New Pontoon at LLSC

A fantastic new facility has been installed to allow safer access to the waters of Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club for club members, and especially for those with restricted mobility.  The replacement of the old, dilapidated pontoon with a 3m wide highly stable platform will transform the ability of the club to provide accessible sailing for all, complementing the existing Hansa fleet of boats that the club has had on site for many years.

The project was devised, designed and installed primarily by club volunteers, well done to Gary and Howard in particular.  Various designs and concepts were considered, with the key challenge being to provide a usable platform 365 days per year, through storms, floods and drought which have impacted the existing structure multiple times.  Flood levels of up to 2 metres above the shallow summertime levels are not unheard of – the last one in January 2021!  A stable platform was needed from which to access RIBs, dinghies and the recently acquired Sailability platform.

After months of deliberations a design concept from Inland & Coastal was chosen for its low freeboard and sturdy, stable nature, along with GRP grating for good grip for all the users.  Piling quotes were proving expensive but some innovative sourcing by the team resulted in a much more cost-effective piling system from local contractors.

Installing in October was always likely to present some weather problems and, after lifting the 2 pontoon sections into the water, the job had to be delayed a couple of weeks while one storm passed through, submerging the prepared crane standing area!  A new date was scheduled and the weather gods looked favourably upon us as the water levels subsided and the big day dawned with clear skies and no rain.

Installing the piles was no easy feat with the distance required out from the shore, but the combination of a stabilised working platform and a crane did the job and the two piles were sunk in during the morning and early afternoon shift.

In the afternoon the pontoons could be manoeuvred into place and the old ones removed.  The gangway section was lifted into place but the work was not finished yet.  It was starting to get dark and the new sections still needed securing to the piles with guides before the job could be left.  A core team remained to finish the job on the night shift with head torches and willing minds (even if the bodies were giving up a little by this stage!).  Then the job was complete, and a well deserved beer was opened, an epic day!!