Creative Engineers

Portage Crane for Vikings

The Vikings story called for a crane made from trees to lift the full scale ships up a shear cliff so that they could be transported over land.


OMEY film were hired to design a crane mechanism that could do this, safely.


Each ship weighed more than 5 tonne, so it was necessary to use a real modern (60T) crane at full stretch, out of shot to lift the boat. It had to appear the ship was being lifted by the wooden crane.


We set about designing a mechanism that could lift 11 meter long wooden poles (telegraph poles) in a manner, as if being winched by ropes from behind. No weight could be carried on the ropes, since it had to be safe if the ropes were let go.


To do this we designed a hidden hydraulic mechansim which lifted two crane poles at the correct speed and force. The mechanism provided adequate seperation between the poles to allow the real crane cable and slings, keeping in mind that the crane boom would likely swing with motion and windage.


The entire mechanism was designed, built, delivered, assembled and rehearsing in just two weeks.