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#FERRY NEWS - With the acquisition of Fastnet Line's Julia to C-BED as previously reported, the Dutch owned company's fleet rises to three floating hotels which are used to accommodate workers in offshore wind-farm energy installations, writes Jehan Ashmore.

All three vessels are former ferries and one of which the Wind Ambition was in recent years based in in the north Irish Sea. The third vessel is Wind Solution, for photos and technicl details of these vessels click HERE. While the former Cork-Swansea ferry has been renamed Wind Perfection (1981/22,161grt) , she remains berthed in Cork city docks having laid-up there since the route's closure last November.

The vessel is however due to undergo an extensive refit in The Netherlands before she takes up a charter in the North Sea with Siemens in October, as a floating hotel for wind-turbine industry employees.

By using the vessel Siemens are to save valuable time and money which would otherwise by the daily transfer of construction workers to and from the mainland. For a video computer simulation showing the different logistics involved between an offshore floating hotel and a conventional hotel onshore, click HERE.

Wind Perfection was originally built as Olau Britannia and shared sailings with sistership Olau Hollandia for a UK-Dutch route between Sheerness-Vlissingen operated by Olau Line.

The sisters were replaced by newer vessels on the North Sea route in the late 1980's and sold to various owners during the years. Before Julia made her Celtic Sea debut, she last ran under the same name for Stella Line on the St. Petersberg-Helsinki route.

Incidentally her sister Norlandia (1981/21,473grt) operates also from the Finnish capital to Tallinn for Eckero Line. Likewise she too is due to undergo changes as she is to be replaced later this year as a second-hand ferry from Mediterranean owners was sold to the Baltic Sea operator.

Published in Ferry
Operators of the Cork-Swansea port route, Fastnet Line celebrated their 100,000th passenger late last month, after opening the service in March 2010, writes Jehan Ashmore.
While down on its initially forecasted target, it should be noted that, between January to March this year, the 1,500-passenger capacity ferry Julia was dry-docked in Swansea for essential maintenance. Refurbishment of the 1982-built 22,161 tonnes vessel took place in some public areas and three new luxurious mini-suites have been created.

In addition passengers travelling on the Julia can visit the newly installed tourist office where an advanced booking system will be available for all accommodation, leisure, and hospitality facilities located on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Irish and Welsh members of the West Cork Tourism Co–Operative, which established the ferry operation will staff the tourist office full-time during the summer months. The facility is unique to Irish-UK ferry services and was officially opened by the new Cork County Mayor Tim Lombard. For further information from the co-operative click www.westcork.ie and more about the other on board facilities click HERE.

With competition from summer sells on offer from rival operators on the Irish Sea, in particular on St. Georges Channel services, Fastnet Line are combating with deals to encourage higher occupancy sailings during the peak season.

The company are also preparing to accommodate Irish soccer fans in the autumn, following the success of Swansea City F.C. in gaining promotion to the Premiership.

Published in Ferry
Fastnet Line's 21,699 tonnes Julia which has been undergoing annual maintenance at a dry-dock in Swansea, is due to resume sailings for the 2011 season with a departure from the south Welsh port tomorrow night, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 1,500 passenger / 30 truck capacity vessel is scheduled to depart Swansea at 20.30hrs on the overnight crossing with an arrival on Thursday morning at Cork's Ringaskiddy ferry terminal. The sailing will mark the first anniversary of company operations on the Celtic Sea route.

West Cork Tourism Co-Op launched the company a year ago as a result of a successful campaign to restore the direct service between Wales and the southern Ireland. Many businesses from the region and their Welsh counterparts invested in the co-op to restore the link since the closure by Swansea Cork Ferries in 2006.

Fastnet Line will continue to be in a celebratory mode with the first outbound sailing from Cork on Friday and which will also cater for a special-rugby supporters trip for this weekend's Six Nations Championship between Ireland and Wales at the Millenium Stadium, Cardiff. The Friday sailing departs Cork at 20.30hrs and arrives at 08.00hrs in Swansea on the Saturday morning with the game kicking off at 17.00hrs (5pm).

The company are offering various foot passenger deals to the match. A return bus transfer is also available between the ferry terminal and the game venue (but at an extra cost). In addition there are deals for those wanting to take the car. The after match sailing departs at 23.50 with the ferry arriving back in Cork at 12.00 noon on Sunday 13 March. For further information on fares etc click here

Published in Ferry
The Cork-Swansea route service has smashed 2010 targets with over 80,000 passengers using the service, which reopened in March according to a report on NewsWales.co.uk.

The passenger figure represents four-times the capacity of the Liberty Stadium, Swansea which is to host the rugby Heineken Cup clash between Swansea Neath Ospreys and Munster on Saturday 18 December.

The 10-hour ferry service operated by Fastnet Line also carried 31,000 vehicles and statistics suggest a significant boost for the Swansea Bay economy with about 40% of all passengers so far travelling from Cork to the south Wales region. The route is served by the MV Julia which had been sailing in the Baltic. The 1982 built vessel is capable of carrying more than 1,800 passengers and 400 cars.

Fastnet Line will run all-year-round in 2011 and has set a revised target of 120,000 passengers.

On a seasonal note, Christmas gift vouchers are available from Fastnet Line, for more information logon HERE

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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