Commercial fishing trimaran?

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by pir8ped, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. pir8ped
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    pir8ped Junior Member

    Hi,

    I am planning a commercial fishing enterprise using a trimaran. If I describe my project, I hope I might stimulate some discussion on its practicality, and also design features I should be looking out for.

    My own experience: 5 years living aboard a 30' triune trimaran, sailing 30,000 miles ( in the 80's ). Numerous other sailboats, and lots of experience fishing non-commercially. I'm based near Dartmouth, Devon UK.


    The case for using a sailboat:

    Fishermen are struggling to make a living with fuel costs as high as they are. Though fuel prices may come down a little, in general they will certainly rise.
    Many fishing methods are no longer sustainable -- bottom trawling is recognized as causing a great deal of damage to the seabed, and most fishing with nets results in many fish being caught that need to be thrown back (dead) because they are too small, the wrong species, or the fisherman has reached his quota of that species.

    The most sustainable method of fishing is using hook and line with fishing rods jigging machines. Species and sizes can be targeted and the small amount of by-catch can often be returned to the sea alive.
    Boats with large engines are required for trawling or handling large nets. Engines aren't necessary for line fishing -- just some means of getting to the fishing grounds.

    In my area, line fishermen drive out to wrecks 15 to 30 miles offshore to find the fish. Typically large shoals of fish congregate around one wreck in four, so the boat must sail from one wreck to another looking for the fish. Sometimes very few fish are caught and much of the day is spent burning fuel. The boats that do this kind of fishing have no accommodation and so fish one day at a time.

    If a sailboat is used for this kind of fishing, no fuel would be used searching for the fish. Wrecks further out to sea could be targeted -- the cost of fuel and the lack of accommodation on the motorboats doesn't allow them to try these more distant (and more heavily populated) wrecks.


    The case for using a trimaran:

    Stability -- I've tried fishing from the deck of a rolling monohull, and it's no fun.
    Speed -- fishing would typically be done in light or very light wind, so that the boat doesn't drift too fast whilst fishing. A lightweight multihull with light air sails could get out to the fishing grounds and travel from wreck to wreck looking for the fish.
    On a large (around 40 feet) trimaran, fish can be stored in the outriggers, keeping the catch and the accommodation separate. With a smaller trimaran, the main cabin may need adapting or the fish could be kept under a central cockpit.


    The business case:

    Around here, the line fishermen find useful quantities of fish only around the wrecks. Sometimes they find a well populated wreck right away, sometimes they have to sail from wreck to wreck before finding the fish, and sometimes they don't find any at all. Fuel is a very major cost to them. Using a sailboat, it costs nothing to sail from wreck to wreck looking for fish and a distance of even 100 miles isn't too far (the limitation being on how long you can keep ice frozen). This ability to stay out to sea and keep looking for fish greatly increases the chances of coming back with a successful load and also spreads the impact of the fishing over a wider area.

    If the fish are taken directly to market I feel sure that a reasonable profit can be made. However, it would be much more profitable to sell directly to the public, to restaurants and hotels. Many people prefer to have their fish line caught -- as the success of the the South West Handliners Fishermen’s Association has demonstrated. People might also appreciate having their fish caught using a method that uses very little fossil fuel and they might like to support the romantic aspect of fishing by sail. I have a scheme for a fish-selling website -- customers register and receive text messages or e-mail when a catch is about to be landed so that they can place their orders to have them delivered directly from the boat.

    I have looked into the practicalities of getting a commercial fishing licence, using the fish market, and in having a trimaran certified as a commercial fishing boat and so on and there seems to be no problems at all. DEFRA seemed positively enthusiastic and encouraging.

    If the enterprise works, it would be great to design and build a boat specifically for fishing. However, before that is feasible I need to prove that it could work.

