`”Mr. Cleeves will be in attendance at tomorrow’s historic event,” said Phin Sprague, Jr. joking this afternoon. He was discussing the placement of a statute of an English relative for the inaugural use of his new travel lift tomorrow – beginning in the morning and then used again around 2:00 pm during high tide for the bringing ashore of the Draken, the Viking boat that has been docked at 58 Fore Street, a/k/a Portland Foreside since late last week – for deck tours.
Actually, Sprague, co-owner of the company and his crew at Portland Yacht Services, at 100 West Commercial Street, were preoccupied with last minute preparations around the basin in which the Draken will be placed as it is lifted into the new nylon straps of the new 300 metric ton travel lift that arrived in Portland earlier this year. Last year several local companies began digging the basin to use with the travel lift. This travel lift, built in Wisconsin, is one of the largest in Maine.
The Viking ship, Draken, will be the second to use the travel lift at PYS. She will be lifted from the water around 2:00 pm – high tide. The Draken has been docked at the other end of Commercial Street, for the last few days for deck tours of the boat. Maintenance of the 115 ft. Draken and fixing of the one engine out of service will be conducted at PYS. (See previous several posts about the Draken herein).
Prior to this afternoon work, the Westward will be hauled out of the water via this new travel lift. That is scheduled to happen in the morning during another high tide. If all goes well with that, Paul Hauterbiak, field service tech, for Marine Travelift, will certify the travel lift for permanent use – just in time for the Draken. The cost of the travel lift and the construction of the basin have cost Sprague just over $3M.
The Westward was built in 1963 in Germany by Aberking & Rasmusen for sailing around the world. After the owner came back, he donated it to sea education at Woods Hole. It was used there for many years until they decided to built two (2) new ships. It was then sold to Ocean Classroom in 2013. That non-profit went belly up and Sprague did not want to let it die.
Sprague plans on building three additional buildings in the near future by the same company that built the current all purpose red building. This fall Irishspan Industries, Inc. plans to begin work on an office building that will be completed by next spring. A storage building will be constructed next. An application for a building for a travel lift has been submitted to the city as well. The office building will contain a “parts” department; that was to have been the deal with Hamilton Marine which fell apart. “HM” is moving to Presumpscot Street this fall.
The Cleeves statute had been intended for a spot on the Eastern Promenade. But the idea was overruled because opponents said he was a slave owner, which Sprague, Jr. denied today.