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About Pigeonrat

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  • Birthday 02/08/1983

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  1. I actually quite like that! Continues the tradition of the model of Cenred too. I don't find the VoW especially offensive aesthetically, I think she looks better than the jumboised Raptors and certainly better than the Clare or the W-Class (which can't even manage a funnel...) As I feared though, it seems the service may be being reduced further because of the VoW. The other week the 9pm sailing was packed, as well it might be given that there wasn't another until midnight. Three hours between sailings of an evening, really?? Thank God I didn't get stuck in traffic!
  2. Well, there's progress! Unless it had an outboard motor hanging off the back...
  3. Yes, that was back in the 1990s when you could turn up and just do it over the counter as you say, you certainly couldn't get away with it nowadays! I think they were well aware of what was happening, I didn't do it as often as some others I knew as I preferred to book a specific time in advance - but on one occasion I took a late evening sailing from Lymington and for whatever reason the period return was far more expensive than usual. No reason for this was given so I seem to recall buying the day return for 10.30pm or something outbound and back on the 11.30, so officially half an hour on the island! The booking clerk was surely well aware of the situation as she found it most amusing, but to her credit she said she hoped I enjoyed my short break on the IOW!
  4. Yes, Lymington definitely used to be half an hour on the C-class, I think they were somewhat easier and more manoeuvrable on the river! I vaguely remember the vouchers, but the other good one was to buy a day return special for twenty quid or whatever, and "forget" to make the return journey! Then do the same on the way back a few weeks later...it was cheaper than a period return I think...
  5. Fair enough - I cheerfully stand corrected, I've only used the Wight Riders about half a dozen times so perhaps that's my mistake. I was just sure that they took comfortably over 20mins to do the crossing whereas the Tasmanian cats and the waterjets managed to get the crossing under 20mins, perhaps I am mis-remembering. Or perhaps they felt like they had greater acceleration than the current ones so felt faster! I do agree they are the smoothest-riding of the cats and the upper deck is nice, certainly.
  6. I can't say I disagree. I was a regular on the western route in the days of the C-class but after about a year of the W-Class being in service I switched to Portsmouth-Fishbourne and have rarely gone back. Even before the latest issues the Lymington service was becoming quite poor, with a limited timetable and slow unreliable ferries with "basic" accomodation, to be polite. The most frustrating thing about the W-Class (seemingly shared by several islanders I talk to) is they seem to have pleased nobody...the customer is disappointed in their reliability, speed and accomodation, the harbour users of Lymington (and possibly Yarmouth, I don't know anyone living there) are irritated by their dominating size, and Wightlink must be frustrated at their unreliability, poor weather performance and design issues. If Wight Light is out of use long-term at a mere ten years old, that really doesn't bode well. Perhaps it is even being cannibalised for parts for all we know. New tonnage seems highly unlikely given the current ships are not old, especially given the problematic introduction last time round. I don't know what to make of Wightlink at the moment. The VoW is an excellent ship which I enjoy travelling on, and to be fair the Fishbourne route isn't bad all told. But the new cat service is much slower than it was (or should be) and the Western route seems to be imploding. It just strikes me that there were some very poor decisions taken in the late 2000s sadly.
  7. Quite, I was due to return to the mainland on the 17.30 today. Fair play to Wightlink, they sent me a text about midday apologising for the delay and rebooking me on the 19.00, even reminding me I may be entitled to compensation (not that I'd bother TBH). As it happens there was no point getting home that late so I just amended it to tomorrow early evening, no charge and I get another day on the Island. Was not at all surprised to see it was the Clare that broke down, it usually is. They should scrap the bloody thing (mind you, I've been saying that since 2001 LOL) and build another VoW. Perhaps they could speak to Delcomar and charter one of those nice Saint ships to cover them in the meantime
  8. Depends really. I'm on the Essex/London borders with a static caravan at Whitecliff Bay, so it's about the same to take the anticlockwise M25 to the M3 as it is the clockwise M25 to the A3. But the A3 is the better road in my view, the M275 quicker than the M27/M271, and Fishbourne more convenient for me than East Cowes. Plus my park offers reduced ferry rates for holiday home owners, but only via Wightlink. I have to say that Red Funnel have their own issues too. Whilst P-F is not as quick as it used to be (and nor are Wightlink's other two routes either), that run down Southampton Water is a real drag, and the journey is 15-20mins longer than P-F and feels every bit of it. Seating used to be at a premium on Red Funnel and I presume it still is, given they have that Premium Lounge programme. I suppose if you were a rare visitor and it was still a novelty it wouldn't matter, but I just want to get across the Solent as quick as possible these days - I like a cruise on a sunny day, but on the usual Friday night the crossing is for the most part just another annoyance like the western quadrant of the M25 or the roundabout halfway down the A3. This is why my biggest irritation with Wightlink is the slower speed they seem to run at now, coupled with the less frequent sailings. Hell, I'd be up for taking the car from Southsea to Ryde on the Princess Anne if they were to offer it frankly!
