Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
David Williams

Routing to Spain

Recommended Posts

12 hours ago, David Williams said:

I note that the Santander / Bilbao shops generally go inside, do their captains have more training for those waters ?

Yes, they are tricky and hazardous passages, the routes inside Ushant.  Most large ships are not allowed to go anywhere near the area - the LD ships were not allowed to pass through when they were operating; Pride of Bilbao never went “inside” - and the BF ships have special permission from the French authorities to use these shortcuts.  This is how (and is the only way) BF is able to run Portsmouth-Spain in 24 hours.  BF skippers have to have special PECs to allow them to navigate inside Ushant, and only the skippers of the regular Spanish route vessels have these.  The training and certification / recertification of skippers generally takes place on board Cap Finisterre on Mondays, when she is making her slow passage from Roscoff to Bilbao.  You will often find her putting into the Rade de Brest (to take on and off-load pilots) and travelling both north and south through the area during Mondays, for this purpose.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Gareth said:

Yes, they are tricky and hazardous passages, the routes inside Ushant.  Most large ships are not allowed to go anywhere near the area - the LD ships were not allowed to pass through when they were operating; Pride of Bilbao never went “inside” - and the BF ships have special permission from the French authorities to use these shortcuts.  This is how (and is the only way) BF is able to run Portsmouth-Spain in 24 hours.  BF skippers have to have special PECs to allow them to navigate inside Ushant, and only the skippers of the regular Spanish route vessels have these.  The training and certification / recertification of skippers generally takes place on board Cap Finisterre on Mondays, when she is making her slow passage from Roscoff to Bilbao.  You will often find her putting into the Rade de Brest (to take on and off-load pilots) and travelling both north and south through the area during Mondays, for this purpose.

In that case, why is the 'last stretch' up the channel always so slow? It feels like they are doing about 10knots top on the final few hours approach into Portsmouth? Is there a speed restriction? I have often thought this with Plymouth too.... even when the ships are running behind schedule, the final part of the journey seems incredibly slow?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

In that case, why is the 'last stretch' up the channel always so slow? It feels like they are doing about 10knots top on the final few hours approach into Portsmouth? Is there a speed restriction? I have often thought this with Plymouth too.... even when the ships are running behind schedule, the final part of the journey seems incredibly slow?

I thought that the Cap' was just pootling up the channel last week in order to fit into a berthing slot at Portsmouth which made me a little miffed at the time being three hours late. Checking A.I.S she was doing 25 knots, a lot faster than any other vessel out there. I suppose we think the channel is a lot shorter and narrower than it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, jonno said:

I thought that the Cap' was just pootling up the channel last week in order to fit into a berthing slot at Portsmouth which made me a little miffed at the time being three hours late. Checking A.I.S she was doing 25 knots, a lot faster than any other vessel out there. I suppose we think the channel is a lot shorter and narrower than it is.

 

1 hour ago, hf_uk said:

In that case, why is the 'last stretch' up the channel always so slow? It feels like they are doing about 10knots top on the final few hours approach into Portsmouth? Is there a speed restriction? I have often thought this with Plymouth too.... even when the ships are running behind schedule, the final part of the journey seems incredibly slow?

Yes, from the Horse Sands and No Mans Forts close to Warner Buoy, right through the harbour, the speed restriction is 10 knots. A rough estimate, from the NAB Tower to the Harbour Entrance takes around 40 minutes for a conventional ferry. Add on another 15 minutes to docking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And I think it is, as Jonno says, easy to underestimate how far it is up the Channel to Portsmouth.  It is at least a third of the distance of the total passage, possible more.  There’s a reason why the Santander service always ran from Plymouth until relatively recently - Portsmouth adds a heck of a lot on to the distance!  The ships do not just “pootle” - they have to go flat out to maintain the Spain schedules from Portsmouth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gareth said:

And I think it is, as Jonno says, easy to underestimate how far it is up the Channel to Portsmouth.  It is at least a third of the distance of the total passage, possible more.  There’s a reason why the Santander service always ran from Plymouth until relatively recently - Portsmouth adds a heck of a lot on to the distance!  The ships do not just “pootle” - they have to go flat out to maintain the Spain schedules from Portsmouth.

Plymouth is a far more sociable Spanish sailing in my opinion, the arrival/departure times and times onboard etc...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

Plymouth is a far more sociable Spanish sailing in my opinion, the arrival/departure times and times onboard etc...

Agreed.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I quite like the Saturday 0845 sailing time from Portsmouth coupled with the Monday Santander or Thursday Bilbao return although it makes for an odd holiday length, It's a shame the timetable can't be shuffled to bring the Portsmouth arrival times forward.  Santander arrival times in the UK  including Plymouth are daft if you've another 4-5 hours travel ahead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, jonno said:

I quite like the Saturday 0845 sailing time from Portsmouth coupled with the Monday Santander or Thursday Bilbao return although it makes for an odd holiday length, It's a shame the timetable can't be shuffled to bring the Portsmouth arrival times forward.  Santander arrival times in the UK  including Plymouth are daft if you've another 4-5 hours travel ahead.

If there were more sailings from Plymouth it would bring arrival times 4 hours forward, plus give us more choice in the west country.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Solo said:

If there were more sailings from Plymouth it would bring arrival times 4 hours forward, plus give us more choice in the west country.

Yes as departure times from Santander are determined by the arrival from Portsmouth not from a shorter crossing from Plymouth.

Is there a debate to be had regarding having Plymouth as the 'holiday' sailing route using both Pont Aven and Cap' Finistere whilst Portsmouth concentrate on a more freight focused service using Galicia and Salamanca, it's what they'll be predominantly built for afterall?

