Newport Uskmouth Sailing Club (NUSC), located at the mouth of the River Usk in South Wales, is using a 3,000kg capacity Tall Porta-Gantry crane system from Reid Lifting to lift boats and other items during repair and maintenance work.
The crane, which has a 6m-long beam and is fitted with a Yale 360 chain block for lifting and lowering loads, is principally used to lift vessels where work is required to the hull and / or keel. The system, fitted with a rope control system for lateral movement across the length of the beam, is also being used for yacht engine replacements as well as assembling and disassembling masts. Rigging methods vary but NUSC commonly uses strops, enabling it to allow for offsets in centre of gravity, commonplace in the marine sector.
Previously, the sailing club had to pay for rental of a crane on a number of occasions throughout the year. The investment in the Tall Porta-Gantry, therefore, will pay for itself, said Luke Rossiter, design engineer at Reid. Further, it has given the sailing club a lot more flexibility as it is no longer restricted by cost and availability of a crane company.
Anthony Sperduti, commodore at NUSC, said: “The gantry will be most cost effective for individuals who can pay a fee to the club rather than hire a crane for one-off jobs. The club can recoup the investment, albeit over a few years. Its lightness and maneuverability are also advantageous features. Boat owners will be more encouraged to tackle maintenance projects they would have previously put off because of the costs involved. I anticipate that the crane will be used on a monthly basis.”
The gantry crane boasts several marine upgrades, including stainless steel fasteners, castor brackets, bearings, and epoxy plates. Rossiter explained that the plates prevent galvanic corrosion between dissimilar metals, in this case, the aluminium and the stainless steel. Isolating nylon pads and washers have also been used throughout the system, again, to prevent dissimilar metals from reacting with one another.
Rossiter added: “The gantry can be setup safely with just four people. However, as it has a marine upgrade, it can be left assembled in the yard without concern of it rusting or corroding. Height adjustment is also very easy and can be achieved with just two people using the ratchet system on each A-frame as a mechanical aid.”
NUSC also purchased wind-up jacklegs to accommodate the gravel-based ground conditions at the riverside facility. Using four separate spirit levels on each leg, the gantry can be utilised even on uneven surfaces. The legs also provide an additional height of lift of 300mm and allow for fine height adjustments, if required.
Club members manually operate the Tall Porta-Gantry. Reid conducted two training sessions within a single day, with two groups of 10 people taking part in the morning and afternoon respectively. NUSC is already planning to purchase a second gantry crane system for use in the workshop.