thoughts on hoisting bridles for a Wayfarer
Subject: we welcome new Indiana W, Bridget Balint (W4098), with answers to a hoist question
----- Original Message ----
From: "Balint, Bridget Kennedy"
To: ""
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 5:56:49 PM
Subject: Wayfarer launching from hoist?

Hi Dick,

Mike Anspach sent me your e-mail address, and suggested I get in touch with you about my launching question.  I am a brand-new Wayfarer owner, and I have just brought the boat to a club on Lake Lemon in south-central Indiana. There's no ramp, just a hoist, and I'm trying to figure out what the best procedure for hoisting the boat would be. Other boats that use the hoist have bridles specially made for them, but there aren't any local Wayfarers that I know of.   The club does have a simple sling I could use, but it doesn't look very substantial, and apparently finding the exact balance point of a boat is tricky - so I'd really prefer to have something that attaches at 3 points.  Any advice you could share about hoist launching and
how I might get the right kind of hoisting bridle would be greatly appreciated!

With best wishes,

Bridget Balint (W4098)

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Harrington
To: Balint, Bridget Kennedy
Cc: Al Schonborn
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 10:02 PM


I'm copying Uncle Al, the "Mr. Wayfarer" of North America in case you haven't heard yet.

As you've already concluded, a three point sling is what you want.  The forward lifting points should be on the same lateral plane as the shroud chain plates.  This puts just enough weight aft to keep the boat stable while lifting.  I have a wooden Wayfarer that has the lifting lugs permanently installed.  However, since the framing is totally different none of that is of any help to you, assuming your boat is fiberglass. 

As a temporary solution for glass boats I know of people who've attached shackles for a sling in the shroud to chain plate pins and then take a line back to the mainsheet traveler on the transom.  This is okay but not a good long-term solution as there are bending and twisting forces at the chain plates which will eventually damage these parts and using the traveler as a lifting point is equally inadvisable.  What I would suggest doing for the long run is epoxy in solid blocks of oak (or something equally strong) beneath the side decks at the chain plates and through bolt sturdy lifting eyes.  You can do the same aft at the base of the floatation tank bulkhead.  Be sure to use good size blocks so that the load is well distributed.

Regarding the sling, try out a rope sling first in order to get the proportions right.  Sometimes the clearance between the boat and the high point of the hoist is such that the lifting ring on sling needs to be fairly close to the boat in order to lift the boat clear of the trailer.  Don't assume it will work until you've tried it.

Hope this helps.........DICK

From: Al Schonborn <>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 23:36:57 -0400
To: Richard Harrington , "Balint, Bridget Kennedy" 

Hi, Bridget:

Welcome to Wayfarers! It's great to have you with us!! Dick's advice is good - though I believe you already have the three lifting points you require, none of which should have to bear a load of more than 175 to 200 pounds: what we used to do was use a good strong, stainless steel shackle such that its shackle pin does double duty by replacing the pin that currently holds your shroud to its chainplate, i.e. you attach the shackle to the chainplate by putting its pin through the chainplate hole and the shroud turnbuckle (or shroud plate) holes. The curved part of the shackle should of course face towards the centre of the boat as you will be snapping the hoisting bridle to these shackles using a strong snap hook or snap shackle like the one pictured below:

Your aft attachment point should already be there in the form of your hiking straps attachment point (provided it is solidly anchored on or near the aft bulkhead - this should certainly be strong enough to bear 1/3 of the weight of an empty Wayfarer since it is made to hold a good heavy crew). Like Dick, I recommend starting with a 1/4" rope bridle until you have the length to your satisfaction and then get one made from 1/8" stainless steel 7 X 19 (halyard) wire.

Do stay in touch. Best regards,

Uncle Al (W3854)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Balint, Bridget Kennedy" 
To: "Al Schonborn" <>; "Richard Harrington" <>
Sent: Sunday, October 14, 2007 9:05 PM

Thanks, Dick and Uncle Al, for the advice. I launched the boat for the first time today, using the sling. In spite of my trepidation, it worked just fine. Thankfully, there were a lot of experienced people around to work the hoist. The boat was well-balanced with the sling placed just on the aft side of the thwart.  (I have to say the drop to the water, about 5 feet, seemed like a long way down, to me - but the water level here is about 2 feet below normal, because of the dry summer.) I will definitely look into the upgrades for a bridle, since I would be much less nervous launching it that way.

I had a beautiful first outing: it was about 70 degrees today, with 3-8 mph winds, steady now I am absolutely in love with my boat. :-)


... and some further thoughts from Andrew Haill:
----- Original Message -----
From: Andrew Haill
Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 1:26 AM
Subject: bridle


perhaps you would forward this to the new Wayfarer owner in Indiana ... regarding her inquiry about hoisting a W. 



Hi Bridget:

First, a welcome to Wayfarer sailing… you have chosen a great dinghy.   Although where I sail (in Thunder Bay at the top of Lake Superior) is some distance from Indiana (and the game is hockey and not basketball), of particular relevance is that we both launch from a hoist.  

