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About kenw

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    BFE Member
  • Birthday 15/05/50
  1. Webcam - Portsmouth Harbour Entrance

    Thanks - courtesy flag. Effectively the reverse of flying the local / national flag when you "go foreign". The exception, I'm told is when going in to Barcelona. Not Port Vell, the Olimpico, where flying the Spanish, rather than Catalan flag acts as a signal flag meaning:
  2. Webcam - Portsmouth Harbour Entrance

    Anyone know why the Semaphore Tower is flying the Stars & Stripes?
  3. Bretagne Bow Door Fault

    For older brethren here, any mention of bow door problems will forever trigger a flashback to Zeebrugge and the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster – 30 years ago in March. The loss of 183 lives is seared on the consciousness of mariners – and everyone connected with the roro ferry world, even tangentially. As Gareth points out, the entire process – test, diagnosis, inspection, plan and permission – is complex, and would involve not only BF but the port operators and, you can be sure, QHM / Harbour Control who have over-arching responsibility for safety within the Harbour. It may even have required an independent engineer to inspect the door mechanism. Even though the vessel's safety management system will undoubtedly cover bow (or stern) door faults, it is definitely not a case of consulting a checklist, ticking the boxes and then making a move.
  4. Camera repair needed

    Dear all Thanks I've since found that the Canon authorised repair centre near Le Havre will do the job for less than EUR200 – and they arrange collection. So the man from UPS came last night to collect it and we await intelligence. Paul WH – yes I did look at several used 7Ds on eBay and one of my pro colleagues checked out a couple offered by reputable London stores. Conclusion: for a low shutter count, good condition 7D Mk!, with a "real" warranty (ie a like for like replacement for my current camera) I can expect to pay GBP350 or more. In the new year my colleague will be retiring his 7D (currently an extra for emergencies and "web snaps" living in the back of his bag behind a 1DXs and a 5D) which I will inherit. At that point my gear collection will be complete unless a job comes along that justifies going back to eBay to look for a 24mm tilt/shift lens. Do you or anyone know anything about Samyang lenses? I've seen mixed reviews. Thanks again Ken
  5. Dear all Does anyone know a good camera repair specialist in the Portsmouth / So'ton area? (If I come over in the next couple of weeks I could drop it in and hopefully get an estimate on the spot.) My Canon EOS 7d has a problem with the card slot - I suspect that one of the pins is bent. I'm being quoted €160-200 here in France, so anything about that or less would be welcome! TIA Ken
  6. Sorry, finger trouble there - meant to add: As Cabin-boy reports, we don't yet have the official response from the unions, but workers seem resigned to whatever happens over the next few years, according to the latest report in Ouest-France. Here's an extract (to save time I've used Google Translate, which looks more than good enough for our purpose). The full story is here https://www.ouest-france.fr/pays-de-la-loire/nantes-44000/stx-les-salaries-entre-inquietude-et-resignation-5277455
  7. Here's the Reuters report, which gives a bit more of the political-economic context. We're told more details will be given to the yard next week. LYON, France (Reuters) - Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri (FCT.MI) will take effective control of STX France under a shared ownership agreement, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday, ending a dispute that had soured bilateral ties. France angered Italy in July by ordering a “temporary” nationalization of STX, cancelling a deal in which Fincantieri and another Italian investor had agreed to buy 55 percent of the firm, based in Saint-Nazaire in western France. On the back of Wednesday’s deal, which will see Fincantieri effectively holding a 51 percent stake in STX France, Paris and Rome will explore the creation of a Franco-Italian naval defense group, merging French military shipyards company Naval Group with Fincantieri, Macron’s office said. The two countries hope outlines of that deal can be struck by June 2018, creating a pan-European naval defense champion akin to the combined rail engineering group created on Tuesday via the near 50/50 tie-up between France’s Alstom (ALSO.PA) and Germany’s Siemens Mobility (SIEGn.DE). France sees the creation of European champions as crucial to warding off the threat posed by industrial powers in China and the United States. The STX deal comes a day after Macron offered an ambitious vision for European renewal, calling on the continent to forge deeper cooperation. While Macron, who took office barely five months ago, initially appeared determined to protect French strategic assets at all costs, the deals between Alstom and Siemens and now Fincantieri and STX suggest he is willing to see French control diluted if it opens the way for a bigger European champion. Under the terms of Wednesday’s agreement, Fincantieri will take a 50 percent stake in STX. The French state will hold 34.34 percent, Naval Group 10 percent, STX staff 2 percent and STX local suppliers 3.66 percent.
  8. HONFLEUR - Arriving June 2019

    An old colleague of mine tells me that blocks at one of the German yards [I think he's talking about Meyer] have the cabin "shells" pre-installed – including the bathroom modules. But compared with blocks for the engineering / technical spaces there is not much weight in them. Incidentally the other area where automation is making great strides is in fit-out. The days when craftsmen would labour over every piece of onboard furniture are now behind us. Today's craftsmen are sitting at CAD workstations. The drawings and then models for client presentation and sign-off are created directly from their data – and once approved, it goes to the production plant to do the work. First milling, planing, drilling and carving of wood, metal, laminate and composite materials and then in the case of items in quantity, various automated assembly methods. So several hundred dining chairs were almost literally untouched by human hand until the finishing stage.
  9. HONFLEUR - Arriving June 2019

