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The Ferry Man

Normandie Express Solent Speeds query

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Hi,

Looking at Normandie Express speeds, something I have noticed is that (once past the speed limits) she seems to speed up to around 36 knots sailing past the IoW, but once she hits the open channel, she slows back down to 33 knots (where she remains for the crossing). Not a one off either, as I was on her last week and did the same. Any reason why she does this? My initial thoughts would have been currents, but would have thought then that it would be more date dependent - ie less likely to be two consecutive Sundays

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7 minutes ago, The Ferry Man said:

Hi,

Looking at Normandie Express speeds, something I have noticed is that (once past the speed limits) she seems to speed up to around 36 knots sailing past the IoW, but once she hits the open channel, she slows back down to 33 knots (where she remains for the crossing). Not a one off either, as I was on her last week and did the same. Any reason why she does this? My initial thoughts would have been currents, but would have thought then that it would be more date dependent - ie less likely to be two consecutive Sundays

It might be because of traffic in the channel the bridge always look at the traffic ahead and respond to it early but it might of be a coincidence that it did it for a whole journey it might of even been early

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1 minute ago, Solo said:

He means coming into Portsmouth Gareth.

But AIS is showing her heading away from Portsmouth....

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These speeds are normal, all through this season she's being running at 32-34 knots across the channel. Once she passes though the forts outbound from Portsmouth, she can let rip but rarely goes over 34 knots, although, she did hit 36.8 knots at 08:00 this morning and 37.4 this evening.

Edited by TonyMWeaver

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10 hours ago, Gareth said:

But AIS is showing her heading away from Portsmouth....

Perhaps Ferry man will clarify, when I looked at Ais she was coming along side in Portsmouth.

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1 hour ago, Solo said:

Perhaps Ferry man will clarify, when I looked at Ais she was coming along side in Portsmouth.

It seems that Gareth is getting confused as Ferry Man posted this last night close to 10pm, but Ferry Man was asking in general and not talking about the vessel as if it was happening at the time of posting.

 

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It was a combination of time of posting and that I looked on AIS at the time and saw that NEX was heading away from Bembridge towards Cherbourg at that time.  There is no confusion in what i saw, but it could have been an AIS blip I suppose.  It just struck me that the coincidence of both the time of posting and the AIS plot made it likely that this was actually happening, and it seemed odd.

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I checked my Marine Traffic app last night, and as Solo said, she was coming into port - Cap and Etretat were already there as well.  So probably is a blip, Gareth.  I wondered myself what the heck she was doing going out at that time, well past her bedtime so went and looked on the app myself.  

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On 14/07/2019 at 11:03, The Ferry Man said:

Hi,

Looking at Normandie Express speeds, something I have noticed is that (once past the speed limits) she seems to speed up to around 36 knots sailing past the IoW, but once she hits the open channel, she slows back down to 33 knots (where she remains for the crossing). Not a one off either, as I was on her last week and did the same. Any reason why she does this? My initial thoughts would have been currents, but would have thought then that it would be more date dependent - ie less likely to be two consecutive Sundays

Going back to the original question I'm pretty sure the reason they don't run her flat out is for reasons of fuel economy. Remember she used to be rostered to do the crossing in 2h45 minutes so the extra 15 minutes leaves a margin for error. The last time I was on the bridge the captain was telling me she uses around 5 tonnes of fuel (expensive marine diesel) per crossing and throttling back where possible can reduce consumption by up to 20%. All operators are trying to save a few bucks where possible, B.F. especially so in what's been a difficult year so far.

Chris

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Chris - my understanding of the original question was not so much why does she not cross the channel flat out, but why is there a section of the journey around the IoW where she appears to temporarily speed up to a faster speed than the crossing speed. 

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20 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Chris - my understanding of the original question was not so much why does she not cross the channel flat out, but why is there a section of the journey around the IoW where she appears to temporarily speed up to a faster speed than the crossing speed. 

That was my understanding as well and last night he was saying she speeded up in bound around the IOW.

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Could it not just be a question of collision avoidance, giving herself more sea room in between slowing tankers and bulk carriers heading to the busy anchorage?

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2 hours ago, Gareth said:

Chris - my understanding of the original question was not so much why does she not cross the channel flat out, but why is there a section of the journey around the IoW where she appears to temporarily speed up to a faster speed than the crossing speed. 

Ok point taken Gareth, but I would word it why does she appear to slow down once past the IoW. She is often cruising mid channel at around 31-32 Knots which is well below her top speed. Interestingly enough the B.F. website quotes her service speed as being 42 Knots, the Incat technical sheet shows her capable of 38 Knots when fully laden, 46 Knots when empty, with a clean hull and in a water depth of between 10 and 50 metres. As the channel is deeper than this on average there will be some effect on maximum speed out at sea, she also has a stabiliser system which once deployed will cut her speed even further.

Chris

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21 hours ago, Gareth said:

What on earth is NEX doing heading across to Cherbourg at this time of night?!

Sorry - meant she was coming into Portsmouth - was onboard whilst posting.

But yes, my question was, as Tony said, she will happily cross the channel from Cherbourg at around 32 knots, and then speed up just past the outer anchorage region, before slowing  down to the usual ~20 knots approach speed. Last night she left Cherbourg a good 15 mins early as well, so plenty of leeway for arriving on time (arrived fairly early)

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Is she coming in either just before or after another vessel according to the timetables?  If so, perhaps they speed up to get ahead and unload the smaller vessel first.  Ed. 

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don't laugh at me but perhaps her wash is slightly more contained at a speed over 35 knots? I seem to recall the Stena HSS generated terrible wash at speeds between 15 and 30 knots, although operating either faster or slower made things a lot better. It had something to do with the shape of the hull in the water where at certain speeds, it sat lower and generated more wash.

I believe there was an incident in Harwich which resulted in a fisherman being knocked off his boat and killed by the same. Off the back of the MAIB report Stena had to change operating procedures so when entering Harwich it maintained a higher speed for longer and then slowed down through the 'danger speed' range much quicker to minimise wash. Perhaps NEX has similar characteristics?

they probably speed up to minimise wash in the Solent and once clear of the IOW, throttle back slightly to maintain an optimum and efficient speed all the way to Cherbourg

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You could be right Gunwharf, I think many high speed boats suffer a similar thing, at higher speed the hull lifts more creating less wash.

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Back in the days when we had to travel on Condor Express to Cherbourg and back to Portsmouth on NEX, I remember NEX being delayed  and was around 45 minutes late arriving in Cherbourg.  She pootled along for about an hour after we finally left Cherbourg, then she went like the clappers for about an hour.  Not good at judging speeds, but I guess they were making up time and caning her.  Great fun!!!

Edited by Khaines

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Vomit Comet is much better, although if you have a wobbly tum then a normal cruise ferry can be just as effective at turning you green....

Thursday should be fine, even Friday is not too bad, It's saturday where the swell is predicted to be 3 - 4 metres and they will probably have to cancel at least 2 full sailings, something B.F. could really do without at the moment....:S

Chris

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