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About kenw

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  • Birthday 15/05/1950

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  1. Thanks, Seashore Is Cherbourg a realistic option for freight? What will it add to typical truck drivers' hours and truck emissions? But I appreciate your timings. Just one question: could you shift the cycle by about 30min, so that on days when the Caen overnight departure is earlier, so is your sailing?
  2. On the overnights, I might expect an hour or so in the bar before bedtime. And sometimes it can be quite busy, but I'm not sure what the new entertainment regime is like in the evening – this was my first trip since the new agency took over. But if Andrew and Shannon are typical of the new look and new sound, then I think the BF entertainment offer will become a big attraction. I seem to remember taking an overnight back to St Malo about 18 months ago and the evening entertainment was more background music than anything else. This was the first time in years that I've taken the afternoon sailing. The whole ship was very quiet. not many footies, motorists but quite a few trucks, which is probably not so unusual for a midweek in mid-Feb.
  3. Some thoughts: The only French port that makes sense IMHO is Ouistreham, which would have capacity (both hardstanding and linkspan / berthing) between the two daytime BF services. I'm not sure that – given drivers' hours regs – Cherbourg would be feasible. At the UK end, capacity could probably be found at Portsmouth, which as noted above has good road connections to both the London area and elsewhere. The big advantage is that neither of these ports would require advance preparatory capital investment. A "known-brand" operator – such as Stena or DFDS, with an existing base of freight customers – could be up and running comparatively quickly and at low cost – essentially a marketing campaign and local customer service staff. A large-scale retail marketing campaign would obviously be needed, but I think an incoming operator would have to work on product differentiation from BF. Price competition would be tricky. Is the port capacity available at both ends to permit two round trips per day? One sailing a day would hardly be economical. If not, what other options? One sailing to Caen and one to Le Havre – if berthing capacity exists already? Crossing times would be similar – but could either Le Havre or Ouistreham accommodate an overnight crossing from the UK? I mentioned DFDS as a potential operator despite its failure to develop the Le Havre route post LD. But it is a a big operator, and if the short-sea ports become congested, might it be interested in a western route again?
  4. kenw

    HONFLEUR - Arriving in 2019

    Let's not get ahead of ourselves and seeing Herr Windhorst as a master magician who is going to weave a financial spell over FSG. As both Jonno and Paully pointed out, he is the kind of person that [in a previous life] I used to describe as "a controversial investor" or similar terms which made cautious night lawyers fret. Nevertheless, some of his business ventures have made good profits over several years. So if he can make a genuine profit from the business in the normal course of activities, that is great news. From the marine engineering viewpoint, FSG itself (as opposed to one or two of its prime suppliers) is a successful business. The obvious danger, when a financial investor – rather than one from a related industrial or commercial background – moves in, that the business is forced to focus on short-term revenue and profit opportunities rather than long-term sustainability. Fingers crossed.
  5. Returning home to Caen on the afternoon sailing (MSM) I must say that the Blue Note Bar enterntainment was terrific. Thanks to the multi-talented Andrew Galler and Shannon McCarthy – plus, of course Pierre le Bear. I resisted the temptation of beanbag boules, but was disappointed that I as a solo player was beaten in the quiz by couples playing as a team. Proving the old adage that two minds are better than one. But I was impressed by the onscreen quiz, complete with push-button voting thingie, which I hadn't encountered before in this context. Shannon did a 40-minute solo spot, mostly songs from the shows and other classics, which was an absolute delight. While Andrew kept the show on the road with warmth and humour. A very professional pair. Among Shannon's repertoire were a couple of Vera Lynn numbers, including of course "We'll meet again…" She told me later that she is working on some more for a special set in the first week of June when we mark that special 75th anniversary. And this was my first face-to-face encounter with Pierre, who was instantly befriended by kids of all ages – 6 to 60-plus. Here he is with Andrew – but when I asked which one was the minder and which was the entertainer, the answer was a diplomatic silence! ( haven't really chopped their heads off, a click reveals the full pic!) Two fine fellows (although mysteriously Pierre's appearances seemed to coincide with Shannon's absences - coincidence, I'm sure).) Thought: Particularly in the winter, when there's a market for mini-cruisers (roundtrip and overnight stayers) from both sides of the Channel, I think BF should do more to promote the entertainment and the entertainers. AIUI they rotate: a week on MSM, then Normandie, then a week off. But if I was booking a mini, and my dates were flexible, I'd be more than tempted to make a date to join Andrew and Shannon again.
  6. kenw

    HONFLEUR - Arriving in 2019

    Absolutely. I was trying to avoid mention of metacentre and CoG for fear of starting a wholesale diversion from the original topic. IF anyone wants to start a new thread in the appropriate place, I may be minded to contribute further.
  7. kenw

