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ac_freeman

Day trip to Cherbourg ( Barfleur ) November 15th

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Early start yesterday morning, left Reading at 05:15AM arrive at Poole at around 7AM so I will know for next time that I can leave around half an hour later and enjoy an extra half hour in bed J Had been following the weather forecast, Shipping Forecast and Magic Seaweed so knew that it would be a windy and possibly bumpy crossing.I am lucky enough not to suffer from sea-sickness though, it seems that others had also been following the weather reports as there were only 7 foot passengers booked for the sailing, I felt sorry for the lady who had opened the café as only 2 of us bought anything.

 

We were called for boarding around 07:55, through security ( baggage X-Ray and airport style screening ) and onto a mini-bus which drove us onto the car deck there was a gangway on the quay-side but was not being used. Walked up the stairs to Deck 7 and had a wander around.this was my first time on Barfleur and was keen to explore having read so much about here seemed well turned out and looked after internally, definitely has the BF atmosphere. I had planned to have a full breakfast after spending time out on deck as we head out to sea, glad that I checked the finishing time for breakfast ( 09:15 ) which would have meant that they would have finished serving by the time I came back inside so ate breakfast straight away.was identical to that served on Pont Aven ( quality and taste ).

 

Very windy out on deck as we left but quickly realised that port side forward was sheltered as the wind was blasting in from the other side leaving Poole was fantastic, especially manoevering through the narrow channel where the chain ferry crosseswe dropped off the pilot opposite Old Harry Rocks. A warning about the weather was given on the tannoy system which also said that access to outside decks was strictly forbidden , even though it was very windy on one side of the ship I thought that this was a bit of an over-reaction although there was some considerable movement once we headed past the more sheltered waters, anybody using common sense was quite safe out on deck and many of use chose to ignore the order and were often joined by crew members on cigarette breaks..Im guessing that BF have to make such announcements to avoid any claims for personal injury etc. should anybody slip and fall.

 

As we crossed the shipping lanes out in the channel we passed close to one of those small boxy car carriers which was heading directly into the swell with no exaggeration the ship was at times pitching ar around 45 degrees and it must have been very uncomfortable for those onboard, as I mentioned before Barfleur was bobbing up and down quite severely at times ( the waves/swell were coming towards from around 25 degrees ) but there was no crashing, an occasional bump and shudder as she pitched quite heavily coupled with a considerable roll..given the sea conditions, and her size, I would say that Barfleur handled it well.

Approximately 90 minutes from Cherbourg I was joined out on deck by a chap in an officers uniform who had come out for a smokeafter cheery bonjours were exchanged I asked him whether or not he was a bridge officer and he explained that he was the Purser, we chatted for a while and he was curious to know whether or not was I going on holidayI explained that I was on a day-trip, ferries being my hobby so travelled whenever I could and that it was my first time on Barfleur but had sailed many times on Pont Aven and a couple of times on Bretagne.he explained that he was not assigned to a single ship but moved from ship to ship. I asked him about the scrubbers installed on Barfleur and whether or not they had impacted the ships performance..he said that there had been no impact and that the type of scrubber installed the weight was very small, around 60 tonshe then went on to say that this would not be the case for Pont Aven, it would be a major operation to install scrubbers, would take 3 months and would therefore take place in Poland as that was the only location where a large dry-dock could be secured for a 3 month period. The type of scrubber to be installed on Pont Aven will weigh around 600 tons as the residue from the system needs to be installed in a large tank which will be installed low down on the ship ( and will require emptying periodically )this will mean reduced lorry/car capacity in the future. On the Bretagne he estimated a further 1 to 2 years service, he said that BF have been looking for a replacement but struggling to find something suitable for the route.

 

Irish Ferries Epsilon was already docked as we pulled up to the berth there had earlier been an announcement that we would arrive 20 minutes late due to the bad weather, it was clear that this 20 minutes was the anticipated additional time required to dock as we approached very slowly indeed due to the strong side-wind.

The bus was waiting for us by the gangway and took us into the terminal, after walking through Passport Control I decided to walk into town rather than take the shuttle.followed the signs, everything seemed closed but I came to a small café and had some lunch there ( thinking that I might not find anything else open ) as it turned out I later found a few eateries open near to the marina area which looked much nicer than where I ate, although the food was not bad. Walked around the town for a while, the back streets with shops ( closed ) and cafes was actually quite nice but made my way back to the terminal earlier as I was starting to feel the early start that morning. Sat and relaxed in the upper waiting area until 5:45PM when boarding started I was expecting heavy security in the terminal but nothing, and I mean nothing .no baggage check no screening. We boarded the bus which stopped about half way to the ship and 2 security guys boarded the bus, one carrying a rifle ( similar to those you see carried by security personnel at airports in the UK ), and started checking Passports.they took the passport of a young girl ( 18 20 ) into the booth and made us wait, after a few minutes they escorted her from the bus and took her into the booth as we drove to the gangway while I was out on deck after boarding I saw her driven to the gangway in a van and she boarded, did not see her in the bus when we arrived later in Poole.

 

The return journey was in darkness I was expecting the crossing to be less bumpy as the wind, and swell, would be partly behind us but actually there was very little difference..perhaps very slightly less. I had dinner in the Restaurant, Dish of the Day ( Pork Fricasse ) with a chocolate éclair for Dessert..again, identical in quality etc. to Pont Aven and quite tasty.

