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N.B. Sika - Arriving in Belgium.

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Rented crane (35 ton capacity) set up and ready to operate at the allotted time (midday, 3rd May 2000) on the public wharf at the junction of the Canal Charleroi-Bruxelles with the Canal du Centre, Belgium. The trombone trailer lorry had picked up its load the day before at Sharpness docks and travelled overnight via the Dover to Calais ferry but arrived 2 hours late.


Ivor, the driver, prepares for unloading and helps couple the lifting slings.


The crane takes the strain on a trial lift but the crane driver is not happy with the slings and the protruding edge of the bottom plate. Extra protection is introduced and a second trail lift undertaken and without warning, one of the slings snaps when the boat has been lifted 10cm. Fortunately, the boat drops straight back onto the lorry and the suspension took the strain. It's thought that the sling slipped because they were too far apart and then cut by the edge of the bottom plate. After a long delay, a replacement sling was brought by the chief rigger from the crane company. This time, metal capping was fabricated and added to the bottom plate edge and the slings moved closer together. While this work was progressing, I inspect the remaining intact sling and wonder if it's all going to happen again!


Several trial lifts later to get the correct balance point, the boat is successfully lifted and placed into the canal.


Finally cruising 5 km along the Canal Charleroi-Bruxelles to the moorings in the Branche de Bellecourt, an old transhipment arm. [In-joke for Mac : note the lack of smoke :-) ]


Page last updated 20 December 2005

Michael Clarke - 2009