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Gunwharf

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  • Birthday 21/09/1983

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  1. Gunwharf

    Predicting Bretagne route

    Thanks Colin, that is really helpful.
  2. Gunwharf

    Normandie 13/5

    Ah sorry I missed this, wonder what the tech issue was?
  3. Gunwharf

    Normandie 13/5

    It looks like Normandie diverted to Cherbourg this morning (13th May) whilst en-route to Caen. As I write this she is now off the IOW on her way back to Portsmouth running nearly 2hrs late. Any ideas?
  4. Gunwharf

    Predicting Bretagne route

    Evening all. I have travelled the day time, North bound, St Malo to Portsmouth route 4 times. All 4 times we have always taken the shorter route that passes East of Jersey, betweeen the island and the Contentin peninsula. Although it is a really interesting route with a lot to see, I would like to actually take the normal Western Route with views of both islands and also Herm and Alderney. So my question is, is there away I can predict when the Bretagne will take the shorter route and thus avoid those dates when booking? I know the departure times vary from time to time but I'm not sure if this is an indication of the days route choice or just reflective of low water at St Malo. If anybody can help it would be appreciated. Thanks, Gunwharf
  5. Gunwharf

    Normandie water cannon salute

    Afternoon watched the afternoon departure of Normandie today (4th June) from Pompey and noticed she got escorted by tug with full water cannon salute. Can anybody confirm the purpose? I suspect it is an anniversary of something (Normandie herself perhaps or the route she serves). Can anybody confirm? thanks in advance
  6. Gunwharf

