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(Yet) Another Red funnel crash

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4 hours ago, Khaines said:

Not sure if anyone in high office from Red Funnel will come on her and say anything.  James F would have probably said something, Fran Collins (former Condor) is CEO now.  Not sure if she will post here.  James probably would have given us the low down.

Well, the silence from them speaks volumes.  To be fair, what can they say?  For the second time in a couple of weeks, one of their masters has either lost control or lost navigational awareness on entering Cowes harbour.  This time, with the effect of sinking another vessel.  A port that Red Funnel has been sailing into, in all weathers, for about 5 decades without incident.  Throughout all that time, the ferry traffic and the yachting traffic have coexisted without incident.  And now, you’d have to say, if they cannot get their act together, their right to sail into Cowes must be at least compromised.  It is only by luck that no one was hurt, or worse, in this incident.  An incident that will attract serious interest from the MAIB.

What is an official representative going to say on social media?  All the legal advice will be to stay well away.  Not least, because there are probably internal disciplinary procedures under way.  Unless it is established that something went wrong with the vessel, this is a serious incident that could have significant implications for Red Funnel.

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Not quite fair Gareth, there have been plenty of incidents over the years, many of them caused by pleasure boats getting in the way of the ferries. I have been in and out of Cowes on numerous occasions in my own boat and it can be very tricky with the narrow entrance channel, nearby yacht moorings and other hazards. Also the tide across the entrance can be really fast. On passage from Chichester to Yarmouth in my 25ft yacht, which cruised at around 4.5 knots on engine, it was common for the GPS to show us doing well over 8 knots over the ground when passing Cowes entrance, it literally doubled our speed.

There are navigational warnings that the ferries are constrained in their ability to manouevre and that small craft need to keep out of their way although this would not have applied today.

We don't actually know what happened here but the Red Falcon should certainly have had electronics aboard which would have shown its position to within a few feet on the chart. There coulkd have been a number of reasons for this situation but it is a bit early to expect any useful information to be made public just yet especially when there will be a MAIB investigation pending with potential consequential liability issues. One owner at least has lost their boat!

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Well, we know that (a) one boat sank and (b) the RNLI reported no one in the water.  It is reasonable to decuce from that that the boat that sank was not manned and that it, therefore, must have been anchored or moored.  In those circumstances, unless (very unlikely) a yacht was anchored and left unattended in the main channel, this one cannot be pinned on errors by the yacht skippers.

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1 hour ago, Gareth said:

Well, the silence from them speaks volumes.  To be fair, what can they say?  

What is an official representative going to say on social media?  All the legal advice will be to stay well away.  Not least, because there are probably internal disciplinary procedures under way.  Unless it is established that something went wrong with the vessel, this is a serious incident that could have significant implications for Red Funnel.

Not unknown for representatives to come on here.  Fran Collins has spoken on BBC News.  Don’t forget that a Condor representative has been on here many a time to explain Liberation’s woes.  James Fulford is ex CEO of Red Funnel and he was a regular poster here back in the day.  Not sure if he would have discussed this, but that is neither here nor there at this moment, he is no longer with RF and has moved on.  Obviously they are not going to say anything with legal implications but we have in the past had quite a good relationship with Red Funnel in the past here so I was wondering if they would put an official statement on here.

Edited by Khaines

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56 minutes ago, cvabishop said:

Not quite fair Gareth, there have been plenty of incidents over the years, many of them caused by pleasure boats getting in the way of the ferries. I have been in and out of Cowes on numerous occasions in my own boat and it can be very tricky with the narrow entrance channel, nearby yacht moorings and other hazards. Also the tide across the entrance can be really fast. On passage from Chichester to Yarmouth in my 25ft yacht, which cruised at around 4.5 knots on engine, it was common for the GPS to show us doing well over 8 knots over the ground when passing Cowes entrance, it literally doubled our speed.

There are navigational warnings that the ferries are constrained in their ability to manouevre and that small craft need to keep out of their way although this would not have applied today.

We don't actually know what happened here but the Red Falcon should certainly have had electronics aboard which would have shown its position to within a few feet on the chart. There coulkd have been a number of reasons for this situation but it is a bit early to expect any useful information to be made public just yet especially when there will be a MAIB investigation pending with potential consequential liability issues. One owner at least has lost their boat!

Lymington - Yarmouth is equally narrow.  Been through there loads of times on the C Class ferries and it really is a tight fit.  They were just as large as Falcon and the newer ferries even bigger.  I would say the Lymington route is a tighter fit than Cowes.

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Red Falcon ran into the adjoining yacht anchorage which is why at least one boat was sunk, I wasn't suggesting it was in the main channel but the yacht moorings are very close by. So only a relatively small course deviation would have been sufficient. The ferry was clearly off course but the reason remains to be seen.

Edited by cvabishop

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8 minutes ago, richwarwicker said:

I’ve heard from local sources, albeit none formally verified that a small craft ran across her bow and she had to take avoiding action,

Ah - ok.  Thanks Rich.  That would put things into a different context.

