Thursday, September 30, 2010

Boat launch

Sometimes being a reporter on the Evening Post in the mid-1980s was bliss. Take this assignment, for instance. I was sent with a photographer to cover the launch of a large, home-made "junk", for want of a better term. I had to do a short story to go with the photograph. But we ended up spending several hours on a quay in the Port Elizabeth harbour watching as a large crane lifted then lowered the vessel onto the water.

With all that time to spare standing around, I naturally felt the need to record the event in line. This shows the vessel up against the edge, resting on some chocks (which is more an aeronautical than nautical term, I guess).

This, from the stern side, shows the boat now in the air, hovering about the water.

The seemingly perilous process continues. It reminds me how, in 2009, my son Luke and I watched as a massive crane hoisted the giant steel girders into place at PE's Nelson Mandela Bay stadium ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. Back in the mid-1980s SA was barred from virtually all international sport, so such a thought would have been ludicrous.

She's starting to sink below the level of the quay, but at this point not enough extension has been given and it looks as if she'll smash into the side.

I took a few steps back for a wider view. Here the crane is visible on the right, with the boat now clear of the edge.

By now probably somewhat gatvol with drawing the same thing, my last sketch simply shows the boat about to enter the water as people peer over the edge of the quay to watch its final descent.

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