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Displaying items by tag: North Channel

Stena Line has been voted 'Best Ferry Company' at the annual Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism Awards which was hosted by TV personality Eamonn Homes. The accolade comes in advance to next month's opening of the company's new Belfast-Cairnryan ferry route, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Paul Grant, Stena Line's Belfast – Stranraer route director collected the award on behalf of the company commenting: "I am absolutely delighted that Stena Line has won the Best Ferry Company title for the 19th time and all of us are very proud that our commitment to improving our services has been recognised once again."

"We are moving into a very important time for Stena Line's operation between Northern Ireland and Scotland. On November 21 we are scheduled to start our new Belfast to Cairnryan service which will also see the introduction of two new vessels, Stena Superfast VII and Superfast VIII, the largest ships every to have sailed between Northern Ireland and Scotland," he continued.

Stena Line's switch of Scottish terminal from Stranrear to the new purpose built facility in Cairnryan which is some 8-miles closer to the open sea along Loch Ryan will reduce sailing times by 35 minutes down to 2 hours 15 minutes.

The 30,285grt Stena Superfast VII and Superfast VIII sisters can carry 1,200 passengers, 660 cars and 110 freight-unit / trucks. In addition they have a novel Nordic Spa facility incorporating a sauna and Jacuzzi.

The 206m pair will compete with rivals P&O (Irish Sea) which operates also from a neighbouring terminal in Cairnryan where another pair of sisters European Highlander and European Causeway provide 2-hour sailings to Larne.

Currently Belfast-Stranraer sailings are served by conventional tonnage ferries Stena Caledonia and Stena Navigator which lost engine-power on 14 October, to read more click HERE.

In addition fast-sailings are run by the expensive to operate HSS Stena Voyager which manages a faster crossing time on the existing route by shaving 15 minutes off the link between Loch Ryan and Belfast Lough. In 2008 the terminal in Belfast was relocated downriver to Victoria Terminal 4 (VT4) on the eastern edge of the port from the older inner-city terminal at Albert Quay.

Stena are to lease the 'Superfast' pair for three years from Scandinavia operator Tallink and they are to directly replace both the HSS and conventional ferries.

Published in Ferry
A passenger ferry heading to Northrrn Ireland was left adrift off the coast of western Scotland early yesterday after suffering engine failure.
The Press Association reports that the Stena Navigator was en route from Stranraer to Belfast when both of its engines broke down.
The ferry - carrying 70 passengers and 47 crew - was adrift some four nautical miles west of Corsewall Point lighthouse at the Mull of Galloway.
Clyde Coastguard confirmed that two Svitzer tugs, Norton Cross and Willowgarth, were dispatched to the vessel with the aim of towing it to Belfast, but the ferry managed to get one enging going and propelled itself at half power across the North Channel.
The Navigator arrived in port accompanied by the tugs around 4:30am. No injuries were reported in the incident.
A passenger ferry heading to Northern Ireland was left adrift off the coast of western Scotland early yesterday after suffering engine failure. 

The Press Association reports that the Stena Navigator was en route from Stranraer to Belfast when both of its engines broke down.

The ferry - carrying 70 passengers and 47 crew - was adrift some four nautical miles west of Corsewall Point lighthouse at the Mull of Galloway.

Clyde Coastguard confirmed that two Svitzer tugs, Norton Cross and Willowgarth, were dispatched to the vessel with the aim of towing it to Belfast, but the ferry managed to get one enging going and propelled itself at half power across the North Channel.

The Navigator arrived in port accompanied by the tugs around 4:30am. No injuries were reported in the incident.
Published in Ferry
P&O Ferries seasonally-only operated fast-ferry sailings between Larne-Cairnryan and also to Troon closed yesterday, leaving only two fast-ferries running Irish Sea cross-channel routes this winter, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The fast-ferry Express (1998/5,902grt) which was first introduced on P&O Ferries North Channel routes, which will continue to be operated year-round using conventional tonnage. On the route to Cairnryan, a pair of conventional ferries maintain sailings and a freight-only ferry serves Troon.

