Gyro-stabilised Cleopatra Fisherman 40 for Burnmouth.

Burnmouth owners John and Nicola Affleck achieved a notable hat-trick earlier this month by taking  delivery of their third new Cleopatra Fisherman named after their daughters Sophie, Ashleigh and Jayda,  from the renowned Icelandic boatbuilder Trefjar Ltd, reports David Linkie.

Based on the new Cleopatra Fisherman 40 model, Soph-Ash-Jay-2 continues the progression that the unstinting efforts and dedication the husband and wife partnership, together with their gear and fishing teams, have achieved since Trefjar built the 33ft Soph-Ash 2 BK 533 in 2003.

With a view to working new potting grounds further offshore, skipper John Affleck took delivery of the Cleopatra Fisherman 38 Soph-Ash-Jay BK 541 four years later. The subsequent consistent level of performance achieved by this boat led to John and Nicola Affleck signing a contract with Hogni B Bergthorsson for Trefjar to build their new vessel on the first morning of last year’s Skipper Expo at Aberdeen. This took place just 12 hours after John had been named ‘Shellfish Fisherman of the Year’, at the 2016 Fishing News Awards presentation evening.

The strong bond, based on total customer satisfaction and mutual trust, that clearly exists between boatbuilder and owners, was initially flagged up 13 years ago when, six weeks after he had taken delivery of the Cleopatra Fisherman 33 Soph-Ash 2, skipper John Affleck said: “If the shellfish opportunities warrant another new boat in a few years’ time, I will have no hesitation in returning to Iceland, possibly for a Fisherman 38. Time will tell.”

That these far-sighted thoughts have now been repeated not once, but twice, highlights the strength of the enduring relationship that subsequently developed.

Soph-Ash-Jay-2

Hi-tech electronics in the well-equipped wheelhouse.

Soph-Ash-Jay-2

General view of the working deck showing the three flush hatches and scuttles leading to the extensive fishroom amidships.

Soph-Ash-Jay-2

Shellfish catches will be kept in optimum condition by a versatile sprinkler system.

Soph-Ash-Jay-2

Elevated view of Soph-Ash-Jay-2, showing the extensive working deck.

Soph-Ash-Jay-2

Soph-Ash-Jay-2 is powered by an FPT 13 main engine.

While waiting for Soph-Ash-Jay’s 2 fishing licence and related paperwork to be issued by Marine Scotland and the MCA, skipper John Affleck said, “Although from previous experience, we thought we knew what to expect in terms of build quality and level of finish, the end result by far exceeds our expectations. I cannot speak highly enough about the co-operation Trefjar has given down the years, and their unwavering commitment to ensuring total customer satisfaction.

“Trefjar is continually working to upgrade their product; a policy we will benefit from in years to come with Soph-Ash-Jay-2. The longer hull and higher whaleback are two examples of the differences between the Cleopatra Fisherman 38 and 40 hulls. Regardless of what they entailed, technical director Hogni Bergthorsson and his colleagues fully accommodated our ideas, often adding their own suggestions to add further benefit. As far as I’m concerned, the end result speaks for itself, with regard both to finish and practicality. Now it is up to us to follow Trefjar’s standards by proving the potting capabilities of Soph-Ash-Jay-2.

“Taking on a new boat inevitably involves a significant amount of extra work, particularly for a family business. Starting with Nicola, who dealt with the seemingly endless paperwork, in addition to keeping on top of the usual weekly bookwork, a lot of people have contributed to the end result. The long list includes skipper Neil Rutherford and the crew of JAS-N-2, who for the past 10 weeks have worked long hours to turn over two sets of gear when the weather permitted. Thanks also go to Scott Lindores, Tony Barlow and my father Alistair for maintaining our gear, John Davidson for supplying the licence for the new boat, and James Cook of DR Collin, for always being available to take our shellfish catches, as he has done for the past 28 years, during which time the company has continued to develop discerning niche markets in Europe for prime creel-caught shellfish.

John Affleck also expressed his appreciation to Soph-Ash-Jay-2’s insurer, Sunderland Marine, and in particular to underwriter John Lamb, for arranging the additional special insurance required to tranship the fast potter from Iceland to Immingham.

Soph-Ash-Jay-2 is expected to work static gear in targeting a seasonal combination of lobsters, brown and velvet crabs within a 30-50 mile radius of Burnmouth. Reflecting the varied pattern of working associated with prevailing sea conditions, Soph-Ash-Jay-2 features a versatile catch storage system in the fishroom, in which 112 boxes of shellfish can be kept in optimum condition before being landed at any time to the Eyemouth-based live shellfish export company DR Collin.

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