Personally I don't see Plymouth as any harder to reach than Portsmouth, a quick look at a map offers alternate routes from north to south especially if the M5 is congested. For instance the route straight down the A34 and then along the A303 can be a pleasant diversion and not too stressful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, jonno said:

Personally I don't see Plymouth as any harder to reach than Portsmouth, a quick look at a map offers alternate routes from north to south especially if the M5 is congested. For instance the route straight down the A34 and then along the A303 can be a pleasant diversion and not too stressful.

It is if you are starting from London or the South East!  In my case, Portsmouth is 1h15 compared to Plymouth at 4h45  (assuming moderate traffic for each).

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking "personally" I don't expect you do. But speaking "personally" for myself, and everyone else in London and the south east, we may disagree. My UK base is in SE London / North Kent, a mere 105 comfortable minutes from Portsmouth. 150 minutes to Poole, and, what ? 5 hours to Plymouth, and reading this site it seems that every driver has their own pet way of trying to avoid the traffic in Plymouth. Portsmouth? Straight off the motorway without needing to go near the city.

 

Edit - Sorry Halfcrown. Didn't see your response. You make the point, only far more concisely than I !!

Edited by rogerpatenall
Acknowledge another poster
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As another inhabitant of the SE, I agree with the 2 comments above.

BF know where their customers come from.

Their heart and history is in Plymouth (as are their staff), however their head is in Portsmouth as that is the best location & they have shown that by continuing to commit to Portsmouth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, jonno said:

Yes as departure times from Santander are determined by the arrival from Portsmouth not from a shorter crossing from Plymouth.

Is there a debate to be had regarding having Plymouth as the 'holiday' sailing route using both Pont Aven and Cap' Finistere whilst Portsmouth concentrate on a more freight focused service using Galicia and Salamanca, it's what they'll be predominantly built for afterall?

Personally I don't see Plymouth as any harder to reach than Portsmouth, a quick look at a map offers alternate routes from north to south especially if the M5 is congested. For instance the route straight down the A34 and then along the A303 can be a pleasant diversion and not too stressful.

It would make sense in terms of fuel and post 2020 to help the CAP keep to single night sailings only...


The current Sunday departure from Plymouth is around 4pm, arriving in Spain at midday. So you have time to arrive in a leisurely fashion, get onboard, relax, drink & eat, and then have a nice lay in before being in Spain wherever you are headed before lunchtime the next day. For those with an onward travel, you could even have a 'brunch' around 10.30/11.00 and then not have to worry about lunch, just get straight on to get a good start for wherever you are headed that evening. I think that's why is it particularly popular with Caravans/Motorhomes and Motorcycles this time of year...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, jonno said:

Yes as departure times from Santander are determined by the arrival from Portsmouth not from a shorter crossing from Plymouth.

Personally I don't see Plymouth as any harder to reach than Portsmouth, a quick look at a map offers alternate routes from north to south especially if the M5 is congested. For instance the route straight down the A34 and then along the A303 can be a pleasant diversion and not too stressful.

Got to disagree we start for Portsmouth from either Coventry or Milton Keynes and in either case the travel time is 1.5-2hrs if we were to head to Plymouth it would be a minimum of 4.5hr and if traffic was bad could be up to 10hrs as happened to me more than once!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It clearly depends when you live, and also whether you like/mind driving. I heard a lot of BF Plymouth customers come from the West Coast - ie, Wales, West Midlands and even Scotland. I suppose you can just skirt down the side of the country and not go anywhere near pompey if you live near those main route networks...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also I think this thread was not initially about "which is best" - I thought it was about 1 sailing per week VS 7! And equalizing things out when the e-flexers arrive?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally driving from Scotland I used to use Plymouth but had too many bad experiences with congestion on that route and have chosen to avoid it now far easier to use the M6 and the toll road avoids a good bit of potential congestion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have given it some thought and I believe the best solution for Spain post-2021 is:

Galicia and Salamanca would dedicate themselves to Portsmouth to Santander and Bilbao respectively. Will they be fast enough to fit three rotations each? 

Pont-Aven would introduce a second rotation between Plymouth and Santander in lieu to Cork. She would return to Plymouth Friday morning and leave for Santander at 15:45, leaving Santander at around 17:00 Saturday to be back in time for the 15:45 Sunday crossing. 

Cap Finistere would become dedicated Irish ship (with maybe two Cork Roscoff sailings to compensate and maybe 1 Cork Santander sailing?) 

Result: extra Portsmouth sailing, extra Plymouth sailing, Ireland maintained. Wouldn't need Pelican, Etretat or BDS. 

 

Edited by georgem7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, georgem7 said:

I have given it some thought and I believe the best solution for Spain post-2021 is:

Galicia and Salamanca would dedicate themselves to Portsmouth to Santander and Bilbao respectively. Will they be fast enough to fit three rotations each? 

Pont-Aven would introduce a second rotation between Plymouth and Santander in lieu to Cork. She would return to Plymouth Friday morning and leave for Santander at 15:45, leaving Santander at around 17:00 Saturday to be back in time for the 15:45 Sunday crossing. 

Cap Finistere would become dedicated Irish ship (with maybe two Cork Roscoff sailings to compensate and maybe 1 Cork Santander sailing?) 

Result: extra Portsmouth sailing, extra Plymouth sailing, Ireland maintained. Wouldn't need Pelican, Etretat or BDS. 

 

Would there be reduced service for roscoff and would cap finnistere fit in roscoff she is quite long

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She goes into Roscoff every Monday for a crew change (and to pick up some French passengers) so no problem there. The size might be an issue in Cork which I think was discussed elsewhere recently. Ed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...