Modulift’s CMOD 12 Spreader Frame helps Dorian the ‘Little Ship’ from Dunkirk to get ready to return to the sea!

Dorian, one of Dunkirk’s little ships, has been in restoration in Southampton since 2011. With the work now complete, the ship, which weighed 9.7 tonnes, was lifted back into the sea and is now ready to attend the Return of Dunkirk, an event to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Operation Dynamo in May 2020. A Modulift CMOD 12 Spreader Frame was used by SafetyLiftinGear for the lift of Dorian on the rather blustery morning of the 7th January 2020.

A little piece of history

Built for the Royal Navy in the historic Portsmouth Dockyard over 100 years ago in 1915, Dorian served in World War 1 as part of the Grand Fleet. She was sold in 1937 and converted to a private cruising yacht before she was recalled in WW2 helping the Dunkirk evacuation. At the end of the war, she went on to eventually become a houseboat on the Thames.

Following damage caused by a fire when she was being used as a house boat on the Thames in 2003, the Dorian was donated to the Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust in 2011, whose team of volunteers, along with support from professional shipwrights, brought her back to her former glory.

Ready for launch

SafetyLiftinGear were happy to provide the necessary lifting equipment when they were approached by King Lifting to assist with the project, as their Modulift CMOD Spreader Frame, with its 4 lifting points, offered the stability that a lift of this nature required.

There were several challenges faced on this project, which ultimately could have affected the lift taking place on the day. The first obstacle was on the morning of the lift.  The M27 motorway was closed, which resulted in some quick thinking to ensure that the CMOD Spreader Frame was still delivered to the site on time.

Mother nature also decided to throw in an extra challenge as the wind started to pick up. Extra care was needed to ensure the boat was held and lifted correctly – another reason why the stability of the Modulift CMOD Spreader Frame was the perfect choice on this occasion.

Karl Chapple, Depot Manager from SafetyLiftinGear said;

‘It was great to work on a project that had played such an important part of history. Although the windy weather threw in extra challenges, the steadiness of the CMOD12 meant that the lift was still able to go ahead as planned’.

The lift was carried out by King Liftings LIEBHERR LTM1060-3.1 60 tonne crane using the Modulift CMOD 12 with slings all supplied by Safeylifingear. The CMOD 12 Spreader Frame was chosen as it can lift a maximum SWL of 16t.

Tony Walsh, Depot Manager at King Lifting, was keen to be involved in the project after spending 24years in the Army at 17 Port & Maritime and had been involved in multiple, varied lifts over that time. Speaking about the lift, he said;

‘I was fortunate enough to be able to attend site on the day she was finally removed from the workshop and lifted from the cradle where she had spent 8 years, onto the awaiting transport to be driven down the coast in preparation for launch. A very small phase in the grand scheme of the project, that sees Dorian now back at sea and preparing to take part in D Day celebrations in May this year’.

Tony visited the site on numerous occasions prior to the lift and liaised with Karl from SafetyLiftinGear to ensure the correct Modulift beams were available for the day. 

A versatile option

The Modulift CMOD Spreader Frame is the perfect choice for when there are height restrictions during a lift as the height of the rig will be lower than a ‘1 over 2’ rig. Additionally it was a higher degree of static indeterminacy than a ‘1 over 2’ rig which provides greater stability in windy conditions. The Modulift CMOD corner units impart high level of lateral stability to the frame and the slings due to its 45 degree orientation.

Harshal Kulkarni, Engineering Manager at Modulift, explains the difference between the 1 over 2 rig and the Spreader Frame.  ‘The CMOD Spreader Frame and the ‘1 over 2’ rig achieve similar lifts; however, they are not direct substitutes of each other. The ‘1 over 2’ rig option is most economical if there is no height restriction, however the CMOD Spreader Frame proves efficient for low headroom lifts. The CMOD Spreader Frame is quicker to assemble due to less rigging than the 1 over 2 rig’.

The CMOD Spreader Frame is one of Modulifts most economical options for lifting as it’s designed to expand the capabilities of the Modular Spreader Beam System. The struts from the Spreader Beam range can be simply combined with 4 Corner Units to complete the frame. enabling customers to achieve 4-­Point lifts, making this a versatile solution. 

The Modulift CMOD Spreader Frame range is available from the CMOD 6 up to the CMOD 250 which will lift up to 300t.

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