Following the trials, Dominique Thomas, skipper of the 25m Roscoff based trawler Ecume des Jours, said the new ‘Exocet’ doors were incredibly stable and delivered optimum efficiency.
Dominique Thomas said: "Despite the finesse of the sheet metal at the top, the overall condition of the doors after six months of use is much better than the previous generation doors. This is primarily due to the stability of the doors which is truly exceptional - they do not fall outward thanks to the weight concentrated at the bottom.
“With three backstrops we are able to work the doors at an angle of attack of less than 30°. I'm really pleased with the performance of this new product.”
Michel Dagorn, director of Morgère, said: “We wanted to develop a trawl door that reduces fuel consumption and is more stable and easy to shoot. We believe we have achieved this with the new Exocet and we are delighted with the results.”
The key design features of Exocet include a number of innovative modifications that has resulted in nearly 60 per cent of the weight of the doors focused at the base, with the top half of the doors much lighter.
The incredibly strong materials used in the manufacture means that the doors are very durable and last much longer than standard steel doors, bringing further cost benefits.
During the fishing trials by Ecume des Jours, the Exocet doors used were the same weight and size as the standard steel doors used by the vessel. However, with the same angle of attack, the Exocet achieved 10 per cent more spread of the trawl opening. In order to keep the same spread as previously experienced by Ecume des Jours, the angle of attack of the doors needed to be reduced considerably to around 25°, significantly reducing the drag forces experienced by the vessel.
Michel Dagorn says: “Such a low angle of attack obviously produces real fuel saving benefits, yet the performance of the doors is even better than that of the standard equipment normally used by skipper Thomas. He was also impressed at how stable the doors were and that they were easy to shoot. In fact, he was so pleased with the Exocet doors he didn’t want to give them back to us! Another fisherman in Roscoff who saw the doors during the trial has also just purchased a set.”
The Exocet door is versatile and can be used in a variety of different trawl configurations. Although Ecume des Jours fishes mainly for groundfish, an experimental rig for pelagic fishing was also tested, using simultaneously the pair of Exocet doors plus two aluminium doors. This configuration also fished well.