Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

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Displaying items by tag: Med ferry

Irish Continental Group has chartered a ship from Corsica Ferries, to provide routine annual overhaul cover over the winter season for their division Irish Ferries, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Mega Express Four during its Mediterranean Sea career had been normally on France-Corsica routes among them out of Nice, however, Afloat tracked the ferry off Portugal during its repositioning voyage from Vado Ligure close to Savona, Italy.

This morning Mega Express Four had completed the repositioning voyage in Holyhead so to enable berthing trials. The ferry is to depart the north Wales port for Dublin from where it is to arrive tomorrow for further trials and remain in port during the weekend.

According to the Irish Ferries website, Mega Express Four will take up Dublin-Holyhead service next Monday. Ulysses will not operate on two sailings next Monday and is expected to go off service from the Ireland-Wales route and head for dry-docking.

The chartered ferry built-in 1995 as Superfast II, first-served Superfast Ferries on Greece-Italy routes. Originally, there were 12 custom-built ships with the 'Superfast' naming theme, though of varying naval architect designs. Some ships served in northern Europe. 

Mega Express Four also operated for new owners on Australian waters linking Tasmania before returning to Europe in 2006 for the current Corsican based operator.

When Mega Express Four enters service, this will be the fifth 'Superfast' ferry to operate from the island of Ireland as a pair of Stena sisters, retaining in part their original name, Stena Superfast's VII/VIII that link the Belfast-Cairnryan route.

Superfast V became Brittany Ferries Cape Finistere recently introduced initially on both Rosslare routes to Cherbourg and Spain, until Connemara took charge of connecting the French port this month.

The fifth 'Superfast' named ferry to run on the Irish waters was the Stena Superfast X, which in recent years departed the Dublin-Holyhead route to began a new career in the Mediterranean and coincidentally running for a rival operator of Corsica Ferries.

In addition the arrival of the chartered ferry sees the Dublin-Holyhead timetable include W.B. Yeats after a final round trip this weekend on the Dublin-Cherbourg route takes place. The largest vessel in the fleet having begun four months earlier than scheduled on the Ireland-France link in response to boosting Brexit-Bypass freight demand.

When W.B. Yeats resumes service on the shorter Irish Sea route, Epsilon will directly take over crossings on the Dublin-Cherbourg route with a sailing taking place also on Monday.

It will be interesting to see if the Mega Express Four is deployed beyond the Irish Sea and possibly cover the route to mainland Europe.

As of today (Friday, 12 Feb) Afloat observed this morning the newcomer pass the Baily Lighthouse in Dublin Bay bound for the port.

While the final survivor of the original 12 ships, Superfast XI still operates for the same operator as the vessel runs between Patras-Igoumenitsa and Ancona. Though the Athens based ferry firm has other secondhand ships serving under the same naming theme.

Published in Irish Ferries

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.


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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