Jackie Green’s first memories of the launch his uncle Stephen’s boat, the Connaught II FR 131, were when he was only 4 years old. Jackie remembers being on a long bus journey with his family and others, on their way from Fraserburgh to Campbeltown. Jackie recalls, “There was a suitcase with a board on top, a make-shift table, at the back of the bus and the men were all sat round, watching and playing cards, with a good few cases of beer. They must have been playing for money”, Jackie says “because every now and then there was a loud roar and a lot of shouting as if someone had just won or lost the lottery! The women just sat up front chatting away as if oblivious to the carnage that was going on at the back of the bus”. The rest of the journey Jackie remembers, the grey drizzly day and big hills as the bus made its way into Campbeltown, where they stayed in the Royal Hotel. Jackie at that point was still not fully aware that he was going to the launch of a boat in the morning. (Article in the Campbeltown Courier about the launch of the Connaught II here).
Jackie remembers that the launch party, including his dad, Jackie and uncle, Stephen, getting kilted up the next morning before heading to Trench Point, Campbeltown, for the official launch. From the moment Jackie saw the Connaught II out of the water, on the slip, flags flying and ready to be put in the water for the first time, it started a fascination with fishing boats which he still has today – with fishing boats in general, with all Campbeltown-built boats – but especially the Connaught II!
Stephen Green, who had skippered on various fishing boats, including the Responsive, Jaseline and Connaught INS.268 (Originally the Arktos KY 255 which had been built for Colin Murray of Anstruther), decided, along with the Arthur Duthie Organisation and partner Robert Inkster, to build a larger boat. His new boat, Connaught II was commissioned and built at Campbeltown Shipyard (Yard No. 75) in 1986 and she was launched in June of that year and was fishing from August 1986. She went on to break the grossing record, landing 1016 boxes of fish into Aberdeen’s first market of the year. The following year Stephen broke his own record with another landing at Aberdeen’s New Year Market.
Connaught II had fished as a single seiner and also paired with Nordic Prince, which was skippered by Jackie’s father, Jackie Snr. The Nordic Prince was bought in 1989/1990. The Connaught II mainly fished in the Norweigan Sector down at the Bergen Bank, performing well fishing in the vicinity of the Alwyn platform amongst other grounds.
Jackie remembers being on board the Connaught II when he was around 9 years old; as the boat was manoeuvring away from the ice factory in Fraserburgh, he overheard the crew talking about how the boat had been sold to partners in Shetland – it was devastating news because the boat was part of the family to him.
The boat was duly sold to skipper Robert Irvine & Partners of Whalsay, Shetland in 1992 where the Connaught II FR.131 changed to Connaught LK.171. She stayed in Shetland ownership until 1998 where she was sold back down to Peterhead in North East Scotland. She was renamed Starlight Rays PD. 230 for Skipper James Thores & Partners.
In 2003 Jackie saw photos of the Connaught II, then named Starlight Ocean being broken up in the Fornaes Shipyard in Grenaa, Denmark, her stern being bulldozed. Jackie has the first and last photo taken of the Connaught.
Jackie is an enthusiast for Campbelltown-built boats – he believes that they were and are amongst the best built in Scotland. He has collected memorabilia, which we will be publishing in a separate entry soon, and is a keen follower of the stories of the boats built at Trench Point.