Heckmanns Anchorage


The schooner "Concertina" spends the winter in a covered shelter just above the tide line on a beach at Heckmans Island. Every spring she gets launched and every fall she gets hauled at this home port site.

The schooner is registered at 6 tons net. She is 29 feet long and draws 4 feet 8 inches, which is just about the limit that can be floated on the roughly six foot spring tides in these waters.

Launching Day 2008: June 3 (new moon). The boat is moved to the beach at low tide, and if all goes well, the tide meets expectations and floats the vessel free of the cradle - all on the same tide.

As you will see, the whole operation goes like a well-greased machine.

Well before low tide, boat and skipper both in a state of readiness.

Except for removing a bit of tape and later, touching up the bottom paint ...

... and getting the batteries aboard.

Schooner in shelter with end framework removed.

"Concertina" in her cradle with launching 6x6 rails stacked along her port side.

The cradle is sitting on a set of rails with spacers in place. The spacers keep the rails apart and under the cradle. The skids on the cradle keep the rails from spreading. At this point, the cradle is wedged so that it will not move.

Friends and neighbours arrive and the day's work gets underway.

The first rail has been placed on the beach.

Discussion in progress between John Zuck, Lainie and Ed Porter.

Two rails and the spacers are in place.

The rails under the cradle were placed when the boat was hauled. The rails point in the other direction for launching, so a wedge is needed to reverse direction. The dog holds the joint together, and the spacers hold the rails apart. The wedge holding the cradle in place is also visible .

John and Bill man-handling a 22 foot rail ...

... while Ed and David carry the other end.

Bill carrying 4x4 rail spacers.

The spacers are pinned in place.

Bill and Haigh hammering in a dog, connecting two rails.

Two rails held in place with an iron dog.

Haigh expertly laying down the grease with a shingle.

David and Bob applying chassis grease to the rails.

The next set of rails are not in place because the tow truck will soon occupy that space.

Tow truck in place at the water's edge, ready to begin pulling the boat and cradle down the beach.
The cable hooked to the chain bridle, the haul can commence.
Checking that the chain bridle is secure, the check line tackle is attached to the forward end of the cradle, and the wedges are removed.
Phillip at the winch controls.
The stern just out of the shelter.
David tending the check line tackle.

Concertina is just leaving the rails she sat on all winter.
Cradle and boat easing down the ways.
Aligning cradle with rails: every so often, a little steering is required.
Truck, rails, and schooner.
When the truck has pulled the boat and cradle as far as it can, it moves out of the way and more rails are placed on the beach. On the last leg of their move down the beach, the boat and cradle will be pushed by the truck.
Threading our way through the rocks, the last set of rails goes in. This set is floating, and will require ballast to keep it in place until the boat and cradle arrive.
The last set of rails is in place, on the bottom and mostly uderwater to get a little more depth.
Fitting the bracket of the pushing logs onto the rear of the tow truck.

The pushing logs have been pinned to the cradle. The chain is now attached to the truck in place of the check line.

The push has begun, but it must pause when the cradle is on the next set of rails.

The cradle and boat have left one set of rails, which have been removed so the truck can continue down the beach. The push poles must be slightly longer than the rails to allow this to work.
David and others closely watching the progress of the cradle down the rails.

The cradle is almost off of the next set of rails.

Another set of rails has been removed, and the next push begins.

Bill and Ron observing the truck and pushing pole arrangement. The poles are pegged into the cradle runners and the chain is in place as a check line.

Nearly at the end of the rails.
Ready for the last push down into the water.
Some final directions from David.

Ever vigilant.

The lead pigs holding the rails down are clearly visible, as is the line used to hold the rails together, until the cradle arrives.

"About this much more... "

Directing the final tow truck push with John, Ed and David in attendance.

David placing a strap on the after end of the cradle.


The forward end of the cradle strapped down to anchor rods.

The idea is to hold the cradle to the bottom so that the vessel can float free on the high tide.

Nothing to do but waint on the tide.
Except for a few loose ends...

Such as removing the fenders and putting on the last bit of bottom paint.

And running a line from the cradle to shore to secure it against being carried away on the tide (just in case the straps and and anchor rods do not hold).

And putting all of the rails back in the shed.

The water slowly rising around the hull.
About half-tide, with the afternoon crew long gone.
Time to take a line to the mooring.
Ed making the line fast to "Concertina" from the punt.
Nearly afloat.
Ready to move off the cradle.
Back on the mooring.
The cradle stayed down long enough for the boat to float off, but the tie-down anchors pulled out of the bottom soon after. So the line ashore came in handy.
It is high tide and the cradle is teathered ashore to be hauled into the shed another day.
The end of an active day and a successful launching aided and abetted by many willing friends, a powerful tow truck, a fair dollup of chassis grease, and the tide.

Old Gaffers home page
Launching & Hauling Concertina
Taking the Spars Out