Back in the black, and red all over
A refit was long overdue and the chance to give Brixham scalloper van Dijck a facelift and a set of new deck equipment has come after a tough few years for skipper and owner Drew McLeod.
Anyone who saw the Channel 4 series The Catch will have been familiar with the problems the boat and its owners were faced with, and behind it was the drastic cut in days at sea available to scallopers that left boats like van Dijck high and dry.
Since an agreement was reached with France on a variety of SWW issues, including access to a respectable amount of the excess French days, Drew McLeod and his crew have pulled themselves back to being profitable, and far enough to make the overdue refit possible.
â€˜We struggled for a while on eleven days a month,â€™ he said. â€˜But we soldiered on and got some days back. Weâ€™re on 75 days for this quarter.â€™
â€˜The additional days gave us the opportunity to be profitable again â€“ and to give the boat a much-needed refit. The days increased gradually, first to 45-50 days each quarter and now weâ€™re in the region of sixty days, and have 75 this quarter. The bank is also a lot happier with us now,â€™ he added.
â€˜The bank manager tried to push us towards going into administration, which was annoying as the value was always there in the boat itself. Now that we have days again, they were happy to give us a loan to carry out the refit and even offered to sponsor us to buy another boat, yet they didnâ€™t want to lend us money to keep the business going when we needed it.â€™
The big change and the main reason the refit has taken nine weeks, is the new tipping doors from Stride Engineering that replace the old tipping poles.
â€˜Weâ€™ll be quicker to haul and shoot the gear, and thereâ€™ll be less interaction between the crew and gear, which makes things safer,â€™ Drew McLeod said. â€˜No more clipping in gilsons and hauling the gear tight before emptying the dredges.â€™
Instead of upending the dredges using tipping poles, the 14-a-side gear is swung in each side against the doors, which then lift to tip the dredges out onto the conveyors running under each gunwale. As the doors lift, a chain skirt on each dredge lies over the teeth on the outer edge of each tipping door, keeping them securely in place.
â€˜Itâ€™s a lot safer and thereâ€™s less strain on the boat. Weâ€™re looking at seven or eight minutes of fiddling about on deck that we wonâ€™t be doing any more â€“ and that adds up,â€™ Drew McLeod said.
Van Dijck has also had a full paint job as part of an extensive refit that involved local suppliers Hercules Hydraulics, Champion Engineering, Bob Cannâ€™s carpenters, painter Alan Drysdale and electronics supplier Globe Marine, which fitted the new Intellian V-60 KA-band V-sat system.
Get the full story in the September issue of Hook & Net, out next week.
Source: Hook & Net
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