As for the remaining winter-serving fast-ferries they are Stena Line's HSS Stena Voyager (1996/ 19,638grt) between Belfast-Stranraer, in tandem with conventional ferries. Next month this route will close as the Scottish terminal relocates to a new ferryport nearby at (Loch Ryan Port) Cairnryan.

In addition two sister-ferries, which are undergoing modifications and an upgrade for their two-year charter on the North Channel, will directly replace the two-hour passage times it takes for the HSS fast-ferry and the ferries Stena Caledonia and Stena Navigator which take 2hrs 50 minutes.

With the introduction of the new tonnage to the Belfast-Cairnryan route, sailings times will be reduced to 2hrs 15mins. Ironically the new ferries which albeit will be the largest to serve on any North Channel route will actually be some 15 minutes slower on the newer-shorter distance route compared to the HSS fast-ferry operated Belfast-Stranraer sailings.

The second fast-ferry service is operated on Irish Ferries Dublin-Holyhead route using Jonathan Swift (1999/5,989grt) which is marketed as the Dublin 'Swift'. She runs year-round in addition to the cruiseferry Ulysses.

Also operating fast-ferry craft is the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's Manannan (1998/5,029grt) but this is on the none cross-channel route between Douglas and Liverpool.

Published in Ferry
A two-year title sponsorship deal has been signed by Irish Sea ferry operator, Stena Line and the ice-hockey team the Belfast Giants, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Next month the team are to play in a special pre-season game against the Nottingham Panthers at the Odyssey Arena as part of the Hockey Festival Weekend (27-28 August). Following the festival the 'Giant's will then play their first competitive game at the same venue against the Sheffield Steelers in early September.

Stena Line themselves will be looking forward to introducing their own giants when two of the largest ferries are to be introduced on the North Channel in the Autumn. The two chartered 30,000grt sisterships are Superfast VII and Superfast VIII. To see the vessel breaking through an an ice-flow, click PHOTO. The 203m long pair can take 1,200 passengers, around 660 cars or 110 freight vehicles. To read more about these 'Superfast' class vessels and the new £80 port terminal click HERE.

The company's area director Michael McGrath said: "It's quite fitting that we are teaming up with the Stena Line Belfast Giants at this time as we prepare to introduce two of the largest ferries every to sail between Northern Ireland and Scotland when we open our new route and port in Cairnryan this November. The two Superfast vessels will be another two Giants to add to our team."

Last year Stena Line made a £40m acquisition of the Belfast to Liverpool (Birkenhead) and Heysham routes and four vessels from DFDS Seaways. The deal was approved by the Irish authorities but remained subject to clearance from the UK's Competition Commission until late last month when they fully approved the acquisition.

This brings to six routes the company runs on its Irish Sea route network where over two million passengers were carried each year, more than its rival ferry operators combined.

Published in Ferry
With less than a week in service on the Larne-Troon port route, the ro-ro freight ferry Norcape has replaced the European Mariner which is reportedly sold to Turkish ship-breakers, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The Norcape (1979/14,087grt) entered service on 17 July and she brings an increased freight boost capacity of 125 trailer units compared to European Mariner's (1977/5,897grt) 53 trailer units. She departed Larne for the final time five days earlier, on her delivery voyage to Izmir in the eastern Mediterranean.

Prior to her arrival on the North Channel, Norcape had been laid-up in Liverpool since February 2010 after the former B+I Line vessel (MV Tipperary) was replaced by European Endeavour on the central corridor route to Dublin. As of this week the ro-pax freight vessel which has been running in a freight-only mode will now carry motorists likewise to her route fleetmates Norbank and Norbay.

With the departure of European Mariner from the Irish Sea, she follows a trio of former Stena Line freight-ferry sisters which were made redundant since the closure of the Belfast-Heysham route late last year. It is believed the sisters Stena Seafarer, Stena Leader and Stena Pioneer have been sold to Russian interests to serve in the Black Sea in connection to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The sisters were renamed, Stena Pioneer became Ant 1, Stena Seafarer is the Ant 2 and Stena Leader is the Anna Marine. They departed Belfast Lough in mid-June to Sevastopol in the Ukraine under the Moldovan flag and with a port of registry in Giurgiulesti.

