The Gantry Crane and the Boat Dolly: a perfect combination to optimize the space in the dry dock

25 January 2024 Activities and Events

The Club Nàutic Estartit has taken a significant step by acquiring a new machine: the boat hauler. This new tool perfectly complements the recently acquired travelift to optimize space in the boatyard. In this article, Eugeni Figa, our director, details all the relevant aspects.

In April 2019, once the new technical area (phase 2AB) was established, the new lift was put into operation, replacing the old GH machine with a nominal capacity of 30 tons, manufactured in the 1980s in the Basque Country.

“Many of you might think that we perhaps extended the lifespan of the old travelift too much – almost 40 years of service – but the conditions for its replacement must be considered,” the Director begins his explanation. Firstly, a significant investment was required both in the equipment itself and in the civil work associated with resizing the dock to accommodate the increased dimensions of the vessels. Secondly, the replacement a few years before the end of the concession (May 2013) would have had a major impact on the financial results of the last concessionary years, as an early amortization, at least for the associated work, would have been required.

Eugeni recalls that all these reflections were the subject of debate in numerous Board Meetings in the last years of the old concession. Ultimately, the decision was made to keep the GH machine until the renewal of the concession. This was possible because thorough preventive maintenance and structural control had always been carried out, and in the late 90s, an adaptation was made to the then-new machinery decree (RD 1215/1997 on minimum safety and health provisions for the use of work equipment).

In 2018, with the port concession renewed and improvement works underway, the decision to acquire the new lift was made. After thoroughly studying the state of the art of this type of machinery, widely used in the industry, and evaluating equipment from brands such as MARINE TRAVELIFT, CIMOLAI, ASCOM, WEISS, and GH, among others, the final choice was the Italian brand BOAT LIFT.

BOAT LIFT was one of the first manufacturers to introduce vertical wheel rotation through gear wheels managed by automatons. One of the main advantages of this system is the freedom of movement it provides to the machine, allowing it to rotate on itself, move laterally at 45º and 90º, as well as adopt various positions of its instantaneous center of rotation (which defines the turning capacity of a mobile).

Over time, the dimensions, and consequently, the displacement of vessels have increased significantly. Therefore, choosing a machine with a nominal lifting capacity of 60 tons ensures that almost 95% of the vessels in the port can be lifted. This choice represents an additional guarantee for any shipowner, especially from the perspective of safety in breakdown or emergency situations.



A higher load capacity implies the ability to handle larger vessels, both in length and beam (currently up to almost 7 meters). “This is where this machine, given the limited technical area we have, presents us with a challenge: its considerable width results in a large separation between stranded vessels and, as a result, inefficient use of space in the shipyard,” notes Figa.

Since the acquisition of the new travelift, it was known that it would be necessary to complement it with a new tool: the boat hauler, which is the machine that the Club Nàutic Estartit has just acquired.



The recently acquired boat hauler, also from the manufacturer BOAT LIFT, stands as the perfect companion to the lifting gantry, as it has the ability to move vessels, in our case, weighing up to 30 tons. Equipped with four sets of double-wheel drive and four pistons with a lifting capacity of 7.5 tons each, its variable width allows it to adapt to all types of vessels, whether powered or sailboats. In addition to sharing the same movements as the travelift (polar rotation, angular movement, etc.), it incorporates a new patented technology that allows it to practically configure any instantaneous center of rotation by sliding one of the wheel sets (DSC – Dynamic Steering Control system). This last feature provides it with a high maneuverability capacity, allowing it to deposit vessels in any corner of the shipyard.