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Everything posted by Pigeonrat

  1. Pigeonrat

    St Faith

    Good pics! Hopefully she'll be getting a full repaint this time...
  2. Poor old Wightlink, that's like Thomas the Tank with Annie and Clarabel trying to cover for a Eurostar! Good luck to them, but I can't help but think Faith might make a better job of covering it, even minus a mezz deck.
  3. Definitely good news. However, as you say, it used to be 30 minutes, which was excellent and very convenient. I remember it only in the days of the C-class however, as far as I was aware the W-class have never run a 30 minute interval. I might be wrong...are they even quick enough to run the old 30min service or is it just too uneconomical?
  4. 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!
  5. Well, there's progress! Unless it had an outboard motor hanging off the back...
  6. 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!
  7. 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...
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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!
  12. 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...
  13. 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!
  14. 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...
  15. Tomorrow then. Under her own power or being towed all the way to the Med I wonder?
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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...
  19. This is true. I have to say however that Portsmouth has its own problems in this regard. I will reserve judgement until I've done it several times, but certainly on this occasion, the merge between the upper deck traffic and the lower deck traffic is so close to the road that it was something of a free-for-all the other night. From the upper car park I managed to beat a lorry to the "hole in the wall" to exit the terminal, but both before and after there were people from both decks trying to turn left at the same time onto Gunwharf Road. Depending on the common sense of the drivers in question, some were slotting in one-by-one, others from the upper deck traffic ended up driving along the hatching on the wrong side of the road with the left indicator on, trying to force their way in... I'm not sure what Wightlink can do about that realistically, the ramp down from the upper car park is just too close to the perimeter wall/Gunwharf Road really, but it's too late now. Perhaps the hatching on the road could be replaced with a merge-in-turn lane up to the right-hand bend and the inbound lane going the other way replaced by taking some land from Wightlink's car park, I don't know. The car park thingy with all the metal beams also buggers up the reception on the car radio for Sam FM (one of the things which keeps me sane waiting for a delayed sailing!) when parked on the lower level too, but I can't imagine Wightlink being too concerned about that one!
  20. Very true. But between the mid-1920s and Cuthred's arrival in 1969, a not dissimilar time-span, not much changed at all... Anyway, we should applaud Wightlink for snatching victory from the jaws of victory for a change. I feared another decidedly mediocre ship like we had in 2001 (and, to a lesser extent, the rather underwhelming 2009 trio). I just wish they'd stop deliberately downgrading the timetable, though there's little chance of that I'm sure. And I do think her name is a bit clunky, perhaps "St Victoria" might have been better. Here's a couple of extra pics that breached the forum limit;
  21. She's worth a try. Amazing to think that just 50 years ago the service was in the hands of Fishbourne and Camber Queen, with their small capacity and tiny under-deck lounges. We have come a long way!
  22. A few pics of VoW, having travelled on her twice over the weekend. She is quite impressive, feeling more like a small cross-Channel ferry than the shuttle service we have been used to so far. There are two car decks (the lower one being double-height, surprisingly with no Mezzanine that I could see), with two passenger decks above. The upper car deck loads from the shore ramps and feels very Channel-like driving in from Fishbourne beneath the lounge and bridge. The main lounge (Deck 4, Deck 3 being the upper car deck and Deck 2 being apparently non-existent) features a Wight Taste servery and comfy sofas in the middle with the usual snacks and drinks, a pets area, fruit machine room and spacious toilets at the stern, and a "panoramic lounge" at the bow with huge windows and disappointingly uncomfortable aircraft-type seating. It's nicely finished with dark wood-effect and turquoise mood lighting in the ceilings. The usual flatscreen TVs are dotted around showing the usual adverts. The upper lounge is a smaller version of the main one, with more table-and-chair seating, a Costa Coffee in place of the servery, no pet area and green mood lighting instead of turquoise. There is even a movie room, sadly it is aimed at kids rather than adults. It was closed off on the 10pm Friday sailing but open on the 6pm Sunday sailing, presume this is due to crewing and/or passenger numbers. Outside there are no less than three open decks, one off of each lounge with tables and chairs plus an extra viewing platform on the funnel deck, a nice nod to St Faith. There are two pairs of fixed binoculours, neither of which were particularly useful but a nice idea nonetheless. She seems fast enough and managed both trips in 35 minutes, much like the original Saints - interestingly, like the 1980s ships, she is unidirectional and swings off Fishbourne beacon on the return journey. Wightlink quote 45mins but I suspect this is more to allow scope for the useless Clare to shudder across the Solent than any deficiency in the new ship. The engines shut down entering Portsmouth and from there on she was on electric power. All in all, she is very impressive. I much prefer her to St Clare, which I never warmed to from day one. There are a couple of problems however, and Wightlink still don't seem to have rediscovered the superbly efficient design of the original Saints. The sheer size of her makes her time-consuming to load and unload and both my sailings left 15mins late, despite the terminal screens desperately trying to convince us we were on time. Perhaps this will improve with crew familiarity. She also has a surprising amount of vibration, with Clare-style vibrating outside staircases, but at least your coffee doesn't dance across the table unlike on the Clare. There is a surprising amount of roll - I think she'll struggle in poor weather, to be honest - and she heels over quite noticeably when swinging off Fishbourne. Perhaps my greatest concern is her build quality however...several bits of paintwork are already looking shabby, the stainless steel lift doors on the car deck are rusting - badly - already, and I noticed a couple of ceiling panels starting to sag and collapse, which is a shame. These points aside though, she is well worth travelling on. I would still choose an Eighties Saint over her, although I'm probably in the minority there! Wightlink have definitely seized the opportunity to provide an interesting ship though, and I stand corrected - as long as she proves reliable, she should have a long and successful career. But Wightlink, please, change your mind about reducing the number of sailings - two hours between sailings of an evening is just not good enough, sorry.
  23. Pigeonrat

    St Faith

    Cheers, that's very helpful 🙂
  24. Pigeonrat

    St Faith

    Does anyone know what running order the ships would normally be on (assuming the wretched Clare is actually running)? Going to the island this weekend and would like to get on VoW or St Faith, and avoid St Clare and whichever W-Class if possible. I know the main boat used to be the odd hours from Portsmouth and evens from Fishbourne with the second boat the other way round, so assume VoW and Clare respectively, with Faith on the half-hours where they still exist...
  25. Think I'm inclined to agree, Cuthred's ones at least look like they might be vaguely comfortable. The later ones have that look about them, like my barber's waiting chairs, that they might not be as bloody uncomfortable as they look because they are at least shaped. Then you sit on them and, actually, to be fair to them, you realise that they are bloody uncomfortable, yes. Caedmon's were definitely yellow, as were Cenred's - Cenwulf's, as said, I don't know. Caedmon's might have appeared orange at the time if they were on fire, obviously, which did happen!
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