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Posts posted by Hermit

  1. Thanks for the splendid pictures of Arundel - though they do prompt the sad thought that this year there’ll be no Sussex cricket match at the ground in the castle park, the most beautiful venue for first-class cricket in the country.

    I too am lucky enough to live in a beautiful area, and being unable to leave the IoW for over 3 months has been no real hardship. I’m very happy to keep clear of thoughtless youths - and not just them, as there also seem to be quite a few of older generations who are behaving as though the whole virus threat is a hoax.

    But I have a constant reminder from my window of the economic havoc that is being caused - most of the Marella cruise ships, occasional Cunard and P&O visitors, and other smaller cruise ships, all anchored uselessly in Sandown Bay. And if you are among the people whose livelihoods and finances have been wrecked by the lockdown, I am sure it’s hard to be as relaxed as I can afford to be about the situation.

    • Like 1

  2. Thanks - a great quiz (but I would say that, having surprised myself by getting 44).

    The Fish Called Wanda connection is that John Cleese’s character is called Archie Leach. In case anyone hasn’t heard the old story : some newspaper fact-checker sent a telegram to Cary Grant’s agent, asking ‘How old Cary Grant?’. Cary happened to be in the office and opened the telegram, and replied ‘Old Cary Grant OK. How you?’.

  3. There are comments on the Marella ships in Sandown Bay under ‘Cruise ships start to be culled’ thread under News.

    It is indeed a completely unprecedented sight - and sound, as on the recent dead calm days it’s been possible to hear their emergency drills, even though they’re 2-3 miles offshore.

    They also periodically go for a spin south of the island. Others will know better than me what for - emptying ballast?

    The coastguard helicopter carried out a medevac from Discovery 2 on Thursday. Apparently a crew member fell in from a support boat alongside and gouged his leg on a propellor (presumably the support boat’s, not Discovery’s). Was taken off to hospital in Southampton.

  4. 7 hours ago, Paully said:

    Marella have announced the immediate withdrawal from service of their Marella Celebration. She started out life, interestly, in the Chantiers de Atlantique yard at St Nazaire as the Noordam for Holland America line. She entered service in 1984 so some time before the Bretagne, but although old was popular to the end..They certainly built them well at that yard. 

      Sadly I think many others will follow her to the beach.

    She is currently to be seen at anchor out in Sandown Bay. In my view she’s a very attractive design, a modest size vessel on the lines of the Fred Olsen ships, and in my view much to be preferred to the floating office blocks that the industry has moved on to.

    Having said that, for the last week there have also been three other, more modern, Marella vessels also at anchor in the bay - Explorer, Explorer 2, and Discovery 2 - and they are not bad lookers either. But from my vantage point above the bay I have never in 26 years seen one cruise ship at anchor there more than briefly, let alone four at once. The costs and loss of income must be enormous, and given the bad publicity about people being trapped on board with the virus, not to mention the financial hit many are now taking, the future does not look bright for cruise operators. I agree that, sadly, others will follow Marella Celebration to the scrapyard.

  5. A great picture of MV Hamnavoe, seen at Stromness, from where it does the short crossing to Scrabster (so will not benefit from the promised improvements at Kirkwall). I did the trip last year, and it’s a very comfortable and attractive ship. It was however very lightly loaded, and I did wonder whether they were losing out to the competition from Pentland Ferries, whose route to Orkney is shorter, cheaper and more frequent. 

    We had booked a repeat trip for this April, including the overnight cabin and breakfast offer for the morning sailing from Stromness. When it became clear that the holiday would not happen, I received a quick and full refund from Northlink, despite the terms and conditions allowing them to keep part of the payment if they’d insisted. An object lesson to some other ferry companies one can think of.

    Overall, my experience of Serco on this route was very positive : surprising, since their reputation in other areas, including as mentioned the upgraded Caledonian sleeper is terrible.

  6. 3 hours ago, bekkia said:

    I saw this bloke in BBC South Today. He was a firefighter in Basingstoke who lived on the IoW.


    I couldn't help but wonder why he wasn't a firefighter on the IoW, or Southampton or Portsmouth? Even on a good day he's got one hell of a commute which is obviously less manageable at the moment.


    It just didn't seem to make sense to me!

    He may not be commuting every day - as far as I know, firefighters have a shift pattern that gives them concentrated periods on duty, followed by several days off.

  7. Hovercraft + Hoverbus to station won’t take much longer than the cat. And It appears that Hovertravel were chosen because they carry the mail and pharmaceuticals. I wonder anyway how many of the normal train commuters are key workers still allowed to travel?

  8. Red Eagle did the same yesterday afternoon in a strong westerly - she turned round after departing from Southampton and proceeded ‘backwards’ down Southampton Water before turning again off the Parade in Cowes. The sea was quite bumpy in the Solent but I’ve known worse. One consequence was that the North Lounge, where pets are supposed to go, was at the south end of the ship.

    Was this simply a means of lessening the movement of the ship or does it relate to Red Eagle’s troubles following the dropped anchor incident?

  9. Indeed, well done them. Whatever their other faults, the Wight Ryders are well-designed for their route and have only rarely been cancelled for bad weather.

    The fact that they’ve been able to continue while the car ferries haven’t suggests that on this occasion the determining factor has been wind speed rather than sea state.

  10. So the oldest ferry is the only one that can cope with these (admittedly exceptional) conditions. Makes you wonder what will happen when she finally retires.

  11. 4 hours ago, rileyman said:

    If I wished to have short break on the Island which Ferry company should I use or should I not bother ? We would travel from the Midlands.

