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HIGH SPEED FERRIES: Weymouth?


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As for the new company, I think it's very unlikely that this service will ever begin.

 

Weymouth council would appear to think there may be a possibility of a new service as they have put the part of the town plan involving the port area on hold until 31st October.

 

However what this story does do is clearly highlight the fact if you want to operate a high speed operation to either the Channel Islands or Cherbourg or St Malo, Weymouth is the best and most sensible place to operate from. I would imagine that a service to Cherbourg that only took an hour and three quarters would definitely be popular with some

 

That rather depends where you think your customer base is located, it may be popular "with some" but is some a large enough number? When James Fulford joined Condor he announced that he was going to survey the companies customers to see whether they preferred Weymouth or Poole. It would be interesting to know if the recent changes are a response to that consultation.

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Did he actually do a survey? I am not certain the outcome has anything to do with it - purely down to the issues between Condor and Weymouth/Poole. Pity James isn't around to say what happened with that if a survey was done. My personal guess is that there are plenty of islanders that prefer Poole, but equally prefer Weymouth.

 

Weymouth might be sensible for islanders in the way it is a shorter crossing than Poole, but depends where they want to go once they arrive in the UK. With departures people are going to go to islands so where they are going to be going once they arrive is a lot more limited to arrivals in the UK, where they could be travelling a lot further afield. Weymouth or Poole, depends on what is convenient for where they are travelling on to.

Edited by Khaines
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I think there are many people who would also like to know at what point did Condor realise that their new boat wasn't going to be able to use Weymouth's berth No 3. Condor and Weymouth Council were supposedly working together in making sure that the repaired berth met their requirements. Either Weymouth Council stupidly built something that wasn't fit for purpose or Condor failed to tell them of their exact needs.

 

This new trimaran was already known about when Condor returned in August 2013,.In fact on the open day held that month in Weymouth Harbour the captain spoke to me about the new vessel. He said that it definitely fitted Weymouth, the vessel being about the same width as the Vitesse and it wasnt too long either (Its shorter than many previous Sealink vessels). It was also stated that the new vessel would be running from Weymouth only!. The company made great play through their publicity machine of wanting to make Weymouth the "Gateway to the Islands", I believe that there were also plans to build a new terminal building for them as part of a three point plan for the docks.

 

The question still remains at what point did things change. Why on earth did they bother returning in the first place. If things at Poole had been so great they could have simply stayed there and not returned West, the council could have simply built a bog standard wall instead of an expensive armoured plated berth and the two parties could have parted on good terms.Instead the local Weymouth taxpayer is now £4 million out of pocket for a berth that was only used for 18 months, Condor has now lost all the goodwill and respect that it once had in the town and Mr Fullford would appear to have been hurriedly removed from his position.

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Condor probably didn't think they should pay for a new berth when they have a perfectly good enough one in Poole, and this was probably the factor and happened during the meetings leading up to the decision to leave Weymouth. Could they afford to pay for a new berth on top. Of the new ship? James possibly was hurried from his position because of his not being able to secure the future at Weymouth, I don't know, best not really go there. I think he was handed a bit of a poisoned chalice in life with that one. Weymouth would not fork out, nor would Condor so he was in a bit of a no win situation in my opinion and I feel rather sorry for him in that respect, he is a decent bloke and has seemingly got the blame from many for something he was in a very difficult position in. Maybe I've got it wrong. Maybe Condor took it for granted he would be able to swing it for them and he couldn't - Weymouth dug their heels in, they couldn't afford the new berth either. Perfectly suitable one in Poole all ready, so there we have it.

 

Whatever happened, perhaps we should put bitterness about anything to one side, it isn't the fault of anybody she is in Poole and not Weymouth. She is a beautiful ship and I do hope to travel on her myself. I put my misgivings about things to one side to enjoy a boat that have looked forward to seeing in our neck of the woods - Dorset - for several years, even when Euroferries were after her.

Edited by Khaines
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Condor Liberation is only 0.8m wider than the Express/Vitesse and is only 2m longer than Sealinks Earl Godwin and shorter than the Earl Harold, Maid Of Kent, Lowland Lancer to name but a few. Clearly this vessel should fit Weymouth aswell. There has been a suggestion that the draft might be too deep, however at 4.6m she is shallower than the Prins Phillippe let alone several metres shorter. The issue seems to be that the ramp doesn't line up with the linkspan, though I'm sure that if there had been a will then they would have found a way.

