Capt. David Cherington and his 15-person crew did just about everything they could to lighten the load on M/Y Meamina to ready the 195-foot Benetti for hoist out of the Dania Cut-off Canal this morning (Feb. 8).
“Usually we have 140 tons of fuel onboard, we’re down to five,” Cherington said as he watched yard workers adjust straps and lines. “We actually had to add fuel for the trip here from the Bahamas.”
Several tons can make a difference in whether the yacht can be lifted, even if the hoist is the largest mobile boat lift in a yacht yard in the United States, said James Brewer, business development of Derecktor Shipyards. Brewer said the Cimolai lift is also the tallest in the world.
Cherington feels confident they will come in under weight.
“We calculated her weight at 850 tons and the lift is rated to 900 tons for a safe working load,” Cherington said.
“And the crew is off,” he laughed.
Most of the crew disembarked, left the yard in Dania Beach, Fla. near Port Everglades, and headed to a crew house. But a few are watching with the captain as the hoisting straps are checked, including Chief Engineer Mads Petersen, 2nd Engineers Jakob Jensen and Max Johnson and 2nd Officer Liam Clark. They have worked hard to get the yacht to a safe weight.
“We took off all oil, spare parts, the tender, the Jet Skis,” Chief Engineer Petersen said. “We usually carry 30,000 tons of water and we’re down to one ton.”
“We hope our weight calculation is correct, we used the specs from the build,” Petersen said. “But now it has much more, with furniture and all.”
This is the first time Petersen has worked with a yacht hoisted using this type of lift, and he watched the scuba divers straighten and double check lifting gear. Straps attached at the top of the lift were lowered into the water early this morning before the yacht was maneuvered into the slip. Four groups of eight straps are spaced out along the 195 feet to support the stern, the aft quarter, the forward quarter and the forward.
It’s a chilly morning for South Florida, but Mike Gamage of Mike G Mega Yacht Diving is one of the divers in the dark water. He set the blocks and adjusted the straps while yard crew communicated with him by radio.
“They have a plan and I see if it fits,” Gamage said. “But it takes all of us here to do this.”
His crew discovered unexpected zincs on the yacht’s bottom that could interfere with the lift straps. Aside from weight, the yacht’s 35-foot beam is a potential challenge because it is near maximum width for lifting.
Mark Russell, project manager at Derecktor, is at the stern watching crew loosen lines to inch the yacht forward as it slowly lifts. The stern is just one fender off the wall, but Russell is not concerned.
“We lifted about 120 boats last year,” he said. “We just go slow and steady and make sure we get it right.”
As the seven-year-old yacht inched toward the sky, the lifting stopped. The hoist checked the weight of the yacht. More than 900 tons and alarms will sound and lifting will be stopped.
“I think it will be about 720 tons,” Russell said.
As yacht crew, yard crew and divers waited, a call is relayed from the crane operators.
“Seven seventy-seven, she’s 777.”
And with that, M/Y Meamina is lifted and moved onto the yard lot for its first paint job.
“M/Y Dream was the heaviest at 760 tons,” Russell said. “But this is the heaviest.”
Dorie Cox is associate editor of The Triton. Comments on this story are welcome at email@example.com.