    St Malo 24hr return

    Just a quick report following a recent 24hr return down to St Malo. We decided to go on Wednesday 29th June and return the next day. These dates enabled us to take advantage of early boarding (as Bretgane had been alongside all day) whilst the next day departure out of St Malo was delayed until 11:40 (low morning tide) giving us an extra hour in the town. Outbound 20:15 – Wed 29/6 Boarded at 6.40 and immediately made my way down to my cabin on Deck 2 which appeared reasonable sized, clean and tidy. After dropping off my overnight bag I decided to head up to the main lounge /bar for a drink. Grabbing a table over looking the stern I was able to get a good view of the Normandie Express arriving from Cherbourg and also the MSN form Caen. Interesting to see the precision required to turn MSM 180 degrees on its axis in a narrow channel. Then decided to get dinner in the Les Albers which I had never tried before and was not disappointed! Had the fish to start with Duck for mains. We departed dead on time at 20:15. Interestingly as we were backing out from the berth, Commodore Clipper emerged from the otherside of MSM also heading out. We slowed, turned which enabled CC to pull ahead. Was quite surprised at the level of vibration there was when we swung around. We then followed CC out of the harbour and through The Solent. Finished dinner as we headed past the forts and tried to access the bow deck to watch our passage past Bembridge. Unfortunately the bow deck was locked up which surprised me as apart from a slight swell the conditions outside didn’t seem too bad. Instead I went to the aft sundeck and watched us head down the east coast of the IOW. I stayed out until it got dark before heading to bed. After a comfortable night asleep I woke about an hour before arrival and headed back to the bow deck to watch our arrival. Luckily it was now open and as I emerged outside , we were just entering the approach channel by the Grand Jardine Lighthouse. A text book approach followed and the commandant swung us around to berth stern first. It was funny to watch the mooring operation as the crew at the bow swung the mooring rope and missed twice. The crew on the bridge were laughing but I did notice that a lot of thrusters were needed to keep the bow pinned to the berth until the lines were secure. Disembarkation was painless and I en joyed a few hours looking around the city. Returning to the terminal 45 mins before departure I was greeted by chaos and a long line of people snaking around the terminal. Luckily most of this related to Condor’s departure which was scheduled at the same time as ours. After speaking to the BF check in I was directed past the Condor masses and went through security and boarded in double quick time. The boat seemed a lot less busy on the return crossing. I had booked a cabin (4 berth outside on deck 8) and again dropped off my stuff. We slipped our moorings dead on time at 11:40 and headed out into the main approach channel. I was watching from the bow and was interested to see that heading towards us in the dead centre of the channel was the old sailing skiff with what looked like a large school party on board. We slowed right down and had to effectively pull right over to the port side of the channel to let it past. He was motoring but seemed content on taking up most of the channel. I noticed that a couple of the bridge crew had wondered over to the wing and seemed to be ‘communicating’ with the skiff when it finally went past. At that point we sped up again and headed out through the grand Jardine. Now just a point to add at this stage. Previous to this trip I had done the Northbound day crossing twice before and both times had sailed on the shorter Eastern route. This time I was really hoping to sail on the western route which would have provided views of both Jersey and Guernsey as well as the Alderney Race. I was convinced that with the low morning tide we would definitely take the westerly route. Alas it simply wasn’t to be as after reaching clear water we headed NE toward the Ilse of Chausey. What followed was an interesting few hours weaving through the shoals between Jersey and the Contentin Peninsula. Condor Rapide passed us soon after but barely seemed to be making ground. Obviously Condor are seriously pulling back on the speed to save cost. Overall Weather was ok. Patches of fog and rain but generally warm albeit overcast. Lunch again was at Les albers where I had the lamb which was very good. Napped for a few hours when we were mid channel and then went back to the bow to watch our run up the east coast of the IOW. As time moved on I was joined by more and more passengers. Overhearing one conversation made me chuckle when one passenger asked her travelling companion whether the imposing and somewhat gloomy coast of the IOW on our portside was still France. “Don’t be silly” her companion replied. “It’s definitely not France, I think its Cornwall”! Brilliant….. We passed Bembridge ledge buoy and turned to run through St Helens before turning into the main Portsmouth Approach channel. I noticed that they were doing some dredging by the OSB and at this point we slowed right down until we were clear. Again a textbook approach right through the harbour and berthed on time at 18:20. All in all a fantastic trip and delighted to be aboard Bretagne once again. She looked clean and tidy although one can’t help but notice her age in places. Not sure what time she has left in the fleet but hopefully a while yet Gunwharf
