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About kenw

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  • Birthday 15/05/1950

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  1. kenw

    Newbuild from Mitsubishi

    Thanks, hhvferry, I suspect you're right and the design element for which Mitsubishi expects further orders is the hull, rather than the complete ship. That would make sense, since once a "basic" hull configuration has been developed successfully it can be "shrunk, stretched or squeezed" to meet specific customer needs. Which is obviously much quicker and cheaper than starting from a blank sheet of paper – or should that be blank screen – each time.
  2. Seaborne is more of a forwarding / agency business than a shipowner or operator. AIUI they do a lot of trucking work with Japanese-American companies clustered nearby their main US base at Torrance (between LAX and Long Beach / Port of LA for anyone who knows California) but I don't have an idea of their international scale. I think Honda was an early inward investor in the area and many other trans-Pac companies followed. "If you're looking for freight transportation, Torrance is the place to look," I'm told.
  3. kenw

    Newbuild from Mitsubishi

    Sorry, I lost track of one of the websites re Lavender. One of the Mitsubishi people was quoted as saying that they were now looking for further orders "based on this successful design". That was in a DeepL translation (generally better than Google Translate, although not yet integrated into web browser pages). But maybe they meant that the success of the design and build project reinforced their ability to win more business with that formula. Is it just the success of yard propaganda efforts, or are independent marine architects being squeezed out by the integrated D+B outfits? (Disclosure: when I took the turnkey D+B route with Millennium Diamond for the River Thames, the decision was based on cost, time and and simplified project management)
  4. It looks as though Mitsubishi thinks series production is the way forward in the ferry world – how many years after Visentini? http://www.nauticexpo.com/prod/mitsubishi-heavy-industries-ship-ocean/product-32135-517108.html?token=a1a70886837da8886463f656615e18cab8d9a405#product-item_412599 This is Lavender, a 600pax ferry which was built for the Shin Nihonkai ferry service in the Sea of Japan. Interestingly, vehicle capacity is quoted as 150 trucks and 22 cars. Check out the stateroom in the thumbnails – expect to pay about £350 for the 18–20hr crossing if that's your choice of accommodation. Including meals. I suspect that this particular type and configuration is unlikely to win many orders outside Japan – or am I mistaken?
  5. kenw

