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Preview: Boat Storage, The Brownell Boat Stand System

December 2, 2011

If you’ve ever used a boat stand to store your boat, you know how handy they can be. But every time we put a boat stand under our boats we ask the same question: “What’s the correct way to put a boat stand under a boat?” So we went straight to the man, Tom Brownell, to show us the proper way to set our boat stands. By the way, Tom’s father invented the boat stand in the 1960’s.

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– In the days before boat stands, boat owners had limited choices for storing larger boats. Only one choice really. Owners had to store their boats at boat yards and pay the boat yards rates for storage, and then also pay the yards hourly rates for any maintenance the boat needed. This was a very expensive endeavor that limited boating to the privileged few who could afford such an expense for their leisure activities. The average family that wanted to have a boat that was too big to trailer was out of luck. Owning a larger boat was too expensive and out of reach. But all that changed when Fred Brownell invented the boat stand and the hydraulic trailer. All of a sudden a family could store their boat in their driveway and do their own repairs and maintenance. And this changed boating forever for many people. Lots of us have used the Brownell boat stands on our own boats for years now. But we still have the same question. What’s the best way to set them up? Well, we’re going straight to the man, Tom Brownell. Tom’s father invented the boat stand and Tom is CEO of Brownell Systems.

– Well here today we’re going to go over the Brownell Boat Stand System, and how the system works for storage of boats on land. My father invented this system and deployed it back in 1960. And we’ve been using this system ever since til today. One of the first things you want to look at is where you’re gonna put your vessel. It needs to go on a hard or firm surface. That’s part of the real structure of this system is a hard and firm surface. The stands are made to go on oh, anything but sand would be bad, or mud anything that’s gonna be washed out anything like that would be a bad choice to use boat stands on. Here, in our yard we use small wooden pads to keep the legs from actually melting into the pavement. Now here we have a very typical fin keel sailboat. Fin keel boats in particular need to be stabilized forward and back as well as side to side. On a fin keel boat, it’s necessary to put a stern stand. This is the one way to keep the boat from wanting to go over backwards. Opposite this, there’s a bow stand that holds the boat up so as the boat doesn’t want to go over forward. The first thing you really do is all the weight stays on the blocking under the keel. This is always the strongest place to support a boat and this is how the system has been designed so that all the weight always remains on the keel blocks. The stand system is used to stabilize the boat in an upright position. It was never designed to hold the entire weight of the boat. Though they’re very strong, it’s bad for the boat, you may cause oil canning, structural damage, and it’s just an unstable way to do it. The boat stands have a swiveling top adjustable thread, and the safety chain that holds them together port to starboard under the boat. When the boat is placed on blocks the stands are applied to stabilize the boat in a level position. Port to starboard and fore and aft. There’s one right way and a lot of wrong ways. The stand is applied perpendicular square to the surface of the boat where you are applying the stand. This is perpendicular to the boat’s surface. This is not. You can see that if the stand was applied this way, it could slide forward and fall. So perpendicular to the boat, there’s only place that it’s perfectly perpendicular to the boat. Place your stands put the chain together pull back tight, and you roll the stand around so it’s in the right place. You can adjust the threaded rod to lock the boat in place. Looking at the stability of the stand system seeing how one stand reacts against the other stand, you can see from this shot that the port stand is pulling the chain and holding the starboard stand under the boat. The starboard stand is pulling the chain pulling the port stand under the boat. The chain is an integral part of the safety of this system. Here we have a full keel sailboat. Meaning there’s a long shoal keel, this particular one has a center board. Now the stand system works perfectly with this type of boat also. To start with again, a firm surface is what we have. But with a full keel boat, we always put the blocking where the weight is as far forward and as far back as we can to stabilize the boat fore and aft. Fin keel boats of course need a stern stand to stabilize, in this particular full keel boat the blocking does that. Now every boat that we do should have boat stands applied at about every eight feet of length of boat. So if you can imagine, something like eight feet back is the first place we have the boat stand set. Then approximately another eight feet back for your second set and there you have the third set. It works exactly the same way as far as the chains, the chains don’t go through the boat, they’ll go under the boat. But they work exactly the same way. The boat stand is applied perpendicular to the hull this way positive angle this way, encouraging the chain to stay tight. So applying the boats stands under a full keel boat we place them the chain goes through and adjusts whatever you can get easily for a link. You pull it back locking the stands together, winding up the stand top and there is a secure system. The angle of the hull will not allow the stand to fall in. It will only allow the stand to fall out, which tightens the chain. So positive angle, it’s positively not gonna fall in it’s only gonna come back. And the chain restricts that. You always want to have the weight of the boat down on cribbed blocking piles. What do I mean by cribbed blocking piles is blocking piles that are crossed in a pile to stabilize themselves on hard ground. If the masts are let up and stay up for the winter time, a set of stands needs to be applied directly opposite the mast. The boat stand system works equally as well for power boats as it does for sailboats. It’s the same exact starting point which is the hard surface. Then all the weight of the power boat is placed on the cribbed blocking piles, and the stands are applied to merely lock the boat in a level and upright position. They’re applied at ninety degrees to the hull this way, a positive angle this way so that they will not be able to fall in and it encourages the chain to stay tight. The important things are, when doing a power boat, firm ground, all the weight down on the blocks, and the stands chained together. Same as you would with a sailboat.



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