    A boat that I thought close to ideal would be Shuttleworth's Damiana. Centre cockpit, fast, the capacity to carry 500 kg in each outrigger (and foam sandwich, helping insualte the catch and the ice), comfortable and with the added bonus of being capable of taking me to a more equable climate in winter. Three problems there -- it's in Florida (small problem), it was priced around £50,000 (medium problem), and after a year on sale somebody has just gone and bought it (big problem!).

    Another boat I have considered is the Searunner, 34 or 37. That's quite a bit narrower and I don't know how much weight I can carry in the outriggers. Maybe I could adapt some of the space under the cockpit.

    Just down the road from me is a Telstar 26, looking rough but with a sound hull and sails. I guess I couldn't carry more than say 250 kg in the main cabin -- I'd have to adapt the cabin to store the fish, making it considerably less comfortable for the crew. I don't think it's going to go very fast in light airs. But if I treat the boat as disposable, having virtually no resale value, I'd be free to make whatever changes necessary, and it would give me the chance to test the feasibility of selling directly to the public.

    I am posting this plan here because I would like some feedback on which designs might be suitable -- there may be some haven't given sufficient consideration. Also I wonder whether anyone has considered designing a trimaran for fishing. I have thought about it a great deal myself, and if anyone is interested I could whip up a list of requirements, suggestions and considerations. It would need to be fast, but not the fastest, comfortable without some of the cruising luxury and capable of carrying 1000 kg or so.

    What would it cost to have a 40 foot trimaran built anyway? Something designed to be simple and therefore relatively cheap to build -- just a ballpark figure to play with.

    John Pedersen
     
  2. TollyWally
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    TollyWally Senior Member

    John,
    While I have some skeptisism about the viability of your scheme I applaud your efforts. A few practical considerations to keep in mind as you work out the details.

    You are going to be involved in a high value rather than high volume fishery. 1000 kg. is roughly a ton of fish. Kept on ice you are going to have to get these fish to market within say 3 days. Travel costs are not just in fuel but in time. The clock starts with the first fish caught.

    Cash flow will be constrained by the amount of fish caught which is constrained by the time it takes to catch them and get them to market. Schemes to add value by direct sales etc. are all well and good and can add a margin of profit but caution should be advised if that added margin is critical to economic viability.

    The first question is what level of capital investment will the return on 2 tons of fish per week justify? That is 2 trips per week with the holds full, 200 miles of transit time( 30 out, 30 back, 30 prospecting), maintenence, resupply, etc. Perhaps 2 trips a week is a low estimate, whatever, insert the correct number into the equation and recalculate.

    The level of capital that can be justified by the anticipated return will determine the costs and capabilities of the vessel and the design spiral continues. Good luck.
     
  3. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    Jim Brown and Dick Newick did something similar for the third world years ago. Called SIB??

    I think you'd be better off with a catamaran.

    However some fishermen say they don't like the multihull's "snap roll" and prefer the bigger, but slower monohull roll. The latter is also good when jigging of course.

    A catamaran makes sense when long lining and when potting.

    As Tollywally says, getting the economics right is the key

    Good luck

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs
    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
  4. pir8ped
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    pir8ped Junior Member

    Thanks for the replies.

    TollyWally: I am using £3/kilo for the market rate for pollack, the most available catch on wrecks. Large fishing boats commonly have fish on ice for up to 10 days. A typical trip might be sailing out overnight, fishing for a day, and sailing back through the next night. If there aren't enough fish the first day, no problem to stay out 1-3 more days. Come back when the hold is full enough or we are running out of ice. My costs are the pay for one other person, a little fuel, ice, lures, harbour dues, boat maintenance.

    Richard: Why do you think a cat would be better? Put the fish equally in each hull? Do you have a design in mind that might suit?

    Some fisherman may prefer the monohull slow roll, but I hate it - especially that crazy becalmed roll in a swell that builds out of nowhere, till stuff is being thrown about the cabin. I'd far rather be becalmed on a multi!
     
