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Old 11-14-2017, 04:45 AM   #1
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I am here to ask for help with my murder mystery novel

Hello all, I'm not sure if this will be considered an appropriate reason to join, and I will completely understand if not.

But I have joined to ask for some help with a murder mystery book I am writing, set on a Scottish loch. A significant proportion of the action happens aboard a trawler fishing boat. My introduction to Taranis: “Isn’t she a beauty,” Jonathan said as we boarded. Taranis is a 30 foot wooden trawler, with a good-sized cabin that can accommodate three people, four at a squeeze, and several large pieces of equipment.

Her deck and sides are covered in nets, mostly looking broken and tangled, hanging, and draped across the cabin. Her blue paint is peeling, and completely gone in many places, revealing the dark wood beneath, blackened with mould.

Taranis looked like her best days were long behind her, but I guessed you don’t go around insulting a man’s boat, so I smiled. “Yes.”

I have some very basic questions, as I have never sailed in a trawler. If someone would be willing to advise me, that would be awesome.

1. Does someone need to be in the cabin at all times to steer, or is it possible to 'set a course' in a particular direction and then move out on deck?
2. How deep does the hull go in the water?
3. Is this realistic boat that a fisherman working on a Scottish loch would own?
4. Any glaring issues/ problems with the description above?

Thank you so much in advance.
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Old 11-14-2017, 05:41 AM   #2
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If you aren't familiar with the the traits of the fictional vessel you are writing about I would get on a website like yachtworld & use the size you're interested in the search query. Look at the different ones,read the descriptions & you'll get an idea of what the boat in your size looks like & can do.
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Old 11-14-2017, 06:32 AM   #3
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Hi Murderwriter,

Although none of us are real trawler experts, we just have recreational trawler "style" boats, I'll try to help you out a bit.


1. Does someone need to be in the cabin at all times to steer, or is it possible to 'set a course' in a particular direction and then move out on deck?

Most boats these days have autopilot, which allows the boat to either follow a set direction or a course on its own when conditions allow this. Someone still needs to keep an eye out for other boats or hazards when on autopilot.

2. How deep does the hull go in the water?

On a 30 foot boat the draft (depth of hull) is usual about 4-6 feet if it is a sailing vessel. 2-4 feet if power only.

3. Is this realistic boat that a fisherman working on a Scottish loch would own?

I can only have a poorly educated guess on this. A 30 foot trawler is very small by todays standards, but the old trawelers that ring-netted herring on scottish coasts and lochs may have been that size. From what I understand, the herring fishing industry has mostly collapsed over there and mackeral fishing is more common but may require a bigger boat.

4. Any glaring issues/ problems with the description above?

Not in the short description so far.

Good luck on the book.
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Old 11-14-2017, 06:44 AM   #4
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3. Is this realistic boat that a fisherman working on a Scottish loch would own?

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3. Is this realistic boat that a fisherman working on a Scottish loch would own?

I thought lochs are inland...

??

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Old 11-14-2017, 06:57 AM   #5
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I thought lochs are inland...

??

-Chris
Nope, many, if not the majority, on the north west coast have mouths giving wide open access to sea. Like Loch Linnhe. Holy Loch is where the US sub base was.

Their Irish equivilent, Loughs, are mostly open to the sea and have very deep water. Like Lough Swilly, Foyle, Strangford Lough.
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Old 11-14-2017, 06:57 AM   #6
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Hello all, I'm not sure if this will be considered an appropriate reason to join, and I will completely understand if not.

But I have joined to ask for some help with a murder mystery book I am writing, set on a Scottish loch. A significant proportion of the action happens aboard a trawler fishing boat. My introduction to Taranis: “Isn’t she a beauty,” Jonathan said as we boarded. Taranis is a 30 foot wooden trawler, with a good-sized cabin that can accommodate three people, four at a squeeze, and several large pieces of equipment.

Her deck and sides are covered in nets, mostly looking broken and tangled, hanging, and draped across the cabin. Her blue paint is peeling, and completely gone in many places, revealing the dark wood beneath, blackened with mould.

Taranis looked like her best days were long behind her, but I guessed you don’t go around insulting a man’s boat, so I smiled. “Yes.”

I have some very basic questions, as I have never sailed in a trawler. If someone would be willing to advise me, that would be awesome.

1. Does someone need to be in the cabin at all times to steer, or is it possible to 'set a course' in a particular direction and then move out on deck?
2. How deep does the hull go in the water?
3. Is this realistic boat that a fisherman working on a Scottish loch would own?
4. Any glaring issues/ problems with the description above?

