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SAILING UPDATES: 2016 Latest News

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Barf is in Cherbourg - any idea what is wrong with her, same as last?

That's normal - ships have generators running all the time, including when in port. They still need electricity.

 

 

Yes indeed Gareth - the point that I was making was even though they have the additional generators brought onboard ( sitting on a lorry trailer ) at least one of the ship's generators is still actually working...or perhaps sharing the load.

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If it's the power for the scrubbers, the only thing I can think of is that the new system required a lower voltage so BF replaced one of Barfy's 8L32 Gensets with an auxiliary pack. If Barfy then has a fault of any of the remaining sets then they'd need to bring something in as the LV Auxpac won't generate enough power on it's own.

 

With Ac saying that there's a trailer on board I'd suggest that as per the SOLAS regs, this mobile uninterrupted power supply is dedicated for the emergency systems, computers, navigation etc. All ships must be built with a separate switchboard for such an occurrence as if the other two Gensets fail, the ships still has her eyes and ears.

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I always thought NEX was taken out of the water - but she isn't.

 

NEX was only taken out of the water in 2012 for her refit, she'll stay in the water at Darse de l'Ocean (Le Havre) until April.

 

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This mornings' Caen - Portsmouth and the afternoon Portsmouth - Caen sailing have been cancelled due to technical problems. Mont St Michel has diverted to Cherbourg (due to Normandie occupying the berth in Caen).

 

Very unusual to see the Normandie off service!

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Don't know why it hasn't occurred to me to ask this before (for example, every Christmas and New Year). Is there a reason why the ship on the berth at Ouistreham cannot just slide south a bit along the quay towards the original Duc De Normandie berth if she is not going anywhere, in order to vacate the berth for the other ship to use? (Rather than have to divert to Cherbourg for example). I guess if it was possible it would happen, and therefore it can't be possible. The quay is certainly long enough so I guess there can only be two reasons why it may not be possible - state of quayside or dredged depth not large enough south of the current berth. If it is the latter, does that mean that the southern part of the harbour is no longer maintained at a usable depth by ferries, or is it deliberately maintained at a depth that would have fitted the earlier generations of ferries but not the current ones? That would seem...well, a bit of a waste of money. But if it was the former (no longer maintained) then at the rate that Ouistreham must silt up I'm surprised the lower harbour does't dry. In fact we know that the channel leading to the locks is maintained at navigable depth so surely the quayside would be as well? In which case....back to the original question, why don't the ferries use it when out of action?

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Yes, it would be interesting to know why that is not possible (or why they don't do it if it is possible). Any word from Ouistreham on whether they have managed to fix the problem?

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Normandie sailed from Ouistreham as scheduled last night, so appears to be back to normal. She has, unusually given no other traffic around, come into berth 3 at Portsmouth this morning though. One might think that this could suggest she will be spending the day in Portsmouth, but there's no indication of any travel disruption today on the BF sailing updates page so probably not.

Edited by Gareth

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It's been a long spell of bad weather recently.

I can't remember the last time when we had so many problems due to the weather.

Can any other members remember such a long, stormy,wet,period as we have had recently?

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I find these sorts of cancellations somewhat strange. My views on BF using "weather" to justify cancellations that could be really for other reasons are well-known, but this particular one is either another example or reveals something about the problems they are having with Barfleur. What seems strange is that we have sailings on one of the short-sea routes cancelled over 24 hours ahead due to a weather forecast that is for SW force 8, possibly 9. Normally meat and drink conditions for these ferries, normally has to be getting up to 10 and above and even then cross-channel crossings would normally be cancelled on the day on the basis of actual conditions rather than 24 ahead on the basis of forecast conditions. (Spanish routes the situation is a bit different because with crossings of longer duration there is a case for making decisions earlier). Strange too that this is the only route cancelled, that conditions are not expected to be problematic for any of the other routes.

 

To me this tells me (assuming that weather is the true reason for the cancellation) that they know that they are going to have problems getting Barfleur off the berth at Poole. Wind is SW, so conditions in the entrance at Poole aren't going to be a problem. Nor will a SW gale cause undue problems at the Cherbourg end. They can't be worried about conditions mid-channel otherwise they would cancel more than Barfleur - nor should they be because SW 8 or 9 is nothing abnormal. But I can see a SW 9 potentially pinning Barfleur onto the berth at Poole, and if she is having problems with power generation then attempting departure could be considered risky. So to me, this could be legitimately weather but tied to the technical problems they are having with Barfleur.