    BF versus the competition

    Just to complicate matters... For a solo traveller, en route to or from Caen (or maybe other BF ports) another low-cost option would be car sharing, via BlablaCar. (https://www.blablacar.fr/). Click on "proposer un trajet" and find drivers offering trips to your destination for just a few euros. But for a comfortable trip, train wins every time (assuming the cheminots are not on strike). Not least because the stations are normally in the city centre – the main long-distance termini in Paris such as Nord, Lyon, Est and Montparnasse are in or minutes from the centre, compared with the trek out to CDG or Orly. (Not to mention Paris Beauvais, which a friend of mine calls the "fake airport". It makes Stansted and Southend seem positively suburban – depart Paris Maillot 3hrs before check in for a 65min bus ride, or pay €120-plus for a cab if you miss it. And of course "check in" at the gare is minutes, even if security want to check your bags. I know there are some people who don't like sailing, but for us the only downside of the Portsmouth-Ouistreham trip is that it doesn't take longer.
  6. My colleague's friend Eloise who tipped me off about the Escapade fare says she has done this twice for flying visits to the UK (demo / tests of IT systems). She comes from Caen and an one of her old school friends does this regularly. (He bulk buys laptops and stuff in the UK which he sells on ebay). The trick, apparently, is to book the ticket with a seat then phone up to book a cabin, saying that he does not want to share. Sometimes he gets the cheap price, sometimes he has to pay full price, but either way the total is less than the standard fare. So Eloise tried it, and it worked – as she said, BF are not going to refuse to sell her a cabin for €50-odd because they want to sell it for 2 x €19!
  7. Thanks, folks. The booking will probably be for me and Mrs W, so 2 of us in a 2 berth cabin. But thanks for the tip about school and army pax starting to fill up the ship. If we can't nail down the date this week will prob go for the regular fare as Chris suggests, thanks. The event is late lunchtime / early afternoon – access 11:30, video link up from 13:30, London and Frankfurt online 14:00 to 15:15. One of the guys is doing a recce this week and modern technology makes life easy - the "transmitter" units for each camera fit in backpacks or wheelies and squirt the signal over 4 mobile (4G) phone connections simultaneously. A separate unit gives us talkback from London. (A very non-tech explanation, but used extensively for sports, pop festivals and – our main use – multi-site events and conferences.) The van has lightweight sat uplink capability, but that should not be needed. So the plan is for me to have breakfast in Portsmouth and the crew will scoop me up 09:00–09:30, which should mean the worst of the M27 rush hour is over! And then time for a couple of pints and a bite in the evening. At least, that's the plan...
  8. Including a construction materials and aggregates terminal (CMAT) is the most problematic part of this proposal, IMO. Developers, the PLA and various aggregates / construction materials companies have been saying for years that additional capacity is badly needed in the London / Essex / Kent area. Attempts to develop new terminals further upstream (including Barking / Dagenham, Woolwich, Charlton, Canning Town etc) have mostly foundered because of noise, air pollution and road traffic issues. Will Tilbury 2 succeed where others have failed? I haven't yet studied the plans and maps in detail, but a lot will depend on the distance from the materials processing site to the residential areas, and the mitigation measures proposed. The access road and rail line will be the closest parts of the site, for which effective acoustic screening can be provided (but at a cost). From the marine perspective, additional RoRo capacity will be welcome by many transport operators, particularly if Brexit means slower vehicle and documentation inspection and examination at ports generally. Notice the generous space allocated to RoRo container and vehicle "storage". The main Tilbury port is already used by a number of car companies for import, including Hyundai, which has ambitious growth plans. ]
  9. BF France is offering a day trip (overnight both ways) from Caen to Portsmouth for €45 return incl inside cabin outbound. It is sold as an Escapade offer. http://www.brittany-ferries.fr/bons-plans/journee-decouverte-en-angleterre That's about half the regular fare. I'm booked for a presentation in Bournemouth next month, date to be confirmed shortly but probably Wed 14/03. Not school holidays on either side of the Channel, IIRC. How busy is the ship likely to be outbound on the Tues night departure? I need to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on the day since it's a new business meeting, so a cabin is essential. Do I gamble on availability and wait until the date is 100% confirmed, or book now to be certain – and then have to haggle with BF France if I do need to change the date? Any thoughts? TIA Ken
  10. Time for an update, my original "Introduce..." is now well out of date BFE Members 180 posts Report post Posted September 12, 2013 Re: Who are you?... (Introduce yourself) Name: Ken Occupation: Writer / consultant – now more or less retired and moved to Normandy in 2016. Background: almost 40 years in journalism / PR / radio / TV / web Most recently: with City Cruises plc on the River Thames – strategy, project management and corporate comms Lives: in a quiet suburb of Caen, a 10-minute bus ride from the city centre and half an hour or so from the terminal at Ouistreham Favourite trip: Santander on Pont Aven – and any daytime crossing from here to Portsmouth and v/v Most recent: Ouistreham - Portsmouth on Armorique during this year's drydocking season' An interesting change from the usual NM/MSM routine. Visited: Most of W Europe, US and Canada. Lost count of how many places – many of them quick turnround trips in my journalistic days. Now stick to trains and ships for more leisurely travel.
  11. By way of a conclusion, or at least a progression, I've just done the survey that came in my email. The final question is "What can we do to improve BF" – so here's my reply. 1 - Price match UK and France websites. (Foot passenger last week >€10 more expensive from .fr 2 - Offer more short breaks to UK from France 3 - Offer foot passenger service from Roscoff to Santander 4 - Provide proper bus connection Portsmouth Int'l Port to city centre (The Hard or P&S rail station) and vice versa 5 - Persuade Twisto to operate Maritime Express bus from Caen Gare SNCF / Gare Routiere in the evenings (arrivals from afternoon departures ex Portsmouth and departures on overnight crossings. Or given low numbers in low season / mid season, arrange minibus service with another operator. I'm sure people would prefer to pay say, €5 or even more rather than €30 or more for taxi. 6 - Provide checked baggage service (as on SNCF / Eurostar) as part of more actively promoted foot passenger service (see also 4 and 5 above). Increasing your passenger numbers in low and mid seasons, and of course improving your green credentials. Any more suggestions? Cheers
  12. kenw

