Crane Out, October 2017 Photos


A big crane came to Wardleys Marina Yacht Club on the 9th October 2017. There was a detailed action plan and everyone was ready at their stations.
Wardleys take health and safety very seriously. All members operating within the lift zone were issued day-glow jackets. On some members they are close fitting. On others, they flapped around a bit, which wasn’t a bad thing for a crane driver since they give a good indication of wind speed and direction.
The BANKS man! Mike was Wardley’s crane out day “Chef d’Orchestre”. He wore an orange coloured day-glow to differentiate him from the other workmen. The crane driver takes instructions from the BANKS man and no other! He doesn’t use a baton, but uses a god given hand to emit an intriguing form of semaphore that invokes cranes into action. He might not be able to make pigs fly but he can sure make boats fly.
Tom preparing for the next lift. Each boat has a line attached at each corner. Four men, one on each, ensure that boats are positioned correctly when lowered back to the ground. A detailed map is drawn-up in advance showing the location and orientation of each boat.
Placed by the crane on her custom cradle. The graceful lines of yacht Brendan clearly demonstrate that classic yacht shapes reigns supreme in the beauty stakes. This is not hard when surrounded by bilge keelers, but this last type of boat certainly reigns supreme on Morecambe Bay for wholly other reasons.
The BANKS man helped by ACE Wardley’s sailor Norman ensuring that the chains are man enough and up to the job. Veteran club member and ex Commodore Vic Mathews with years of experience is in the background casting an extra pair of eyes over matters.
As mentioned previously, each boat is assigned a gang of four, who pile aboard each boat, who ensure that the strops are safely positioned, who attach the chains and ensure that there are no impediments or things likely to be damaged, and who then hop off and using the mentioned “quartet of ropes” guide the boat to its final resting place.
Six boats were made ready for the lift the day before. They were all positioned in the mud berths closest to the crane. The idea was to lift all six out before high water. Strops were already in place and ready to be attached. As it happened, only four got hauled out. The boats at the extremities were just too stuck hard in the mud for our poor crane to manage. Still, soon the incoming tide eased the keels from the glue and then all was sound. The two remaining boats were quickly shifted – job done!
A lovely modern British built Hunter awaiting the crane. This boat has a self tacking jib and an amazingly roomy open plan interior with accommodation going right the stern. Nice piece of kit.
Wardley’s members also take drinking tea and coffee very seriously. Tom, one of our ACE sailors (ACE=has sailed out into the cauldron of Morecambe Bay more than four times this season) is particular good at striking that classic English tea drinking pose, as this photo well demonstrates.
Lynden Haliwell’s boat is next. It is the biggest of them all and it was left to last so that the crane could be optimally repositioned for maximum heave. Needless to say she came out as sweat as pie.
We’ve talked about the ‘Gangs of Four’, about our amazing BANKS man, (and even about our tea drinking club stalwarts), but let us give a big hand to the crane driver. He’s the man in the orange jacket beside the crane. This is the man whose safe pair of hands we most relied on. With his play station joy-stick, and using less energy than your average teenage gamester shooting up virtual zombies, all our thirtysomething combined tons of shipping were positioned within millimetres of plan. Well done that man!



Leave a Reply