Tips for Craning Out

Having just had my yacht craned out for the first time, I thought I would summarise the steps taken and the lessons learnt to help take the stress and mystery out of it for future first time owners.

Tips for a first time crane out at Fisherrow:

  1. The day before crane out the yachts are beached as close to their winter parking spot as possible. Bear in mind you need to be onboard well before hightide in order to get it into position in the highest water. The harbour master will inform you of your space.
    The yachts are either moored fore and aft or rafted 3 deep at the east wall. You will need two long lines to control the yacht when lifted by the crane, 60 feet is fine. When mooring the night before you can use your bow line to attach to the cable on the wall and drop an anchor back in the harbour mud. You can drop that as you approach the beach or row it out after the fact. Depending on the forecast weather overnight you can decide between leaving it far out in the mud for security or close in for ease of retrieval. 
    You'll need a full complement of fenders either side, you can also raft to the windward boat to prevent bumping.
  2. You need to remove your boom and remove your backstay as these can interfere with the lifting strops. You are not allowed on your yacht while the crane is working in your area, so you need to be there early or do this the day before. The crane starts with 5 yachts to the West of the harbourmaster's office, then it moves to the dinghy parking area to the east of the officer. Finally it lifts the largest yachts to the east wall.
  3. You are advised to slacken your guardstays in case the lifting strops damage them. Most folk attach their fenders to stays and winches because of this.    
  4. You need blocks of wood of differing thickness to allow the yacht to be levelled on the hard. I used lengths of cut up planks 12 inches long, 3 inches wide and both 2 inches and 1 inch thick. Other owners use much deeper blocks to lift their yachts higher and allow easier working on the underside.
  5. Think about removing your outboard as they are vulnerable to thieves when the boats are beached. If your tender stays in the carpark throughout the sailing season this will need unlocked and moved for the crane out, it can return to under your yacht once everything is done.


Mark McClelland
19 October 2013