New “Boy Andrew” Launched/Orders will go abroad

Launch of the Boy Andrew WK 171. Campbeltown Shipyard 1986. Photo courtesy of Bobby Wylie

Two articles about Campbeltown Shipyard.  The first about the launch of the Boy Andrew WK 170 IN 1986 and the second, Orders will go abroad, talks about the cash shortage for loans for fishing boats. The articles were written by Joyce West and published in Fishing News on 2nd May 1986. Courtesy of Lesley Howarth.

New “Boy Andrew” Launched

Campbeltown toasts Wick skipper’s 1.2m 87-footer.

Top Skipper Andrew Bremner’s new 87ft “Boy Andrew” – the most sophisticated UK white fish vessel – was launched from Campbeltown Shipyard on Thursday last week. The naming ceremony was performed by Ulla Bremner, wife of Skipper Bremner, and was keenly watched by their 2 1/2 year old daughter, Karina.

Skipper Bremner (27) has been Britain’s top grossing fisherman for the last four years and holds the UK seiner record for a single landing.

The vessel, owned by the Bremner Fishing Co. Ltd, which includes skipper Bremner, his father, Norrie, David Fraser and John S. Duncan Ltd of Wick, a subsidiary of the Wood Group.

The Bremner Fishing co. Ltd retaining the original (Wick 171) an 85 footer built at Campbeltown in 1978. She has been renamed the Opportune as a tribute to George Murray, who often acted as a relief skipper for the boat. His last vessel before he gave up full time fishing was the Campbeltown-built Opportune and he made several excellent grossings at the helm on the “Boy Andrew”.

The original “Boy Andrew” is presently undergoing modifications with the addition of a trawl winch to enable her to pair with the new vessel. She will sail under the command of David Fraser who was her mate and has worked with the Bremner family for many years. The new boat has been equipped with both seine and trawl gear – all supplied by Fishing Hydraulics (Scotland) Ltd. Skipper Bremner told “Fishing News” that this was to make the boat as versatile as possible to take advantage of whatever fishing opportunities are available. She will be capable of single or pair seining and single or pair trawling and this will allow her to quickly change to the most profitable kind of fishing .

Her launching ceremony was attended by over 150 guests, who had travelled from as far as Shetland and the south of England, for the occasion.

Les Howarth, managing director of Campbeltown Shipyard said at here celebration lunch that it was a tribute to the Bremner family that so many of the country’s skippers had altered their fishing schedules to be present. They included owners of nine other Campbeltown-built vessels. Mr Howarth said the boatyard had been particularly pleased to clinch the order for this boat as so many yards in Britain and several abroad had been trying to get the contract.

He said the company’s association with the Bremners went back to 1978 when it was asked to build the first “Boy Andrew” – then skippered by Norrie Bremner, with David Fraser as mate. He said records had “Just tumbled” over the years. Andrew Bremner took over as skipper in 1980. Mr Howarth said that Andrew had been the top Scottish seine net skipper from 1982 to 1985 inclusive and that, he had brought in 5,250 boxes of fish from five trips to Rockall. That success points to the need for bigger and better boats and there were a lot of discussions over the next six months for the most suitable type if vessel. This is the third and most sophisticated 87ft boat we have built at the yard. She is the first £1m -plus boat we have built and the first of this size with a cruiser stern.

Andrew Bremner is still only 27 years old and, with him, the sky’s the limit”, he said.

Skipper Bremner acknowledged the help and advice he has received from all his fishermen friends. `he said that ” Most of all, I would like to thanks my father and George Murray for their advice over the years and for the opportunities they have given to me”.

The new “Boy Andrew” cost £1.2m. and is due to for completion at the end of this month. She has a three quarters length watertight shelter-deck and her deck-house is completely offset to port. This leaves the entire starboard side of her working deck clear for a sophisticated fish-handling system. Skipper Bremner told “Fishing News” that the vessel had been designed around the system which comprises a Dutch made conveyer unit to lift the catch from a receiving pound below her bag hatch. The fish are carried along two moving belts, gutted and selected by her crew into bins which automatically empty at a given weight. They are then carried by a further conveyer to the fish washer.

The boat’s deck equipment includes a seine winch and heavy-duty rope reels at the fore end of her main deck which are arranged so that here ropes are shot and hauled over the top of her shelter. She has a split net drum atop her shelter, aft of her wheelhouse.

She is driven by a 690 hp six cylinder Callesen engine, coupled with a Callesen variable pitch propeller.

Orders will go abroad

The present shortage of cash for funding new vessel building could have a serious effect on the UK boatbuilding industry, Cameron Parker, chairman of Campbeltown Shipyard warned at a celebration lunch to mark the launch of the new “Boy Andrew”.

He said the firm had done extremely well in 1985, enabling it to take in more staff and put substantial investment into improving and streamlining facilities at its yard

Campbeltown Shipyard has a full oder book for 1986 with a scheduled four-vessel output , but prospects for the next year are less certain because of problems with grant and loan.

Mr Parker said, “Several skippers would be happy to place orders with us but are finding difficulties with these financing arrangement”The Shop Mortgage Finance Corporation is now asking for conditions which skippers are finding difficult to meet. This results in delays reaching contract agreement with the shipyard. “Also, more recently, there has been a delay in obtaining offers of grants from the Sea Fishing Industry Authority which is causing further delays in the continuity of work at the yard.

“The latter problem is causing Mr Howarth, managing director of Campbeltown Shipyard) and myself great concern because if continuity of orders is not achieved, it will be impossible for us to deliver boats at three month intervals. This will result in each boat becoming more expensive

” The inevitable result of this, i fear is that skippers might once again start placing orders aboard. “We are therefore viewing the need to have grants from the SFIA as the highest priority and we are making representations to that effect”. John Richman, chief executive of the SFIA , who was also at the celebration lunch, said that he hopes the delay in loans could be overcome shortly, but said that the industry must seriously consider catching opportunities for the future. He siad,”Lat week the SFIA started another burst of advertising for fish but, looking around here at so many skippers, I am beginning to wonder if that was a good idea because there might not be enough fish to sell”. He siad there seemed to be a feeling of optimism in the catching side of the industry because of the increasing quayside price of fish, the reduction in fuel costs and possibly, because of a belief that the CFP conservation regulations were beginning to work.

Mr Richman said, “The feeling of optimism has reflected back on us and I am sure, the other financial institutions in the demand for new building which has, over the last five years, increased by about three-fold

” We have what I hope are temporary hiccups in the supply line at the moment which I am fairly certain will be cured within the next few weeks.

“Surely no, when things are not looking quite as bad as they have done, is the time that we ought to to get our act together to fave what might be harder times when we really cannot increase the quotas any further”.

Mr Richman said that the Bremners had provided an example of this necessary forward-thinking by building a vessel which was capable of working out to a 200-mile limit if necessary, was able to streamline fish handling on board and to land catches of the best quality.

He also drew attention to Norrie Bremner’s skills in running the shore side of a business.

Fishing News 2nd May 1986 

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