Amethyst heads for home
New Banff twin-rigger Amethyst has been delivered by Mooney Boats in Kilybegs. Image: Mooney Boats

Amethyst heads for home

After a minor technical hitch delayed the departure of the new Amethyst BF-19 from its builder in Killybegs skipper/owner Ralston Johnston and his crew were delighted to be finally on their way home to Banff in early January.

The 20.25 metre, 7.30 metre beam Amethyst has attracted plenty of attention throughout every stage of construction at the Mooney Boats’ yard in Killybegs, and the Ian Paton design of this twin-rig trawler built to fish mainly for prawns provides a ‘Tardis’ effect in that every effort has gone into maximising the interior working and living areas to give the feel of a much bigger boat than 20 metres.

Skipper Ralston Johnston’s prawn gear has been supplied by Faithie Trawls. Image: Mooney Boats

Locating the EK Marine 24-tonne trawl winch in the forepeak section also contributes to a spacious arrangement. In addition to the three-drum trawl winch, EK Marine also supplied the two 12-tonne split net drums, powerblock, gilson winch and the 1t/8m discharging crane.

Amethyst is powered by a 480kW Mitsubishi S6R2-T2MPTK-3 main engine driving a 2100mm Kort Propulsion four-bladed propeller set in a fixed nozzle, via a Reintjes WAF 374L gearbox  with a 7.091:1 reduction.

Additional power is provided by Mitsubishi  auxiliary engines, 218kW 6D16-TC and a 120kVa 6D16-T.

Mooney Boats fitted the hydraulic systems, catch handling arrangement, and installed the electrics, safety equipment and chandlery. Fraserburgh company Premier Refrigeration installed the fishroom chiller system and the icemaker.

‘Mooney Boats teams of skilled carpenters and fabricators created unique custom-made furniture and fittings which seamlessly integrate into the accommodation areas on board. High quality wood expertly finished ensures the crews living quarters retain a lasting strength while remaining a comfortable area of work and rest for those on board,’ the yard’s Alan Hennigan said.

Modernising the design in Mooney Boats style, LED mood strip lighting can be found throughout, along with other modernising features such as USB charging points, an entertainment sound system, modern efficient electrical heating, high power efficient LED work lights and an underwater prop-inspection camera housed within the hull itself.

EK Marine supplied the winches, net drums and other deck equipment, as well as the 1t/8m discharging crane. Image: Mooney Boats

‘Mooney Boats prides itself on building strong long-lasting vessels with safety and efficiency as some of their top priorities. The technique Mooney Boats has developed in modernised their designs has kept them at the forefront of ship building in Ireland and this was one of the factors that brought this build to their Killybegs-based yard.’

With Thyboron type 16 trawl doors and warp from Karl Thomson in Buckie, Ralston Johnson’s new vessel carries a full range of twin-rig trawl gear from Faithlie Trawls, including standard 180ft scraper nets and specialised low-flyer trawls with no headline overhang ahead of the footrope, designed to avoid any whitefish catches when concentrating on nephrops.

While mainly aiming to avoid whiting and haddock, Ralston Johnston explained that the reduced area of top sheet in these trawls are particularly good for avoiding catching some pelagic species when they are moving in the lower depths.

Once prawn fishing operations begin, out of Fraserburgh, Amethyst will operate five- to seven-day trips and hopefully fill her 500 to 600-box capacity regularly and land the catch to the Westward Fishing Co.

Amethyst has a suite of electronics supplied by Barry Electronics with McMinn Marine, including a JRC 130 echo sounder with a 50kHz transducer and a pair of Sodena chart plotting systems. Pat Maguire was responsible for the commissioning the Scanmar trawl monitoring technology, with a setup including a QBC-X1 Smart Charger, a SS4 Master Double Distance Sensor, SS4 Clump Sensor and SS4 Slave Distance Sensor, with the data routed through the ScanBas 365 computer.