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Galícia, Salamanca and Santona - Newbuilds for Spanish Routes (e-flexers)


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Late January doesn't exactly lead to a definitive conclusion here Ed.  I suspect there may be more custom for the France - Bilbao leg outside the mid-winter season than there is today?

Great photo though - Brest looks like it has the potential to be a proper ferry port!

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And off she goes...

She's  in...

Some more

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8 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Great photo though - Brest looks like it has the potential to be a proper ferry port!

Yes it has just the right mix of seediness and grime combined with miserable weather that would make anybody want to jump on a ship to somewhere else. Ed. 

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16 hours ago, Gareth said:

Ha - it's only taken 20 pages of the thread for someone to notice that! 🤣  Thanks Chris.

Strictly speaking, it should be Galícia, with the stress accent for the second syllable. Unless someone knows otherwise.... I wonder if that will be painted in to her name?

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4 minutes ago, Bassman said:

Strictly speaking, it should be Galícia, with the stress accent for the second syllable. Unless someone knows otherwise.... I wonder if that will be painted in to her name?

You saw it in this forum first! 😀

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1 hour ago, Gareth said:

Great photo though - Brest looks like it has the potential to be a proper ferry port!

I departed from Brest once on the Pont to Cork due to a dockers strike in Roscoff , no terminal and just a few porta cabins . It shaved a little off of our drive up the west coast from down south . Handy to get to from the motorway as well .

 

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7 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

Haven't we agreed that speed-wise such a schedule won't be possible. Ed. 

Makes one wonder then how an E-Flexer can, as expected, be replacing Cap Finistere when the quickest we could see this timetable to be completed in is 174 hours without a stopover en route?

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45 minutes ago, jonno said:

 

Makes one wonder then how an E-Flexer can, as expected, be replacing Cap Finistere when the quickest we could see this timetable to be completed in is 174 hours without a stopover en route?

Not sure I follow you Jonno.  She’ll be replacing CF in the sense that she arrives on the route and as a result CF disappears on it.  But that doesn’t mean she will be adopting CF’s exact timetable - that won’t be possible.

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4 hours ago, wortley said:

I was also thinking of the number of passengers who might well look at a ferry service getting slower and slower - taking 28 hours, and more if there is a crew change on the way - and deciding to drive down from Ouistreham to Spain instead. What's that - about ten hours? 

Pont Aven sails at 24 kts, a 24 hour sailing... it's actually 23 hours but an allowance has to be made for port approaches and berth manoeuvring. An E-flexer will do 22 kts, a 26 hour sailing.

An E-Flexer could, theoretically, fulfil Cap Finistere's weekly timetable with 2 hour turnarounds... which seems to be the party line at Portsmouth Handling Services Ltd who also want to achieve 90 minutes, personally I think that's unrealistic unless these new ships are far easier to load. I.F's Ulysses has 2 hour turnarounds, she carries a lot more freight and passengers.

Having had a good close look at the timetables, ships etc. I'd have to agree with both Ed & Gareth, tonnage will be replaced like for like but I expect all of the Spanish timetables to be reviewed.

I don't agree with the argument regarding slow crossings, there are quicker ways to reach St Malo than overnighting from PIP, it doesn't stop Bretagne's cabins selling out. Many I speak to who are happy to drive from the French ports to Spain do it due to cost rather than time and invariably stay off the toll roads too.

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I think the versatility of having 3 ships, broadly all of the same configuration, running a daily Portsmouth-Spain service will be of great value for BF.  The ships interchangeable, and may well have timetables that they rotate between them each week.

It would make some sense (assuming PA runs twice weekly from Plymouth to Santander) to consolidate the Portsmouth service on the more freight-orientated Bilbao.

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11 minutes ago, jonno said:

Pont Aven sails at 24 kts, a 24 hour sailing... it's actually 23 hours but an allowance has to be made for port approaches and berth manoeuvring. An E-flexer will do 22 kts, a 26 hour sailing.

You have to allow for the slowing down at night and going inside Ushant at slow speed, the E-Flexer would be doing the same speed for several hours on the crossing.  Someone will have to watch AIS for a whole crossing to see how long the Cap and PA actually go at full service speed.  The one advantage of having more speed is if they need to make up time.

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Re turnaround, whilst the Ouistreham ships do a 90 minute turnaround, I suspect that more cleaning is needed on the Spanish routes as well as moving the vehicles off and on again, In addition there does need to be some slack time in the timetable to make up for previous delays from weather, medivacs etc.. The Ouistreham routes have slack each night, the Spanish ones seem to only have it once a week.

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The speed of the crossing to Spain was the important factor for me when choosing BF over P&O back in the day. Time off from work was limited and spending time on the Ferry was not high on my priority list. This is probably true with the majority of customers today.

Changing to a 28 hour plus crossing in this day and age seems a retrograde step. It will mean that if the Pont remains on the Plymouth rotation it will be very popular. Not everybody is an enthusiast wanting to spend as much time on the Ferry as possible.

 

Ian

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Solo said:

Someone will have to watch AIS for a whole crossing to see how long the Cap and PA actually go at full service speed.

