Jump to content

Old Ferry Routes!


LordWhatley
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was back on the Isle of Wight this summer, and spent a day at Fort Victoria with my parents.

Whilst we were there we reminisced about summers back in the 70s and 80s with my grandparents, and we were all convinced that Townsend Thoresen ferries used to take a starboard turn out of Southampton Water, heading west and squeezing out into the English Channel between Hurst Castle and Fort Albert.

Is this the case, or are our memories playing tricks with us? 🤷‍♂️

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They did indeed, when they were bound for Cherbourg.  The daily Southampton - Cherbourg departure was at 1030, so the time you’d have seen them heading out towards the Western Solent after exiting Southampton water would have been about 11am or 1115.  In the early 70s there was also a 2100 departure, which you probably wouldn’t have seen.  There was also a 1200 departure using FE2, which would have been down at the turn at around 1230-1245 (but she would have looked distinctly unlike a normal TT ferry on the grounds that at the time she was lime green).  Both the 1200 and 2100 departures ceased when the Portsmouth route opened, but the 1030 sailing continued until 1981.  The Le Havre ships used to head east, past Spithead and the Forts.

Strictly speaking, it wouldn’t have been a “right-hand turn” as such, more “straight on”, as the ships heading out of Southampton water are all pretty much pointed out towards the Western Solent when they get to the end of the Thorn Channel.  It’s just that the ones heading east do a critical something-like-150-degree left-hand turn around the Bramble Bank to head east past Cowes after exiting the Channel, whereas the ones heading west pretty much carry straight on!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Gareth said:

They did indeed, when they were bound for Cherbourg.  The daily Southampton - Cherbourg departure was at 1030, so the time you’d have seen them heading out towards the Western Solent after exiting Southampton water would have been about 11am or 1115.  In the early 70s there was also a 2100 departure, which you probably wouldn’t have seen.  There was also a 1200 departure using FE2, which would have been down at the turn at around 1230-1245 (but she would have looked distinctly unlike a normal TT ferry on the grounds that at the time she was lime green).  Both the 1200 and 2100 departures ceased when the Portsmouth route opened, but the 1030 sailing continued until 1981.  The Le Havre ships used to head east, past Spithead and the Forts.

Strictly speaking, it wouldn’t have been a “right-hand turn” as such, more “straight on”, as the ships heading out of Southampton water are all pretty much pointed out towards the Western Solent when they get to the end of the Thorn Channel.  It’s just that the ones heading east do a critical something-like-150-degree left-hand turn around the Bramble Bank to head east past Cowes after exiting the Channel, whereas the ones heading west pretty much carry straight on!

Thank you!

I wonder if there are any photos lurking around of the ferries passing Hurst Castle?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Gareth said:

They did indeed, when they were bound for Cherbourg.  The daily Southampton - Cherbourg departure was at 1030, so the time you’d have seen them heading out towards the Western Solent after exiting Southampton water would have been about 11am or 1115.  In the early 70s there was also a 2100 departure, which you probably wouldn’t have seen.  There was also a 1200 departure using FE2, which would have been down at the turn at around 1230-1245 (but she would have looked distinctly unlike a normal TT ferry on the grounds that at the time she was lime green).  Both the 1200 and 2100 departures ceased when the Portsmouth route opened, but the 1030 sailing continued until 1981.  The Le Havre ships used to head east, past Spithead and the Forts.

Strictly speaking, it wouldn’t have been a “right-hand turn” as such, more “straight on”, as the ships heading out of Southampton water are all pretty much pointed out towards the Western Solent when they get to the end of the Thorn Channel.  It’s just that the ones heading east do a critical something-like-150-degree left-hand turn around the Bramble Bank to head east past Cowes after exiting the Channel, whereas the ones heading west pretty much carry straight on!

The Stena Sealink service from Southampton to Cherbourg in the early 90s also went via the Western Solent, making an impressive sight as it passed the Needles.

I imagine it was the extra time compared with the P&O ships from Portsmouth that ultimately proved uncompetitive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...