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#ferrycharter - Condor Ferries only conventional tonnage ferry on UK-Channel Islands service, Commodore Clipper recently resumed service before the English half-term break having spent over a month in dry dock in Cornwall, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Whilst Commodore Clipper was away on planned maintenance at A&P Falmouth, passenger services were maintained by fastcraft Condor Liberation. As for freight commitments they were covered by the chartered Manx registered Arrow, a ro-ro freight-only ferry.

The stern-loading Douglas registered Arrow is itself on charter from Seatruck Ferries, that acts as a relief ferry and backup support vessel for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Their Ben-My-Chree (see Belfast and related Larne berthing trials stories) is a smaller version of Commodore Clipper.

The biennial dry-docking of Commodore Clipper included a £2.7m refit which was completed last week with resumption of scheduled overnight sailings from Guernsey (St. Peter Port) and Jersey (St. Helier) to Portsmouth with a daytime return.

The Arrow however currently remains serving the Channel Islands as Condor's freight-only ferry Commodore Goodwill entered dry dock last week for routine and remedial repair work.

As for the extensive work undertaken of the Commodore Clipper, this involved a major servicing of the ferry's port main engine and gearbox, ride control system, alternator and overhaul of the ship’s shaft seals. In addition life-saving equipment, monitoring and alarms systems were also repaired and upgraded.

Paul Luxon, Condor’s CEO, confirmed that the refit on 'Clipper' was part of a fleet-wide investment by the company to maintain lifeline services for the Islands.‘All of our ships require regular repairs and servicing for us to provide year-round freight and passenger operations and this is the order of £7.5 million annually. The work alone on Clipper, which is undertaken every other year, costs around £2.7 million. ‘

Mr Luxon added that passengers will also notice some improvements on board. ‘We have refurbished the lounge and restaurant and parts of the vessel will also be repainted. I am delighted that our recently launched Wi-Fi service will also be available on Clipper following installation of the necessary satellite equipment.’

Annually, Condor Ferries which asides UK routes also operates services to France, carries more than 1 million passengers and 200,000 passenger vehicles. The fleet carries 100,000 freight vehicles into the Channel Islands each year as well as exporting tonnes of local produce. As previously reported on Afloat, among such produce the 'Jersey' royal potatoes, see story.

Condor's second high-speed craft Condor Rapide in addition to the aforementioned freightferry Commodore Goodwill operates on the French service out of St. Malo, Brittany.

Published in Ferry

#WhichIslands - If this photo reminds you of a tropical escape, you’re not alone! Research has revealed that, on average, almost 80% of Brits mistook photographs of the Channel Islands for the Caribbean, New Zealand and other exotic destinations around the globe.

In the survey, commissioned by Channel Islands’ operator Condor Ferries, respondents were asked to identify where in the world they thought a series of photographs were taken, with the likes of Croatia, Portugal and Italy being just some of the locations included. Notably, only 15% of 18-24 year olds recognised the Channel Islands, with 45-54 year old respondents performing the strongest, but still with only 25% on average guessing the locations correctly.

Justin Amey, Head of Marketing at Condor Ferries, commented: “We were amazed to see that over three quarters of people living in the UK didn’t recognise the Channel Islands. The results just go to prove that you don’t have to go a long way to enjoy a beautiful holiday destination. The Channel Islands are just right for people who want a break without the pain of a long haul flight.

“The Channel Islands are just a stone’s throw away from the UK mainland and are becoming increasingly popular as holiday makers opt for more accessible breaks, with no luggage restrictions, exchange rates and airports to worry about. The Channel Islands strike the perfect balance between offering an easy to get to destination and world-class scenery, with stunning beaches, fine food, walks and towns to discover.”

Named as the warmest place in the British Isles, the Channel Islands are perfect for enjoying safe, sandy beaches on a summer break. Travelling by sea also means passengers can pack everything they need into their car, including the family pets, all whilst enjoy a getaway without the worry of baggage restrictions.

Last year, over 130,000 people travelled to the Channel Islands by fastferry and conventional (see The 'Potato' ferry) .This number is set to increase as staycations are predicted to become more popular*.

Justin added: “This survey shows that there are still many people living in the UK who aren’t aware of how stunningly beautiful the Channel Islands are, which is something we are working to change, in partnership with the Tourism Boards on the Islands. We would encourage anyone looking to book their summer holiday to consider Jersey or Guernsey, and they’ll see for themselves that you can feel like you’re in the Caribbean but still be on the doorstep of mainland UK.”