PA won't go beyond 24 kts, any faster and she's at risk of breaking or warping something. BF learnt this during her first years of service, She hasn't used more than 2 engines for propulsion for years now and they're not fully powered up.

An E-flexer has 2 of the same MaK engines as PA & MSM, I think Armorique has them too. The New builds will be test certified to travel at 18 kts on a single engine.

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It would be very unwise to allow less than 3 hours turnaround time for Portsmouth-Spain ferries.  As David says, you need some leeway for late arrival, and there is no valid comparison with twin-loading shuttle routes like Portsmouth-Ouistreham.

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And as far as the “full speed” issue is concerned - no route will be scheduled on the basis of the ship operating at full speed all the time.  Something always needs to be kept in reserve, and full speed is only really possible on a flat sea in any case.  If the Flexer quoted top speed is 22 knots, then you can be sure that the published schedule will not require more than 20 knots, if that.

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1 hour ago, jonno said:

I don't agree with the argument regarding slow crossings, there are quicker ways to reach St Malo than overnighting from PIP, it doesn't stop Bretagne's cabins selling out. Many I speak to who are happy to drive from the French ports to Spain do it due to cost rather than time and invariably stay off the toll roads too.

There's quite a difference between an overnighter (rest, a meal, potential accommodation saving) and two nights on a ship. For some one night is too long anyway but two nights is beginning to test most people's patience, I would wager. 

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24 minutes ago, Gareth said:

It would be very unwise to allow less than 3 hours turnaround time for Portsmouth-Spain ferries.

 

18 minutes ago, Gareth said:

 If the Flexer quoted top speed is 22 knots, then you can be sure that the published schedule will not require more than 20 knots, if that.

Yep, I agree with all of that... All info given to me by PHS et al has now been summarily launched into the shredding bin.

3 hour turnarounds and 18 kts hence the need for 3 E-flexers. Although I still think PA will move full time to Plymouth, the Cap' will take on BDS's timetable and if Roscoff & Le Havre don't do anything the new builds won't be going anywhere near them.

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2 minutes ago, VikingVoyager said:

There's quite a difference between an overnighter (rest, a meal, potential accommodation saving) and two nights on a ship. For some one night is too long anyway but two nights is beginning to test most people's patience, I would wager. 

I doubt any of the ships destined to sail to Spain will spend two nights at sea, not even BDS which travels at the slowest speed overall does that. Even with her limited onboard facilities her 28.5 hr crossing is very popular.

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2 minutes ago, jonno said:

I doubt any of the ships destined to sail to Spain will spend two nights at sea, not even BDS which travels at the slowest speed overall does that. Even with her limited onboard facilities her 28.5 hr crossing is very popular.

I hope you are right as I think that those crossings would need even heavier discounting than the Economie offering to make them sell.  

I think that Pride of Bilbao used to spend 2 nights at sea on some crossings? But of course she was a single ship on the route. 

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1 minute ago, VikingVoyager said:

I think that Pride of Bilbao used to spend 2 nights at sea on some crossings? But of course she was a single ship on the route. 

Every other one!  I can’t remember which way round it was for sure, but all her sailings in one direction were 2-nighters.  I think it was the southbound sailing.  She ran a 3-day repeating schedule.  So I think she left Portsmouth in the evening every third day, then reached Bilbao after 2 nights at sea.  The northbound sailing then took around 30 hours, leaving Bilbao around lunchtime and reaching Portsmouth the following teatime.

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2 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Every other one!  I can’t remember which way round it was for sure, but all her sailings in one direction were 2-nighters.  I think it was the southbound sailing.  She ran a 3-day repeating schedule.  So I think she left Portsmouth in the evening every third day, then reached Bilbao after 2 nights at sea.  The northbound sailing then took around 30 hours, leaving Bilbao around lunchtime and reaching Portsmouth the following teatime.

I thought it was the other way round. I only sailed on her twice, once from Portsmouth to Cherbourg and once from Bilbao to Portsmouth. I thought that the Bilbao trip was two nights. Could be wrong though.  This has reminded me that she also played a small part in the PO-CH passenger and freight figures.   

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11 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

BF seem to be suggesting that Bretagne is staying in the fleet for now so that means PA can offer an 'express' sailing from Portsmouth or Plymouth to Spain for those who need to get there faster.

https://twitter.com/BrittanyFerries/status/1221838651673411586?s=20

Ed

Interesting that Connemara is one of that chaps favourite ships.

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Just now, VikingVoyager said:

I thought it was the other way round. 

It might well have been, I can’t remember.  I do remember that she used to be in Portsmouth in the evening, and I once saw her mid-Channel heading to Portsmouth early afternoon, which would fit with what I described, but honestly I can’t remember.

The 3-day repeating schedule was her pattern of operation in later years, after she stopped sailing to Cherbourg.  When she was first introduced she used to run Portsmouth-Cherbourg rotations twice (?) a week.  In those days she ran twice a week to Bilbao, and I don’t remember two-nighters being a regular occurrence.  But it’s possible there may have been a weekly 2-nighter in the schedule somewhere, and that may well have been on the northbound leg.

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  • Andy changed the title to Galícia, Salamanca and Santona - Newbuilds for Spanish Routes (e-flexers)
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