    French BF Offer Query

    Thanks much for that We had interpreted it as meaning that all passengers should be French nationals AND carry their ID I'm hoping you are right - it sounds likely, but I just wonder why the rule does not simply say that ALL passengers must have ID. Even though the Border guards at Portsmouth are generally friendly, I can't see them letting anyone through with the excuse: "The website didn't say Belgians must have a passport..." Although it would be entertaining to eavesdrop!
  13. As French residents (but for now still UK passport holders) we regularly check BF websites both UK and France. Last night Mrs W spotted an offer on the French site http://www.brittany-ferries.fr/idees-cadeaux-voyage-saint-valentin?utm_source=BP_st_valentin_janv_2018&utm_medium=BP_st_valentin_janv_2018&utm_content=BP_st_valentin_janv_2018&utm_campaign=BP_st_valentin_janv_2018 ... day trip to Portsmouth (night sailings) for €59 return with a cabin both ways Just to make sure there were no hidden extras, no bar on refunds / exchanges etc she checked the conditions and we were horrified to read Formalités obligatoires : Tout passager de nationalité française I can only describe this as racist. And ask why? If it is an attempt to help the UK border guards by refusing to carry people who would not qualify for entry into the UK, surely the current requirement to show passports at check-in does that. Or – since this is a "Valentine" offer - does some dimwit at BF think only French nationals can be romantic? I have spent years campaigning against racists - but never expected to find them at my favourite shipping line! So unless BF withdraws this rule, I must now investigate alternative routes from Caen to the UK. The options appear to be: St Malo (not a convenient train trip) - Channel Islands - Condor Dieppe (ditto) - Newhaven with very inconvenient timings (return arrival 0400hrs) Paris - Eurostar (€157 each way for two seniors) Wait until April then fly to Southend (€257) Unless I can persuade my chum in the yacht charter business to do a training cruise to Ouistreham - but even on a shared-cost basis that would probably be more expensive!! Suggestions?
  14. kenw

    Daytime sailings in the Med?

    Thanks much for that, hhvferry. We're looking for early season – probably late March or April - before or after Easter, so not too crowded, I hope. By May the Med is too hot for me. But I will certainly take another look at Toulon, although even there overnights seem to predominate. Otherwise we will look at the BF minicruise to Santander.
  15. Dear all This week's quick trip to Portsmouth made me realise how much I miss the mini-cruises which we used to enjoy from the UK to St Malo or Santander (not necessarily BF packages) and the day trips using the company's promo offers on here. So this year we're tempted to head for Roscoff for a quick run to Plymouth But I've also been wondering if there are any daytime sailings in the Med - preferably Marseiile to Corse, but others considered. Daytime both ways or one way daytime or overnight back – with or without a night ashore. (A day at sea gives Mrs W happy memories of her previous career on board Oriana, Canberra and the Princesses) I've been rummaging around the various operators' websites, but so far haven't seen any. [I say ex Marseille simply because it's high on my list of French places to visit – lifted by the TV series on Netflix, if anyone saw that.Think House of Cards transposed to the Mairie - great stuff. But other departures could work, provided they are easily accessible by train] TIA Ken