    The move to automated welding of hull and superstructure plates (from hand work) got under way in the 70s. In my years as PR man for a company which made welding equipment I did several shipyard visits and case studies on automated systems. These were not robots, in the sense of being pre-programmed, but they could climb the side of a hull welding the plates at a much faster rate than manual operators. And the quality was comparable with or better than the coded welders in the yards. The move towards larger sections which could be welded from an overhead gantry while lying horizontally was another big productivity improvement. And of course that's in the shed rather than on the slip or in the dock. Incidentally I was interested to see a report the other day that building on the declivity is now largely a thing of the past. Although of course some yards had undercover slips – eg Vosper Thorneycroft at Woolston. [Aside - can Jonno or one of the other experts remind me, was the hull work down hand? I used to be intimately familiar with all of the different techniques and materials, but time and age have washed much of it away]
  10. Ferry companies and airlines

    Direct Lift Control - that was the term – and the system – my poor old brain was looking for. An ex-Haeco guy gave me a detailed briefing on how it worked, complete with whiteboard drawings. And then next week one came in to Cambridge so was able to see it in action. Am I right in thinking that current Airbus models use similar concept – but of course with more advanced digital control?
  11. Ferry companies and airlines

    The TriStar. Lockheed L1011. Greatest and most comfortable airliner ever – and I've flown in just about everything from a Dragon Rapide to a super-jumbo, including a Hercules and a hot-air balloon. Happily have now abandoned flying in favour of marine transport – which also means I can avoid airports! One of the reasons the TriStar was much-loved by pax and crew alike was its advanced technology – particularly in structure and flight control systems, which which made for smoother flights and landings. These included auto spoilers that made it much easier to keep on the glideslope with small, gentle movements rather than the more obvious alterations used in conventional landing approach. More than a few of these concepts, suitably updated and enhanced, are now of course standard in aircraft such as the Airbus series. Of course its introduction was much delayed when Rolls-Royce went bust – delaying production of the RB-211 engines for more than a year. With their triple-spool design, these were the only power units that would fit the streamlined fuselage nacelle and ducting (see the pic) so aircraft deliveries were seriously delayed. That meant potential airline customers looking to the competition (mainly Boeing). Lockheed needed to sell 500 to cover their costs, but only achieved about half that before abandoning commercial aviation entirely. Then BA decided to use a cheap money deal to buy new Boeings rather than more expensive, conventional finance to give buy more TriStars and give the existing fleet a new lease of life. Haeco in Hong Kong (part of Swire Group and a sister company to Cathay Pacific) had developed a TriStar enhancement programme which would have supplemented the D-check (itself a major dismantling and rebuilding operation that takes several weeks). Haeco subsequently became the centre of excellence for Boeing 747 maintenance and life extension work. But Haeco's engineering expertise repatriated to the UK – to Marshalls of Cambridge, which converted and maintained the ex-BA aeroplanes for the RAF and undertook conversion and maintenance work for several other L1011 operators. But we digress. Let's hope for fine weather in the morning – and hopefully some live TV coverage!
  12. Roscoff to Spain?

    After some more investigations we think we will "decouple" the Spanish cruise trip and an exploration of SW France by rail and coach. Just too complex. The Cruise & Stay breaks offered by BF on the UK website look to be good value for this year. Does anyone know when 2018 prices for C&S will be posted? Or, for budget purposes, shall I just, say, add 5–10% to the 2017 tariffs? if the French are likely to offer anything similar? if not, will the UK offer me a discounted Caen-Portsmouth crossing? Or would that be stealing business from the French? (If I book a round trip ferry-only Caen–Santander via Portsmouth the French will not charge anything for the first and legs to and from France) ... anything else we need to know? TIA
  13. Mileage

    I think Gareth is quite correct. If the currents are favourable, then the OOW and / or navigator will certainly make minor adjustments to course and power to take advantage. However, for a liner, unlike a pleasure boat, maintaining the timetable is the priority: crew hours are subject to agreement and regulation port staff have similar constraints – particularly in France – and shipping companies, port operators and agents do not want to pay people to sit in sheds drinking coffee police, customs and other "security" people are called in to meet schedules on a ro-ro or ro-pax, drivers' hours are also regulated – and of course they may have scheduled stopovers, en-route drops or destinations ... and that's even before we think about the retail customers who may also have schedules to keep – check-in times, key handovers or valuable business appointments If my TV crew colleagues are told: "Sorry, for the late arrival monsieur, but we had to save money on our fuel bill" I can barely imagine the director's reaction. Suffice to say that the next time we saw him would probably be at the Palais de Justice. Does that make sense?
  14. STX shipyard nationalised

    France and Italy have set a September deadline to resolve the ownership issue, according to Agence France Presse (my summary / translation, for which apologies): The two governments agreed on Tuesday to iron out their differences following nationalization of the shipyard STX France – even though a majority stake for Fincantieri had already been agreed. A deadline for an agreement has been set: September 27, 2017. "The Italian and French Governments express their common desire to overcome their differences concerning the balance of the capital structure of STX," says the text of a A joint declaration made public after a meeting in Rome between Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire. But Italian Industry Minister Carlo Calenda, who was also involved in the meeting, said: "For now, the positions are still very far apart".
  15. Roscoff to Spain?

    Thanks for all the input so far, folks. I hadn't thought of Cork, because the object of the exercise was to get a longer sail than we do between Caen and Portsmouth – and, crucially, then spend some time exploring SW and Western France by train or coach on the way home. But it will be interesting to see if / how customer services price Caen-Spain via Plymouth. I will onpass Ken