Heavy lifting

Ships have derricks to hoist cargo aboard and our cruising boats can certainly benefit from a similar convenience. We need to hoist provisions aboard, the outboard motor, bulky sail bags and countless other heavy and awkward loads.

On sailing boats you have a ready made derrick in the form of your boom. It’s a good idea to run a halyard to the boom end to provide support and use the main sheet or a dedicated handy-billy to do the lifting.

If the layout of your boat doesn’t lend itself to using the boom you can fit a dedicated cargo hoist. There are various types available, some quite reasonable in price others eye-wateringly expensive. Or you can make your own from 1½” (38mm) stainless tube bent to shape, or cut and welded. The vertical section can rotate inside a slightly larger diameter tube secured to a pushpit upright with bolted clamps or hose clamps. A rubber tip or softwood plug will protect the deck from the cut end of the tube.

A three part purchase using a double block on the davit arm will give you a three to one mechanical advantage. The hoisting line can be secured to a cleat on the davit upright. A more sophisticated version might use a trailer winch and crank handle to do the hoisting.

Cargo derricks are incredibly useful pieces of equipment – you’ll wonder how you managed without one.