Published in Ferry
With summertime in full-swing, Stena Line are running a 'Family Fun Day Cruise' on their Belfast-Stranraer port route on certain dates during July and August, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 'cruise' onboard the ferry Stena Navigator (for virtual tour click HERE) is based on a return excursion on the North Channel route.

So what's included?...there's live music, disco / karaoke, face-painting, balloon modeling and party games for the children. For further family entertainment there's even a magician, Wii-games, free movies and free Wi-Fi.

In addition a 10% discount is available from the onboard shop, though exclusions apply.

Cruises are not catered for vehicles but apply to 'foot' passengers, for further details on terms and conditions, cruise itinerary and travel dates click HERE.

Published in Ferry

Plans to operate the first passenger-only ferry service between Northern Ireland and Scotland are scheduled to start in late May, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Kintyre Express is to operate a Ballycastle-Campbeltown service on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 27 May and 26 September. Three daily return trips are scheduled on the service though the 1200hrs sailing from Campeltown and the corresponding 1400hrs sailing from Ballycastle will only operate on customer demand.

The passage time is scheduled to take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes between County Antrim and the Mull of Kintyre which is a distance of some 50 kilometres / 30-miles. Ticket fares for a single journey are £30 and the return is £55. On the remaining days that the route is not operated on, the boat is available for private charter.

In addition the new venture is to include an on-demand Campbeltown-Troon route running between April and September. This second service, linking Argyll with Ayrshire, will operate on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The journey time is somewhat shorter with a scheduled time of 1 hour 15 minutes. The on-demand service must be booked in advance with singles fares costing £50 and a return ticket at £80. For further information click www.kintyreexpress.com

Like the recent proposals announced for a passenger-only ferry service across Galway Bay click here, the Kintyre Express operation will also use a fast-ferry in the form of rigid inflatable boats (RIB). The two routes from Campeltown will be served by Redbay Stormforce 11 metre RIBS which have centrally heated fully enclosed cabins for about 10 passengers. The Redbay Boats are built in Cushendall, Co. Antrim, for further information about the type of RIB to be used on the new routes click here.

The Ballycastle-Campbeltown route will be unique in that it will be the sole passenger-only ferry operator serving between the island of Ireland and the UK.

When the second route opens between Campbeltown-Troon, the company will be able to provide their boat service linked in with a train journey to Glasgow which they claim can be completed in less than two hours. Trains between Troon and Glasgow Central Station operate every 30 minutes and with a journey time of approximately 40 minutes.

For those who are car-free and time-free, this most northerly of travel routes is arguably the most scenic way to travel between Northern Ireland and Scotland and will appeal also to the intrepid traveler.

On both ferry services bicycles are carried for free and currently there is a special offer with all ferry tickets that can also be used for a free-day pass on the local Kintyre bus network for up to 24-hours. The bus operator is Craig of Campbeltown which trades as West Coast Motors and which owns Kintyre Express. The bus operator also serves on routes throughout Argyll and the island of Bute.

The next nearest cross-channel operator to the Kintyre Express Ballycastle-Campbeltown service is the car-carrying catamaran fast-ferry seasonal service between Larne and Troon operated by P&O (Irish Sea). The same company operates the year-round conventional car-ferry service on the North Channel between Larne and Cairnryan. Also operating to Loch Ryan is Stena Line which operates both ferry and HSS fast-craft services on the Belfast-Stranraer route.

Over the years there have been several attempts to revive the ferry between Ballycastle and Campeltown following a service that catered for vehicles too. For three summer seasons starting in 1997 the service was operated by the Argyll and Antrim Steam Packet Company, using the Claymore (1978/1,632grt) which could accommodate 500 passengers and 50 vehicles.

In 1996 the vessel was chartered to carry out tender duties for visitors and crew of the aircraft-carrier USS John F. Kennedy (displacement 82,655 tons full load) which was at anchor off Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 2 of 2

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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