Thursday, July 7, 2011



The rescue of a 1976 Albin Ballad 30' sailboat.
Deciding to rescue a boat is one thing, but the reality of getting it home, where it can be worked on, is a whole different story!

After phoning several different boat movers to get a feel for what I was in for, I settled on Keel Hauling, a local company that had a smaller sized rig that might make it up my driveway. I liked owner Cam McLean's "can do" attitude, and his no BS approach to the project, so we arranged to do the deed on the following Saturday. As the boat was located on Gabriola Island this meant a ferry ride was part of the operation.
Cameron McLean and his rig

On arrival at the site we discovered the boat was sitting too low to be loaded easily, and we spent several hours jacking and blocking things until the trailer could be slid underneath.
Sliding the trailer under the hull.

Finally, under Cam's direction, the deed was safely done and the boat strapped down for the ride home.
Cam and helpful boat neighbour Greg.
Once we had her hauled out of the bush, a check of the tie-downs was in order.
Checking tie-downs.
Tie-downs were checked again while waiting for the ferry, only a 20 minute ride across to Nanaimo.
Waiting for the ferry.
Once out on the highway the Cummins-powered Dodge had no trouble keeping up a good pace. The boat and trailer behaved as one unit.
Highway tow, view out the back window.
As difficult as the move had seemed up to now, the final challenge was to get the rig backed up my six hundred foot very steep driveway, with a 90 degree turn at the top.
Backed in, at the bottom of the grade.
The straight section went very well, with the Dodge pushing the 12,000 lb load up the hill with relative ease.
Backing up the hill.
But on reaching the curve, several maneuvers were required, and a few small trees removed, to make the corner. The truck started to spin it's wheels so we added another 4x4 to the back of the trailer to provide extra pulling power.
There's always a ham on site!

Finally, over the top.

Basket ball hoop about to get annihilated. 
The plan was to put the boat into the shed, but it looked like fitting a size 14 body into a size 6 suit ... it wasn't going to happen. By this time I was so relieved to have gotten the boat this far, I was open to all suggestions.
No Way!

Too much boat ... Not enough shed :-(
Instead, Cam backed it close to the retaining wall, still leaving enough room to get the cars out of the garage.
Off the trailer.
This location turned out to be the best choice, as the shed was needed to empty into and sort the contents of the boat. Isn't it funny how these things work out!
Cam stayed and helped construct a base and props for the hull, but warned me to replace some of the braces with heavier timbers, which has since been done.
A job well done.
I couldn't have chosen a better boat mover: Cam was quietly confident and determined to complete the job to my satisfaction, which he certainly did! I plan to ask him to haul the boat out when it's completed. I wonder .... will he want to tackle that driveway again? At least it'll be all downhill !
NEXT: So what did I drag home?


  1. I'm glad you and your team have safely drove that boat home.

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  2. I never thought rescuing a boat requires this much of hassle but I guess accomplishing it becomes a real reward for itself. I enjoyed this.

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  3. Exactly, boat sailing and fishing is very easy as comparison to the after task of getting it back to the home. This task can me made a little easy by boat tailors, always select trailer according o your boats size and weight. I am also fond of fishing and sailing, that's why i know the importance of a boat trailer.