 

As for the new company, I think it's very unlikely that this service will ever begin. However what this story does do is clearly highlight the fact if you want to operate a high speed operation to either the Channel Islands or Cherbourg or St Malo, Weymouth is the best and most sensible place to operate from. I would imagine that a service to Cherbourg that only took an hour and three quarters would definitely be popular with some

Both ships taken from Barfleur - gives an idea.
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Thanks for posting the comparison Khaines, its very interesting. A friend of mine who also posts on this site recently went on the Barfleur and took a photo in the dock as well, he was standing closer to the Barfleur's bridge, probably from the same spot that you took the Express from. From that position the Liberation only looks very slightly wider than the Express. To fit Weymouth's linkspan Liberation would need a narrower ramp fitted which would need to be positioned off centre to the starboard side. Unfortunately there appears to be an upright where this would need to be.

 

Its worth remembering that one of the Condor Rapide's stern ramps has a dog leg in it for some reason, clearly this was to enable it to fit a previous linkspan sometime in her career. Therefore as I said previously I'm sure that if there had been a will then they would have found a way of overcoming the problem. In all other ways Liberation should fit in Weymouth Harbour fine.

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I think I may have one of the Liberation closer like you said your friend took, think that day I took quite a few - whether or not they are still on the camera card, not sure, had a cull on there, will have a look. Liberation is only slightly wider, it is more to do with the ramps.

Edited by Khaines
Corrected wording.
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Surely the issue with the LIBERATION in relation to her compatibility with linkspans is the fact that she is of trimaran configuration with just a stern door in the central component of a 27m beam craft. This requires a wide linkspan -- which Weymouth doesn't have -- and Poole's Ro-Ro 2 also seems to be too small. Only Poole's Ro-Ro 3 is able to cope. I don't know about in the CI. I seem to recall a £3.5 million Ravestein linkspan being installed at St Helier not so long ago. These units, I believe, are quite wide at the outer end.

 

Anyone who's interested in the operation of these HSC ought to read the report of the MAIB into the two contacts made by NORMAN ARROW at Portsmouth and Le Havre with port installations. Someone having something to do with CONDOR LIBERATION must have done. Hence bridge wings!

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Be interesting to see the Liberation with her ramp down at Poole, anyone on Barfleur could get a pic, sometimes the Liberation leaves at 09.00 so she would be loading while Barfleur is still in port?

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Surely the issue with the LIBERATION in relation to her compatibility with linkspans is the fact that she is of trimaran configuration with just a stern door in the central component of a 27m beam craft. This requires a wide linkspan -- which Weymouth doesn't have -- and Poole's Ro-Ro 2 also seems to be too small. Only Poole's Ro-Ro 3 is able to cope. I don't know about in the CI. I seem to recall a £3.5 million Ravestein linkspan being installed at St Helier not so long ago. These units, I believe, are quite wide at the outer end.

 

Anyone who's interested in the operation of these HSC ought to read the report of the MAIB into the two contacts made by NORMAN ARROW at Portsmouth and Le Havre with port installations. Someone having something to do with CONDOR LIBERATION must have done. Hence bridge wings!

 

 

Said this not long after she arrived in Poole, she isn't to big for Weymouth, the ramp/RoRo is the wrong configuration, although they should have thought about that when they repaired the quayside at Weymouth and built a new RoRo where the existing one is now. The ramp in Weymouth is ancient.

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057 is not too wide for the Weymouth link span. From memory her beam is a tad over 26m and the current 86 m craft are 26m so she would fit.

 

If there was any money to made CF would be operating a service rest assured.

 

To my knowledge there are only two larger Incat craft available being 051 and 061, the latter being in Hobart and requiring a complete very expensive make over to put it back to a pax ferry. 051 is with Olsens and requires major work if it were to leave the Spanish Flag. Hope HSF have deep pockets for maintenance, very high cost for older fast craft.

 

She could fit in Weymouth without any problem. Her problem being her ramp and Weymouth link span aren't compatible.

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Why then, before she was modified, then did they not ensure they could make the ramp to fit Weymouh - the ramp was an extra, if all that is what is stopping her working from Weymouh, then presumably that would have been a piece of the proverbial, maybe a bit of customisation. She would have had a ramp fitted anyway, and Weymouth wouldn't have to fork out a penny. Instead, some seem to be making James F the scapegoat in my opinion.

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Said this not long after she arrived in Poole, she isn't to big for Weymouth, the ramp/RoRo is the wrong configuration, although they should have thought about that when they repaired the quayside at Weymouth and built a new RoRo where the existing one is now. The ramp in Weymouth is ancient.

