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Irish Ferries cruiseferry Oscar Wilde docked this morning in Rosslare port and her arrival from Roscoff marked the last round trip of this year's high-season operated route, writes Jehan Ashmore.
This does not mean the end of French routes as the cruiseferry continues to maintain year-round sailngs to Cherbourg. The passage time on the Normandy route takes approximately 17 hours 30 minutes and compares favourably to the shorter Breton route that shaved sailing times by only an hour less. The company are currently running mini-cruises and wine hotel shopping breaks to Cherbourg.

The former Scandinavian cruiserferry was built in 1987 to serve on Color Line's Oslo-Kiel route as their Kronprins Harald. In 2007 she was sold to start French sailings and at 31,914grt, she is the largest cruiseferry to operate under Irish Ferries continental routes. Passenger capacity is just shy of 1,500 and cars total 730 in addiition space for around 90 freight vehicles. For a virtual tour of the cruiseferry's on board facilities and exterior deck views click HERE.

Winter sailings will run to the end of the year with a final departure on 30th December outbound and returning from France on 2nd January 2012. Thereafter there will be a no sailings as the cruiseferry is to undergo annual dry-docking before resuming sailings. The first sailing from Ireland is 19th February and the corresponding return sailing from France is 21st February. To keep up-to-date with sailing schedules click HERE.

Published in DBSC
Celtic Link Ferries have named their new vessel Celtic Horizon, a 27,552 tonnes ro-pax ferry which is to enter the Rosslare-Cherbourg port route in October, writes Jehan Ashmore.
A competition to name the vessel (see photo) drew a wide response from the public with thousands of entries received. Celtic Horizon will operate the year-round route on a five-year contract. She will also be the newest and fastest vessel sailing on routes between Rosslare and France.

With an increased capacity of nearly 1,000 passengers accommodated in 428 cabin berths, the vessel will offer a wider choice of bars, restaurents and childrens' play area compared to the current route ro-pax Norman Voyager, which like her successor was built by Italian shipbuilders  Visentini. The 25-knot replacement ship will have 2,285 lane metre space for 800 cars or 150 freight vehicles.

Celtic Horizon becomes the first vessel to incorporate the companies name since foundation in 2005 when the freight-ferry Diplomat started operations. In recent years the company has secured the contract to import new trade vehicles from French manufacturers.

Before the newcomer makes her Autumnal debut, the 2006 built vessel is currently operating as Cartour Beta while on charter to Caronte and Tourist's (C&T) Salerno-Messina service in Sicily. To read more click here.

As for the Norman Voyager, she first entered as a newbuild in 2008 for LD Lines weekend operated Rosslare-Le Havre route, subsequently transferred to Cherbourg. LD Lines first foray into the Irish market was short-lived as the ro-pax was sub-chartered to Celtic Link Ferries the following year, though the French company are to transfer the vessel to their Marseilles-Tunis route in November.

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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