Demand is already high for Condor Ferries’ spring and summer crossings operating from Portsmouth and Poole. In addition to French services out of St. Malo, Brittany.

Published in Ferry

#Farm2Ferry – The flow of famous food from the Channel Islands to Portsmouth International Port, the UK’s second busiest ferryport, has taken root as the season for Jersey Royal potatoes began at the end of March.

The seasonal export involves transporting the ‘Royals’ on board Condor Ferries. This requires ro-ro freighter Commodore Goodwill and ropax ferry, Commodore Clipper, pictured above in St. Helier, Jersey, by Afloat’s ferry correspondent Jehan Ashmore who also had taken a crossing Ben-My-Chree (similar to the 'Clipper') operated by the Isle of Man Steam Packet. See captain interview.

The legendary Channel Islands vegetable has been grown for the last 130 years and is so special it has been granted EU protection, much in the same way that Champagne has in France.

Between 30,000 - 40,000 tonnes of the delicious Jersey Royal potatoes are harvested annually, with the vast majority shipped to Portsmouth. It is an important export for Jersey, and a crucial crop for the twenty or so farmers who specialise in growing the potatoes in the island’s fertile soil.

As the Jersey Royal potatoes began their journey to England, in the opposite direction, a delicious and delicate cargo supply of chocolate Easter Eggs make the return trip. Most of the Easter Eggs bound for the Channel Islands has been sent from Portsmouth this year, making a vital contribution to celebrations and aides the tasty potato is another addition to a balanced diet!

Despite their close proximity to mainland France, up to 80% of all produce consumed and used on the Channel Islands is shipped from Portsmouth on Condor Ferries services. Along with temperature controlled food products, a vast array of other goods are shipped from Portsmouth every day to the Channel Islands. These include drink, clothing, furniture, cars and building products and equipment - in fact all the necessities of modern life.

Each night between 35 and 40 refrigerated trailers depart Portsmouth on board Commodore Goodwill, with another 10 or more on Commodore Clipper’s daytime ferry service. This ferry makes a first call to St. Peter Port, Guernsey, then onwards to St. Helier, Jersey. The return crossing from the largest of the Channel Islands is an overnight passage directly to Portsmouth.



Published in Ferry

Following the launch at the Southampton Boat Show today, World Cruising Club has announced entries are now open for ARC Channel Islands 2016.

More than 50 people gathered at the RYA lounge to learn more about the new rally taking place in August 2016. Run in association with RYA Active Marina, ARC Channel Islands offers a mix of preparation advice and support from a lead boat, combined with a cruise-in-company and social activities ashore.

Premier Marina in Gosport will host the start of ARC Channel Islands 2016 with a welcome supper, safety checks and Skippers Briefing organised before the fleet set sail for the first leg to Cherbourg on Saturday 20 August. Following the full day sail, rally yachts arrive in the French port to celebrate a successful Channel crossing with a welcome reception to share their experiences, and crews will have the following day to explore the town and visit the local market. After the passage to Cherbourg, the distances between stopovers are between 30-50nm as the rally visits Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney; the days are planned to combine pleasant sailing with time to explore ashore and meet up with other crews over a rally meal or sundowner on arrival. The overall route and daily schedule is adaptable for prevailing weather conditions and rally staff will be on hand throughout to deliver the shoreside programme, including an island tour of Guernsey and visit to the WW2 Military Hospital, as well as a ride on the Alderney railway. The fleet will return to Gosport following an overnight sail from Alderney, and conclude the rally with a farewell dinner on Saturday 27 August.

Crews joining ARC Channel Islands will receive the peace of mind of being part of an organised event; enjoying social and sightseeing activities with others in the fleet along with time to independently explore. The entry fee includes all berthing for the duration of the rally, GPS satellite tracking of each yacht, the support of a lead boat and World Cruising Club staff on hand throughout the rally.

Aside from the focus on safety and support, there is a comprehensive social programme encouraging the camaraderie between crews to quickly develop during the rally. RYA membership is included in the entry fee for those not already members and discounts are available for existing RYA members.
Guy Malpas, RYA Yachting Development Manager, said: "The RYA Active Marina scheme aims to help boat owners gain more from their boats, and this rally is an excellent opportunity for both novice and experienced sailors to hone their skills on a challenging but enjoyable passage. We are pleased to be supporting this rally, and hope it is encourages more people to get afloat and use their boats."

Due to space restrictions, ARC Channel Islands is limited to 25 boats and places will be allocated on a 'first come, first served basis'.

Published in Cruising

#LiberationLaunch – The countdown is finally over as Condor Ferries launched state-of-the-art fast ferry, Condor Liberation with the first official sailing yesterday from Poole to the Channel Islands.

