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Gareth

SAILING UPDATES: 2018 Latest News

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21 hours ago, Andy said:

Due to adverse weather (Storm Diana) the Baie de Seine' sailing from Portsmouth to Santander tomorrow, and the return on Wednesday have been cancelled.

https://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/routes/sailing-updates 

Thank you Andy.

So too rough for Baie de Seine to go south, but OK for Cap Finistere which is heading north from Bilbao right now. 

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6 minutes ago, wortley said:

Thank you Andy.

So too rough for Baie de Seine to go south, but OK for Cap Finistere which is heading north from Bilbao right now. 

That's exactly what happened three weeks ago with her aborted southbound run. Ed. 

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Further weather disruption is now affecting the following sailings:

28/11/18 Cherbourg to Poole 22:15 - We are sorry to advise that due to bad weather, this sailing has been cancelled.

29/11/18 Poole to Cherbourg 08:30 - We are sorry to advise that due to bad weather, this sailing has been cancelled.

29/11/18 Santander to Cork 17:30 - We are sorry to advise that due to bad weather, this sailing has been cancelled.

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Just noticed that the Cap Finistere has passed the Bembridge Anchorage enroute for Bilbao, whilst the Baie de Seine is swinging at anchor there. Her Spanish sailing having been cancelled due to the same weather. One is drawn to the conclusion that the Baie is no longer considered an all weather ship and they are only prepared to sail her, on the Spanish routes, subject to expected weather conditions. Looks like a bit of a `moneypit` at times, sadly.. 

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Could be the extent of the open deck area on the Baie de Seine (and on the Etretat) compared with that on the Cap.  I remember being on the Mont in a bad crossing with the car exposed at the stern.  It was covered in salt  and driving was virtually impossible until the windscreen was thoroughly washed.  

Looking at the BF Tracker, I wouldn't want to be on a boat in the Western Channel or Northe Biscay just now.

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As I get a bit twitchy around this time - we're booked on the 2 nighter to Bilbao on Sunday - I was pondering 2 questions.  How do the Captains decide it's not appropriate to sail, what factors do they look at, other than generalisations like "the safety of the vessel....etc"? 

And given that the "economie" vessels are the first to be cancelled are they really fit for purpose?  And what about Barfleur, also cancelled?

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14 minutes ago, auchmill said:

As I get a bit twitchy around this time - we're booked on the 2 nighter to Bilbao on Sunday - I was pondering 2 questions.  How do the Captains decide it's not appropriate to sail, what factors do they look at, other than generalisations like "the safety of the vessel....etc"? 

MagicSeaweed indicates that it will be much less rough after the weekend.

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49 minutes ago, Malc said:

MagicSeaweed indicates that it will be much less rough after the weekend.

Thanks.  Just had a look.  Fingers crossed.

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There is no issue with the seaworthiness of BDS, and the decision not to sail is hardly ever due to “safety”.  All these ships can cope with far more than they have to face in the conditions they sail in.

The decisions are partly to do with passenger comfort (and perhaps the “safety” of passengers aboard who are not used to dealing with heavy seas - so not the “safety” of the vessel itself).

And they are partly commercial.  I know there are plenty who disagree with me on this, but I am sure that loadings play a part in BF’s decisions to cancel.  Weather is a great “excuse”, because it cannot be refuted and weather cancellations do not place any obligations on the operator.  But when “weather” opportunities arise, I am sure the opportunity is taken to cancel sailings that would not be commercial to operate.  For instance, if, at the moment, all the Spain traffic can be handled by CF, then why waste fuel by sending BDS down there too.

Now shoot me down! 😉

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7 minutes ago, Gareth said:

I am sure that loadings play a part in BF’s decisions to cancel.  

You may well be right.  I agree that the comfort of the passengers must be a priority and perhaps also that of the cargo.  But it is a great inconvenience to many passengers - I see the Cork sailing was also cancelled and there aren't many other options there - and can't do the reputation any good.  At least from Portsmouth there are plenty of sailings to France if the Spain crossing is cancelled. 

As a motorhomer I read that a lot of those travelling in motorhomes or towing caravans much prefer the reliability of the Tunnel and the "supposed" cheapness even counting driving down through France, (although others have disproved that advantage) - apart from the chance of a uncomfortable crossing over the "dreaded" Bay of Biscay.

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I think there is no getting away from the fact that at certain times of the year the Bay lives up to its reputation but that doesn't mean that it isn't a perfectly viable route for passengers  and leisure traffic for most of the year.

There is also the possibility of damage to vehicles caused by them bouncing around on their suspension and knocking against each other when the ship is moving around a lot as another operator discovered not too long ago.

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Yes, damage to cars (and the risk of shifting cargo) are genuine concerns.  There will be times when not sailing is the prudent thing to do from a seamanship point of view (which is not the same thing as the ship not being seaworthy).  And I’d imagine that Cork-Santander will be particularly vulnerable to that.

But there will also be times when weather is used as the cover for what are really commercial decisions.

If I am wrong about that then I am sure that BA14 will be quick to tell me so! 😉

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That's odd, normally if there was an issue Cherbourg would be the port, or even maybe Roscoff? The BF fleet finder has her destination as St Malo still but she doesn't look like she's going that way just now.

Edit. There are reports on social media about blockages at St Maio and Cherbourg  so that could well be it. All unconfirmed but reasonable assumption. 

Edited by Tumnus2010

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I just rang the direct BF number at St Malo (this is it if anyone needs it: 02 99 40 64 41) and the port is indeed blocked by the protesters. Foot passengers will be bused down to St Malo, arriving at around midday. Ed. 

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54 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Hope she fits the berth!

She’s shorter than both MSM and Normandie so fits the berth Gareth. They used her as a relief vessel on the route in the early 2000’s but regularly struggled with the 90 minute turnaround so was invariably late.

Chris

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21 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

She’s shorter than both MSM and Normandie so fits the berth Gareth. They used her as a relief vessel on the route in the early 2000’s but regularly struggled with the 90 minute turnaround so was invariably late.

Chris

But was that the old berth or the new berth?  Has she used the current one before?

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From the look of her track last night, they knew of likely problems at St Malo.  So, you had the (unavoidably) daft situation of Normandie sailing from Pompey 3 hrs after Bretagne and overtaking her en route. Bretagne then had to hang around off Caen waiting for Normandie to clear the berth.

All very inconvenient for passengers who find themselves somewhere else and nearly 2 hrs later than planned!  Presumably tonight’s passengers will have to drive (or be bussed) to Caen and Bretagne will have to vacate the berth during the day?

You wonder why not Cherbourg?  Similar problems or just ‘no room at the inn’?

 

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41 minutes ago, Gareth said:

But was that the old berth or the new berth?  Has she used the current one before?

Yep it was the new berth, stern first, constructed for the arrival of Normandie in 1992.

Of course the next problem is if these protests continue (diesel almost impossible to find in Brittany now) what will happen when PA takes over on Friday as she certainly won’t fit at Ouistreham....😳

Chris

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