Chartwell targets small fishing market with new Catchwell catamaran design

Chartwell’s Catchwell catamaran design The first of the new Catchwell catamarans designed by Chartwell Marine is under construction by Diverse Marine. Illustration: Chartwell Marine

Chartwell Marine has announced the launch of the Catchwell, a brand-new vessel design for the small-scale private and commercial fishing sector. The catamaran design responds to extensive feedback from fishermen, alongside operational lessons learned from advanced maritime industries, such as the offshore wind sector.

Available in 10 metre and 12 metre models, the Catchwell, is optimised for carrying high loads, with a semi-modular catamaran hull form that can be adapted to the needs of the fisherman or operator. The first vessel is currently under construction on the Isle of Wight by experienced vessel construction, refit, repair and maintenance specialist, Diverse Marine, who have provided extensive input during the design process.

As many of the existing vessels at the smaller end of the market start to reach the end of their lifetime, and as opportunities emerge for small-scale fishing in Europe and further afield, demand for new, more capable fishing boats is growing.

Vessel owners who invested in catamarans 10 to 15 years ago and are now looking to replace their boats, alongside new entrants, now have an opportunity to take advantage of a new generation of vessels with significantly enhanced performance and efficiency.

In particular, many existing small catamaran designs are not well optimised for high cargo volumes. With limited reserve buoyancy, a large catch may cause wet deck slamming, the results of which are an uncomfortable ride in rough waters, potential damage to the structural integrity of the vessel, and also more fuel consumed.

The new Catchwell design benefits from significant research and development carried out in the development of crew transfer and support vessels for the offshore wind energy sector. The vessel has been designed with a higher freeboard, meaning that the wet deck between the twin hulls of the catamaran doesn’t come into contact with the water, even under heavy loading. This avoids aggressive vertical accelerations, leading to a smoother, safer and more fuel-efficient ride.

Alongside this new hull form, the Catchwell brings in a number of tried and tested innovations from larger catamarans that enhance the long-term reliability of the vessel, faced with long operational hours in rough waters. These include commonality of components across the vessel, which makes conducting repairs on board as simple as possible and reduces time spent out of action.

“In the light of market conditions over the past few years, the design of smaller fishing vessels hasn’t really moved on, leaving private and commercial operators with a shortage of high-quality options,” said Chartwell Marine’s managing director Andy Page.

“Now, with prospects looking a little better, and many older vessels going out of service, we have an opportunity to address this by taking lessons learnt from other sectors and applying them in the development of a new breed of modern, safe and efficient workboats.”

“Having worked extensively with fishing vessel operators, and taken years of feedback into the development process with Chartwell, we are confident that the Catchwell is the small fishing boat that the market is looking for,” added Diverse Marine’s director Ben Colman.

“With the first vessel in build, we’re applying the same rigour and principles that go into the construction of larger catamarans, to ensure that quality of design is matched by quality of build.”

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