After reviewing and pricing the available kayak hoist storage systems, I decided on the Handy Hooker Canoe and Kayak Hoist with the Stabilized Hull Cradle System (sold separately), customized for our use. Major superior features were the high quality of the materials used in construction (especially considering the highly reasonable pricing), the elegance and simplicity of design and usability and – most of all – the patented moving release mechanism which allows easy hoisting and lowering without risking accidental dropping of the boat.
Our particular application involved buying two hoist systems for storage of two Pygmy Arctic Tern 14s up in the 16 foot ceiling of my geodesic dome office. We easily and quickly installed the first system, to hoist the first boat over the work table while completing the second. When both kayaks are completed, it was also important that the hoisted array look attractive in the office – which we are very pleased to say, the office now looks rather like a kayak museum, thanks largely to the simple elegance of this hoisting system.
At first, I was apprehensive about how difficult it might be to lower the boats, because this unique system really locks them in place up there! However, when it became time to lower the first boat, I was surprised at how easy it was to place a pole on the release mechanism in order to lower the boat from 16 feet off the floor in a controlled and safe manner. By going back and forth, lowering first one end some, then the other, it was not even necessary to have my wife holding the straps as a safety “spotter.” The combination of release mechanisms and cradle kept the boat safely right where I wanted it. The area under the boats will be occupied for office purposes, and I have absolutely no concerns about safety with respect to the boats above. (I was even tempted to hoist one of the boats up into the cathedral ceiling of our house – but the wife said, “No.”)
Finally, manufacturer, Steve Plzak of Design Research and Development Corporation (www.drdcorp.com ) was exceptionally helpful in answering my questions to meet the requirements of my particular application. In a world where so many things related to paddling seem to be over-priced, this option is a winner due to its great pricing alone. I highly recommend this American-made system as a rare example of when you actually can get more (and better) for less to meet your boat storage needs.