VESSEL REVIEW | Télémaque – New scallop fisher and trawler for fifth-generation French fisherman

VESSEL REVIEW | Télémaque – New scallop fisher and trawler for fifth-generation French fisherman


French shipyard Piriou has delivered the new generation 16-metre trawler Télémaque to shipowner Jean-Baptiste Marion.

Ordered in July 2018, the vessel is a very quiet and stable vessel meeting the customer’s demand for heavy sound insulation and better seakeeping behaviour. The inverted bow improves crew comfort and increases both volume under the bridge and speed without increasing consumption.

Dedicated to scallop fishing and trawling in the English Channel, it will be homeported in Grandcamp-Maisy, Normandy, like its predecessor, also named Télémaque.

Jean-Baptiste is one of three brothers that form the fifth generation of fishermen in the Marion family, and at forty years old, he is thinking of the future, hoping that his two little boys, aged seven and five, will take their turns at sea when it’s time for him to retire.

Jean-Baptiste wanted a more comfortable ship for both himself and the sailors with whom he has always worked. Particular emphasis was placed on sound insulation, with a soundproof generator set and a machine room with very carefully considered and thorough insulation. The shape of the hull was decisive for better behaviour at sea and to meet the constraints of access to the port of Grandcamp.

Jean-Baptiste therefore opted for a propeller in a tunnel, designed by Coprexma. The vault system reduces the draught.

“We are at a maximum of 3.50 metres and around 3.30 metres at Grandcamp,” said Jean-Baptiste. “It also improves propeller efficiency, which should translate into fuel savings.

“We also chose the inverted bow design from Coprexma. We did not want a bulb for aesthetic reasons. This solution improves comfort and allows you to gain volume under the deck.

“This design has already proved itself once: my great-grandfather, he remembers, was a sailor aboard the battleship Le Mirabeau, which had an inverted bow. That of Télémaque is rolled up and we have integrated a ‘helmet’ to have a reference and a better resistance to the sea.”

The inverted bow allows for almost 16 metres at the waterline, which brings speed gains without consuming more fuel, and improves comfort. Damping volumes at the front allow for the installation of more equipment (versatile demersal, shellfish and pelagic trawling depending on the season) and there is more space for catch processing and more deck area.

This gives a hold of nearly 50 cubic metres and fully equipped living quarters on the main deck, which are accessible from either side without passing through the working warehouse, for improved safety and comfort for the crew. The reinforced stainless steel rear deck is less exposed to wear generated by dredges and any abrasive debris.

The shipowner also optimised equipment by incorporating a trawl sensor and WASP sounder to improve mapping.

After her first sea trials, the opinion was unanimous: the new Télémaque is extremely quiet and stable.

“It’s much nicer workstations and living spaces,” said Jean-Baptiste.

“And at the dock, we hear nothing,” adds Jean-Baptiste’s wife Virginie, who is responsible for the day-to-day management of equipment, landings and sales, mainly at the Grandcamp fish auction. With the crew, they form a real family. “The guys have been involved in the construction project since the start. They come to the shipyard with us. I have two sailors who cook – it’s up to them to decide the layout!” explained Jean-Baptiste.

In the context of Brexit and historical feuds between the English and the Normans, the construction of several mussel trawlers (three newbuilds will arrive soon at Grandcamp) is a sign of optimism for the sector. Jean-Baptiste and Virginie Marion believe in the future.

“What worries me a little,” admits the shipowner, “is the other countries that could come fishing in our waters. But my family has been fishing for five generations and we have always been able to adapt.

“What we are looking for is the versatility that allows us to move from one job to another. The shellfish accounts for nearly 70 per cent of our turnover. We stay tuned to the market. So, let me sail and I will tell you.”

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