There are big benefits to this, particularly that trailer bearings stay out of the water and you can launch / retrieve without your car.  As you noted however, one needs a hoist rig.  Here is what we do. I would guess that your 4000 numbered Wayfarer is a MkI… I have a MkIII which is slightly different, but the other W here is a MkI.  This MkI has a shroud attachment fitting having multiple holes in it to allow adjustment of shroud length and mast rake and it was an easy matter to fit a shackle in an unused set of holes as a hoisting point.  The hull attachment plates (chain plates) are perpendicular to the centreline of the boat, and so the bridle angle during hoisting (which is more inwards than the normal angle of shroud pull) just rotates the shroud attachment about the pin connecting that fitting to the hull attachment plate.   Nice and simple and hopefully you have this arrangement.  

My MkIII has shroud turnbuckles without any convenient shackle mounting locations and the hull attachment chain plates are oriented in line with the centre of the boat which is not ideal in that the inward bridle pull slightly bends the plates in.  Having some shroud tension lessens the effect but I'm still searching for a better solution.   A shackle might replace the existing shroud to chain plate connection pin but it would still pull inwards and small shackles unfortunately don't seem to have pin diameters that are a good match.  A separate installed hoisting point as Dick suggested would work but it is nicer if one can utilize the existing shroud fittings.

I am now experimenting with a 4-point bridle to reduce bending of the hull attachment plates… the fourth line goes down to connect to the vang anchor point at the base of the mast.  Of course any 4-point support often practically becomes a two or three-point support (like a chair with a short leg) and I have adjusted the relative bridle rope lengths so that the initial portion of the load is on the vang attachment before the two side ones are tensioned and also hold the boat level.  The bridle now attempts to pull the mast up out of the boat which of course it can't do because of the shrouds … thus the lift on the hull is still via the shroud attachment points… but now partially via the mast and shrouds in a more appropriate pull direction.  I'm convinced sailing loads are far higher than any occuring when lifting the boat this way.

The bridle is simply made of good quality rope with a substancial load rating and not cheap hardware store stuff (I've used a extremely strong 5/16" but 3/8" might generally be better).  The hoist hook end is a suitably sized metal thimble eye to protect the rope loop from hook contact or abrasion.  Some boats use a large metal ring instead.  The boat end of the side bridle lines are steel S-hooks which for the MkIII turnbuckles are bent to fit into the gap beneath the U-shaped shroud end fitting that is pinned to the hull attachment chain plate, or in case of the MkI just hooked into the shackles installed for the purpose. 

For the aft bridle attachment I use a snap hook into a dedicated strap eyelet bolted through the rear bulkhead and a glued-in backing plate.  The MkI uses the hiking strap connection. It is true the hiking strap attachment point should be pretty strong, but hiking strap forces are horizontal and mostly load the fasteners in sideways shear.  Compare this to hoist loads which are more upwards and now attempting to pull the fasteners out…screws into thinnish fibreglass are not as strong in tension as when pulled sideways. 

Also ensure the pull direction does not go across any eyelet fitting which prys it out, but along it (this was one problem in using the hiking strap attachment on the MkIII).  Check carefully that the screws (bolts ideally) and the backing material are strong and adequate… if there is any concern, install at the base of the rear bulkhead a dedicated attachment point that is through bolted with a backing plate.   A separate bridle line (left slightly loose) could always be hooked onto the traveller as backup to catch the boat should those hiking strap screws ever let go. I personally wouldn't go to the trouble of a wire bridle… decent rope can be strong enough and is far easier to make and adjust.   The majority of the dinghy fleet here are the far heavier Lightning class boat and they also use rope bridles and a similar system.   A rope bridle is also easy to crumple up and throw into the back hatch. 

However if you are set on using wire I might suggest leaving the aft attachment as rope since it has less load and is the one you need tweak to get the boat hanging level. The biggest thing you can do to lessen the overall forces in your bridle system is have the whole thing as long as possible… the more vertical the bridle ropes are when going to the hook - the more effective it is and the less load carried by each rope compared to a flatter bridle.   For example to provide 100 lb upward lift force, a bridle rope at a flatish 20degree angle to the horizontal actually experiences a load of almost 300 lbs in the rope... at 30deg 200lb, 45deg 140lb, and 55deg 120lb.  The achievable bridle geometry will of course depend on your hoist set-up and clearances, but from a force perspective- the steeper the better.   The other advantage is that the chain plates are not pulled inwards as much. It's always a bit weird seeing one's boat hoisted overhead but it is a great way to get a Wayfarer in and out of the water. 

If I may offer any advice it would be to always first moderately load the bridle and re-check connections are properly hooked in and aligned before proceeding to fully lift the boat.... if there is any accumulated water slowly lift just enough to let it drain out, and of course the golden rule of safe hoisting is to make sure neither you nor anybody else is ever under the load. Good luck with it.

Andrew Haill  W9657