    Definitely an attractive place for a short break - lots of stunning scenery, a great network of footpaths, some big attractions (Osborne House, Carisbrooke Castle, IW Steam Railway), and some good places to eat. (Full disclosure - I live here!).

    But the cost of bringing a car over is a big issue. It can help if you book early or can find special offers. As to which route, you will see from this thread that Wightlink are particularly unreliable at the moment. 

  12. Roundabouts are certainly an improvement on ‘priorité à droite’ junctions, but you need to be aware of the French habit of driving right round the outside of roundabouts, even if going to, say, the third exit, rather than taking a more direct line, as a British driver would. I have often nearly pulled out in front of a vehicle which I thought was turning off into the exit I was waiting to emerge from but which was carrying on round. I’ve often thought they could save on surfacing the middle parts of French roundabouts, since they are never used.

    • Haha 1

  13. Red Funnel have announced that their summer timetables for both car ferry and Redjet services will be introduced a week late because the refit programme is taking longer than expected. Problematic refits all round this winter!

  14. To be fair, I think most regular travellers would not have any complaint about cancellations due to fog, or indeed any other extreme weather. These are facts of life and clearly the master’s judgement on safety has to be respected.

    But it’s the cancellations due to mechanical breakdown, to equipment not up to the job, or (least forgiveably) unavailability of staff that rankle. All these can fairly be laid at the door of the management.

    • Like 1

  15. I entirely agree. In theory the Fishbourne route has got a lot going for it in comparison with Red Funnel - shorter crossing, enough seating, easier escape from the mainland port, A3 better as a route to London (at least for me) - but this all goes for nothing if you cannot count on the service. The risk of spending 2 hours+ waiting after a cancellation is too great.

    The cancellation of the midnight ferry last Friday night was particularly shocking. This was eventually rescinded when a suitable member of staff was found, but by then some people must have felt compelled to completely rejig their weekend plans or buy a ticket from Red Funnel. And there have been occasions in the past when it has been cancelled at short notice without reinstatement, leaving passengers stranded on the mainland, without even the option of the ‘restricted passenger numbers’ ferry at 3am. You might expect there to be an obligation to provide hotel accommodation in such circumstances, but there isn’t.

  16. Apparently both - the Wightlink email says it’s due to ‘adverse weather and reduced power on Wight Light’.

    It’s alarming that even a moderate wind such as we have today is enough to knock out Wight Light. The resulting 2 hour interval service all day will have led to a lot of unhappy customers - really not acceptable.

  17. St Clare passing St Helens on her way to Dunkirk. St Faith still in Southampton. This leaves VoW and Wight Light to maintain the temporary (reduced) timetable by themselves. Has there ever been a time when Wightlink have offered less capacity between Portsmouth and Fishbourne, and what does that say about their market share compared with Red Funnel?

    The number of sailings on the cat must also be at a historically low level too, now that Wightlink do not charter a relief vessel for the refit period. This can cause difficulty in the rush hours, as happened in the storm a week ago when there was an influx of extra passengers following the cancellation of the hovercraft.

  18. They’re certainly not doing well at the moment. But, as a multi link ticket holder, I’ve just received a Christmas card from Keith Greenfield with some vouchers for free hot drinks. So that’s alright then.

    • Sad 1

  19. 1 hour ago, PSUPete said:

    I was on one a few years ago in a high wind and sea state.  We went accross from East Cowes almost to the Beaulieu River estuary, then we went "astern" along the coast to Calshot, before going forwards again up Southampton Water.  I was was told this was to prevent the ship being broadside to the waves as it made the turns which would cause a lot of rolling motion.  By reversing it always stayed head into the sea and remained more comfortable.

    I recall experiencing something similar with one of the Saints years ago on a very rough crossing to Fishbourne.

    • Thanks 1

  20. 17 hours ago, adicat said:

    Yes 99.8% of services ran with 97% on time for last month. Very much improved indeed. 😁

    I agree it is true that reliability has improved greatly (notwithstanding today’s breakdown).

    But I would treat the published reliability figures with suspicion. For instance, the prolonged absence in August of one of the two cats was hardly reflected in the figures - in such situations Wightlink presumably simply declare a new timetable rather than admit that there have been cancellations.

    As anyone who has been involved in setting or monitoring performance measures will know, temptations to skew results in one’s favour are hard to resist.

  21. An update on the barriers - one gate has now been designated the Wightlink gate, with bright blue decals on it. This does at least make it easier for first-time visitors to know where to go, ie through the barrier as opposed to looking for an unobstructed route elsewhere. But the gate still has to be opened by the attendant. Last night I was looked at a bit suspiciously when I asked to be let through a full hour before the next (last) ferry, but none of the alternative attractions on the Hard appealed on a bitterly cold evening!

  22. On 25/10/2019 at 22:27, cvabishop said:

    There are now increasing small cruise ship visits to Portsmouth - and why not!

    Indeed - I embarked there for a 3-night cruise to Harwich via Jersey ( I had never been there, and it was not much more expensive than Condor) and Honfleur. This was on Voyager, run by a company called Voyages of Discovery, with whom I had been on a number of longer trips to further-flung places. An elderly ship of great charm, carrying about 600 passengers as I recall, so very different from the Southampton monsters, Unfortunately, the company has since collapsed.

    The arrangements at the PIP worked well, but I don’t recall there being a cafe open. Having since used the terminal as a footie, I have to say it’s a pretty miserable place to wait until BF eventually deign to call you to board.

  23. Rouen is a very attractive city to visit, plenty of good restaurants available after you have done your cultural duty by going round the wonderful cathedral.

    For BF enthusiasts, easily accessible by train from Le Havre, where the station is walkable from the BF terminal if you miss the shuttle bus.

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