The 880 passenger car-carrying trimaran had called to Guernsey (St.Peter Port) and Jersey (St. Helier). In addition the maiden voyage was an opportunity to reveal the company's new branding of a livery scheme sporting new colours as she headed out of Poole Harbour, Dorset.

Amid much fanfare the 102m fast-ferry set sail on her inaugural sailing, where local schoolchildren and ferry enthusiasts joined the Mayor of Poole, Councillor Peter Adams at Baiter Park to watch the newcomer depart across Poole Harbour, past Brownsea Island and Sandbanks Peninsula.

Representing £50 million investment, Condor Liberation is the first of her kind in Northern Europe, and marks a new era in sea travel. The Austal 2010 built craft trimaran (three hull) design offers greater stability and better sea-keeping abilities, providing a smoother ride for passengers.

Commenting on the maiden voyage, Alicia Andrews, Executive Director – Commercial at Condor Ferries, said: "Today marked a very important milestone in the history of Condor Ferries. We are very excited to welcome Condor Liberation into service and delighted to see the huge crowd gathered at Baiter Park to help us celebrate this momentous occasion".

Since her 10,500 nautical mile delivery voyage into Poole on Boxing Day as previously reported on, Condor Liberation has undergone an extensive customisation programme. This has involved installing a new Duty Free shop, children's play area, a range of eating and drinking outlets plus a choice of three new seating lounges, to include two upgrade areas.

For a video of Condor Liberation on berthing trials, click here to see the trimaran approaching Jersey's St. Helier Harbour.

The Channel Islands operator now in their 51st year also have another fast-ferry, the InCat 86m built, Condor Rapide that serves the Guernsey to France route, using the Breton port of St. Malo.

In addition to running Commodore Clipper, a conventional car, passenger and freight carrying vessel that offers an all-weather, year round Portsmouth to Guernsey and Jersey service. adds that the 500 passenger / 100 car/ 92-trailer ferry is fresh from refit. She had completed a 10-day call at A&P Falmouth from where she returned to service only last weekend.

In addition to all the publicity centred on the Condor Liberation, Afloat will later also be focusing on the role of Commodore Clipper.

Since the introduction of Commodore Clipper in 1999, the ferry has brought countless holiday makers to the Channel Islands. Plus the ferry serves as an integral lifeline for residents on the Channel Islands and the link to mainland UK.

Published in Ferry

#CondorLiberation – Channel Islands ferry operator, Condor Ferries are to launch in one month's time the first sailing of Condor Liberation, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Condor Liberation, a £50m high-speed trimaran carferry which is the first of its kind to operate in northern Europe. She will serve Condor's routes based from Poole, Dorset by running daily sailings throughout the summer.

The Austal built 102m high-speed ferry represents a new era in sea travel for Condor when the inaugural sailing on 27 March departs Poole to Guernsey (St.Peter Port) and Jersey (St. Hellier). 

As the newcomer is a trimaran her (three-hull) design offers greater stability and better sea-keeping ability. Plus a recent refit of the 2010 built craft of on board passenger facilities carried out by Southampton based company Trimline.  

Last year, Condor Ferries celebrated their 50th year of running operations that first started in 1964 with passenger-only fast-craft.

As of last month, Condor announced in a naming competition by islanders that the 102m trimaran would be named Condor Liberation. The name chosen is in recognition of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the occupied Channel Islands during WW2.

By introducing not only a new high-speed ferry to the Islands, Condor are also to use the launch opportunity to show-off a rebranded corpoarte livery scheme.

Condor also operate UK-Channel Islands based from Portsmouth in addition to services linking both Guernsey and Jersey to St. Malo, France.

After the 'Liberation's setting down period, Condor will have then withdrawn two of an existing trio of Incat 86m fast-ferries leaving Condor Rapide to remain. In addition to this pair of fast-ferries, Condor continue to run the ro-pax ferry Commodore Clipper and a ro-ro freight-ferry, Commodore Goodwill. 

Published in Ferry

#Condor102 – The latest addition to the Condor Ferries fleet, Condor 102 as previously reported arrived into the UK waters yesterday following her 10,500 nautical mile delivery voyage.

The Condor 102 sailed into Poole, Dorset, which is to be her UK base when she enters Channel Islands service in late March 2015. The ship will be the first of her kind in Northern Europe.

Watched by keen on-lookers and escorted by a tug, Condor 102 sailed past the Sandbanks peninsula and alongside Brownsea Island, before berthing at Poole Port.

