A crane aboard the Amber Lagoon lowers a Moorings catamaran into the Sir Francis Drake Channel on Sunday morning. The yachts arrived after an 18-day journey from South Africa. Photos: JASON SMITH

The brand-new catamaran hanging in midair on Sunday morning weighed several tons. No one was on board as one of the cranes on the 630-foot cargo ship Amber Lagoon lowered it more than 100 feet to the sea below.

A crane aboard the Amber Lagoon lowers a Moorings catamaran into the Sir Francis Drake Channel on Sunday morning. The yachts arrived after an 18-day journey from South Africa. Photos: JASON SMITH
A crowd on the ship’s S deck stared down at the ocean, fingers crossed. If the weight wasn’t distributed just right between the orange straps; if the wind got unexpectedly rough; or if something else went badly, an expensive catamaran could have tumbled dangerously into the Sir Francis Drake Channel. It didn’t. The descent was smooth, and the vessel’s 18-day, 6,500-mile passage from Cape Town, South Africa was nearly complete.

From another nearby vessel, a dinghy approached the catamaran, and a captain from The Moorings climbed on board. The yacht hung in the straps just above sea level, but at the command of the crane operator it was lowered completely into the water. The captain manoeuvredthe yacht slowly off the straps — too slowly for some.

“Reverse! Reverse! Get it in the water!” observers from the Amber Lagoon’s deck shouted.

The captain then motored the catamaran to The Moorings’ Wickhams Cay II base. Seven yachts were delivered in this manner on Sunday, straight from the Cape Town factory of shipbuilder Robertson and Caine.

 

See the May 1, 2014 edition for full coverage.

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