Published on: 23 November 2023
People out and about on the Penryn River recently were treated to a highly unusual spectacle – a 20-tonne boat hoist being floated across from one boatyard to another.
Three Falmouth companies collaborated in this gesture of goodwill which demanded a high level of planning and a bespoke construction.
The hoist at Falmouth Boatyard at Ponsharden was severely damaged in an accident last month, which has left it unable to lift some 100 yachts and motor boats safely ashore for winter storage, leaving the vessels at risk from bad weather.
On hearing this, Jonathan Fielding of Falmouth Boat Co. offered the use of his Flushing-based boatyard’s hoist.
Since the steel hoist was too large and heavy to be taken by road, the decision was made to attempt to transport it across the Penryn River, using a bespoke construction made by ScaffFloat.
This Penryn company makes pontoons and workboats from patented floats and standard scaffolding components. Working together with Falmouth Boat Co. and Falmouth Boatyard, ScaffFloat designed and built a rig for moving the hoist.
On Friday afternoon, the custom-built floating rig was towed from Ponsharden to Little Falmouth Yacht Yard in Flushing. Here the hoist was successfully loaded into the floating structure.
Just after 3pm on Saturday, the 20-tonne hoist, held afloat by the rig, was towed from Flushing to Ponsharden in a crossing that took less than 15 minutes.
Director of Falmouth Boatyard, Nick Offord, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the level of support from all the boatyards in the area. With Falmouth Boat Co.’s generous loan of hoist and driver, we can now offer some level of service for this year.”
Jonathan Fielding, managing director of Falmouth Boat Co., explained: “Seeing the situation that Falmouth Boatyard was in, it’s the least that we can do to assist them, their customers, multiple contractors and the wider harbour community.”
Safely ashore, the hoist can now be deployed in lifting out the 100 or so vessels for safe winter storage.
Toby Budd, founder and managing director of ScaffFloat, said: ''It was great to be able to help out as there are still a lot of boats on the water that I know really need to get out before the winter.
“Normally we would load the hoist on deck, but as the slipway was so narrow this was not an option. We designed a custom pontoon that floated around the hoist when it was in the water, we then sat the hoist on steel beams on deck before carrying on down the slipway and floating off.''
The Falmouth Boat Co. hoist is expected to be at Falmouth Boatyard for the next month, before making the return journey on the ScaffFloat rig.