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BobCrox

Why so long for a rough crossing?

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Looks like the weather will be  rough for our sailing from Plymouth to Roscoff on Friday. What I don't understand is that a ship that can do the trip in 5 hours is now scheduled to take 11 hours. Do the crew really like keeping their passengers seasick for as long as possible?

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17 minutes ago, BobCrox said:

Do the crew really like keeping their passengers seasick for as long as possible?

What do you think the answer to that one is?

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20 minutes ago, scarlton said:

The alternative is you arrive in Roscoff at 0300 in the pitch black with everything closed. Not good for anyone.

The other alternative is to arrive at the usual time around 7:00. The change to a 10:00 arrival is recent.

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They would much rather keep you on board and sell you breakfast before everyone gets off than lose all that extra revenue. And those with long onward journeys probably appreciate the extra rest too. Ed. 

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13 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

They would much rather keep you on board and sell you breakfast before everyone gets off than lose all that extra revenue. And those with long onward journeys probably appreciate the extra rest too. Ed. 

But they sell breakfast when the boat arrives 3 hours earlier. I think that those with long onward journeys would prefer an extra 3 hours at their destinations rather than wallowing around on the high seas.

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I would guess the later arrival is due to tidal restrictions. I'm not sure why you're under the impression that BF are trying their best to make your journey hell.

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If the weather gets too bad the captain might choose not to sail at all it’s his decision at the end of the day, and he doesn’t want to be at sea in rough weather anymore than anyone else.

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There are several factors to consider when dealing with the part of the OP that warrants a serious answer.

Firstly, why generally ships take longer to make passage in rough weather.  Several reasons that all boil down to the fact that the ship cannot just cross at full speed in a straight line as she normally would.  The course followed often has to be adjusted so that the ship presents the right angle to the waves - generally with the waves either at an angle of around 20 degrees to the bow or at an angle of 20-30 degrees to the stern.  Very uncomfortable to plough straight into them head first, quite dangerous (due to unpredictable behaviour of ship) to have the waves dead astern, and very dangerous to have the waves beam-on to the ship.  Beam-on waves in a heavy sea could easily roll the ship over.  So the course followed has to be adjusted for the waves, and as a result will be a zig-zag rather than a straight line.  And then, the ship cannot meet the waves at full speed, for reasons of both comfort and risk of damage to the ship and cargo.  So, typically, the ship will be following a zig-zag course making around 14 knots.  Doesn't take a genius to work out that a greater distance covered at slower speed is going to take longer.  And then add in the windage associated with trying to drive a high-side ship into a gale.

Secondly, in terms of arrival time in Roscoff.  As we've discussed quite a lot on this forum, Roscoff is an exposed port and very vulnerable to adverse weather in winter.  Arrival time will be chosen to make arrival (a) safe and (b) as comfortable as possible in light of the detailed wind and tide forecasts.

As Neil says, the alternative to a crossing that the crew makes as safe and comfortable as possible is that the ship doesn't sail at all.  If you don't like or trust BF's operational decision-making (that is made in your best interest), you can always just decide not to sail yourself.  For the avoidance of doubt, lest it really needs saying, BF does not set out to deliberately make you uncomfortable for as long as possible, and its crews take no pleasure in passenger mal de mer.

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14 minutes ago, Gareth said:

 And then, the ship cannot meet the waves at full speed, for reasons of both comfort and risk of damage to the ship and cargo. 

Plenty of pictures around showing the results of slamming into weather at full service speed. Truly astonishing that any master would do that.

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Hi BobCrox,  Are you sailing on Friday this week?  BBC Weather for Plymouth is saying sunny intervals and a gentle breeze, though a bit gusty by Saturday.   Have a lie in and a leisurely breakfast before going ashore. Bon voyage. 

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The Saturday night sailing is always scheduled to arrive in Roscoff at 1000, because the Cork ship has to get off the berth and head for Plymouth on Sunday morning before Armorique can dock.  (Although, in the case of this Sunday, Bretagne will be heading back to St Malo). But the Friday night sailing is usually scheduled to get in at 0800.  Two days after the crossing we are discussing, Plymouth-Roscoff closes down for the winter.

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On 31/10/2018 at 16:37, scarlton said:

I would guess the later arrival is due to tidal restrictions. I'm not sure why you're under the impression that BF are trying their best to make your journey hell.

