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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

#VisitJersey - Condor Ferries is to support Visit Jersey with over £1 million this year on marketing of the Channel Islands.

In giving the vote of thanks at a Chamber of Commerce lunch at which Catherine Leech, Director of Visit Jersey was present, Ken Soar, non-executive director of Condor Ferries confirmed the ferry company’s fincancial support to Visit Jersey. He also confirmed that Condor is committed to working closely with the island’s tourism organisation to bring more visitors to Jersey. 

In a keynote speech to the chamber, Ken Soar said: “Condor Ferries is an active and wholehearted supporter of the vital work that Visit Jersey does to promote our beautiful island to visitors.

“You don’t need me to tell you that, in many ways, 2015 was a difficult year for Condor Ferries. The introduction of Condor Liberation didn’t go as smoothly as we’d planned, and I know that some of you may have travelled on disrupted services. Of course we are sorry for those disruptions but we are striving to get better and better, despite the headline grabbing disruptions. Our Overall service reliability remains high and, even in the recent unprecedented storms, our freight ships battled through to keep our Islands supplied with freight services such as the food, wine and coffee that we have all enjoyed today.

“To our 400 Condor staff who have worked tirelessly this last year in the most testing of situations both operational and the weather - to deliver people, cars and freight to their destinations, I also offer my personal and the company's appreciation and thanks

“This year, as in previous years, Condor Ferries will spend more than a million pounds promoting Jersey as a great destination to potential visitors from the UK, France and beyond.

“With our shared commitment, investment and energy, we can all make sure that more people visit Jersey – and that is definitely something for which we should all give a vote of thanks!”

Published in Ferry

#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 Afloat.ie, 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.

Afloat.ie 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

#FastFerryRename - Condor Ferries announced the new name of its latest aquisition a 102m state-of-the-art ferry-ferry to be called Condor Liberation.

The name for the car-carrying 800 passenger craft is in recognition of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Channel Islands during WW2.

A judging panel choose the winning name following a competition held in the Channel Islands, which received more than 7,000 competition entries.

Clive Davies from Guernsey was the ultimate winner and he will receive a year's free travel with Condor Ferries and the opportunity to visit Condor Liberation to see the name he chose being painted onto the ship in Poole.

The Dorset port as previously reported on Afloat.ie, is where the £50m newcomer is undergoing fit-out work to customise the craft to meet the operator's requirements.

In addition the port will be her homeport from where she will run services from the end of March, in which the 'Liberation' will have increased comfort and facilities to those travelling to both the islands capitols of St. Peter Port, Guernsey and St. Hellier, Jersey.

Alicia Andrews, Executive Director – Commercial at Condor Ferries, said: "We're delighted with the name of our brand new ship, Condor Liberation. We felt it was particularly apt in this, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Channel Islands and are very pleased that Liberation is a name that will be as significant to our French passengers as it is to our Channel Island and UK passengers.

"We are now looking forward to welcoming Condor Liberation into service just before Easter."

The Condor Liberation secures the future of high speed ferry travel to the Islands currently served by a trio of smaller counterparts, though two such craft are to be replaced upon her entry. In addition Condor operates conventional tonnage.

Published in Ferry

#Condor102name - A competition to name Condor Ferries new high-speed car-ferry which is to serve UK-Channel Islands routes from the end of March, has attracted thousands of entries from islanders.

The competition’s prize to win a year’s free ferry travel has drawn over 7,000 responses. Condor Ferries had run the competition in conjunction with the Jersey Evening Post and Guernsey Press during December.

The state-of-the-art 102m trimaran ferry, Condor 102, is currently being customised in the UK before she enters services from Poole to St. Peter Port, Guernsey and St. Hellier on Jersey. She will be capable of 35 knots, though passage times will remain to current sailing schedule crossing times.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Condor 102 arrived in Poole on Boxing Day following a 10,500 nautical mile delivery voyage from the Philippines.

 

Published in Ferry

#Condor102 - Channel Islands operator Condor Ferries latest acquisition, Condor 102, departed last week from Austal's shipyard in Balamban, Cebu in the Philippines, to begin her long (approx. 10,500 nautical miles) delivery voyage to Southampton.

Upon her arrival in the UK, final preparations will be made before the 102-metre fast-ferry passenger and vehicle trimaran is scheduled to enter a Poole-Channel Islands service at the end of March 2015. She will be renamed following a public competition for islanders.

Afloat.ie adds that Condor 102 is understood to replace one of a trio of InCat built 86m fast-ferries which currently operate services in addition to ro-pax Commodore Clipper. This conventional ferry is a slightly larger version of Isle of Man Steam Packet Co.'s Ben-My-Chree.

Condor 102 which was built in Austal's yard in Fremantle, Western Australia was relocated to their facility in the Philippines from where for the past four months she underwent fitting-out to Condor's specifications so to meet passenger standards when entering service.

The craft is expected to take around four weeks to make the journey to the UK. During the voyage, which is being undertaken by Condor crews, the ferry will sail across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal and via the Mediterranean before travelling up the Bay of Biscay and into the English Channel.

"I'm delighted that we are now entering the final stages of the new ferry's preparations before she is able to come into service on the UK to Channel Islands route," said Capt Fran Collins, Executive Director – Operations, at Condor Ferries.

Once she arrives in Southampton, interior refurbishment specialists, Trimline, will complete the internal fit out and the ferry will undertake further trials before she begins sailing in the Spring.

 

Published in Ferry

#NameFastFerry - Channel Islands operator Condor Ferries is offering islanders the chance to win a prize by entering in a competition to find a name for their new fast-ferry due to enter service in Spring 2015.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Condor 102m craft built by Austal of Fremantle, Australia, was acquired by Condor Ferries in August. The trimaran craft can accommodate 1,100 passengers and 250 cars.

Channel Islanders could win one year's free ferry travel, up to a value of £5000, for coming up with a name for the new ferry.

People who wish to take part, are being asked to write their idea on a piece of parchment that they can find in the Jersey Evening Post or Guernsey Press before either sending the entry in or posting it into one of the specially designed bottles that will be in St. Helier and St. Peter Port during peak Christmas shopping times.

The person who comes up with the best name according to the panel of judges, will also be invited to the VIP launch of the new ferry.

Entry forms for the competition can be found in yesterday's Jersey Evening Post and today's Guernsey Press.

"We really want to get islanders involved with the preparations for bringing the new ferry into service and felt that a competition to name the ship would be an excellent way to do this. I'm sure that there will be dozens of wonderful ideas submitted and we are all excited about finding out what the new name will be," said Alicia Andrews, Executive Director – Commercial at Condor Ferries.

 

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
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