, so the trailer can be quickly pulled out from under smaller boats.

It’s only logical that Brownell developed a hydraulic boat stand. The company is a leading manufacturer of boat transport trailers and boat stands (also called poppets where I’m from), and has also acquired expertise in hydraulic systems on its over-the-road and in-the-yard trailers. Designed for powerboats and sailboats, Brownell stands are solid steel tripod structures with angled bases, threaded rod, and top plates that swivel on ball joints; they possess working loads of up to 20,000 pounds (9,068 kg). Over the years the company has judiciously added to its lineup with wheeled dollies for boats and engines, and accessories such as staging ladders for yard crew in charge of blocking.

Its latest offering, the BL3 Hydraulic Boat Lifting System, looks like a dolly or handcart on steroids, with a large lifting plate, two rubber wheels, a hydraulic cylinder, and pump handle. Billed as “the safest, fastest means to remove a trailer from beneath a boat,” it is made of heavy-duty steel with a 3,000-lb (1,356-kg) capacity. The hydraulic ram is rated at 8 tons. Price is $1,152; you’ll probably need four—two for port, two for starboard.

Here’s what you do: Wheel the jacks up to the hull, raise the arm with swiveling hull pad to meet the hull, and lock in place with a safety pin; then raise the jack base to meet the arm and insert a second safety pin, and begin pumping the hydraulic ram. The lifting range is 20–50 (51cm–127cm) from the ground. To keep the boat relatively level and avoid overloading any one jack, several crew can pump simultaneously, or one can pump each jack a little at a time.

Once the trailer is free, it can be pulled from under the boat and the hull blocked first with keel stands, followed by boat stands port and starboard for balance. Don’t forget the chains that tie together the port and starboard stands, to keep them from shifting outboard.

Come springtime, in 10 minutes you can position the trailer back under the boat, lower it off the stands, and hit the road.

Brownell Boat Stands, 5 Boat Rock Rd., Mattapoisett, MA 02739 USA, tel. 508–758–3671, www.boatstands.com.

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