I had to hire a crane to launch the boat. I picked Barnhart Crane out of Gadsden. Here are some pictures and a video of the activity.
The crane arrived promptly at 9 after traffic congestion in Albertville.
He measured off 50 feet from where Andrea Lynn sat and marked an X. Then he measured off 50 feet from the position in the water and marked another X. This determined the position of the crane.
The crane operator deployed outriggers to steady the crane. He tested for the possibility of them sinking by putting the weight of the truck on each one. It did not. Ernie told a story of a crane whose outriggers sank about 6 inches almost toppling the crane.
I had worried about how he was going to get at the boat to hoist without risking tearing up the rigging or damaging other boats. The solution was to raise the boom as high as possible and hoist over all the rigging. I had lost some sleep thinking about this.
We got her rigged with two straps in a basket form. Additional straps went high up to the hook. This made a gentle slope that did not affect the gunwales or lifelines.
I had told the crane operator that she might weigh 14000 lbs. He planned for up to 15000. He put a strain of 15000 and she was not budging. I had suspected that she weigh more than 12000 by the way she sailed and for other reasons.
The crane operator had to reposition the crane. This time he positioned it close enough to lift 45000 lbs. She was going to come up now.
We have lift off. The scale read 16900 and was accurate to 100 lbs. He skillfully maneuvered her out of the slot. I manned the aft tag line. Ernie manned the forward. At first when she came off the jackstands she wanted to move stern toward the water. I got her under control.
At this point we had to set her down to reposition the crane. The straps stretch under heavy weight. Most of the weight of the keel is in the forward part of it.
We got the boat set up on the jackstands. It had to be properly blocked and chained as if she were going to sit there for a few days. This process took about an hour.
The crane was repositioned at the head of the ramp for launch.
Now she is off the jackstands.
She's about to splash.
Hiring this crane was probably the best course of action given the circumstances. If I had tried to use a smaller crane we would have had to set Andrea Lynn down on jack stands twice. This would have added considerably to the crane time. A larger crane than 70 tons would still have required sitting down on jack stands and cost more per hour unless it was a truly large crane. But then the hourly rate would have been much higher. Other options are a larger hydraulic trailer but I was not able to find one locally. I could have had a trailer custom made for Andrea Lynn but I only needed it once. The engine hoist cost less than a crane rental. But to build a hoist for the whole boat would have cost more and taken much longer than the crane did.