The second part of the move was to get her out of the water, which for a normal boat might be easy, however for a boat of this age and with so many problems, especially where the gun whales had been removed at the rear.
Our biggest fear was her snapping in half during the lift, after talking things through with Chris Miller we agreed to have a steel cradle made to support her during the lift and road move.
Chris ordered the Steels and his team set to work building it and quite substantial it is too, weighing several tonnes. She will remain on the cradle until we have finished the restoration and refloated her. The picture shows the cradle that was built, as you can see it is huge, however its only half the length of her and about four foot narrower!
We planned to do the lift on the 28th Jan, however the crane wasn't available so we looked to do it on the Sun 27th or due to high winds forecast Tues 29th. We arranged to visit the Marina on the Saturday to check the water level in the basin and check on 2552 ahead of the pumpout and lift the next day, although the forecast had winds of 46 mph at midday so the chances were it wouldn't go ahead, but we all agreed to meet at 9 the next morning.
We arrived at 8:30 the Sunday morning only to be met with high winds, overcast skies and the occaisional rain and hail shower. I climbed aboard her and started the petrol pump going, then started the generator and set to work on the electric pumps. After about 30 minutes she started to float, but was battered by the winds. It looked like they lift was going to go ahead, although I wasn't convinced until I saw them preparing all the rigging on the crane.
At around 11am, the Preston Marina workboat came over and we untied the rear of 2552, the workboat then slide between us and the basin wall, with the stern rope attached, the front was than untied. At that moment the wind caught and started to drive 2552 towards the far wall and into a steel boat that was being rebuilt. I didn't need to panic as Chris was at the controls of the boat and quickly got us under control.
Once we were alongside the basin near the crane, the cradle was dropped into the basin behind 2552 and four of us man handled her backwards onto the cradle, aligning her with marks we had put on her deck. Once lined up the crane gently raised the cradle upwards and slowly took the strain, however there was a problem. She had taken on quite a bit of water as the generator had failed to produce voltage and as such weighed 26 tonnes with the cradle. This was a brand new replacement for the last one that had also stopped generating voltage! We managed to hook up various pumps and pump her nearly dry and also drill some holes in the bottom to let the water out.
We then cleared the decks preparing for the actual lift, by this point the wind was blowing a gale. We stood away from the crane to watch, Chris stood facing into the wind with his back to the crane, he then motioned to the crane driver to start the lift. She rose without drama, with the wind howling and a wind chill factor making the temperature just above freezing, the crane slowly slung her round and gently placed her on the ground. Despite the wind, Chris had judged it stop on, there were no gusts and the crane driver carefully moved her. After all the build up over the recent months and the 5 hours that morning pumping her out and lining her up, it was over in 5 minutes.
Now that she is out you can see the state of her hull and to be honest its not that bad, don't get me wrong there is a huge amount of work to do, basically all the outer planking will need to be replaced, but this rather artistic photo taken by Karen shows the pitting that has taken place on the hull:
I video'd the lift, it can be seen on youtube by clicking HERE
There are some photos on The Chris Miller Website, plus a youtube video