  7. Just a quick report following a recent 24hr return down to St Malo. We decided to go on Wednesday 29th June and return the next day. These dates enabled us to take advantage of early boarding (as Bretgane had been alongside all day) whilst the next day departure out of St Malo was delayed until 11:40 (low morning tide) giving us an extra hour in the town. Outbound 20:15 – Wed 29/6 Boarded at 6.40 and immediately made my way down to my cabin on Deck 2 which appeared reasonable sized, clean and tidy. After dropping off my overnight bag I decided to head up to the main lounge /bar for a drink. Grabbing a table over looking the stern I was able to get a good view of the Normandie Express arriving from Cherbourg and also the MSN form Caen. Interesting to see the precision required to turn MSM 180 degrees on its axis in a narrow channel. Then decided to get dinner in the Les Albers which I had never tried before and was not disappointed! Had the fish to start with Duck for mains. We departed dead on time at 20:15. Interestingly as we were backing out from the berth, Commodore Clipper emerged from the otherside of MSM also heading out. We slowed, turned which enabled CC to pull ahead. Was quite surprised at the level of vibration there was when we swung around. We then followed CC out of the harbour and through The Solent. Finished dinner as we headed past the forts and tried to access the bow deck to watch our passage past Bembridge. Unfortunately the bow deck was locked up which surprised me as apart from a slight swell the conditions outside didn’t seem too bad. Instead I went to the aft sundeck and watched us head down the east coast of the IOW. I stayed out until it got dark before heading to bed. After a comfortable night asleep I woke about an hour before arrival and headed back to the bow deck to watch our arrival. Luckily it was now open and as I emerged outside , we were just entering the approach channel by the Grand Jardine Lighthouse. A text book approach followed and the commandant swung us around to berth stern first. It was funny to watch the mooring operation as the crew at the bow swung the mooring rope and missed twice. The crew on the bridge were laughing but I did notice that a lot of thrusters were needed to keep the bow pinned to the berth until the lines were secure. Disembarkation was painless and I en joyed a few hours looking around the city. Returning to the terminal 45 mins before departure I was greeted by chaos and a long line of people snaking around the terminal. Luckily most of this related to Condor’s departure which was scheduled at the same time as ours. After speaking to the BF check in I was directed past the Condor masses and went through security and boarded in double quick time. The boat seemed a lot less busy on the return crossing. I had booked a cabin (4 berth outside on deck 8) and again dropped off my stuff. We slipped our moorings dead on time at 11:40 and headed out into the main approach channel. I was watching from the bow and was interested to see that heading towards us in the dead centre of the channel was the old sailing skiff with what looked like a large school party on board. We slowed right down and had to effectively pull right over to the port side of the channel to let it past. He was motoring but seemed content on taking up most of the channel. I noticed that a couple of the bridge crew had wondered over to the wing and seemed to be ‘communicating’ with the skiff when it finally went past. At that point we sped up again and headed out through the grand Jardine. Now just a point to add at this stage. Previous to this trip I had done the Northbound day crossing twice before and both times had sailed on the shorter Eastern route. This time I was really hoping to sail on the western route which would have provided views of both Jersey and Guernsey as well as the Alderney Race. I was convinced that with the low morning tide we would definitely take the westerly route. Alas it simply wasn’t to be as after reaching clear water we headed NE toward the Ilse of Chausey. What followed was an interesting few hours weaving through the shoals between Jersey and the Contentin Peninsula. Condor Rapide passed us soon after but barely seemed to be making ground. Obviously Condor are seriously pulling back on the speed to save cost. Overall Weather was ok. Patches of fog and rain but generally warm albeit overcast. Lunch again was at Les albers where I had the lamb which was very good. Napped for a few hours when we were mid channel and then went back to the bow to watch our run up the east coast of the IOW. As time moved on I was joined by more and more passengers. Overhearing one conversation made me chuckle when one passenger asked her travelling companion whether the imposing and somewhat gloomy coast of the IOW on our portside was still France. “Don’t be silly” her companion replied. “It’s definitely not France, I think its Cornwall”! Brilliant….. We passed Bembridge ledge buoy and turned to run through St Helens before turning into the main Portsmouth Approach channel. I noticed that they were doing some dredging by the OSB and at this point we slowed right down until we were clear. Again a textbook approach right through the harbour and berthed on time at 18:20. All in all a fantastic trip and delighted to be aboard Bretagne once again. She looked clean and tidy although one can’t help but notice her age in places. Not sure what time she has left in the fleet but hopefully a while yet Gunwharf
  8. Gunwharf