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Latest forecasts indicate Sunday night & Monday could be more than your average gale. Current predictions of 60-70 mph gusts up the Channel & a swell peaking at 8 meters at Channel Light vessel.

 

Ferry companies have likely been watching the current storm for a few days now. 24hours ago there was signs of the strongest winds falling south of Brittany however the last few runs indicate the Channel worst effected. The Met Office has issued an amber warning for the south west. Surprised the storm has not been named yet.

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Ah well, indeed, into next week is a different matter. But this particular cancellation relates to tomorrow (Saturday), when the forecast wind is SW6-8, occasionally 9. With the conditions expected into next week I'd have thought we'd be seeing more than a Poole-Cherbourg round trip being cancelled. The fact that this one is just Barfleur implies to me that it is something to do with Barfleur herself and her ability to cope with strong winds at the moment. If she is having generator problems then they could well affect the "grunt" they would be able to get out of her bow thrusters. That's why I think this is most likely to do with berthing and unberthing at Poole. A SW gale can whip through the gap in the hills and up the harbour at Poole and would have the effect of making it very difficult for Barfleur to get on and off the berth if her thrusters are suffering from reduced power. Just my theory - if it's not that then I can't see how weather is a legitimate reason for tomorrow's cancellation.

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:I think BF are very sensible. This translation (Bing) from an article in the Normandy Press is quite clear:-

"Winds of 100 km/h with gusts reaching 140 km/h are planned from February 6 on the sleeve.

The maritime prefect of the channel and the North Sea appeals to the utmost caution to the attention of all users of the sea taking into account particularly difficult weather conditions that lie ahead from February 6.

Across the English Channel-North Sea area will be under the influence of winds ranging from 60 to 80 km/h on Saturday, February 6. According to the coastguard, the last forecast indicates that the situation will deteriorate strongly during the night of Sunday to Monday. During the southwesterly winds could reach storm with established 90-100 km/h winds and gusts up to 140 km/h. This situation should continue until Monday, February 8 in the evening.

Monday morning, already well trained sea state will increase and lows of 4-5 metres are expected in Manche-East and lows of 6 to 7 metres to the North and West of the Cotentin peninsula.

Due to these conditions, the coastguard calls the users of the sea to the greatest caution. Witnesses of any serious problem may alert the Cross Jobourg at 196".

 

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So why just Poole-Cherbourg?

 

The conditions described for Saturday are still relatively normal, with the basic thrust of this article pointing towards Sunday and Monday. Winds between 60 and 80 km/h are talked about for Saturday - that's only force 6-8.

 

Edit: As expected, lots of disruption across the network now being advised on the updates page, with all routes affected apart from (at the moment) Caen. From the 7th onwards, that makes complete sense given the forecast. Barfleur by herself on the 6th still implies to me that Barfleur is not firing on all cylinders and that the weather threshold for her at the moment is lower.

Edited by Gareth

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Currently on the Updates page:

 

Weather forecasts for the 7-9 February are causing significant disruption to our Spanish services. Please check this page regularly for updates or get in touch for the most up to date information.

 

The following sailings have been cancelled due to bad weather. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.

 

06/02/16 Santander to Portsmouth 22h30 (Cap Finistère) - Please call 0044 1752 648637 for advice and alternatives.

09/02/16 Portsmouth to Santander 08h45 (Baie de Seine) - Please call 01752 648637 for advice and alternatives.

 

Portsmouth to Bilbao - Bilbao to Portsmouth

Weather forecasts for the 7-9 February are causing significant disruption to our Spanish services. Please check this page regularly for updates or get in touch for the most up to date information.

 

06/02/16 Portsmouth to Bilbao 08h45 (Baie de Seine) - Due to bad weather this sailing must now depart at 07h45, ONE HOUR EARLIER than scheduled. Latest check-in 07h00. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.

 

The following sailings have been cancelled due to bad weather. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.

 

07/02/16 Bilbao to Portsmouth 17h15 (Baie de Seine) - Please call 0044 1752 648637 for advice and alternatives.

07/02/16 Portsmouth to Bilbao 22h30 (Cap Finistère) - Please call 01752 648637 for advice and alternatives.

