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The Humber Sailing Trawler

Taken from The Humber, A. Watts, 1980...

The cutter rigged Trawler was introduced to this area in the 1840's from Brixham following the discovery of the 'Silver Pits' fishing ground off the Yorkshire coast. The best time for fishing the Pits was winter when the fish sought the deeper water and a number of Brixham boats made Hull their winter headquarters - both for convenience and for the facilities available in the Port and, inevitably, some stayed permanently providing the impetus needed to start the Hull Fishing Industry.

These first Trawlers were of some 30 or 40 tons, developing eventually to 80 tons or so, with dimensions of 85'0" x 20'0" beam and 11'0" draught, as the example illustrated - The Othello, built in 1884, in Brixham, for Mr Charles Hellyer. The massive rig of this vessel is indicated by the size of the bowsprit at 36' overall with 24' outboard and requiring no shroud or bobstay, worked below the rail and through the knight heads. The windlass was immediately aft of the bowsprit bitts and a fore hatch was located between the windlass and the winch used for hoisting sails, hauling up the forward trawl head, hoisting in the bag of fish and for warping the vessel. The hatch gave access to the forehold where sails, warps and other gear were stored.

The main hatch or warp hatch was immediately aft of the mast and the trawl warp, as it was hove in round the capstan, was led down and coiled under the deck in a large compartment on the starboard side. Immediately aft of the main hatch was a watertight partition forming the after bulkhead of the main hold and the forward bulkhead of the Ice and Fish room, which had a separate hatch kept as small as possible - as were all hatches - to avoid intake of seas when the vessel was swept in heavy weather.

The standard on deck just aft of the fish room hatch was known as the dummy and the trawl warp was attached to this by a stopper when towing the gear. The stopper was made of an old piece of trawl warp, weaker than the main warp, so that, should the trawl become fast on an obstruction, the stopper, and not the warp, would part.

Next aft came the companion way leading to a fitted cabin for the five hands, the main sheet block secured to a massive beam, the after skylight, mast and tiller.

Ballast consisted of concrete placed between the closely spaced timbers in the bottom and lower parts of the hull and ten or twelve tons of pig iron amidships.

The Humber Sailing Trawler

Visitor Comments

Posted by Corby Bunting at 22/08/2015 18:58
My Grandfathers brother John Singleton Cook 1875 Married Madge Loram whose family originated from Brixham.Their life was the fishing industry and these vessels. They owned many of the craft plus Ice houses,rigging shops and sail makers in Hull
Madge died in Goole

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