Thank you so much in advance.
1. This can be done if a boat has autopilot but there SHOULD always be someone watching where the boat is going. I understand some fisherman just set their autopilot and hell be damned. Err, the boat you described doesn't sound like it would have an autopilot.

2. For a 30 foot boat, between 3 and 4 feet without catch in this part of the world but see #4.

3. Not likely in the Americas. I would think even in Scotland, a 30 foot commercial fishing boat would be single handed or a crew of two at most.

4. I am assuming this is a commercial fishing boat. The commercial fishing boats we are most familiar with in Florida (and I am ignoring the crabbers) are popularly called shrimp boats. The old wooden ones start at around 45 feet, have large cockpits and below deck compartments for the catch and for ice. I suspect the draft is around 5 feet without catch. A 30 foot boat doesn't give a lot of room for the catch.

Caveat - know nothing about boats in Scotland even though family history is Scottish....or is it Scotch.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:09 AM   #7
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How about what era is your novel set? Big difference between '50's, 70's, and 2017.

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Old 11-14-2017, 10:58 AM   #8
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Sounds like a good excuse to got to Scotland and walk marinas

Best of luck with the book.
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Old 11-14-2017, 06:02 PM   #9
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MurderWriter,You might be getting the idea many of our pleasure boats are "trawlerlike" in some respects but we are not "trawlermen" in the commercial sense.
To my observation Scottish lochs are largely enclosed waters even if they do open to the sea. I don`t remember seeing trawlers on lochs, but in fairness I was not looking for them.
Your intended "boat" seems to be an old run down vessel not in great condition still being used for its intended purpose. I think it can be 30ft,I`d suggest it requires 2 crew, 3 possible but being a crowd, if you need to accommodate more characters on board bump it up 6ft or so, they`ll still be getting in each others way. Trawlers tend to have small cabins to allow for larger work areas. A forward cabin for sleeping, at a lower level than the main cabin at deck level, is likely. The deck level cabin would have the helm, a simple galley for cooking,and somewhere to sit and eat. There would be a head(lavatory) somewhere, could even be accessed from the deck and not inside.
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Old 11-14-2017, 11:15 PM   #10
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Maybe something I can comment on with authority since I was born and grew up in a small fishing village in Scotland eh?

Trawlers varied in size and style greatly due to intended purpose. Boats that work in enclosed freshwater lochs (Loch Lomond, Loch Leven and similar) will generally be open day boats(very little deck and no overnight accommodations). They will not be trawlers because they are not allowed to trawl in these waters. The open boats working these waters will fish by line (rod and reel) and have outboard motors.

Boats that work in Sea Lochs, essentially types of fjords, will start at 30' and go up from there, average 50' to 70'. Some larger. A 30' working wooden boat would be a dayboat, no overnight accommodations just a little aft pilot house to steer from with a rudimentary galley to make a pot of tea and perhaps a frying pan. Crew of one or two, draft of 3' to 5'
A 50' boat might make two or three day trips. Basically of the same basic design but with a sleeping cabin below between the fish hold and the engine room or sometimes up forward in the forecastle space. Draft from 4' to 7' depending on design. In the middle is the fish hold. Trawl nets are set over the side. These boats are becoming quite rare are the EU rules allowed foreign fishermen to come in and share quotas and resulted in overfishing by unscrupulous fishermen depleting stocks almost to extinction. In some cases these boats have been converted to hauling pots and now fish for lobster or crab.

Larger boats are called pelagic trawlers and work the open sea and will travel long distances in search of large schools of fish. They are usually constructed of steel and have sophisticated fishing gear and larger crews. They used to fish for cod and whiting in the Icelandic seas but that has played out and now travel as far as Namibia (near South Africa) in search of fish.

For the purpose of your novel I suggest you consider a boat up to the size of about 45'. Also, if you don't know it, typical tidal ranges in Scotland may be up to 15' making for interesting sea conditions including the worlds second largest sea whirlpool.

For more info google Miller of Pittenweem boats. In my eye, they built the quintessential Scottish wood fishing vessel. I would expect your wooden boat is quite old as modern boats are fiberglass and have a different style.

Pittenweem still has a fishing festival where older wooden boats show up. There are plenty pictures on the website. Oban also is home to quite a few boats.

Also of note the wooden boats had slower speed Diesel engines that made a very distinctive 'chuff chuff chuff' noise, not the roar of the modern bus or truck engines.. and you are correct, the older boats have a distinctive peculiar mildly offensive odor that takes a little getting used to.

