A distinguished old lady will soon return to the Wash on completion of an extensive facelift, which includes some fetching changes to her topsides and other surgical reconstruction, reports John Worrall.

Above: Lynn Princess in November 2015 when stripped of her topsides at the entrance to the Fisher Fleet…

Lynn Princess is 50 years old. Built in Holland and fishing there for a decade or two, she was acquired in the early 1990s by Lynn Shellfish (at the time known as Heiploeg & Lynn) of King’s Lynn to pursue the usual Wash fisheries of mussels, cockles and shrimps, together with some whelking and scalloping slightly further afield.

She has been out of the water for a while, sitting on the quay beside the Lynn Shellfish factory, where the work is being done. The company does all the work on its own boats except that for which it doesn’t have the expertise, which really these days comes down just to hydraulics.

“When we took her out of the water, we were only intending to replace the topsides,” says Steven Williamson of Lynn Shellfish. “But then when the bottom hull plates were tested, a lot needed replacing and so, in the end, we decided to do them all.”

At that point, was a new build considered?

“Not really, because we couldn’t replace her. The point is that she’s 17.5m by 5m and, these days, no new boats above 14m can be used under a Wash entitlement.”

So this is a comprehensive rebuild, with the only original parts left being the keel, engine beds, a third of the deck, the shaft tubes and rudder.

“She has a new 300hp Doosan main engine, a 200hp Doosan auxiliary to power the hydraulics, and a 45KVA JCB generator, all of which the company has installed itself, along with all new electronics.

“The hydraulics have been supplied and fitted by Dutch company Couperus Hydrauliek B.V. We’re having a complete eight-winch system – eight individual winches, and instead of being on deck in front of the wheelhouse, they’ll be below the deck underneath the new A-frame.

“This is the fifth boat of ours on which Couperus has supplied and fitted the complete hydraulic and winch system.”

With the structural and installation work almost complete, the paint job is about to start, and then, some time next month, she will be craned back into the Fisher Fleet beside the factory where most King’s Lynn boats tie up.

And from there, Lynn Princess will first go shrimping.

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