Wooden fishing vessels are becoming gradually rarer – and what is even more rare is to see a new fishingvessel built in wood.
Le Croisic fisherman Jérôme Debec made the choice to go for a wooden fishing vessel, opting for a 12.98 metre boat with a 6.20 metre beam to replace his previous 15 metre boat. Built for netting and potting, KabDavid IV was launched at Saint-Quay Portrieux and will soon be on its way to join the fleet at Le Croisic.While the hull is built in wood, the superstructure is moulded in GRP for ease of maintenance.
Kab David IV has accommodation on board for a crew of up to five, a pair of 3.48m3 vivier tanks. Tankcapacities are for 6.40m3 of fuel and a tonne of fresh water. The main engine is a Scania DI13, driving a Masson W1950 gearbox to turn a four-bladed propeller.
The completion of this unique new vessel is the result of a co-operation between boatbuilder Fabien Hemeury and naval architect Coprexma, and this new boat follows the delivery last year of the wooden-hulled 11.98 metre trawler Mistradenn and the positive feedback from that project.
Fabien Hemeury comes from a fishing family and not yet in his thirties, he already has a dozen years ofexperience behind him after training with Hervé Pacalet. The Chantier Naval EIRL Hemeury Fabien yard wasestablished in 2015 and carries on a very long tradition of building and repairing wooden vessel as they seekto maintain the skills and to breathe new life into this profession. The yard at Saint-Quay-Portrieux todayemploys nine people.
When Jérôme Debec came looking for a new boat, Fabien Hemeury’s first call was to Coprexma’s designers for their thoughts.
‘I knocked on Coprexma’s door because the designers, who had already worked one the previous boat, werethe only ones who have this expertise in wooden construction. We speak the same language and theyimmediately saw the potential of such a project, and supported me in this. Thanks to their experience and digital techniques, we were able to refine the forms,’ he explained.
Their previous newbuild, Mistradenn, testifies to the skills of the designer and the yard, using processes thathave been developed by the yard team to produce complex hull lines and shapes, including the flare and a precisely formed bulb.
According to Fabien Hemeury, wood is a long-proven construction material and has many advantages. It is a natural insulator without thermal conductivity, making for a warmer and more comfortable boat, while the innovative hull forms that the yard and Coprexma have developed offer a highly stable and economic vesselwith excellent handling characteristics and fuel efficiency. Wood is also a highly competitive material, withthe least environmental impact.
Fabien Hemeury is confident that wood is back and has a future, with new designs and refit projects beingexamined. Wood as a material for fishing vessels is here to stay, with a growing interest in its advantages in meeting the economic, environmental and societal challenges facing fishing
Kab David IV has been built in wood with GRP superstructure
Kab David IV ready to be launched at the yard in Saint-Quay Portrieux. Image: Hermeury
Build techniques combine traditional woodworking skills with digital design processes
Potter/netter Kab David IV has uniquely stylish lines