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Holidaymakers now have the added option of  fast-ferry sailings on Stena Line's Rosslare-Fishguard port route which is to resume tomorrow, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The high season service is operated by the fast-ferry Stena Lynx III which is marketed as the Stena 'Express' . The summertime service runs between 1 July - 4 September and the fast-ferry is scheduled to take 120 minutes for the crossing.
Stena Lynx III has a capacity for over 600 passengers and 120-cars, to see a virtual tour of the wave-piercing catamaran craft click HERE. Measuring 81m long the 4,113 gross tonnes craft was built in 1996 by fast-ferry specialists InCat in Hobart, Tasmania. In recent years she maintained sailings between Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead when the HSS Stena Explorer was temporily taken off service.

In addition to the 'Express' service the St. Georges Channel route is served by the year-round operated conventional ferry, Stena Europe (1981/24,828 grt). The 1,386 passenger / 564-vehicle ferry recently underwent a £2m refurbishment and takes a more leisurely passage time of 3 hours 30 minutes.

For information on both fast-ferry and conventional ferry sailing schedules click HERE.

Published in Ferry

Fast-ferry Stena Lynx III departed Dun Laoghaire for Fishguard Harbour on a repositioning voyage today, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 80m craft built in Hobart, Tasmania is due to dock at the Pembrokeshire port this afternoon in advance of seasonal sailings on Stena Line's Fishguard-Rosslare.The Stena 'Express' fast-ferry service is to resume in just over a fortnight's time. Sailings are scheduled to a daily single round trip between 1 July-4 September.

The 627 passenger / 120 car capacity fast-ferry will operate in tandem with the year-round operated conventional ferry-service served by the Stena Europe. Passage times are 120 minutes for the fast-ferry service while the Stena Europe takes 3 hours 30 minutes to sail across the St. Georges Channel.

In the same week that the fast-ferry takes up summer sailings from Fishguard, the small French flagged cruiseship Le Diament is to make the first of three calls in July and once in August.

The motoryacht-like vessel which can accommodate 226 passengers is the first cruise caller of the season and is run by the only French-owned cruise operator Compagnie De Iles Du Ponant.

Published in Ferry
A former US Navy vessel USS Joint Venture (HSV-XI) is set to return for a second season operating Douglas-Dublin Port sailings this Friday, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The first sailing of the year from the Isle of Man sees the use of the fast-ferry catamaran craft now renamed Manannan running on the 2-hour 55 minute crossing to the capital.

Manannan's chequered career included a five year charter initially to the United States Navy but transferred to the United States Army Forces between 2001-2006. The 5,029grt craft (see photo) was used for various trials and demonstrations and in which saw service in the Persian Gulf in support of 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' and in 2003 'Operation Enduring Freedom' in the Horn of Africa.

An engine plant of 4 x Caterpillars diesel generates a speed of over 40 knots / 46 mph which provided logistical solutions by the High-Speed Vessel (HSV) to transport troops and supplies covering long distances in support of the Combined Joint Task Force.

Other tasks required by the force included the roles of operating as a mobile command centre which entailed working closely inshore and operating as a helicopter carrier. Helicopters landed at the craft's stern positioned helicopter landing deck.

The military role of the craft is in stark contrast compared to when the 96m ferry was launched in 1998 for civilian purposes as the Incat 050, the number representing the number of pioneering wave-piercing craft built by InCat in Hobart, Tasmania.

Asides her military days the 800-passenger / 200 vehicle fast-ferry has served the Hobart-Melbourne route, between New Zealand's north and south island and in European waters in the Mediterrean and to the Canary Islands.

Manannan (see photo) entered service last May after the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company (IOMSPco) purchased the vessel which was laid-up in Hobart. She made the long delivery to the northern hemisphere and was re-converted for ferry usesage during a refit in Portsmouth.

The 181 year-old company is the only sea-based passenger operator to the island on services linking Dublin, Belfast, Heysham, Liverpool and (Birkenhead) in the winter months.

There are rival companies such as the Ramsey Steamship Company but they are freight-only operators mostly running to Belfast and Liverpool using short-sea coastal traders and to other small Irish Sea ports.

An annual round island cruise is held and like last year the Manannan will be serving the cruise on Sunday 1 May departing Douglas at 11am for a journey of around 2 hours. The route closely circumnavigates the spectacular Manx coastline. For information on the island cruise and fares click here.

Published in Ferry

On loan from the Oracle America's Cup Team, Northern Ireland ace navigator Ian Moore is the navigator on board the Carbon built 80-footer Aegir for this week's RORC race in the Caribbbean.

Antigua Yacht Club is buzzing with excitement, with two days to go to the start of the 600-mile race around the central Caribbean. Yacht crews are busy at work making final preparations for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) Caribbean 600. Falmouth Harbour is an impressive sight with the RORC fleet safely moored up next to the yacht club.