    HONFLEUR - Arriving in 2019

    When the naval architecture and engineering team are working on stability calculations, they are concerned with [to paraphrase] distribution and localisation of weight / mass both internal and external to the hull and superstructure. Here's a recent description from the tech director at an Italian shipyard who was summarising the various stages of detailed ship design: "For every kg on the upper decks there must be a correspondence in the hull. In my younger days we had to do all this with our minds, pencils and slide rules, then calculators. Now the computers show us some numbers, which we can adjust to match the required performance and motion of the hull. Then the system does the remaining calculations comparing its figures with the specified rules." All vessels have their stability books checked and double-checked by the flag state authority (eg MCA) – with amendments every time you make changes to the structure or major internal elements.
  8. After weeks of aggro – shops boarded up and even our famous Sunday market closed on security grounds – some residents of Caen are starting to fight back against the yellow peril. Staging a silent protest in front of the Hôtel de Ville – but not moving, so as not to give more work to the police and gendarmerie. https://actu.fr/normandie/caen_14118/en-reponse-mouvement-gilets-jaunes-citoyens-caen-lancent-maintenant-paix_20938131.html [If you struggle with French tabloidese, Mlle Google will help.]
  9. kenw

    Applying for French residency

    Dear all Can I give an update based on our recent experience as Brits who retired to Caen a couple of weeks after the referendum votes had been counted. (Although the outcome was not something we had figured into our planning over the previous few months). With all the debate and discussion (to use a polite phrase) last autumn, we decided to apply for Cartes de Séjour EU last autumn. Our status is "non actif" – the official phrase meaning "not economically active". After a couple of brief sessions checking paperwork we officially filed our applications on 22 November. All the official forms refer to the EU carte as being valid for five years. A couple of weeks ago the Préfecture sent a text asking us to go and collect the cards. When we did, we were surprised to see that they are valid only until November this year – 12 months from the date we deposited our applications. A bit of homework (sorry, I've lost the link) advised that this was the temporary procedure pending Brexit, but that we would qualify for new cartes on expiry – it appears as though Marianne is still trying to work out exactly how to describe us, our status and the type of card. One interesting point: when we filed our applications in November, we were fingerprinted and photographed. And the cards have the little "circle in box" symbol which I think signals that the biometrics are embedded. Does anyone know how this works – and what the symbol is called? [That's almost certainly a silly question, I'm sure someone here does know...!] HTH Ken
  10. Thanks, Solo Didn't occur to my friends or me that the van would show up in the web fares look-up. But it does, thanks. In fact they spoke to BF yesterday and now have the "real" price. Interestingly, part of their sales pitch is [1] to expats and others with capital either already held in the EU27 or other non-UK tax regimes (Jersey, IoM, Switzerland etc) – or heading this way [2] to Brexit "departees and relocatees" [NOT my phrase] who can put some of the cash raised from selling their £million-plus homes in London into a Normandy farmhouse with maybe a couple of gites. The concept is that a Normandy property will be a safe investment away from post-Brexit turmoil, but near enough for long weekends etc. Particularly with the arrival of Honfleur and (apparently) there's also the prospect of improved air links.
  11. kenw

    Government charter

    More interesting news re Seaborne from Channel 4 News Full story Meanwhile I understand that one of the big transport companies with operations on both sides of the North Sea / Channel spent a couple of months investigating the possible charter of a couple of RoRo ships and negotiating port capacity. SHIPS: vessel / manning to MCA and customer requirements; ample freight capacity plus linkspan compatibility with multiple ports. PORTS: marine and road access, security, linkspan capacity, ample hardstanding with covered examination space CONCLUSION 1: Providing port capacity "could be achieved with limited capital investment". Ship capacity would be CONCLUSION 2: Securing ship capacity "would be challenging within Brexit timetabling given limited availability of vessels and manpower" and "could well involve some co-investment". [Note This is an extract from a business report, not a detailed spec. I assume that "co-investment" implies the operator having to fund some mods to the vessel.]
  12. Dear all One of my UK chums is planning a property event here in Normandy – his first in France. Not sure why, with all the Brexit uncertainty, but he reckons his rich clients have funds already in euro-land and beyond. The date is mid May. For UK events he uses a van to transport display kit and crew and hopes to use it for this project also. It's a VW Transporter Kombi LWB with a top box. His admin lady rang BF to get an idea of pricing, but was kept hanging on for a while and gave up. Can anyone give me a guesstimate, however approx, of the likely cost? Or should he just book a transport co? TIA
  13. HM gov has signed a £46.6m charter deal with BF to provide extra capacity in case of no deal. Details here from BBC Brittany Ferries told the BBC it was contracted to add 19 weekly return sailings to three of its routes: Roscoff to Plymouth, Cherbourg to Poole and Le Havre to Portsmouth. How will it work? Which ships? When? Will these sailings be priced or labelled in some specific way? Will freight customers still pay regular rates? What about pax? Presumably HMG wants all the vehicle decks used for freight? Brittany Ferries told the BB.textClipping
  14. kenw

    BF Confirm Charter of 'E-Flexer'

    Very different – the same way ships have been built from the days of the Mary Rose if not before. These days they call it integrated building (hull and superstructure) – ie start with the length of the keel, add frames and then add skin and interior, working upwards until you reach the top. As opposed to modular block shipbuilding, as deployed for BF's Honfleur, the new aircraft carriers and other projects we've seen in recent years. Large sections of hull and superstructure – blocks – are fabricated (often off site) and then welded together on a slip or drydock. In some cases – as we've seen recently at Flensburg – many of those blocks originate at yards some distance away. Naming no names but... the supplier needs to make sure they are built to the correct specs for an accurate fit on delivery!
  15. kenw

    New Terminal for Santander

    Jonno, thanks for the directions to the new location. So we will disembark yards from seafood heaven! Wonderful. Next item on the agenda: check nearby hotels.