Boat brief

Auckland’s Okahu Bay – home to one of the coun­try’s old­est hard­stands – has re­ceived a new boat lift.

Boating NZ - - Con­tents - BY LAWRENCE SCHAF­FLER

Okahu Bay’s snappy boat lift

Un­til now, says Scott Fick­ling, The Land­ing’s gen­eral man­ager, “we’ve op­er­ated a fairly an­cient trac­tor/trailer com­bi­na­tion for haul­ing boats and park­ing them on the hard­stand.

“Sadly, the de­sign of the old trailer gave us a rel­a­tively nar­row win­dow for boat re­trievals and launch­ings – about 90 min­utes ei­ther side of high tide – and that’s dif­fi­cult when high tide falls at an awk­ward hour. It was also a lit­tle lim­ited in terms of the size and/or dis­place­ment of the ves­sels it could ac­com­mo­date – and cata­ma­rans, in par­tic­u­lar, were tricky.

“Our new trailer, by con­trast, has a much lower chas­sis with fully-au­to­mated hy­draulic sup­ports to fit around ves­sels from six to 20 me­tres LOA, with a max­i­mum dis­place­ment of 38 tonnes. More im­por­tantly, the lower chas­sis has ex­panded our oper­a­tional win­dow and given every­one a bit more flex­i­bil­ity. We can now op­er­ate for five hours – two-and-a-half hours ei­ther side of high tide.”

With hy­drauli­cally-con­trolled sup­ports, the re­trieval/launch process is also much faster. The sup­ports also al­low a ves­sel to re­main level at all time – they com­pen­sate for the chang­ing slope as the trailer emerges from the wa­ter.

The trailer – from Dutch com­pany Rood­berg – is the first of its kind in New Zealand. It is cou­pled to a large Cater­pil­lar front-end loader, specif­i­cally adapted to in­ter­face with the trailer’s hy­draulic sys­tem.

It’s also equipped with cross beams for cata­ma­rans. “While smaller cats can be lifted with sup­ports un­der the bridgedeck, that doesn’t work for larger mod­els. These cross beams sup­port the hulls – good for cats with beams up to ten me­tres.

“We have a con­ven­tional travel lift and had con­sid­ered build­ing a set of rails over the wa­ter. But that would have com­pro­mised the recre­ational boat­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in the im­me­di­ate area, so we aban­doned that idea.”

In­stead, the new trailer works in con­junc­tion with the travel lift, and is a use­ful com­bi­na­tion for load­ing smaller ves­sels on to low-loader trucks for road trans­porta­tion.

The old trac­tor and trailer will also con­tinue op­er­at­ing – Fick­ling says the trailer is ideal for older clas­sic-styled boats with long, full keels, as they sit in the cra­dle more easily, and it pro­vides more sup­port.

While The Land­ing doesn’t have en­gi­neer­ing crews to tackle boat main­te­nance or re­pairs, it has a com­pre­hen­sive data­base of con­trac­tors it rec­om­mends for such work. The fa­cil­ity is com­pletely con­tained with proper fil­tra­tion to cap­ture any run-off from wa­ter blast­ing.

The com­pany also has a tow boat, and is able to col­lect ves­sels stranded with prob­lem en­gines or drive-trains. BNZ

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