The journey times are published. When you by a ticket, the contract is to carry you from A to B. That's it!

From my position they offer a safe, professional ferry service through good and bad weather and busy shipping lanes. Nothing else matters.

SFD

Edited by straightfeed
got it wrong!
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supprised at some of the comments about speed.i would of thought it is a no brainier the ferry slows down in bad weather for the safety of the passengers,crew and the ship.i would rather get there late than not get there at all.

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Yes.  I’m surprised it needs saying too.  As you say, it is a statement of the glaringly obvious for anyone with a basic understanding of seamanship.

Without wishing to open up a can of worms, it is worth noting that the official explanation as to why Estonia’s bow “fell off” in heavy seas found that a history of too high a speed (for the conditions) (due to regular commercial pressure to arrive on time) was a factor.

The optimum speed to drive a vessel into a head sea is the one that allows the frequency of pitching of the vessel to match the rate at which the waves are encountered.  So that the bow falls into a the trough and rises as the sea rises.  It is when the speed is so fast that the sea is already rising up to a new peak when the bow crashes down onto it that the damage and discomfort will be at its worst.  So the optimal safe speed in any sea is determined by the behaviour of the sea itself.  Commercial schedules are irrelevant.

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4 hours ago, Gareth said:

Without wishing to open up a can of worms, it is worth noting that the official explanation as to why Estonia’s bow “fell off” in heavy seas found that a history of too high a speed (for the conditions) (due to regular commercial pressure to arrive on time) was a factor.

 

That's a very good example.

As it happens Armorique didn't depart until 0030 and steamed all night. I would assume to avoid having to drift and get thrown around as well as avoiding the higher winds.

But of course BF want it to be as rough as possible.  🙄

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As you can see very few postings but I must come in on this one as I have travelled this route countless times over the last 20 years. Came back Friday evening and the Captain did 'the usual', through the breakwater and into Whitsand bay where the main engine was shut down. Very quiet and virtually no movement . Main engine re-started at about 1.30 (ish) and away we went. So there is no going across at a very low speed. This seems to be the norm when we leave Plymouth at 10pm. Whitsand and Cawsand are extremely well sheltered as I know from my sailing day's - that was a long time ago!.

 

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8 minutes ago, nigelinfrance said:

As you can see very few postings but I must come in on this one as I have travelled this route countless times over the last 20 years. Came back Friday evening and the Captain did 'the usual', through the breakwater and into Whitsand bay where the main engine was shut down. Very quiet and virtually no movement . Main engine re-started at about 1.30 (ish) and away we went. So there is no going across at a very low speed. This seems to be the norm when we leave Plymouth at 10pm. Whitsand and Cawsand are extremely well sheltered as I know from my sailing day's - that was a long time ago!.

 

Yes, that’s a different issue.  That’s a case of the overnight crossings are always scheduled to take longer, for civilised arrival times decent night’s sleep.  Those timings are already built into the published schedules, and are nothing to do with rough crossings.  (Sea state will influence captain with his choice of how to manage the longer crossing though).  The OP is about something different - BobCrox wanted to know why crossings take longer than scheduled in rough weather.

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Sorry Gareth but I thought BobCrox was asking why the night crossing times are not shorter. The crossings on the Armorique as you know are always around 10 hours at night and around 6 during the day irrespective of the weather. Just realised what I said about Whitsand bay will now be known to BobCrox as we were on the Friday crossing back to France!  No rough seas, just very slightly lumpy about an hour out of Roscoff.

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18 minutes ago, nigelinfrance said:

Sorry Gareth but I thought BobCrox was asking why the night crossing times are not shorter. The crossings on the Armorique as you know are always around 10 hours at night and around 6 during the day irrespective of the weather. Just realised what I said about Whitsand bay will now be known to BobCrox as we were on the Friday crossing back to France!  No rough seas, just very slightly lumpy about an hour out of Roscoff.

Yes, it is quite hard to follow what the actual point was!  My reading, from the OP and the thread title is that he was booked on an overnight sailing that was due in at 0800 but weather-delayed to 1000, and he was asking why (in light of the weather) the arrival could not have been brought forward to the 0300 that would have corresponded to the full-speed crossing time. 

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