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A high-profile royal visit is set to bring out the orange in Cape Clear Ferries’ orange-and-white branding next weekend.

The company’s new fast ferry from Schull and Baltimore to Cape Clear Island will take a different route next Friday 14 June as it transports the Dutch royal family on a special trip from Cork city via Cobh to Crosshaven in Cork Harbour.

Séamus Ó Drisceoil, manager of Cape Clear Ferries, expressed his delight that Dún na Séad II would be considered suitable for such an event.

“Our company has invested and reinvested consistently over the years to raise our standards and we feel that this is an impressive and merited endorsement both of our newest ferry and also our dedicated and hardworking team,” he said.

“Karen Cottrell along with crew members Shane Ó Drisceoil, Cathal Cottrell, Niamh Ní Dhrisceoil and Iain O’Driscoll will be present on the day to welcome on board the Royal Highnesses, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima, as well as Uachtarán na hÉireann, Michael D Higgins and other dignitaries.”

Dun na Sead at Port of Cork
There will be a heavy security presence around the royal ‘boatercade’ with no other unapproved vessels permitted on the river during the visit.

Karen Cottrell said: “We are working very hard to make good of this significant upgrading of the ferry fleet in West Cork by promoting award-winning tours around the iconic Fastnet Rock Lighthouse.

“This is an outstanding natural and historical landmark off the West Cork coast and of course all our tours are via Cape Clear Island also known as ‘The Gateway to the Fastnet’.

“We will be delighted to welcome the royal couple and other dignitaries on board, but in reality all our passengers are special to us.

“In a few weeks’ time we will also welcome on board the chief of the O’Driscoll Clan for their annual visit to Cape Clear Island,” Cottrell added.

Published in Cork Harbour

#FerryNews - Isle of Man Steam Packet's final fast-ferry craft seasonal sailing scheduled for this year ended last Sunday, the operator having confirmed the Manannan will again remain in Manx waters this winter.

The Manannan is currently docked in Douglas Harbour where the InCat built catamaran will spend a winter layover into next year. In advance of returning to service, the craft is to undergo routine annual overhaul before resuming on 29th March 2019 on the craft's main route of Douglas-Liverpool. Afloat adds in the high season, the craft also serves Belfast and Dublin. 

As Afloat reported today, the Irish Sea's only 'cross-channel' fast-ferry craft, Dublin Swift operated by Irish Ferries is too wintering albeit in Belfast, however the Austal built craft is scheduled to resume seasonal service on the Dublin-Holyhead route next April.

Returning to the IOMSPCo's conventional ropax ferry, Ben-my-Chree, which continues to operate throughout the season, including daily Douglas-Heysham sailings. In addition to starting this weekend services to Birkenhead on Merseyside. Afloat adds the Twelve Quays Terminal facing opposite of Liverpool, is also where Stena Line operate year round to Belfast Harbour.

According to the Manx operator, during Manannan's season this year the craft has the following statistics:

Operated 773 sailings, travelling just under 55,000 nautical miles
Maintained a 100 per cent technical reliability record
Operated at 98.9 per cent reliability – with only four return trips cancelled due to weather
Had main engines accumulate approximately 9,300 running hours

Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward explained: ‘Once again, Manannan has had a great reliability record this season and plays an invaluable role in the Company’s day to day operation.

‘We constantly look for ways to improve services and respond to unforeseen circumstances so the decision to keep her here until after the busy Christmas period will provide an extra degree of support for our vital sea links at an important time of the year.’

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - A new fast ferry has just been commissioned for Cape Clear Island Ferries after completing various surveys and sea trials and a number of modifications to comply with Irish MSO standards.

Dún na Séad II was purchased in Norway earlier this year and arrived in Baltimore in April. It is capable of speeds of up to 20 knots with an operating speed of 18 knots and has a crane and cargo capacity of 6 tons.

Features include airline-style seating with large windows in a comfortable saloon with air conditioning and other features.

Licensed for 97 passengers with upper deck seating that affords outstanding 360-degree views of Roaringwater Bay, the ferry marks a substantial investment for the Cape Clear Island Ferries which owns three other passenger vessels: Dún an Óir II, Dún Aengus and Cailín Óir.

Dún na Séad II will operate primarily on the Schull—Cape Clear route but it is planned to use her occasionally on the Baltimore—Cape Clear route which is the main year-round service to the island.

Current traveling times of 45 minutes from both Schull and Baltimore will be halved when this vessel is in use.

Cape Clear Island Ferries says that the larger vessel together with the shorter journey time more than doubles the potential passenger capacity, and its focus will be on larger groups, bus and coach tours as well as building relationships with complementary service providers.

The ferry company has in recent years focused on soft adventure tourism surrounding the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse, which has shown double-digit growth over the past four years.

Considered the ‘Gateway to the Fastnet’, Cape Clear Island regularly welcomes passengers arriving from both Schull and Baltimore to see the famous rock.

While the company does not offer specific whale-watching trips, whale and dolphin sightings are a frequent occurrence in the area.

Cape Clear Ferries is owned by local shareholders on Cape Clear Island and Baltimore and its management, shareholders and staff are all from the immediate area. The business was established in 2007.

Published in Ferry

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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