Atlantic Dolphin

ian potterton
25th October 2006, 12:37
This vessel has been mentioned somewere in a previous thread.
I remember landing one trip in 1990 and the boss said to me we have a whatchman for you,a retiered trawler skipper,his name was Jack Harness MBE,he Fished all his career with Bannisters and his last command was the Saxon Ranger 1976 when the company went bust.He was a very nice gentleman and I could sit in the cabin for hours listening to his past exploits,his memory was razor sharp and his expainations graphic,he had lots of memoribelia,news paper cuttings and photographs in big manila envelopes.
He was skipper of the Atlantic Dolphin on her maiden voyage,and was unique in the fact that it was the first ever stern trawler in Grimsby I think the year was 1960.
He wrote a letter to the BBC in the early 70's re.the sinking of the Hull trawler Gaul and his theory.
Whilst fishing in the Altantic Dolphin he told me he had never been so frightened,when they were towing afore the wind in a gale and came fast on a wreck,he said they were completley helpless,the deck was totally awash and crew could not get on the deck to let the brakes go on the winch,seas were crashing over the stern and she was close to foundering,it was a freak that the stern rose high on a swell and both warps parted,he was sure the vessel would have sunk if this had not happened.he still had the letter from the BBC which he showed me, asking if he would appear on TV to give an interview on his theory,which he politley declined.
If I remember I think he said the vessel was sold to France shortly after,but I could be wrong on that.
He was a very special man who passed away about 3 years ago,I wish I could have spent more time with him,his past would have been of historical importance. Ian

Steve Farrow
25th October 2006, 14:34
This vessel has been mentioned somewere in a previous thread.
I remember landing one trip in 1990 and the boss said to me we have a whatchman for you,a retiered trawler skipper,his name was Jack Harness MBE,he Fished all his career with Bannisters and his last command was the Saxon Ranger 1976 when the company went bust.He was a very nice gentleman and I could sit in the cabin for hours listening to his past exploits,his memory was razor sharp and his expainations graphic,he had lots of memoribelia,news paper cuttings and photographs in big manila envelopes.
He was skipper of the Atlantic Dolphin on her maiden voyage,and was unique in the fact that it was the first ever stern trawler in Grimsby I think the year was 1960.
He wrote a letter to the BBC in the early 70's re.the sinking of the Hull trawler Gaul and his theory.
Whilst fishing in the Altantic Dolphin he told me he had never been so frightened,when they were towing afore the wind in a gale and came fast on a wreck,he said they were completley helpless,the deck was totally awash and crew could not get on the deck to let the brakes go on the winch,seas were crashing over the stern and she was close to foundering,it was a freak that the stern rose high on a swell and both warps parted,he was sure the vessel would have sunk if this had not happened.he still had the letter from the BBC which he showed me, asking if he would appear on TV to give an interview on his theory,which he politley declined.
If I remember I think he said the vessel was sold to France shortly after,but I could be wrong on that.
He was a very special man who passed away about 3 years ago,I wish I could have spent more time with him,his past would have been of historical importance. Ian

Hi Ian,
It's such a loss to lose people like the skipper you spoke about. So many experiences to relate and stories to tell, but if it isn't written down, it's all gone with them.
I am trying to gather a few photo's of the ATLANTIC DOLPHIN for a painting that I shall soon be starting, but apart from when she was new, they seem few and far between!
Oh Here is a photo of Bryn's last catch.......he wishes!!! also here is a small pic of the SAXON KING which I will post in the gallery tomorrow.
Steve

ian potterton
25th October 2006, 15:59
Steve,if I remeber right,when the wreck of the Gaul was found,didnt underwater footage confirm that her gear was still deployed and fast on the seabed?if thats the case his theory was correct.
I was wrong about the Saxon boats,definatley Herd&Mcenzie.
One was renamed Delvan the other Peacewave,the latter lost with allhands 1980

Steve Farrow
25th October 2006, 17:42
I think the GAUL was steaming ,not fishing when she was lost. The late John Nicklin ( skipper ) wrote an excellent account of what he thought may have happened to her, well before the cameras went down to the wreck. He told it in a full book form, but basically cited ship design faults, and avoidance of compensation . Ships do not sink through weather alone. weaknesses or poor build and design cause open sea disasters he stated. In fact I don't think a large stern trawler had been lost to the weather prior to this. He studied the plans of the ship and deduced that if the access doors from the main deck down to the factory deck could be 'pegged back' to allow better ventilation when the ship was running before the wind ( because of the engineroom heat), it could proove catastrophic should huge amounts of water run up the ramp.
When the cameras viewed the wreck some time later, these doors were indeed pegged back and netting had been sucked down into the factory deck. John Nicklin pointed out that these doors could not be seen from the bridge and the skipper would be unaware, so it was a design fault. Although these stern trawlers are more stable than side trawlers in most cases, water sloshing about the factory deck would cause the same instability problems as the car ferries suffered.
The enquiry also noted that the two offal chutes in the side of the hull were fully open. They put it down to negligence of the crew! Other experts say it also was a clear design fault.
Whatever the cause of her loss, Hull trawler skippers new where she was laying but were met with a barrage of excuses, and many said cover-ups from the owners and government. John Nicklin's point was that if it was poor design leading to the loss, then compensation would have been claimed. If it had been an aircraft, it would have been fully investigated instantly.
Steve

southcraven
9th November 2006, 14:52
The post by Steve summarising the assumed reason for the sinking of the Gaul, agrees with the MAIB assumptions, other Hull/Grimsby fishermen and other investigation experts present during the official MAIB survey. I was present on board the survey vessel as the surveyor, working for the now defunked Racal Survey.

If anyone has questions feel free to contact me.

gadfly
11th November 2006, 21:42
Southcraven

Interesting to talk to someone from the 2002 survey, grateful if you could look at and give comments on the report available via:

http://the-trawler-gaul.blogspot.com/

http://www.freewebs.com/inconvenientcitizen

It is always comfortable to sit amongst a flock of experts but sometimes it is necessary to think outside the box, so to speak!

best regards

Gadfly