Inch by inch Our Lass III was lowered into the River Esk at Parkol Marine last week, to the excitement of crowds of gathered onlookers.
Among those gathered on the opposite bank of Whitby Harbour was Arnold Locker, who watched as his brand new state-of-the-art vessel floated for the very first time.
“The opposite bank of the river was absolutely full of people,” said Arnold. “We were all amazed, that vessel has the ‘wow’ factor.”
Designed by Parkol director Ian Paton, the 26-metre vessel is the largest fishing trawler built in the UK for over eight years
Arnold added: “There was a guy sat having a picnic with his family and he said to me, ‘Is this your boat? What an achievement for Whitby’.”
The vessel is not quite complete, with engine parts and electronics set to be installed ahead of sea trials, scheduled to take place in three weeks.
The trials will be an opportunity for James Locker to finally get behind the wheel of his new vessel. He said, to finally get on board his vessel was an emotional experience, adding: “I have always had Our Lass in my career so to go a year and a half without a boat with her name was tough. I have a real emotional connection to the boat and it’s like getting a new family member.”
For James the hard work of fishing will soon begin, but is confident he can repay the trust placed in him by his father.
He said: “The boat has to be full every time it comes back, that’s how much pressure is on you. But for my parents to have that much faith in me, I can’t really put it into words how I feel.”
Arnold, although confessing to a degree of bias, confirmed that his son is the right man for the job and said: “I was on the opposite side when the boat went in the water but I could see his grin from across the river. He is just blown away by it and can’t wait to get it going.”
It took over three and half years for the ambitious project to be completed, from finding financial backing to the design stage and then the construction, completed at Parkol a month ahead of schedule.
“This has taken a lot of time to put together,” added Arnold. “But we eventually got there and our thanks go to Jim Morrison, Ian Paton and all the team at Parkol for making us such a wonderful boat.
“Now we are back at full strength we are all looking forward to getting James out to sea and I am sure he’s going to fill the boat up, because that’s what he does.”
Our Lass III in cousin’s memory
The name our lass was first given to a lockers trawler vessel in 2000.
Arnold Locker explained the name’s origin: “Our cousin Carol Locker was diagnosed with leukemia. She was very ill and she asked James to name his new boat ‘Our Lass’ for her.
“She came down and christened the boat for us in 2000, and then sadly passed away not long after.”
Carol’s memory lives on, and her mum Nora - Arnold’s aunt - will be at the new vessel’s naming ceremony, which takes place on Saturday July 6 at Parkol Marine at 3.30pm.