 

I spent quite a lot of time out on deck, always enjoy viewing ships at night..was able to see the Electronic Chart & Rader system by standing next to the Bridge Wing outside on Deck 8 which added to the interest. We took the Pilot onboard adjacent to Old Harry Rock the passage from there to the Ferry Port at night was absolutely amazing, thoroughly recommend standing outside starboard side of deck 8, the narrow channels and sharp turns are spectacular.

 

On arrival we had to wait a few minutes until being called down to the car deck top board the bus, my Purser friend shook my hand as I boarded the bus..swiftly through passport control and out to the car park.arrived home around midnight last night absolutely shattered but it had been an absolutely superb day out and one which I will definitely do again. I do now see the appeal of the Barfleur.nice atmosphere, nice crew, interesting route.

Edited by Jim
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Very interesting report, thanks. Surprised to read that Barfleur still takes a pilot in and out of Poole - I'd have thought the skippers would all have gained their PECs long ago.

 

So there we have the answer to the question about how Astander is going to manage to fit scrubbers to both Armorique and Pont Aven at the same time - they aren't! Pont is going to Gdansk so I'd imagine we will see Armorique going to Santander. Surprised to see the explanation being given about length of time in the dry-dock, as all of the BF ships that have gone for scrubbers have been in the drydock at Astanders for getting on for 3 months at a time. Maybe 2 and a half. The better explanation is surely that Astander cannot deal with both ships at the same time (?).

 

BF must be quietly seething that they were not given the extension to enable Pont Aven to be fitted with LNG capability instead of scrubbers. Reduction in vehicle capacity is the last thing they want, especially on the flagship.

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The Poole Pilot probably had something to do with the weather - I forgot to mention that as we were leaving the berth at Poole in the morning I saw a Tug moving away, could not see that it had actually been used or was just on stand-by - last night the wind was at least as strong as it had been in the morning, perhaps even a little stronger but as we swung off the berth I could not see a Tug in attendance.

 

Regarding the dry-docking period he mentioned a problem with availability of a dock large enough ( specifically wide enough ) being available for 3 months, only availability of one large enough for that length of time is Poland.

 

He, himself, is most definitely angry about the Pont Aven scrubber situation....he said that by having to carry an additional 600 tons they will have to burn more fuel to maintain schedules so it defeats the object, he also mentioned that BF had not actually applied for a grant but for an interest-free loan to cover the cost, and it was this that was turned down.

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Nice report, cheers, the Old Girl has pleased. The scenery is spectacular the Poole end - Cherbourg's attractiveness is more in with the old town and surrounding countryside more than the industrial image it conjures on approach on the ship. On weekdays it is bustling, very busy, so on a Sunday it probably is quite different. Barf is a very pleasant ship, she might lack the facilities of the larger ships, but she makes up for it in character.

 

If it was Captain Roignan on Barf, then he wold not need a pilot, he has served on her many years, so would be surprised if he needed a pilot.

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I am a bit surprised of the figure quoted for the weight of the scrubbers to be installed PA. "600 tons" for the installation seems excessive to me to say the least. This would be twice the weight of a typical lower linkspan of a ferry berth in Dover which only weighs around 300 tonnes for a 50m*9m footprint.

 

 

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Yes, that's a heck of a lot of weight and would certainly have a significant effect on the ship's freight capacity and would drastically affect its stability. A quick look online suggests that 30 tons is a more typical weight for a scrubber and its supporting structure. Maybe something was lost in translation and the figure for PA should be 60 tons?

Edited by cvabishop

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No, he was very clear - he said that there are 2 types of scrubber....one which does not require an onboard tank, as fitted to Barfleur, which he indeed did say weighs around 60 tons and another type which requires installation of an onboard tank...and it is this type which will be fitted to Pont Aven, will require a large tank which will take up space on lower car/freight decks and will weigh around 600 tons.

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The deadweight of the PA is 4803 tons so adding 600 is a lot. Some of the extra is the fitting of holding tanks which will be a lot when full but they will be low down in the ship helping stability.

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Someone mentioned stability issues with extra weight. As it appears that the extra 600tons will, mostly, be on the freight/car deck i.e reducing the carrying capacity, then stability should not be affected.

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No, he was very clear - he said that there are 2 types of scrubber....one which does not require an onboard tank, as fitted to Barfleur, which he indeed did say weighs around 60 tons and another type which requires installation of an onboard tank...and it is this type which will be fitted to Pont Aven, will require a large tank which will take up space on lower car/freight decks and will weigh around 600 tons.

 

Sorry but I am still not convinced. I will stand corrected if true. These weight/volume figures seem excessive. 600 tons would represent say 20 lorries and 200 cars i.e. a large amount of the ship payload...

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Nice report, cheers, the Old Girl has pleased. The scenery is spectacular the Poole end - Cherbourg's attractiveness is more in with the old town and surrounding countryside more than the industrial image it conjures on approach on the ship. On weekdays it is bustling, very busy, so on a Sunday it probably is quite different. Barf is a very pleasant ship, she might lack the facilities of the larger ships, but she makes up for it in character.

 

If it was Captain Roignan on Barf, then he wold not need a pilot, he has served on her many years, so would be surprised if he needed a pilot.

 

A pilot is still required if a tug is used with a towing line attached. Masters with pilot exemption certificates still have to have them revalidated which is carried out by the duty pilot at the time.

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Sorry but I am still not convinced. I will stand corrected if true. These weight/volume figures seem excessive. 600 tons would represent say 20 lorries and 200 cars i.e. a large amount of the ship payload...

 

Obviously I have no way of corroborating his information, I can only repeat what he told me but he definitely said 600 tons - remember though, he is the Chief Purser and not necessarily very technical so, although he really seemed to know what he was talking about, he may have his figures wrong...................

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