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Displaying items by tag: Caribbean Sea
17th February 2011

Celtic's French Ferry Figures

Single-route ferry operator, Celtic Link Ferries transported 60,000 passengers, despite last year's challenging economic conditions, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Of that figure, some 48,000 were tourist passengers and the balance of 12,000 accounted for freight accompanied truck-drivers on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route. The thrice weekly service also handled over 50,000 vehicles between tourist and freight lorries.

Operating the route is the 2008 built ro-pax Norman Voyager, at 26,500grt, the vessel has a larger passenger capacity for 800 and additional facilities compared to the previous vessel, Diplomat. In addition the newer Italian built vessel has space for 200 cars and 120 trucks. The ro-pax has a service speed of 22.9 knots is claimed to be the fastest ship serving on the direct routes to France, taking 18-hours.

In 2005 the Wexford based company took over the route from P&O (Irish Sea) and continued to offer what was primarily a freight-only service served by the existing route vessel, the 16,776grt European Diplomat. The vessel was also sold to Celtic Link and renamed Diplomat and could only provide a limited passenger certificate for 74, which was mostly taken up by truck-drivers.

With the introduction in December 2009 of the chartered Norman Voyager from Meridian Marine Management, the Diplomat was laid-up in Waterford (click here). The 1978 built vessel was then chartered by Celtic Link to trade in the Caribbean Sea.

Published in Ferry
8th September 2010

Celtic's Caribbean Connection

The O'Flaherty Brothers of Wexford have a diverse range of shipping interests ranging from a fishing trawler fleet, a short-sea coaster and ferries under the Celtic Link Ferries banner, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The shipping family can now also claim to have operations in the far-flung seas of the Caribbean Sea through the chartering of their freight-ferry Diplomat (1978/16,776grt) which was replaced late last year by Norman Voyager (2008/26,500grt) on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route.

Celtic_Link_Ferries

Celtic Link Ferries former French  freight-ferry, Diplomat laid-up at Waterford earlier this year is now serving in the Caribbean Sea. Photo: Jehan Ashmore/ShipSNAPS

Diplomat spent the winter laid-up at Waterford, where the 32-year vessel was one of the largest vessels to dock at the city-centre quays and formed a temporary albeit floating landmark.

In April the veteran departed Irish shores to take up a new career in the Caribbean. The Diplomat now serves three weekly round trips for Marine Express between the ports of Mayaguez and the capital of San Juan in Peurto Rico and Rio Haina and San Domingo, the capital in the Dominican Republic, which shares the large island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

In an earlier career, the Diplomat whilst serving as the Baltic Ferry, was requistioned by the British Military of Defence as part of the Falkland Islands task force in the war with Argentina in 1982. The vessel saw action which involved Royal Air Force Harrier Jump-Jets landing on the cargo-deck using the aircraft's unique vertical take-off lift (VTOL) capability.

Another vessel under the O'Flaherty sphere of operations, Finnforest (1978/15,525grt), a sistership of Diplomat and built from a series of successful Searunner-class vessels ordered by Stena Rederi, returned to Dublin early this year. The vessel had spent several years on charter to Finnlines serving in the Baltic Sea between Helsinki and Gdynia, Poland.

Finnforest like the Diplomat underwent dry-docking at Dublin, with both vessels heading afterwards for lay-up periods at Waterford. Finnforest remains laid-up awaiting a charter while berthed alongside the city-centre's disused quays on the Co. Kilkenny side of the River Suir.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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