Winter of Ladram E-24

Winter of Ladram E-24

Raising the bar with space and comfort

A new crabbing vessel built for English fishing company Waterdance has set a new standard for this method of fishing.

The first impression is that there’s plenty of space on board, and Winter of Ladram really does have far more room to work and carry gear than any conventional crabber in the UK fleet.

The working deck forward is enclosed under a shelterdeck that feels like a ballroom, with room to stack pots six high and a surprising amount of overhead height. Nobody’s going to have to worry about banging their head here.

Winter of Ladram leaving the Parkol yard in Whitby behind. Image: Parkol Marine Engineering

The story behind this larger-than-usual crabber starts with Penglas, which was run by crab processor GHM Salcombe, based in the south Devon fishing port of the same name.

The expanding Waterdance acquired elderly crabbing boat Penglas, and the two companies now work together – Waterdance doing the fishing, and supplying the bulk of catches to GHM, which has stepped back completely from running boats of its own to concentrate on the seafood trade side of the business.

There's an astonishing amount of space on Winter of Ladram's working deck

The new Winter of Ladram is the latest stage in Waterdance’s ongoing programme of growth and fleet renewal, and this isn’t the company’s first new crabber, as it follows the arrival a few years ago of Nichola of Ladram, which was built at Luyt in the Netherlands in 2019.

This time Waterdance decided to built in the UK, opting go to the Parkol yard – and the new vessel is also an Ian Paton design, as are the Luyt-built Nichola of Ladram and netter Amanda of Ladram, which was also delivered by the Whitby yard last year.

Gear can be stacked six high under the shelterdeck

‘It’s a big programme of renewal, concentrating on safety and optimising fuel consumption,’ said Waterdance’s Head of Fisheries Martyn Youell.

‘This is a unique design and a new take on the south-west crabber, with much more security and comfort for the crew. This is a new generation of vessel. It also has ten berths on board so there’s space for researchers and others.’

Nicked crabs are dropped through chutes to the vivier below

In fact Winter of Ladram’s design doesn’t stray far from that of Amanda of Ladram, with much the same dimensions that make the new crabber significantly larger and more roomy than most crabbing boats at just under 20 metres in length.

‘It’s the same round bilge hull as the Amanda of Ladram, with a few tweaks,’ said Rowan Carter, one of Waterdance’s owners, commenting that there’s a lot of new thinking that has gone into getting Winter of Ladram’s layout right.

Winter of Ladram's design sets a new standard for crabbing vessels

‘On most crabbers you’re afraid of hitting your head, but on this one we have an almost three metre height under the shelterdeck. That means we’ll be able to carry most of the pots most of the time, and it’ll only be occasionally that there’ll be a need to stack anything on top of the shelterdeck,’ he said.

As well as the fishing gear carrying capacity, there is also a large rope pound forward, with space to carry everything needed for half a dozen strings of pots, making the process of shifting gear from one spot to another easier and safer.

‘There’s a lot more space and fresh air under the shelterdeck – and it’s a lot safer to work on board. We’re learning with every boat we build in Whitby, and the relationship with Jim, Sally and Andrew at Parkol is excellent,’ Rowan Carter said

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