RORC Yacht of the Year ready for battle

Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens - the RORC 2010 Yacht of the Year - arrived just before dusk on Friday. The delivery crew, all six of whom will also be racing, endured a 1,000 mile beat to Antigua from Jamaica: "This will be our fourth and final event in the Caribbean." Explained Piet Vroon. "This is the first time that I have done this race and it is the main reason that we came to the Caribbean. All of my crew said that this is a race that they want to do and I am very much looking forward to it."

Tonnerre is one of three boats that competed in the Pineapple Cup, the opening rubber of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series. George David's Rambler 100, Richard Oland's Vela Veloce and Hugo Steinback's Dubois 90, Genuine Risk also competed in the Pineapple Cup which Genuine Risk won on corrected time. Vela Veloce is a Southern Wind 52, which cleaned up in Key West race week in January.

Entries from Australia and 14 other nations

Yachts representing 15 Nations have come to Antigua to compete in the 600-mile spectacular, but none have come as far as Chris Bull's Cookson 50, Jazz. The canting-keel flyer arrived in Antigua on Friday, having made an epic journey bycontainer ship and sail from Australia, after a fantastic performance in the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

"It's been hard work getting the boat here from Australia, but we have done it, which just goes to show it is possible." Commented Boat Captain, Anthony Haines. Jazz's journey started on January 8th from Sydney, Australia to Savannah, Georgia. After which the delivery crew sailed 1400 miles to get Jazz to Antigua on time.

"Ever since the RORC conceived the idea of this race I have wanted to do it," said Chris Bull on he dock in Antigua. "I am also keen to do the Transatlantic Race and try and win the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series which I think is an excellent initiative which the RORC are involved with."

Rock Stars and Corinthian Sailors Rub Shoulders

From Lithuania, the Volvo 60, Ambersail debuts in the Caribbean and counts veteran round the world sailor Magnus Olsen in their crew. Ambersail is well travelled, having competed in last year's Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Ondeck's Farr 65, Spirit of Minerva counts British solo-sailor Hannah White amongst the crew: "Effectively there are 10 legs and well over 600 miles of racing in fantastic trade wind conditions which I am sure will be a strong test for navigators and crews in equal measure." Commented Hannah.

Class 40 World Champions on the line

Six Class 40s are expected, possibly more. Tony Lawson's Concise and Gonzalo Botin are past and current Class 40, world champions. Tony Lawson, owner of Concise expects a close duel with Tales: "There is no doubt that the Spanish team will be fast and possibly more suited to lighter conditions, but I am confident that the team on Concise will be fully focused and they are in control of a quick, well prepared boat."

Power and Elegance Combine

RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine has chartered the elegant and powerful 154 ft schooner, Windrose of Amsterdam. The crew has taken the magnificent yacht through its paces, spending two days practicing manoeuvres: "It is a very different kind of sailing to my First 40." Commented Andrew McIrvine. "The sheer size of the sails and equipment make for extremely physical work and manoeuvres are far more complex. Communication from front to back is only possible by hand signals. We had some good pressure during our practice session, which confirmed that Windrose is a powerful yacht, literally built for Caribbean sailing."

Navigator's make their Predictions

Brian Benjamin's Carbon Ocean 82, Aegir has been out testing sails and the crew, visiting the top part of the race course all night Friday. Night sailing makes up close to half the time during the race. Boat captain Shreda Duke confirmed that the exercise was very successful in bedding in the crew to their proposed watch-system. Aegir's navigator for the race is Ian Moore on loan from the Oracle America's Cup Team. Moore concurs with Hugh Agnew, ICAP Leopard's navigator, the prediction of stable trade wind sailing but added: "The first key area of the race may well come as night falls. Aegir should be approaching Nevis at dusk and the first really tricky part of the course. The islands of Nevis and St Kitts are high, which will throw out quite a wind shadow through this area; there will be a lot of gear changes in between the lulls and puffs of acceleration. The big decision from a navigator's point of view will be how far off the leeward side of these islands to go."

In Falmouth Harbour, the air temperature is a balmy 27º C and a fair breeze is flowing in from the northeast, meaning that the trade winds are functioning, but it's an ever-changing picture. Read John Burnie's expert summary on the RORC Caribbean 600 web site: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/

100 footers Go Head to Head

ICAP Leopard set the monohull course record in 2009, completing the course in 44 hr 5 min 14 sec and Mike Slade's team believe that they could beat the record, although they may not be the first home. George David's stunning Maxi, Rambler 100 is dockside in Falmouth and are favourites to take line honours. George David has secured the assistance of Ken Read to the afterguard and some of Ken's Puma Volvo Ocean Race crew. It is the first time that these two 100 foot canting keel maxi's have raced each other with ICAP Leopard having taken an interesting strategy and dropped their rating considerably, in a bid to gain handicap honours.

Local Knowledge from Caribbean Entries

Local interest comes from Bernie Evan-Wong who is competing in the race for the third time in his Mumm 36, High Tension. From Guadeloupe there is a Class 40, Territoires Attitudes, skippered by David Ducosson.

34 boats are expected on the start line on February 21st February. The RORC Caribbean 600 web site contains regular updates on the race, blogs from the boats and the progress of the boats, which have trackers, can be followed via the website: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/

Published in RORC

About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

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