Good luck with your writing.
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Old 11-15-2017, 12:27 AM   #11
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I think the Shipwright did it.
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Old 11-15-2017, 01:46 AM   #12
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I think the Shipwright did it.
It`s a Scottish loch. The loch monster has to be involved.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:04 AM   #13
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Sleeping 3 and squeezing 4 sleeping in a 30 ft working trawler is probably a bit high in expectations.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:38 AM   #14
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Sleeping 3 and squeezing 4 sleeping in a 30 ft working trawler is probably a bit high in expectations.
No room left for the catch!
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:51 AM   #15
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If Scotland, would the measurement be in meters?
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Old 11-15-2017, 10:58 AM   #16
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What type of anchor does Taranis have?
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Old 11-15-2017, 11:26 AM   #17
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McGillicuddy wins! Excellent response, filled with accurate, first hand knowledge. I’m sure the author will appreciate your thoughtful reply. I enjoyed reading it!

And to think all I really knew about Scotland before was the Old Firm derby...
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:39 AM   #18
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How about what era is your novel set? Big difference between '50's, 70's, and 2017.

Sidney
The book is set in the present day, 2017. Thanks so much for all the responses. This is great.
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:42 AM   #19
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MurderWriter,You might be getting the idea many of our pleasure boats are "trawlerlike" in some respects but we are not "trawlermen" in the commercial sense.
To my observation Scottish lochs are largely enclosed waters even if they do open to the sea. I don`t remember seeing trawlers on lochs, but in fairness I was not looking for them.
Your intended "boat" seems to be an old run down vessel not in great condition still being used for its intended purpose. I think it can be 30ft,I`d suggest it requires 2 crew, 3 possible but being a crowd, if you need to accommodate more characters on board bump it up 6ft or so, they`ll still be getting in each others way. Trawlers tend to have small cabins to allow for larger work areas. A forward cabin for sleeping, at a lower level than the main cabin at deck level, is likely. The deck level cabin would have the helm, a simple galley for cooking,and somewhere to sit and eat. There would be a head(lavatory) somewhere, could even be accessed from the deck and not inside.
This is great, thank you. I just had a thought about where they would go to the loo - so you've answered that for me! Not that you ever see that in books of course, but I think I should know at least!
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:45 AM   #20
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Maybe something I can comment on with authority since I was born and grew up in a small fishing village in Scotland eh?

Trawlers varied in size and style greatly due to intended purpose. Boats that work in enclosed freshwater lochs (Loch Lomond, Loch Leven and similar) will generally be open day boats(very little deck and no overnight accommodations). They will not be trawlers because they are not allowed to trawl in these waters. The open boats working these waters will fish by line (rod and reel) and have outboard motors.

Boats that work in Sea Lochs, essentially types of fjords, will start at 30' and go up from there, average 50' to 70'. Some larger. A 30' working wooden boat would be a dayboat, no overnight accommodations just a little aft pilot house to steer from with a rudimentary galley to make a pot of tea and perhaps a frying pan. Crew of one or two, draft of 3' to 5'
A 50' boat might make two or three day trips. Basically of the same basic design but with a sleeping cabin below between the fish hold and the engine room or sometimes up forward in the forecastle space. Draft from 4' to 7' depending on design. In the middle is the fish hold. Trawl nets are set over the side. These boats are becoming quite rare are the EU rules allowed foreign fishermen to come in and share quotas and resulted in overfishing by unscrupulous fishermen depleting stocks almost to extinction. In some cases these boats have been converted to hauling pots and now fish for lobster or crab.

Larger boats are called pelagic trawlers and work the open sea and will travel long distances in search of large schools of fish. They are usually constructed of steel and have sophisticated fishing gear and larger crews. They used to fish for cod and whiting in the Icelandic seas but that has played out and now travel as far as Namibia (near South Africa) in search of fish.

For the purpose of your novel I suggest you consider a boat up to the size of about 45'. Also, if you don't know it, typical tidal ranges in Scotland may be up to 15' making for interesting sea conditions including the worlds second largest sea whirlpool.

For more info google Miller of Pittenweem boats. In my eye, they built the quintessential Scottish wood fishing vessel. I would expect your wooden boat is quite old as modern boats are fiberglass and have a different style.

Pittenweem still has a fishing festival where older wooden boats show up. There are plenty pictures on the website. Oban also is home to quite a few boats.

Also of note the wooden boats had slower speed Diesel engines that made a very distinctive 'chuff chuff chuff' noise, not the roar of the modern bus or truck engines.. and you are correct, the older boats have a distinctive peculiar mildly offensive odor that takes a little getting used to.

Good luck with your writing.
This is outstanding, thank you so much. I am going to Oban in March, so will try and take the opportunity to have a look.

While the book is set in 2017, you're absolutely right this boat is generations old and has very much seen better days - so looks like I need to make a few changes. Love the information on noises etc - I can definitely include that. Hugely appreciated.
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