 

09/02/16 Bilbao to Portsmouth 10h30 (Cap Finistère) - Due to bad weather this sailinghas been delayed for 24 hours and will now be departing on WEDNESDAY 10th at 10h30, arriving into Portsmouth on Thursday 11th at 17h00. Your booking has automatically been transferred onto this new crossing however please call 0044 1752 648637 to confirm that the new departure time is acceptable. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.

 

Portsmouth to Caen/Ouistreham - Caen/Ouistreham to Portsmouth

All services are operating to schedule.

 

Portsmouth to St Malo - St Malo to Portsmouth

07/02/16 Portsmouth to St Malo 20h15 (Bretagne) - Due to bad weather this sailing will be diverted to CHERBOURG, arriving at 08h15. A coach transfer from Cherbourg to St Malo has been arranged for foot passengers. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.

 

08/02/16 St Malo to Portsmouth 10h30 (Bretagne) - Due to bad weather this sailingwill now be departing from CHERBOURG at 14h00 rather than St Malo. Latest check-in 13h15. A coach will departing from St Malo port at 10h30 to transfer foot passengers. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.

 

All other services are operating to schedule.

 

Portsmouth to Cherbourg - Cherbourg to Portsmouth

Full service resumes 27 April 2016.

 

Portsmouth to Le Havre - Le Havre to Portsmouth

All services are operating to schedule.

 

Plymouth to Roscoff - Roscoff to Plymouth

Service resumes 15 March 2016.

 

Plymouth to St Malo - St Malo to Plymouth

Service resumes 8 March 2016.

 

Plymouth to Santander - Santander to Plymouth

Service resumes 3 March 2016.

 

Poole to Cherbourg - Cherbourg to Poole

06/02/16 Poole to Cherbourg 08h30 (Barfleur) - We are sorry to advise that due to bad weather, this sailing has been cancelled. Please call 01752 648637 for advice and alternatives. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.

 

06/02/16 Cherbourg to Poole 18h30 (Barfleur) - We are sorry to advise that due to bad weather, this sailing has been cancelled. Please call 0044 1752 648637 for advice and alternatives. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.

 

07/02/16 Cherbourg to Poole 18h30 (Barfleur) - We are sorry to advice that due to bad weather, this sailing must now depart at the earlier time of 15h00, arriving into Poole at 18h30. Please call 0044 1752 648637 to confirm that this new time is acceptable. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.

 

All other services are operating to schedule.

 

Cork to Roscoff - Roscoff to Cork

Service resumes 1 April 2016.

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If you are not familiar with the MagicSeaweed site then have a look here - http://magicseaweed.com/UK-Ireland-Surf-Chart/1/ and you will see that wave height is also a factor, not just wind speed and direction.....I always consult this site before a ferry trip, it is amazingly accurate 48 hours or so in advance........hover your mouse pointer across the day/time at the top of the screen to see the swell forecast.....you can see the window of opportunity that Barfleur is aiming for.

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What a colourful map! Thanks, yes it's very interesting and yes you can. It is still the case though that the large swells that are affecting the Poole-Cherbourg route are also extending well into the region of the Caen and Le Havre ships. So my point remains, if this was the sole reason for the cancellation of Barfleur then others would be cancelled too. Weather is certainly clearly a factor behind the decision (and so technically the updates page is correct), but I maintain it cannot be the only factor. State of Barfleur may be playing a part, but the other factor that I'm sure weigh into these decisions must be loadings. There will be times when the weather is so bad that no other consideration is needed, but there will be others where the decision is marginal. I would think that today is one of those. At such times, weather could well be given as the reason for cancellation and is certainly a factor, but the deciding factor may well be something else, such as how full the ship is expected to be - ie the fuller the ship, the worse the weather would need to be in order to cancel. Etc. So unless the weather is really bad, the decision to cancel is not black and white. I certainly don't blame BF for citing weather as the reason for these decisions, there are sound business reasons for doing so. But sometimes (such as today) the decision is much more complex than that. Let's be clear, it is nothing at all to do with safety, these ships are safe to sail in far far worse conditions than result in cancellation. The interplay of passenger comfort, problems with ship, level of loadings and severity of weather will all feed into the equation. What I do think is that the tolerance of bad weather has become lower in recent years, and that is the reason we are seeing the frequency of disruption that we are.

 

On a side note, and coming back to ac freeman's map - I'm glad I'm not anywhere near Ushant in a boat at the moment! ;)

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