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There was an incident possibly in the late 70 s when a castle ferry rammed the sea wall in cowes demolitioning a large section of it in thick fog .it just went astern and went on it’s merry way without all this fuss .you could tell where for years by the new bit being cleaner than the rest ..maybe there was a problem with engines like when the link span at Southampton was rammed 

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I also remember when a castle class left east cowes with the engineers still in the white hart and had to anchor whilst they were ferried out to the ship 

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Fishbourne has seen it’s fair share of groundings as well,  Cuthred grounded on the slipway didn’t she, splitting her hull, Caedmon jas had to be hauled off a sandbank as well.  John Faulkener’s book on Fishbourne - Portsmouth gives a section on mishaps at the back, quite an in depth index of various groundings and incidents

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15 hours ago, Khaines said:

Lymington - Yarmouth is equally narrow.  Been through there loads of times on the C Class ferries and it really is a tight fit.  They were just as large as Falcon and the newer ferries even bigger.

Not quite sure that's the case!!

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It most certainly is!  The ferries that replaced the C Class are indeed much larger.  I would say that the C Class were around the same size as the Falcon, or as she was before she had those modifications.  Maybe a bit smaller.  I have travelled on the C class, Falcon and her sisters, and also the ships that replaced Caedmon, Cuthred and Cenred on the Lymington - Yarmouth route, so I am qualified to have that opinion.  Have you seen the size of Wight Light, Wight Sun and Wight Sky, they tower over Yarmouth.  The C’s were a lot easier on the eye.

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If you check online you will find that the Raptors are well over twice as large as the Wight class and 50% longer! They carry 3 times as many passengers and cars too!

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I might pop across to Cowes for a day out, I have been meaning to anyway for a while, used to pop over s fair bit.  Seeing the news footage has stirred a few memories.  Cowes is a very pretty town with some nice pubs.

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5 hours ago, Khaines said:

It most certainly is!  The ferries that replaced the C Class are indeed much larger.  I would say that the C Class were around the same size as the Falcon, or as she was before she had those modifications.  Maybe a bit smaller.  I have travelled on the C class, Falcon and her sisters, and also the ships that replaced Caedmon, Cuthred and Cenred on the Lymington - Yarmouth route, so I am qualified to have that opinion.  Have you seen the size of Wight Light, Wight Sun and Wight Sky, they tower over Yarmouth.  The C’s were a lot easier on the eye.

I don't think travelling in the ferries "qualifies" you to know the technical details!

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Re the Wight class, they stand quite high out of the water which makes them look bigger than they are. Alongside a Saint in Portsmouth you see that they are actually a lot smaller.

Re the Captain & First Mate of Red Falcon, it is stated that suspension is normal in these circumstances until the reason for the incident has been determined. It is however significant that Red Funnel have said they are reviewing their procedures for navigating in poor visibility.

Re the ship herself she has returned to service so the damage must have been minimal. A stroke of luck for the company there.

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52 minutes ago, bekkia said:

I don't think travelling in the ferries "qualifies" you to know the technical details!

Ummmmmm, not only just travelled on them, have spent many years discussing them with people in the know, so I consider myself of goid knowledge.  I have a large knowledge base.  My opinion on the differing size of the ferries is just that, an opinion.  Spent many years discussing the Wight ferries, here and a lot of other places.  I have travelled on them all, yes, and am in a qualified position to form an OPINION on how I feel their sizes are. 

Technical details as well...🙄

Edited by Khaines

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Brigitte, I have been travelling on them since the mid 1950s but prefer facts to opinions when it comes to comparing them!

Having an opinion on how big they are doesn't really cut it I'm afraid. All the facts are in the public domain.

 

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24 minutes ago, cvabishop said:

Brigitte, I have been travelling on them since the mid 1950s but prefer facts to opinions when it comes to comparing them!

Having an opinion on how big they are doesn't really cut it I'm afraid. All the facts are in the public domain.

 

Why should the facts ever be allowed to get in the way of a good anecdote? Ed. 

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I reckon Colin will have observed that the ferries are rather bigger now than in the 50s 😀

Have to say, the comparisons between the Raptors and the (whatever the collective name for the Lymington trio is) are a little bit meaningless.  Sure, there are technical figures for absolute size.  But in any meaningful sense, size is relative to context.  The Lymington boats do look huge in the Lymington river.  But they look tiny in Portsmouth harbour.  And the Portsmouth vessels are themselves limited because they have to fit into Wootton Creek.  Ferries designed for Southampton - Cowes are bound to be bigger, just by virtue of the ports they serve.  I’m not quite sure what comparing a Raptor to Wight Light is supposed to demonstrate?

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p.s.  For all the grounding incidents reported in the thread, I am struggling to think of any examples of incidents involving WightLink ferries colliding with and sinking other vessels. Red Funnel seem to have had three incidents of collisions with small craft within a few weeks.  And not even at a really busy time of year for small craft activity in the Solent.  Sure, Cowes is a big yachting centre. But so is Lymington.

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