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NORMANDY FERRES: Vintage Dragon video

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Fantastic! To think how she is described as the biggest ferry in service at 5700 grt! Dwarfed by today's standards....

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They were beautiful ships though with yacht like lines. So pleasing to the eye compared to todays blocks.

 

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They were beautiful ships though with yacht like lines. So pleasing to the eye compared to todays blocks.

 

Totally agree.

 

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As far as I can tell Dragon/Leopard weren't double deck loading but I can't see any evidence of a lift. Just how did those HGV's get on the upper deck?

Am I missing something obvious?

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Yes they had an upper ramp that was lowered for loading the upper deck. The linkspan had to be raised to do it. The ramp is the thing you can see stowed at about 25 degrees. The upper deck was just the outside bit at the stern - I think they could take about 5 lorries; presumably ones carrying hazardous cargo but not sure.

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They also had a very large two-door hatch which connected the upper and lower vehicle decks but this was either for maintenance or for the expected use of cranes as there doesn't seem to be any internal ramp between the two. They were lovely ferries really and I treasure memories of my only sailing on one of them, the Leopard, in her TT Portsmouth year of 1985.

 

No matter how impressive and ground-breaking the Thoresen Vikings were, as passenger ships the Dragon and Leopard seem to have been altogether more luxurious. The Motor Ship's description of them notes that "there is remarkably little of the clinical plastics-faced decor which mars so many passenger-carrying ships. Rather, the extensive use of tan leather upholstery, teak-like facings and richly coloured fabrics impart a gratifying air of club-like luxury".

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Hhv when you travelled on Leopard in 1985 did she use the TT terminal at Le Havre or the old Normandy Ferries one? Assuming the former, did she use the original berth right up in the corner of the harbour or was that too tight so she had to use the TT freight berth (which was later converted into the twin level loading berth for the jumboised Super Vikings? (Never seen any photographic coverage of the Dragon and Leopard at Le Havre during that year).

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I can't remember for certain which terminal we berthed at unfortunately; I was only 6 and this was my first visit to Le Havre but I do have a feeling that we were at the old Normandy Ferries terminal down on the Mole Central.

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Maiden Voyage of Normandy-Ferries DRAGON, route Southampton / Le Havre

 

 

 

 

The video posted of the DRAGON was taken whilst on a show case visit to London 'prior' to her maiden voyage which was on the 1st July 1967 from Southampton to Le Havre.

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