We know from recent polls that the vast majority of classic Boston Whaler boats are stowed on trailers. The assumption was that most people got them off the trailers and into the water using a launch ramp, but Tom Byrum of California sent some interesting photographs of another technique: using a big crane.
Besides showing us how boat launching is done on the West Coast, we also get a good look at Tom's classic 1989 Boston Whaler 18-Outrage, LITTLE BEAR. Powered by twin 1989 Yamaha 70-HP outboards, this Whaler spends much of its time on the water in the Pacific Ocean. Tom, his son Dustin, and their dog, Rowdy, are fishing on the ocean nearly every weekend. They have been as far as 60 miles out from San Francisco in search of tuna. That is quite a range in an 18-foot boat, but, then, it is a Whaler.
Launch California Style at Point Arena
Because of tide and surf, boats launch from this pier by being hoisted off their trailers with a crane. Point Arena is where the redwoods meet the ocean, one hundred miles north of San Francisco.
PhotoCredit: Tom Byrum - Reference: 34-1
Three Point Hoist
Because of liability concerns, each boat owner must supply and rig his own set of lifting straps.
PhotoCredit: Tom Byrum - Reference: 34-2
The rigging consists of three large ropes made fast to the two transom lifting eyes and the bow lifting eye. The boat has a nice bow-up trim which should make for a proper entry into the water.
PhotoCredit: Tom Byrum - Reference: 34-3
From the position of the three chokers at the lift point, it appears that the stern lines are carrying the majority of the weight. The boat traverses over the side of the pier to be lowered below.
PhotoCredit: Tom Byrum - Reference: 34-4
Down It Goes
It looks like a long way down as the boat begins its descent to the Pacific Ocean, some fifty feet below the pier.
PhotoCredit: Tom Byrum - Reference: 34-5
Rowdy Rides Along
If you've got a well-trained dog like Tom's pet Shit-Zu, Rowdy, you can let him enjoy the ride down. He's sitting calmly in the bow.
PhotoCredit: Tom Byrum - Reference: 34-6
Down to the Sea
Tom has launched his 18-Outrage, while another Whaler descends from the pier. Notice this owner's rigging; the hoist point is not as far above the hull. This Whaler was the only other boat to go out this day with the ocean swell producing waves up to 15-feet.
PhotoCredit: Tom Byrum - Reference: 34-7
A successful fishing trip in November, 2000, to San Francisco produced this big sturgeon.
PhotoCredit: Tom Byrum - Reference: 34-8
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Author: James W. Hebert