The sea trials of the first PB40, a newly designed GRP displacement boat, took place at Padstow in North Cornwall last week, reports Phil Lockley.

Aimed at both static-gear fishing and towing, the PB40 has an overall length of 11.95m, a beam of 5.4m and a draught of 2.75m.

The PW40 has the potential to work either static or towed gear.

The PB40 has the potential to work either static or towed gear.

Named Lady Sophie GY 11, the vessel will be skippered by Grimsby shellfisherman Josh Patchett. All catches will be landed to the local family-run firm Fastline Shellfish Ltd, of which Josh Patchett is part. The boat is an investment to expand the number of vessels supplying crab and lobster to the company.

The firm’s boss Darren Kenyon, also a shellfish skipper, said that the firm has run for a considerable time, with 10 staff, supplying processed shellfish to the UK market – so the investment in Lady Sophie is not based on the often fluctuating export prices.

The PB40 was designed by marine architect Gary Mitchell, in conjunction with the Falmouth firm Pelagic Design. “In some respects it does have similar lines to the Halfish 46, a style I designed so many years ago,” he said. “But the word ‘similarity’ stops there.”

“Because the PB40 is a style that follows what the fishermen of today want – to have as big a boat as possible within the parameters available – it does just that. It is a true workhorse, but I think it remains a good-looking boat, one equally able to work static gear or towing gear. By having such a deep draught and the capability to swing a big propeller, in my opinion the PB40 will be excellent as a trawler.”

Lady Sophie gave an impressive performance on sea trials.

Lady Sophie gave an impressive performance on sea trials.

Over its extended sea trials, the Lady Sophie gave an impressive performance.

“A timespan of just over 12 months was achieved,” said the owner of Padstow Boatyard Will Claxton, explaining that his decision to go ahead and introduce a new style of GRP vessel was made in November 2019, when the contract to build Lady Sophie was signed.

“Work began immediately on building the mould, and in just 14 months we now have a completely new design to offer both the British and the European fishing trade,” he said, adding that Lady Sophie has already brought considerable interest from UK skippers, so he hopes more orders will follow.

More information on the PB40 can be found on the Facebook page ‘Padstow Boatyard’, and further details of the Lady Sophie will appear in Fishing News soon.


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