Lowering, removing and reinstalling outriggers for routine maintenance is a job that no one really likes to do, but it’s one that must be done. Dropping down a triple- or quadruple-spreader outrigger can get a little sketchy at times; you not only have to watch out for your own boat, keeping the outrigger off the tower and the paint, but the boats next to you and behind you as well.
However, this job can be done relatively easily with just two people and a long length of rope. First, prep the rigger for removal by tying back the halyards to the rigger bases, removing any bridge teaser lines, removing the layout arm and removing the nut from the bolts at the top of the back bar and at the base of the rigger. Next, tie a length of rope to the main outrigger tube as high up as safely possible from the hardtop in such a way that it can’t shift up or down the tube. (About 40 to 50 feet of -inch to ½-inch rope works nicely.)
Then, with one person on the hardtop and one in the bridge, pass the rope through the tower ladder about chest high and remove the hold-in arm from the rigger. The person on the hardtop lifts up and takes the weight of the rigger while the person in the bridge removes the bolt at the top of the back bar and secures the back bar to the boat. The person on the hardtop takes up the load of the outrigger on the rope and slowly starts to lower it, using the rope and tower ladder like a block and tackle. The person on the bridge just needs to keep the rigger from touching the tower or side of the boat on the way down. Once the rigger is down to about a horizontal position, one person holds it while standing on the covering board as the other removes the bolt at the base. The outrigger is now free from the boat and ready for careful maneuvering onto the dock. Reverse the steps to reinstall the outrigger. And then you get to do it all over again on the other side!
Capt. Randy Baker