New Crane Installed on Union Lakefront
By Dave Elsmo
In March, the Tong Family Marina project finished the installation of a 55-foot-tall, 5-ton crane, which will serve as a critical piece of infrastructure to the new lakefront. This marks the culmination of a four-year design and construction process led by the Wisconsin Hoofer Sailing Club and Wisconsin Union leadership.
The Sailing Club knew early in the project that it would need to replace its aging crane to update programming and ensure the growth of educational offerings. After several design iterations, the Sailing Club settled on a traditional Jib-crane system that is common in marinas but added a secondary hoist to safely lift masts. The crane’s impressive height allows it to service many types of boats.
To accommodate this new crane, a construction team built a foundation out from the lakeshore so that boats could be placed into adequate depth, all while moving the location west so that the large T-dock can serve as a shelter from waves.
Programmatically, the crane allows the Club to move away from a time-sensitive launching operation, which required renting a 95-ton mobile crane and staging lot twice a year. The previous launching schedule required volunteers, who were responsible for the fleets to push through cold, wet, spring weather to prepare boats. This often caused necessary maintenance to be deferred as weather conditions dictated the majority of the work.
The new crane allows Club members to be more flexible in their preparation and promote a more educational approach. Boats will now launch when they are ready and can be pulled out of the water at a moment’s notice if any technical issues arise. The Club’s educational offerings can be expanded to include boat care and maintenance topics, and work can be done on-site where power and water is available.
The Hoofer Sailing Club is confident that this more deliberate pace and increased flexibility will help promote safety, while reducing burdens on volunteers.
Aside from current Club programming, the crane will be available to help serve the greater boating community of Lake Mendota.
The Club hopes that its partners, such as the Mendota Yacht Club, will benefit from a continued partnership by utilizing the lift services, which will enhance affordable access to boating on the lake.
Increased and more flexible access to the lakefront may also be leveraged to run events on the lake which organizations previously would not have been eligible to host.
For example, last year, the Sailing Club ran the ILYA A-Scow National Championship together with the Mendota Yacht club, as a sort of trial run for these types of events. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and the Club is looking forward to more programming in the future, with event organizers already reaching out to take advantage of the infrastructure and the marina’s atmosphere.
This crane will no doubt be a prominent fixture on campus. While it currently boasts yellow livery, it is expected to be changed to grey sometime this year.
In the meantime, campusgoers and Terrace enthusiasts will be happy to note that the new crane will not obstruct the beautiful Terrace sunsets we all know and love so much.
Click here to learn more about the Hoofer Sailing Club.