By returning to sea towards the end of March, the 14.2m Brixham beam-scalloper Golden Promise FH 401 is testament to the well-known saying ‘every cloud has a silver lining’, reports David Linkie

Golden Promise was fully painted at Polruan…

Golden Promise was fully
painted at Polruan…

Two weeks before Christmas, and just two days before skipper Brian Whittington and crew were scheduled to tie up for the first part of a planned renewal of the vessel’s hydraulic system to be carried out by Hercules Hydraulics, the 22-year-old Golden Promise suffered a major failure of the vessel’s original Twin Disc gearbox and Cummins NT855 main engine.

Following a quick assessment of the situation, the scalloper’s insurance company Sunderland Marine gave an immediate goahead to install new centreline machinery.

These were quickly supplied from stock by Marine Engineering (Looe) Ltd in the form of a Volvo Penta D13MH propulsion engine and a Twin Disc MG5114DC gearbox.

In view of the fact that Golden Promise would be tied to the quay at Brixham for some time while the centreline machinery was replaced, owner Derek Meredith took the opportunity to fast-track planned major refurbishment work to modernise the vessel and enhance crew safety in years to come, initially scheduled to be carried out in stages, into one large-scale refit that would save time in the long run.

Despite the short notice to supply the equipment required to implement the major changes planned, a number of local companies readily stepped up to the mark and pulled out all the stops required to meet the range of work required.

Derek Meredith said: “Although a refit of this magnitude wasn’t anticipated in one go, it is finished and Golden Promise is considerably better, safer and easier to work now. From making initial contact with the relevant companies, including Hubbard Engineering, every person involved more than stepped up to the mark and delivered in style.

… before being returned to the water by Toms’ new hydraulic ship hoist.

… before being returned to the water by Toms’ new hydraulic ship hoist.

“The complexity and scale of the work involved required constant and meaningful close co-operation between all parties, and this is exactly what they did for mutual benefit to all. The end result speaks for itself, so sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to the project.

“It is also important to mention the role played by Barclays Bank, and in particular the new area manager Alex Cross, who has been really helpful. Without the financial support Barclays Bank provided, we would not be where we are today.”

Steve Gull Marine Engineering carried out the installation of the replacement engine and gearbox. The Devon company also rebuilt a Cummins 4B series generator using original parts supplied by CDS Diesels of Exmouth. The second generator set was replaced with a reconditioned unit from Roger Gibbons of Kent also supplying 38kVA.

The full renewal of Golden Promise’s centreline propulsion system was completed by fitting a new 4.5-inch stainless shaft and cutlass bearing supplied by C & O Engineering of Newton Abbot.

Further engineroom upgrades included Simon French of Bowles Engineering installing a whole new system of stainless pipework for keel cooling, two pump-out systems and new valves and sea cocks.

New wiring connecting the batteries to the main and auxiliary engines was also fitted. Emergency 24v lighting was also installed, in case of generator failure, at the same time as new 240v lights were also fitted.

Keven Green of Marine Electrical Services installed new battery generator panels and fuse boards, including shore power outlets.

Globe Marine Ltd supplied and fitted a new satellite TV system for crew comfort and a new satellite phone with vessel tracking. Ben Winfield, the attending engineer, also rewired the new aft mast and removed excess wiring.

Colin Champion of Brixham carried out repairs to a dented bow section and fabricated a new aluminium aft mast, in addition to modifying the winch room and leads to suit the new deck machinery.

Golden Promise is back fishing again following a major refit. (Photo: Martin Johns)

Golden Promise is back fishing again following a major refit. (Photo: Martin Johns)

Andy Savage from Cann and Sons transformed the galley and toilet areas, together with some parts of the wheelhouse, to bring Golden Promise up to date.

On completion of the main engineering work at Brixham, Golden Promise went to Toms Boatyard at Polruan where the scalloper was lifted out of the water in just 20 minutes by the yard’s new hydraulic boat hoist. On completion of some general underwater hull maintenance and repair work, Golden Promise was fully repainted by Steve Green.

Golden Promise was built by Newbury Engineering of Newhaven in 1996 as the Dutch-designed mini-beamer Michael Lewis FD 401 for Fleetwood. Some three years later, Michael Lewis moved to Brixham when renamed Christa BM 497 by Chris Tooley. The vessel was later sold to Fraserburgh and renamed Leanne II FR 386 before becoming Golden Promise FR 186. The scalloper was re-registered FH 401 when sold to Chris Vinnicombe of Falmouth, from whom Derek Meredith, who also owns Joanna C BM 265, bought Golden Promise in January 2016.

Using either six- or seven-aside dredges manufactured by John Reid & Son of Brixham, Golden Promise lands to Brixham Trawler Agents, with most of the vessel’s scallops being processed by FalFish.

Hercules Hydraulics supplies new deck machinery package

Golden Promise returned to sea earlier this month with a bespoke package of deck machinery, hydraulic system and wheelhouse fishing console.

Stainless steel piping is used throughout the new hydraulic installation on Golden Promise.

Stainless steel piping is used throughout the new hydraulic installation on Golden Promise.

Designed and manufactured by Hercules Hydraulics of Paignton, in close liaison with Golden Promise’s owners, the remotely controlled system enables the skipper and crew to work the vessel’s 7-aside scallop gear with optimum levels of safety and efficiency.

The beam-scalloper’s original 4-drum Padmos winch, which had air controlled brakes and clutches, was removed from the winch room on the foreside of the wheelhouse.

Hercules Hydraulics replaced this with two Hercules designed and manufactured 12.5t split trawl winches, featuring 2-speed motors for maximum efficiency when hauling and shooting the scallop gear. The winches have a drum capacity of 300 fathoms of 20mm diameter wire and a top layer pull of 4.5t.

Two new Hercules designed and manufactured 5t topping winches were also fitted to give quick and safe operation of the derricks.

The main two split winches and two main topping winches as well as the tugger and pulling-in winches feature proportional hydraulic controls and fully automated failsafe brakes to give quick and safe operation when raising and lowering the fishing gear.

Hercules Hydraulics also installed two Hercules designed and manufactured 2.5t tipping winches and 2 x 1t Rotzler winches for pulling in the gear. These winches promote much safer emptying of the dredges and controlling and securing the gear alongside the vessel. They also mean that the crew are no longer required to manually tip the dredges using capstan heads and ropes to slip the weight of the dredges, and reduce time at the gunwale rail when controlling the heavy gear manually.

All deck machinery can be operated from the fishing console supplied by Hercules Hydraulics.

All deck machinery can be operated from the fishing console supplied by Hercules Hydraulics.

All of the winches are hydraulically controlled from the fishing control panel in the wheelhouse. This was designed by Hercules Hydraulics to a very high standard so all winches can be worked independently with failsafes.

The deck machinery is driven by a new load sensing hydraulic pump coupled to the Volvo main engine via a Centraflex high-speed coupling incorporating automatic cooling.

The new hydraulic system has been installed in accordance with Seafish regulations and includes an upgraded stainless tank/new cooling/upgraded filtration and hydraulic controls with integrated E-stops.

The system also has a full backup for safely deploying the gear in the event of losing the main engine or hydraulic joystick controls with emergency brake release kits fitted to both split winches operated via a push button in the wheelhouse joystick panel.


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