Stella Polaris UK-22

Stella Polaris UK-22

Half a metre longer and as good as new

Seine netter Stella Polaris UK-22 has been through a major refit when owner Pauw Romkes acquired the boat, and fifteen years on the decision was taken to embark on another extensive refit.

UK-22 has been alongside in Urk since arriving in March, and was back at sea in mid-December.

‘The boat is 36 years old, built in Concarneau in 1986, and in 2006 we bought it from Greencastle in Ireland, where it was Marliona D-59,’ Pauw Romkes said, adding that UK-22 is fly-shooting year-round, and this is his only method of fishing.

The newly lengthened Stella Polaris UK-22 on the slipway in Urk

‘My father built a boat in 1980 for anchor seining and I came on board in 1982. We were anchor seining for the first five years before we switched to fly-shooting – and we were the first to go fly-shooting in the Channel,’ he said.

The refit has been a drastic one, removing and replacing everything above the waterline. The hull was split into on the slipway at the Balk Shipyard, where a new 2.50 metre middle section was inserted, but with the way that the bow section has been remodelled, UK-22’s overall length of 30.50 metres is only 50cm longer than it had been before.

The new wheelhouse being trucked from the TCD workshops to the Balk yard to be craned on board

All of the steelwork for the lengthening, new superstructure and the new wheelhouse was carried out by VCU, with sandblasting and painting carried out by Straalbedrijf Flevoland.

For this refit, Pauw Romkes acted as his own main contractor, bringing in Gaastmeer Design to handle the design work and to complete the drawings, while VCU handled steelwork, designed and installed the catch handling arrangement, servicing the winches and providing new net drums.

The only original piece of equipment in the completely new engine room is the original 1000hp Deutz engine

‘We have kept the 1000hp Deutz main engine, which was been rebuilt by LBR, but everything else in the engine room is new  – so there are new compressors, new pipes, new electrics. Only the engine is original, and the gearbox and propeller have been checked to make sure that everything is fine,’ he said.

He said that mainly local companies from Urk have been involved in the rebuild, with Piet Brouwer Electrotechnology taking care of the electrical system and engineering, as well as the design, panel construction, installation and commissioning.

TCD fitted the catch handling layout

The delivered products include a Marble Automation alarm system, an LED lighting package and a fire detection system. The hydraulics and piping were completed by Luteijn Hydraulics n Breskens.

L. Post & zn saw to fitting out the new wheelhouse accommodation, galley, messroom and fishhold, and SB Installatietechniek handled the plumbing systems on board. De Boer Marine delivered and installed the complete package of electronics in UK-22’s wheelhouse.

The additional length has extended UK-22’s fishroom

‘The accommodation is much better now, with five single cabins for the crew, located just below the wheelhouse.’

‘We have a lot more fishroom space now,’ he said. ‘We kept the winches, but these have been overhauled, with new motors, bearings and guiding-on gear, so they are like new, and we have two new net drums from TCD.’

L. Post & zn saw to fitting out the interiors and the new electronics are supplied by De Boer Marine

Pauw Romkes commented that there is now winch management system used, and he prefers to work by hand.

‘I have used a control system before, but had too many problems with it and took it off. Now I can watch the rope length, the tensions and the hauling speed, and I regulate it by hand,’ he explained.

Stella Polaris UK-22 at the quayside as the refit was approaching completion

Built in 1986 as a trawler by Piriou in Concarneau as Garlodic, Stella Polaris UK-22 looks very different today.

‘It seems like a new boat, even though it’s 36 years old. As it’s been sandblasted and painted from top to bottom, you can’t see it’s not new,’ Pauw Romkes said, speaking after the UK-22’s first trip following the refit and landing in Boulogne.

‘We’ve had a lot of small problems, but these are all fixed now and we shouldn’t have any more problems to deal with. The boat handles very well, but it’s different, so it’s like starting all over again.’

UK-22 works with one seine net from NordsøTrawl and one from VCU, and the seine ropes are also supplied by VCU.

‘We fish for half of the year in the Channel for squid, mullet and whiting, and the summer off the Danish coast and in the German Bight, fishing for gurnards, as well as some cod, plaice and whiting.’