Crane-in 2013

April 7, 2013


With chilly winter weather right up to Easter 2013, crane in came a bit too early for most at our club this year.

I had an unsettling feeling that we just weren’t ready as the countdown to Saturday inevitably reached ground zero. We were scheduled to be third in, and crane-in started at 7.30am, so by 8.30am (latest) our twin-keel, centre-cockpit, Macwester Malin 32 ketch was going to be sitting alongside waiting for the tide.

Macwester Malin

We had popped our yacht’s cockpit tent up for a week or two prior to crane-in to ensure that we could carry out essential engine bay maintenance no matter the weather, but as a precaution we took it back down for crane-in. I always feel the lack of cockpit tent makes our Macwester Malin look naked, but understand that some purist like it that way.

Macwester Malin 32

Weather-wise it was the best start to a crane-in / crane-out that I’ve witnessed. Blue skies and almost no wind. On-board, the deck was very slippy with a thick layer of icy frost. I awkwardly skated around the deck strapping on our new navy blue Majoni size/star 4 fenders (0.7m long). Five to starboard just in case there was some sort of unplanned close encounter as we were lowered against the harbour wall. As one of the larger yachts in our club, we were due to have another six boats rafted off our port side.

Macwester Malin lifting point

The club had purchased two new sets of strops, so we were spared any muddy marks given our early slot. As it turned out, the strops weren’t placed in the optimum lifting position (marked with blue tape), because the tide was out and if the rear strop was positioned under the skeg it would have been stuck there. Can’t say that I was overly happy with the rear strop being so far forward, (it was positioned just about the centre of our engine) but with no wind, our Malin remained reasonably level.


Once the tide was in, my friend and I towed the dingy round to our mooring and before we lost the tide, “the crew” and I nipped back round with Indefatigable Banks and popped her on her mooring for the next six months This was more or less straight forward with the exception of our brand new extendable aluminium boat hook, which catastrophically failed on the very first attempt at lifting our pick-up buoy …snapping clean in half. It was a poor show, but with the aid of our Malin’s bow thruster we managed to recover the situation without any further drama.


As it had been six months, we gave ourselves a little extra time for house-keeping; making sure that we remembered to close all the sea cocks, switch everything off, and double-check the strops. Fortunately my measurements were accurate and all six new fenders fitted snuggly into their new home.

Macwester Malin 32 twin keel

With our Macwester back on her mooring we spent the remainder of the weekend helping crane-in the rest of the club boats. The good weather continued and we finished well ahead of schedule. The only hiccup for me was getting my fingers trapped under a wooden block as a Westerly Merlin’s keels were lowered on to it. As the Merlin must have weighed upwards of 4 tonnes, momentarily it was a tad painful (not to mention scary) …and I was fortunate to escape with my hand in one piece. That’s a mistake that I’ll be trying not to make again any time soon.

Next up we shall be putting the sails on and making sure she’s ready to go for a shake-down sail come the first glimpse of a half-decent spring day.



  1. Congratulations on having her ready for the season, I am more than slightly jealous!


    • Thanks. It was all a bit of a rush in the run up to crane-in given the poor weather, but we made it.

      Hope that you’re back in the water soon!


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