After an eight-month rebuild, working to plans developed by Coprexma, former trawler Commodore, has become a purse seiner launched at the end of July in Le Guilvinec. Now SanTiago is about to join the fleet in Saint-Guénolé, where it will land sardines and anchovies caught in the Bay of Audierne and off Douarnenez.
Work began on the 15.87 metre 5.56 metre beam boat at the end of 2020 at the Hénaff shipyard, which had just completed Les Antilles II. Most of the work to transform the old wooden trawler consisted of modernising the working deck and gunwales to improve crew comfort and adapt to the requirements of its new role.
‘Our shipwrights completely rebuilt the wheelhouse and to integrate the new fish tanks, with a capacity of 18m3 (15 tonnes of sardines) into the hold,’ said Pauline Hénaff-Jézéquellou, who manages the yard.
‘The front bulwarks have been modernised, and aluminium superstructure has replaced the old steel construction, making the vessel lighter and ensuring improved stability. The new, more modern superstructure incorporates the galley and the wheelhouse. The crew areas have been completely renewed. The hull has been recaulked and some repairs carried out to ensure that it is watertight.’
The seiner retained its 279kW Caterpillar engine, which will be overhauled later. The owner is also retaining some of the electronics. But all the hydraulics are new. SanTiago gets a new Heila crane, and a purse winch and sliding winch gilsons supplied by Bretagne Hydraulique.
Skipper-owner Jean-Marc Bouguéon went to Coprexma for the design work, as he was already familiar with their skills, having seen the recent rebuild of La Sardane, owned by a good friend.
He also went to Ronan Touly at INTEX Consulting to provide project management for the shipyard and for guidance in bringing together a range of different trades, including Le Chantier Hénaff working on the hull, deck and accommodation, Thomas Volant for the aluminium and steel work, SMAB dealing with the engines, Technimer carrying out the electrical installation, Bretagne Hydraulique fitting the hydraulic systems, Dominique Mao and his painting crew, and Protection Incendie Cornouaille for the fire prevention installations – and more…
Turning an elderly trawler into a purse seiner called for a great deal of preparatory design work, according to naval architect Yves Le Perron, who specialises in wooden vessels.
‘The feasibility of the project is a major concern. This is the first essential step in guiding the shipowner in making a choice. When he contacted us a year and a half ago, before the buying vessel, we had to answer this question first. In the purse seine business, the most important factor for the viability of the project is the volume of the tanks, so we started by weighing Commodore. We were therefore able to evaluate the modifications to be made and make the proposals for this project, so that he could make the right decisions,’ he explained.
‘There were several possible options. Increasing the aft ship volume would have worked, but the work would have been too expensive. So there had to be compromises. Without altering the hull, but by changing the superstructure, we recovered some weight and changed the trim to ensure stability. The stability and the safety of the ship is a major point in naval architecture…’
Following initial studies, Coprexma prepared plans for refitting the superstructure, fitting tanks, and deck equipment installation, as well as making recommendations for crew comfort.
Particular attention has been paid to the new superstructure and the wheelhouse with a clear 360° view, providing comfortable conditions, as well as improved safety and working conditions. The skipper has a complete overview of the working deck. The switch to a wet exhaust further improves visibility and helps reduce noise pollution.
Finally, the design bureau also managed the administrative documentation, dealing in particular with Affaires Maritimes’s Ship Safety Centre, and Bureau Veritas.
Built to last
‘At just 30, I have a career ahead of me,’ said Jean-Marc Bouguéon,
‘After my training at the Lycée public maritime du Guilvinec in 2010, I immediately joined L’Etendard which I bought later in 2016. I am one of the youngest skippers in the purse seine – with the oldest boat! I needed something new to build on’, he explained. ‘Rebuilding the old ship would have been too costly in terms of operation. Safety is my priority, which is what has guided my choices and I am very satisfied with it. The rebuild of the SanTiago is the best compromise that allows me to improve comfort and safety and to invest for the future.’
Long-lasting wooden vessels offer possibilities for reconstruction, with options for a a sustainable future for fishing.
The former Commodore has had four owners. Bernard Le Berre who had it built in 1980 at the Charpentiers Associés shipyard in Le Guilvinec passed it on to his son Stéphane. It was subsequently acquired by José Palud after a fire completely destroyed his trawler, Porz Streilhen, on November 28, 2017 in the Bay of Audierne. Jean-Marc Bouguéon finally bought Commodore at the end of 2020 convert it into a purse seiner, replacing L’Étendard.
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