With all that experience and such swift engine removal I was just wondering for future reference, ahead of cruising off myself finally and in case I ever need to do it, how do you lift your engine out?
Do you use the boom and which halyard and winch? Is it strong enough? Any tips for the group?
Thanks for sharing this Craig and Kent.
My Amel is a Santorin, and your
53 may be a bit different, but, yes, I do use the halyards plus sheet tail ends
or any similarly sized lines to lift the engine.
engine with transmission weighs 465 pounds. My mizzen staysail – foc d’artimon -
halyard (the smallest of the lines I use) is 10mm which has a 4800 pounds
tensile strength. ABYC recommends not to exceed 1/5 tensile strength for
determining the SWL (Safe Working Load) or, say, about 1000 pounds in my case.
Other, more conservative sources, suggest using 1/10 TS for SWL, to account for
age and deterioration, which puts me right at the limit. Consider your halyard
Whatever the case, you are dealing with
serious weight and have to be really careful not to put yourself in any
position where a miscue by a helper on a winch or a line or block failing will
take a lot of the fun out of this project.
So, now that nobody can sue me, let me
start by saying there are lots of ways to skin a cat and I probably don’t do it
exactly the same way each time, but here are the basics. After removing the engine room hatch cover so
the engine will clear and disconnecting/unbolting everything – do put plastic
caps on the fuel lines - I then put shackles on the engine lifting rings and
tie a short sturdy line between the shackles.
Then I take the main sheet out
of its block on the tang on the mizzen and run a lifting line from one main
winch, through the jib sheet turning block and up through the main sheet block on
the tang on the mizzen and then down to the engine, tying a bowline around the
line between the shackles. (You could use any spare line, of course, but I use
the bitter end of the genoa sheet that had been on the winch.) When you tie the
lifting line on you can guess the fore/aft balance point pretty easily and/or
adjust the position as you first start to lift the engine.
Make sure the lifting sheet has a clear
lead from its turning block up to the tang – mine has to go aft of the mizzen
cap stay. Put the lifting line on the winch, ready to hoist, but before you
tension it put a snatch block on it and run a line from the snatch block forward
to a mast winch. The tail end of the main sheet works well for this. Do put a
second snatch block on this line and suspend that block with a fixed length
line down from the boom so this “fore guy” doesn’t press down on the bimini. This
“fore guy” is going to give you fore and aft adjustment as you lift.
Next I put a third line on, tied to the
lifting point and going over to the opposite genoa winch – this will allow swinging
the engine over to a side cockpit seat after lifting, plus giving lateral
adjustment as you lift. Alternatively, you can lift the engine straight up and
slide the hatch cover back in place – I find the extra height of the seat means
Finally, and perhaps most important, rig
the mizzen staysail halyard to act as a secondary lifting halyard. This does
two things: it acts as a safety line (kind of like using a second halyard when you
hoist your wife up the mast) and, second, when the angle of the primary lifting
line (going to the main sheet tang on the mizzen) gets too tight, you can
continue lifting with the second halyard to get enough height to clear the
At this point you can either lower the
engine and go to work on it in your cockpit or swing it over the side to lower
onto the dock, or lower it to the bottom as a mooring. Put the main boom to
work for going over the side and use a line to the dock, but don’t trust the
boom topping lift to hold all the weight – keep the mizzen halyard attached.
I use cardboard boxes under and
around to protect from scratching anything.
Cheers from DIY heaven,
Craig Briggs, SN#68, Sangaris –
Vero Beach, FL USA