The arrival concludes her long journey from Cebu in the Philippines, from where she departed on 4th December. During her delivery voyager she has sailed across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal and via the Mediterranean before travelling up the Bay of Biscay and into the English Channel.

The new ship represents £50m of investment in the Channel Islands, securing the future of high speed ferry travel to the Islands.

Condor 102 will now go through a period of customisation in Poole with a full internal fit out completed by interior refurbishment specialists Trimline. She will also complete a series of sea trials in the UK and the Channel Islands before she officially comes into service in late March, sailing from Poole to Guernsey and Jersey.

Captain Fran Collins, Executive Director – Operations at Condor Ferries commented: "We're delighted our new ship – Condor 102 – has completed her long journey here to the UK and is now safely docked at Poole Port."

She continued: "It was exciting to see her sail into the port early this morning - the crew were in great spirits. They have done a fantastic job of bringing her home on schedule - everyone at Condor is very thankful for all their hard work and commitment over the last 24 days, and we hope they get home to their families soon to enjoy the rest of the festive period and to see in the New Year."

Jim Stewart, Chief Executive Poole Harbour Commissioners welcomed the sleek new state-of-the-art 102m trimaran saying: "We are delighted to welcome this superb new ship to Poole port which will be her operational base. Poole is a highly successful south coast port set in the beautiful location of Poole Harbour and we look forward to continuing our long and successful working partnership with Condor Ferries.

"From the end of March, all journeys to the Channel Islands will be on the new Condor 102 from Poole, offering improved reliability, increased capacity, and a greater level of comfort with smoother journeys. Condor 102 will also feature three seat classes, with two upgrade areas available for passengers.


Published in Ferry

#Channelislands – Channel Islands based operator, Condor Ferries which announced in August its acquisition of a new fast ferry, are now able to offer islanders to book sailings to the UK and France for journeys taking place up to 2 November 2015, following publication of new sailings schedule.

The schedule includes sailings on the new Condor 102, which will deliver a whole new on board experience, as well as more comfortable and more reliable travel for islanders sailing to and from the UK.

Islanders can now book sailings to both France and the UK right through to November next year, but it is the UK sailings which will really capture Islanders' imaginations," said Alicia Andrews, Executive Director – Commercial at Condor Ferries.

"From the end of March, all UK journeys will be on the new Condor 102 which offers smoother journeys, greater reliability and a superb on board experience including a wider choice of seating, a range of dining, and even shopping facilities for our passengers to enjoy.

"We are all very excited about the arrival of the Condor 102 and I'm sure that islanders and visitors will love sailing to the UK on our new ship."


Published in Ferry

#Channelislands - Following an incident last month that led to the dry-docking of Condor Ferries ro-pax Commodore Clipper, the main ferry that serves between the UK and Channel Islands, the freight-ferry Arrow on charter from Seatruck Ferries to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co. was called in to relief duties however also developed a problem.

The 65-trailer unit Arrow had developed a problem with one of her propellers on Tuesday while operating on the English Channel.  It was advised that Arrow which was on passage from Portsmouth to Guernsey instead call to neighbouring Jersey.

According to Condor Ferries, the freight trailers that Arrow was due to deliver to Guernsey were due to be taken by their freight-only ferry, Commodore Goodwill yesterday morning. Commodore Goodwill has operated an extra inter-Island sailing for this purpose, however, her schedule has therefore been disrupted.

Arrow has since returned to Portsmouth with her passage time more slowly than usual. Her owners are to resolve the technical problems as soon as possible.

In the absence of ro-pax Commodore Clipper which remains dry-docked in Falmouth and where repair works are progressing well, the operator has also chartered MN Toucan to maintain deliveries between the UK and the Channel Islands.

For further updates and for alternative fast-ferry services, consult the operators website HERE.

Published in Ferry

#OpenHydro - The Irish Times has a report on OpenHydro's new €600 million deal with a Channel Islands company that's set to establish one of Europe's biggest renewable energy schemes.

Dublin-based hydro-power firm OpenHydro - which earlier this year gave a controlling stake to French naval defence giant DCNS for a €130 million investment - has teamed up with Alderney Renewable Energy to set up a new company called Race Tidal that aims to generate 300MW of power for export to Britain and France.

The project would take advantage of the strong tidal waters off Alderney, the northernmost of the Channel Islands, which OpenHydro CFO Peter Corcoran says have a potential capacity of 3GW.

The long-term project requires obtaining all necessary permits, expected to take four years, followed by two more years of construction and installation of OpenHydro's turbines.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Power From the Sea
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