  9. As stated above, I like the VoW and I congratulate Wightlink on getting the formula (mostly) right this time. But I do think they might have over-egged the pudding somewhat. It's all well and good building such a large and capacious ship, and presumably another will follow to replace Faith, but if the terminals cannot handle it, does it really help? Portsmouth has been double-decked, but the slow road access and tight entrance remains the same. Fishbourne is worse in this respect, and cannot be double-decked without the neighbours (rightly, to be fair) complaining. In the past, the company has purchased the adjoining properties to enlarge the terminal, but values are higher now, and in any case, Fishbourne Lane is now in itself a bit of a bottleneck. Personally I feel they should have never acquired the Clare - this was when the service started losing efficiency as there was never enough room for five ships on that crossing, especially when one is a unique design which is slow to load and too underpowered to make up that time. Perhaps a better idea would have been to forget the Clare and run the four original Saints until they could no longer cope, probably about 2010-ish by my guess, and bank the money to build four replacements for the Saints which were somewhere between them and the Clare in size. More efficient for the passenger in my view, but doubtless not as good a proposition for the accountants sadly. The trouble is, it's very easy to blame the bean counters. But if it were my business? Can any of us, hand on heart, say that if it were our personal businesses we wouldn't try to maximise profitability? I'd love to say I'd be philanthropic and run a more useful but less profitable service, but it is easy to say so when it's not my money on the line, and not my shareholders complaining bitterly...
  10. The sheer size of her does mean it takes a long time to load and unload I find. There is also the problem highlighted earlier in that the traffic queues at the Portsmouth terminal exit if they are unloading both decks, and also at Fishbourne where the traffic from each deck crosses over shortly after leaving the ship, followed by the slow joining of Fishbourne Lane, itself hardly a major road. Each deck having a direct connection to a) an extended M275 and b) a Newport DC-style road at Fishbourne would solve it, heh heh!
  11. Probably wise. I always found the original Saints quite stable in bad weather compared to some, but they were never designed for the open seas! I know one of them had to seek emergency shelter at Dover once when coming back from refit, possibly during the 1987 hurricane, I forget now...
  12. Tomorrow then. Under her own power or being towed all the way to the Med I wonder?
  13. Crossed on the VoW last night at 11pm, ran on time with no queues, suppose they had caught up by that point. St Clare sitting at the layby berth in disgrace with all her lights switched off, Faith out at the pontoon but still powered up, no sign of one of the W-Class so not sure if one of those is in use yet. As said, mechanical issues - often a feature of St Clare in particular over the years in my experience - are going to cause Wightlink a lot more issues from now on. What - if anything - they do about it remains to be seen, although perhaps another VoW is in the pipeline. I suppose this would replace St Faith though, not the historically problematic Clare.
  14. She looks good! Yes, they've left behind the plastic plaque on the superstructure, I'm sure that will be removed at some point. Mind you, I believe the original names on the Saints were embossed on the bow and stern and are still readable through the white Delcomar paint anyway, so their original names will survive in some form.
  15. She'll be off soon then I should think. They certainly clean up well, and seem to stay in better condition under Delcomar - mind you, the weather conditions are a lot kinder down there! I suppose St Faith will end up down there soon enough too, and that'll make me feel old, as I remember her entering service...
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