    St Malo to Caen

    Hey, When were you recently on Bretagne. I did a 24hr return last Wednesday night / Thursday morning (29th / 30th). I was on the bow as we were rounding the IOW and could have swarn I heard the same Cornwall comment. Wonder if we were on the same crossing
  9. Gunwharf

    St Malo schedulling

    Evening All I remember hearing some time ago that the St Malo schedule used to be the opposite to what it is now. I.e the southbound crossing was during the day with a morning dept from Portsmouth with an overnight Northbound. I understand this was back in the 80s. Is this true? Secondly there has been some discussion recently regarding the St Malo routing specifically to the east of Jersey. Does she ever take the short route east of Jersey during the southbound night crossing? I suspect there is no need given the time tabling and the added risk of taking this route during the dark wouldn't make it worthwhile but happy to hear your thoughts
  10. Gunwharf

    St Malo schedulling

    Evening All I remember hearing some time ago that the St Malo schedule used to be the opposite to what it is now. I.e the southbound crossing was during the day with a morning dept from Portsmouth with an overnight Northbound. I understand this was back in the 80s. Is this true? Secondly there has been some discussion recently regarding the St Malo routing specifically to the east of Jersey. Does she ever take the short route east of Jersey during the southbound night crossing? I suspect there is no need given the time tabling and the added risk of taking this route during the dark wouldn't make it worthwhile but happy to hear your thoughts
  11. Excellent Report Ryan - thanks for sharing. I have done this route a number of times and agree that the quality of the cabins and the ability of the ships to sail comfortably in almost any weather is unparalleled. I did a 24hr return on the Hollandica last November but due to very limited free time I haven't had a chance to post a report yet. I will get around to it soon though. Never tried the main restaurant but might now give it a go. I particularly find interesting the departure from HVH. The vessel has to do a 180 degree turn off the berth in a very narrow channel not much wider than the vessel is long. Not only does the master have to avoid swinging the stern into the quay but by mid turn it looks as if though the bow is nudging the channel markers on the far side. Throw in a moderate South Westerly gale and things really do get interesting! I'm sure there is more space than there looks but it really is fascinating to watch. Having watched the movement of these ships of ship tracker I note that they sometimes take very different courses out of Harwich. Most of the time they go south bound through Sunk and then through the wind farms. However occasionally they turn northbound once they exit the main Harwich approach channel and head up to the N Shipwash Buoy before heading east. Interesting the Brittanica on her morning sailing does this more often than the Hollandica. I assume its to take advantage of a favourable tide at certain times of day but does anybody know for sure.
  12. Spot on adicat. Some worrying trends identified that seem to continue from the earlier clipper fire incident and also the fast craft collision with that fishing boat. One can't help but wonder if they suffer from a ship wide culture problem
  13. Really @official_CondorFerries? So the grounding wasn't caused by a seismic event shifting the seabed like your previous CEO initially speculated?
  14. I would be interested in finding out what people think is the most profitable BF route. I'm not interested in overall sales but bottom line profit. Im also considering a booming economy and not a recession and focusing on the core year round routes not seasonal fast craft crosdings. My thoughts and observations are below: Ports - Caen Clearly high freight volume will push up margins and take away seasonality aspect of trade. 3 x rotations each way gives flexibility however running costs will be higher with Normandie quite expensive to run these days. I would suggest a strong contender for most profitable route and most probably a cash cow. Ports - St Malo Seasonal with good profits made during high season. Holiday trade and nature of crossing times means that onboard sales will be high. However I imagine that low season would see losses made. Obviously BF have mitigated this by reducing weekly frequency during low / mid season and encouraging day trips. Also imagine that Bretagne is now expensive to operate and length of crossing means that fuel costs are higher. Clearly the route is profitable but I imagine only for part of the year. Plymouth - roscoff Year round stalwart of the company. Good mix of freight and tourist traffic probably mean that income is steady but not spectacular. Low operating costs through relaxed timetable and newish ship probably help maintain decent Net margins all year round? I would suggest this is the consistent route in terms of profitability. Spain routes Premium product enabling higher margins and onboard spend will be higher. Relatively new ships lowering operating costs however this would be offset by fuel consumption per crossing. Also opportunity cost present of not having vessels on shorter runs thus maximising profit on other schedules. Freight margins will be steady but not sure about booze cruise market as will nearly be all footies with onboard spend usually being fairly minimal (with the exception of alcohol). Routes will be a cash cow all year round as timetable will adapt to meet demand. Poole - Cherbourg Used to be profitable before recession. Short crossing time lowers operating costs but also on board spend. Would say popular with freight but Cherbourg not easy to get to/from so may miss out on opportunity to Caen. Good day trip market which would increase on board spend but this would likely be offset by the same people being foot passengers and not having vehicles. Clearly the above are my own opinions and probably not accurate. Would be happy to hear anybody else's thoughts.