  5. longliner45
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    longliner45 Senior Member

    DB Cooper is a commercial fishing vessel,,,,,,,it is a 45 ft sailboat converted into a fishing boat (snappers),,,,,,,,havent seen em for years (out of destin fla),,,,but a great concept,,fuel savings and all,,,,,,,look up the history of fishing and you will see we are now completing the circle ,,,,,,in the day of chesapeke oyster draggers ,,(sail) in the days of ,oh well you get my point,,and you can longline too ,,,,good luck ,,longliner
     
  6. pir8ped
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    pir8ped Junior Member

    longliner45: We have oyster dragging here in Falmouth, only sail allowed. Last time I was there, I was sheltering from a storm. It was so intense, I had to move from the anchorage near town, and find a secure place up river. Those oystermen were out there in the estuary in what must have been a force 10, still trawling, with just a scrap of jib up. It was great to see.
     
  7. longliner45
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    longliner45 Senior Member

    yes great to see,,,but probably all mono hull?
     
  8. pir8ped
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    pir8ped Junior Member

    Open deck wooden monohulls. I can't see why trawlers working in a sheltered estuary would need more than one hull - they just need the pulling power of the sails.
     
  9. longliner45
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    longliner45 Senior Member

    you said you were in falmouth,,seeking shelter,but the oysterman were still working ,,in thier mono hulls ,,I think the reason is that monos are more sea worthy than multis ,,it has been desputed time and time again on these pages,,,dont want to start that argument again ,,but monos are time proven ,multis are relitively new on the seen ,,I agree with the sail aspect of fishing ,if all boats were sail ,,fish stocks would be OK,longliner,,show some pics.....
     
  10. pir8ped
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    pir8ped Junior Member

    I was in Falmouth in my last boat. Here's a picture. Looks pretty. Lovely inside, nice and warm with a stove. But slow, and rolled like hell, and I said my next boat would be a multi.
     

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  11. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    I believe a cat would be better than a tri for this purpose, because cats can carry more weight, given low-resistance hulls and similar length. Other advantages include a flatter ride and wider decks.

    I do a lot of fishing from my little beachcruising cat, Slider.




    Obviously, being only 16 feet long, Slider isn't suitable for a commercial venture, but we've been catching all the fish we dare to eat.

    Ray
     

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  12. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    From the photo looks like you have a Wylo?? I know Nick well, I first met him in 1992, last saw him in Antigua.

    Catamarans are generally easier/cheaper to build. Won't roll when hove to for fishing. More convenient deck area. Probably better load carrying for a given length.

    Suitable boats? I don't know... open deck Gypsy or Romany?

    To Longliner: Catamarans were used for offshore voyaging in the Pacific long before Ohio was discovered, and probably before the Falmouth working boats were first built.

    To Pir8ped: If you want to discuss a working sailing catamaran fishing boat please email me

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
  13. longliner45
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    longliner45 Senior Member

    yes Richard,,,im with ya there,,,but how many didnt return home ,from these voyages ,,the vikings used monos,,,,,and Groupama just turned over alongside many other multis in the past,,,,,the record speaks for itself,,buy the way very nice web site
     
  14. Nordic Cat
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    Nordic Cat Senior Member

    Yes and that's why, the Faroe islands and Iceland are now populated by their descendants. All the people who got seasick sailing those rolly monos got off there, the more hardy carried on to Vineland on the east coat of the America.....:D :D

    They didn't have catamarans, but at least they were smart enough to go for a long thin efficient hullshape, so they were halfway there.

    Alan
     

  15. TollyWally
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    TollyWally Senior Member

    I made a couple trips longlining on a 54' Skookum sailboat. It wasn't rigged for fishing as well as it could have been but still worked fairly well. There was another sister hull that the owner didn't quite have the same regard for cosmetics as the one I was on. His worked better :)

    We used the motor 99% of the time but the ketch rig would have worked admirably as a "get home" set up. It sailed decently but motored well. Very nice boat, I have fond memories of it.
     
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