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