Check out our 2024 Corporate Sustainability Report!

Crane Hot Line

Built on Rough Terrains

A Link-Belt RTC-80110, left, and a Link-Belt RTC-80160 from Winkler Construction & Crane Co. team up to lift the historic schooner Hindu so inspectors can assess hull damage. Winkler chose two cranes with separate slings and spreaders for simplicity and to eliminate any chance of coming into contact with the boat's masts.

Winkler Construction and Crane Co. Inc. of Truro, Massachusetts, is now in its 36th year of providing crane services to a wide range of customers, and doing it mainly with rough-terrain cranes.

President Mike Winkler started the company in 1985 with a 12-USt cab-down Pettibone rough-terrain crane, and RTs have been its backbone ever since.

“When I was a framing contractor, we’d often rent a cab-down RT to work on a job,” said Winkler. “We eventually just bought a used RT. It was more economical than renting all the time. Also, we used it to provide lifting services and crane rental for extra income.” 

Today, Winkler’s fleet has grown to eight cranes. One is a 55-USt National NTC 55L truck crane. Another is an older 60-USt Link-Belt LS 118 lattice-boom crawler crane. The other six are rough-terrain cranes with capacities from 50 to 160 USt. 

“That National truck crane is a nice rig,” Winkler said. “And we just added the Link-Belt crawler crane because it’s ideal for driving pile and clamshell work. But we do about 80% of our work with rough-terrain cranes.”

When a project calls for more or different lifting capability, Winkler rents a crane. One example is the 120-USt Link-Belt TCC-1200 telescopic-boom crawler crane it is now renting for a current job.

The company employs three full-time operators, two of whom are Mike and his son Nathan. When the workload calls for more operators, Winkler hires them from local union halls.

Winkler’s wide range of lifting work includes general building construction, handling concrete forms, erecting steel, windmill work, marine construction, dredging, pile driving, dock work, boat handling, machinery installation, and anything else customers need.

A water-level view of the lift.

Winkler also offers trucking services and has sectional barges it can connect to make a 40' x 80' floating work platform. 

“Being around so much water, we often put cranes on barges. Sectional barges are much more versatile than one big barge,” Winkler said.

RTs Do the Job

Truro sits at the very tip of Cape Cod, the 76-mi. curved finger of land that juts into the Atlantic Ocean from southeastern Massachusetts. Winkler does most of its work on the Cape, but it also does jobs from Maine to Connecticut and as far inland as Syracuse, New York. 

“I really like the rough-terrain cranes,” said Winkler. “A lot of our projects require working on job sites with soft ground or sand. The RTs move well, even with full counterweight, and they set up fast. If we want to move on the site, we just raise the outriggers and go.”

Winkler also appreciates the reach and capacity of his rough-terrain cranes, particularly the 110-USt Link-Belt RTC-80110 and the 160-USt Link-Belt RTC-80160. 

“The RTC-80160 has 195' main boom plus up to 107' of lattice extensions and jib, so we have plenty of reach plus good capacity,” he said. “We also like the hydraulic luffing feature of the jib. It can change the jib offset even under load. That really helps when you’re working in a tight spot or reaching over a building. We used it for the full time we were working on the stadium in Syracuse.”

Trucking even the bigger, three-axle, RTs from job to job is no problem. “When we take off the outrigger boxes and counterweights, the crane and truck total less than 130,000 lbs., so it isn’t a super load in Massachusetts,” Winkler said. “And since the cranes can fully self assemble, job-site setup goes quickly and doesn’t take extra equipment.”

Lifting a Legend

In the belly of the schooner Hindu, new ribs are replacing those that have braced the vessel's hull for 95 years. Its manager and primary captain, Josh Rowen, plans to resume charter cruises with the vessel in 2022.

Handling boats is routine for Winkler, but last fall it lifted a piece of history when it raised the 95-year-old Schooner Hindu in Provincetown, Massachusetts, so inspectors could check its hull damage.

Designed by William Hand Jr., the historic vessel was built in East Boothbay, Maine, in 1925.

It first hit the water as a yacht for an owner from New York City. During the Great Depression, its owner took it to India to transport and trade spices. 

And during World War II, it came home to the U.S., where the U.S. Coast Guard used it to help patrol the East Coast for enemy submarines. Wooden sailing vessels were chosen because the submarines’ sonar couldn’t detect them.

Since the late 1940’s the Hindu has worked as a public charter boat.

Current owner Bill Rowan put the Hindu in the hands of his son, Josh Rowan, and Josh’s fiancee, Erin Desmond, who dock it in Provincetown in summer and Key West, Florida, in winter.

Like Truro, Provincetown is at the tip of Cape Cod. Rowan’s company, Hindu Charters, offers 1.5- or 2-hr. public and private charter cruises from there.

Last year, as the Hindu sailed through Long Island Sound on its way to Provincetown after winter, its hull was damaged when it ran over a sabotaged submerged pleasure boat.

Once it reached Provincetown, the Hindu had to be lifted out of the water so inspectors could assess the damage.

Enter Winkler’s lifting expertise, along with its Link-Belt RTC-80110 and RTC-80160 rough-terrain cranes.

“We knew the boat weighed about 70,000 lbs., was 63' long, 15'9" wide, and had a draft of 8'2",” said Winkler.

Winkler used two cranes so it could rig separate spreaders and slings instead of trying to connect them with another spreader while avoiding the masts. It positioned the slings so each crane saw half the load.

“Also, we made sure we were on strong footing,” said Winkler. “The dock’s deck is thick, and we set our outriggers over the supporting beams.”

Working together, both cranes smoothly lifted the Hindu out of the water so inspectors could check the hull damage, then set it back down dockside.

Rowan and Desmond then sailed it to Maine, where it is getting a much needed rebuild so it can host cruises for many more decades. For information about the boat and its ongoing restoration, visit

In Maine, a Link-Belt crane from Art Henry Crane Service, of Thomaston, helped construct the barn where the Hindu is being rebuilt.

A crane from Art Henry Crane Service helped build the barn in Maine where the schooner Hindu is being rebuilt.

For Winkler, lifting the Hindu was  another job in 36 years of jobs done well. 

It was also an example of how the company is thriving while relying primarily on rough-terrain cranes. 

“They’re really versatile,” said Winkler. “We can do almost anything with them.” 


Crane Hot Line is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.