  15. Portsmouth – St Malo return trip report. A quick voyage report following an amazing holiday in Northern Brittany. Ferry and accommodation booked through Brittany Ferries at a reasonable price. We were staying in a gite just south of Dinan and had excellent weather spending most days at the beach. The holiday also presented the opportunity to travel on the Bretagne, something I was keen to do before her retirement. Outbound – Sat 30th May The wife, our 6 month old daughter and I drove down to Portsmouth and arrived at Southsea seafront at c 17:30 and immediately saw the Bretagne inbound in the bar channel. Watched her sail past before getting something to drink on the sea front. We then proceeded back to the terminal to check in. Whole process was painless and boarded around 19.30. Unfortunately we were waived up to the infamous deck 5 (something I was keen to avoid) and were greeted by total carnage. People were so tightly packed that getting out of cars was a nightmare. The women in the car in front seemed to be stuck as her doors wouldn’t open enough and she was yelling at one of the loading officers. Eventually somebody calmed her down. Mindful of trying to get a buggy out of the back I asked the loading officer to ensure a big enough gap behind our vehicle which he duly did (almost 2 car lengths) I think he was taking the micky!. Interesting the other side of deck 5 was nearly empty so not sure why we were so tightly packed our side? We grabbed our overnight bags and found our cabin (inside 2 berth with cot) on the front portion of deck 8. Perfectly reasonable for the trip and looked clean and tidy. As it was my wife’s first trip on BF I took her down to the bow for departure which was on time at 20:15. Reversed off the berth and then made our way through the harbour. We then went to the self service for dinner. I had the rack of lamb which was delicious and my wife had the chicken which was also good. No complaints. Boat seemed empty. Whilst eating we saw the inbound Normandie followed by the BDS which looked massive. Think Jim may have been on board? After dinner it was back to the cabin to try and get the little one asleep. Woke up to the usual wake up music but as we were sorting out the baby didn’t see the arrival and went down to the car deck when called. Again carnage ensured with many people unable to actually get into their vehicles until the cars ahead started moving. Strange to see so many people standing next to their cars for 20 mins or so. Straight off and through customs within 10 mins of leaving the boat. Return – Sun 7th June. Arrived at St Malo as late as possible (09:45) but still waived through onto deck 5 although this time BF had sorted their act out and seemed to stagger the loading so every car had sufficient space. Grabbed our stuff and made our way upstairs. Had booked a cabin as it made life easier with the little one. Interestingly we had the exact same cabin as the way out. Had to wait for nearly 20 mins for the cabin to be cleaned (is this normal?). Once we dumped on our stuff went back to the bow to watch our departure. It was high water so we exited the main channel early and sailed past the walled city before heading off in a north easterly direction. I’ve only been on the day northbound crossing twice and both times we took the short route to the east of the Channel Islands. Interesting route passing past the Isle of Chausey and then hugging the Cotentin Peninsular all the way up with Jersey on our port side. They had the hammer down for the first part of the trip. Ship Tracker recorded us at over 21 knots all the way up the pensinular, probably trying to get through the Alderney Race before the tide turned. Once in the channel we slowed down to a more leisurely 15 knots all the way up to the Isle of Wight. It was a glorious day and spent most of the time relaxing on deck or in the main bar. All too soon the cost of the Isle of Wight appeared and we made our war past Dunnose point across Sandown bay and then off bembridge before the long swing to port to take us down St Helens Roads. Quite a few boats in the anchorage so we weaved through them. Quite an interesting manoeuver was then undertaken as a cargo ship and HMS Tyne were inbound in the main Nab channel. We joined the main channel at the Warner Buoy and slotted in behind the cargo ship but just infront of the warship doing the nautical equivalent of overtaking and then cutting in. There didn’t look to be a lot of space but I’m sure the drivers knew what they were doing! Perhaps we were a little embarrassed as we then sped up leaving the warship in our wake and entered the bar channel at 18 knots according to ship tracker. Through the harbour and on the berth at 18:10. Luckily we were parked near the ramp so off very quickly and through the practically non-existent immigration in under 5 minutes. All in all a very enjoyable holiday and great to be on Bretagne once again. She looked to be in good overall condition considering her age although I did notice a few bits and pieces that needed attention most around the window frames etc. Not sure what the long term plans are but I hope I get to sail in her again before she retires.
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