Skipper David Fraser and the crew of the Wick fly-shooter Opportune WK 171 took their last seine-net shot last month, signalling the end of an era spanning 40 years, reports David Linkie.
Having mainly landed into the Caithness harbours of Scrabster and Wick since 1979, Opportune was given a fond farewell as the crew threw the ropes off for the last time at Scrabster before heading to Hartlepool via Peterhead.
Main Image: Opportune berthed at Peterhead last week, after being re-registered HL 6 (Photo: Ryan Cordiner)
To mark the occasion, the vessel’s owner, Bremner Fishing Company, donated the last box of fish from Opportune to the Seafarers’ Memorial Group in Wick.
At auction on Scrabster market, the box of cod was bought by Scrabster Seafoods for £150. Another five buyers, Bell’s Seafood, Fish in Crieff, H&D Calder, Thomson International and JPL Shellfish (Scotland) Ltd, each donated £100 to the charity sale. Scrabster Seafoods put in an additional £100, with the Bremner Fishing Company raising the total to £1,000.
Owner Andrew Bremner said: “When a new boat lands a maiden trip, it is the custom that the first box of fish is donated for charity. We thought it would be nice to donate the last box out of Opportune after 40 years.
“There is no memorial in Wick for seafarers, and we are trying to raise funds to put up a fitting memorial on the Braehead.”
Opportune was built at Campbeltown Shipyard in 1979 as Boy Andrew WK 170 for the late Wick skipper Norrie Bremner and partners. The seine-net boat was renamed Opportune WK 171 in 1986 when the Argyll yard delivered the 87ft Boy Andrew.
Having previously sailed as engineer, mate and skipper on the Campbeltown 85 Boy Andrew, David Fraser has skippered Opportune for 34 years. He won a Lifetime Achievement award at the Fishing News Awards 2019, in recognition of a fishing career spanning five decades.
Skipper David Fraser expressed his thanks to the crew of Opportune, all of whom have sailed with him for between 19 and 30 years.
Opportune will be delivered to Hartlepool via Peterhead, where its seine net and catch-handling machinery is being removed.
Now owned by Major Hartley, Opportune is scheduled to start guard vessel duties at offshore wind farms.