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new warrior boat

19th July 2012

Building fast boats for commercial fishing was a "natural step" to take for boat builders Warrior Boats Ltd based at Leyland in Lancashire.

Phil Byrom (one of the firm's two directors) added how the firm's newly introduced six meter long workboat - Warrior 6mtr Commercial - has encouraged a couple of fishermen to place an order, one being a pal of mine, Gary Thomas, who recently took delivery of his craft, the Niki Lou.

Named after his daughters, the Niki Lou is the first Warrior 6mtr Commercial to be built and the second Warrior Boat that Gary has owned. He lives and breathes fishing - a specialist rod & line fisherman and nothing short of a master of that art. Live bait fishing for bass, wrecking for pollack and cod, mackerel hand line fishing - name it what you will, the only line fishing Gary doesn't like is the drudgery of whiting bashing - that's my forte - dirty longline work but for me it makes a shilling.

Enhancement of Gary's skills was the cornerstone of ordering the Niki Lou ending up with a craft laid out to his 'perfect' arrangement. However, Phil Byrom tells of the next Warrior 6mtr Commercial under build, one aimed at stealthy netting, a completely different layout but a craft providing the equal benefits from the hull design.

"We already had a range of craft that are near to Seafish specifications, so the route to move into a commercial version was a natural step" explains Phil Byrom, adding: "We realised that for a very long time we were making craft to that high specification, far past other makes of similar leisure boats we had seen, and there wasn't much of a choice of design among those boats and they didn't seem to have the quality of build necessary to easily make that progression; it just seemed to be the next step for us, we want the name Warrior to be synonymous with fishing.

"The hull is based on the Warrior 175 with modifications to the chine to increase buoyancy in the bow. It is made up of multiple layers of woven roving, sandwiched between layers of chopped strand matt making it one of the heaviest hulls in its class. Like we keep saying, there's no substitute for weight when it comes to hulls.

"It is further strengthened by chemically bonding in a fibreglass Matrix moulding, not only providing a separate foam filled buoyancy chamber but strengthening the hull in line with the trailer rollers.

"A plywood floor is bonded to the matrix and then fibre-glassed over, providing a second buoyancy chamber. The floor is fully self-draining, fitted with four scuppers making this a very safe boat to venture offshore in.

"Once the top/deck moulding is bonded to the hull it is capped with a heavy duty PVC fender. A secondary "D" section PVC fender is also available on request.

"A forward bulkhead is fibre-glassed in, and a hatch fitted to provide some dry storage. The inside is then painted with a flowcoat, sealing the fibreglass and giving a smooth finish to aid washing down.

"To complete the boat two stainless steel flush fitting pull up cleats, a bow roller and bollard and a large towing eye are fitted as standard."

He explained how from then on the fit out is up to the skipper, and with the Niki Lou it has a specialised live-bait tank located under the hinged seat, not a make-do idea but one having insulation and a professional pumping system.

Gary prefers to use a road trailer rather than hiring a mooring, Falmouth Harbour, nearby creeks and the Helford River are far from 'safe' - thieves at present engaged in a further a spate of outboard motor thefts.

Although a hefty boat as far as strength is concerned, I watched Gary drive his car down to the slipway and with a hand powered down-geared winch haul-out the Niki Lou in a matter of minutes, however, a suitable electric powered winch has since been fitted.

In all a lovely boat, one powered by a Suzuki outboard; one with an impressive array of Lowrance electronics, and neat idea too is that a spare low powered Suzuki outboard stored securely out of the way ahead of the console. Neatly at the transom situates a watertight compartment for dual-batteries; each side is located a fuel tank.

Soon I hope to spend a day with Gary on the Niki Lou and will report back. A point to mention - since the boat is normally attached to the car when obtaining outboard fuel, Gary had no trouble obtaining petrol during the latest fuel crisis. However, several local line fishermen with outboard powered boats situated on a mooring had difficulty obtaining fuel when taking their cans to a garage. Perhaps the authorities should issue some sort of proof they need a certain amount of fuel for their boat?

Standard Specification

Tonnage - 1.45t Length - 19' 8" (6m) Beam - 7' 6.5" (2.3m) Draft - 12" (300mm) Internal Freeboard - 2' 2" (660mm) Weight - 950kg (2090lbs)

Length on Trailer including Engine - 24' (7.3m) Width on Trailer - 7' 6.5" (2.3m) Height on Trailer (Open Boat) - 5' 9" (1.75m) Height on Trailer (with Cuddy) - 8' 6" (2.59m) Navigation Bridge - 21" (530mm)

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