 

This and Khaines last post go to the heart of the argument. Given Condor and Weymouth Council supposedly worked together on the plans for the repairs to Berth 3, how comes the new boat cant use Weymouth. Either Condor failed to tell the council of their requirements, after all this boat was already known about, or the council ploughed on with the rebuild knowing the berth wouldn't be suitable. The £4 million spent on the old berth could have covered nearly half of the cost of a new outer harbour berth. A cheap bog standard wall could have been used at the now redundant berth 3. One of the two parties ought to come clean really, otherwise its Condor who will receive criticism for wasting taxpayers money and earn a bad name in the west of the county

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They had the thing wirh the CI Licence going on, so quite a few balls being juggled in the air at the time, Condor were waiting to see if they would get the licence before spending money on the new boat at the same time the discussions about the new berth were going on. So much all going on at once. My point is that they could have carried on using Berth 3 had they had the new ramp made to fit it as it is now - surely cheaper than a whole new linkspan. Unless I've got something wrong here. And she could have operated from Weymouth, this is what I find confusing. Can't see either coming clean about anything, if they wanted that boat in Weymouth they would have fitted the correct ramp - goodness knows!!

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This and Khaines last post go to the heart of the argument. Given Condor and Weymouth Council supposedly worked together on the plans for the repairs to Berth 3, how comes the new boat cant use Weymouth. Either Condor failed to tell the council of their requirements, after all this boat was already known about, or the council ploughed on with the rebuild knowing the berth wouldn't be suitable. The £4 million spent on the old berth could have covered nearly half of the cost of a new outer harbour berth. A cheap bog standard wall could have been used at the now redundant berth 3. One of the two parties ought to come clean really, otherwise its Condor who will receive criticism for wasting taxpayers money and earn a bad name in the west of the county

 

This is assuming that the berth could be modified to fit the new HSC. These floating linkspans need the work load to be applied close to their centreline. If the load is applied on the outboards, the linkspan may cap sized.

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Be interesting to see the Liberation with her ramp down at Poole, anyone on Barfleur could get a pic, sometimes the Liberation leaves at 09.00 so she would be loading while Barfleur is still in port?

Here is the picture I took and Bazza was talking about

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Thanks, for that! With regards to ramp adjustments, Barfleur had to have those ugly things fitted so she could fit in Dover.

 

It is just such a pity that James hasn't been able to come on and explain things, I know he can't and he probably wants to get on with his life, but was thinking yesterday, it would have been so good if he would have been allowed to explain things and put things straight so everyone knows the score. I think that would have been so helpful - he would explain stuff with Red Funnel, but Condor less happier about hom publicly posting. Hope he does get another job in the ferry industry at some point.

Edited by Khaines
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I was wondering the same thing! Just more pie in the sky but probably no bad thing. A competing route Weymouth to Cherbourg might poach enough passengers to make running Barfy completely uneconomic for BF and they might pull the plug for good. Summer loadings seemed to be very good last year but during the winter on the occasional Sunday morning trip it almost felt like I had Barfy as my own personal Yacht. I said a slient prayer to give thanks to all those paying a premium in the summer helping to subsidise my ferry route home during the winter..

Edited by d2frs
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I was on her almost by myself on one night crossing a few years ago - felt really odd, there were a few people sleeping stretched out but almost out of sight on the floors behind seating, and a few crew mooching about doing whatever they were, but I was the only person awake and it felt I had her to myself. To be honest, I can't handle the recliners, it was much easier to sit upstairs and stretch out on the upholstery, this is why i was up there. Cabin for me now if I do an overnight crossing, much better.

 

Regarding a ferry service from Weymouth with this new company, I reckoned that it would probably come to nothing anyway, but it seemed some had quite a lot of faith that it would happen. I guessed it would fizzle out, was hoping the powers that be in Weymouth didn't lose any money over this. I don't reckon anyone would go into direct competition with BF over Poole - Cherbourg, they have spent a lot of money on Barf, so I doubt she would go anywhere fast, she will have to earn her keep now more than ever.

 

Any other ferry company from Weymouth would probably go into competition with Condor to the Islands, doubt if they would take on BF with Cherbourg. Only other service to Cherbourg would be BF going into business with Condor again an using the Liberation, but don't think that is on the cards, judging from another thread covering that. If the Liberation for any reason loses the work on the Islands then therecis that option for her I suppose, but highly unlikely as things are at present.

 

Anyhow - looks like the planned Weymouth service has fizzled out - again😳

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It will be interesting to see if this happens or not. Definitely can only work as a seasonal service and I guess making good profits will be a problem. There's no way they can branch out to Guernsey and Jersey, as if they come to my neck of the woods, because of our ferry agreement with Condor, they would have to offer at least comparable pax and freight service. This cancels out the EU open access ports directive.

Edited by Nick Hyde
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I think they are aiming for Cherbourg which will pit them against BF. Personally speaking, I think if BF were concerned, they'd put Normandie Express back in Poole for a seasonal assistance to Barfleur, or maybe Weymouth? Pure guesswork, and probably a very long shot, can't see them turning a blind eye.

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