Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Newlyn loses a little bit of Magic

Picture above after earning the coveted MSC Hake Certification for which he and a dozen other Cornish skippers fought so hard to obtain.

Well respected  Newlyn skipper, Michael 'Magic' O' Connell sadly passed away last night after losing his personal battle with cancer that cut short both his fishing career and life.

Cornish and Irish flags flying over the harbour.

Originally from Cork, Michael fished for many years from Dunmore East, a port with strong links to Newlyn, where he skippered his own inshore netters. Eventually, like several other Irish fishermen he was drawn to Newlyn. In his early days in the port while he studied for his skipper's ticket he crewed aboard the CKS skippered at that time by Sid Porter.  

Once qualified, he subsequently took command of one of Cornwall's most legendary boats, the Britannia V - a boat that had proved its fishing and sea-keeping prowess for many years after being built for and skippered by Mevagissey skipper, Freddie Turner. Over the next nine or so years the boat continued to make consistently high returns from both gill, wreck and trammel nets fishing all round the south western approaches - the large size of many hake catches often belying her apparent small size.

(Music courtesy of the Irish busker who played in Penzance, summer 2015)

Considered a gentleman in every way by crew and all those with whom he came into contact with during his all too short fishing time in Newlyn, his easy going quiet presence will be missed by all within the harbour.