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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Scottish Isles

Isle of Man Steam Packet's ro-ro freightferry, MV Arrow, could earn the company more than quarter a million pounds by helping maintain lifeline cargo services in Scotland.

According to Manx Radio, the freighter is currently running between the mainland port of Ullapool and Stornoway in the Western Isles having been chartered by Caledonian Macbrayne (CalMac) at a cost of almost twelve thousand pounds a day.

The Scottish ferry operator has been hit by disruption and breakdowns on its routes in recent months. The emergency service began in July and is expected to continue until September.

Managing Director of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Brian Thomson, says its vital ferry operators help each other in times of need.

Click here to also link to a brief podcast from the Steam-Packet's MD.

Published in Ferry

#MullofKintyre – Following last year's launch of Caledonian MacBrayne's Ardrossan-Campbeltown summer-only service, the Scottish ferry operator's first new route in twenty years, is to resume service for this season, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Sailings start this Thursday, 1 May and run till 28 September on the link between Ardrossan on the Firth of Clyde and Campeltown near the southern tip of the Mull of Kintyre.

It is understood the car-ferry, Isle of Arann (1984/3,296grt) will operate the 1 hour 40 minute service, which will enable more than 600 passengers and 62 vehicles to be transported on this scenic route.

The summer service is to re-invigorate tourism to these regions and allows for a boost in additional sailings on the Ardrossan service to Isle of Arann using the port of Brodick. Isle of Arann will join the 55-minute long routes main car-ferry, Caledonian Isles.

The route opens up interesting travel options to explore southern Scotland and where a round trip could include a stopover to Brodick on the Isle of Arann, affectionately known as the 'Scotland in miniature'. This can be achieved as the summer-only service will (only on Saturdays) sail from the direction of Campeltown to call via Brodick, Isle of Arann before arriving in Ardrossan.

Or if time restricted, a round-trip excursion from Ardrossan to Brodick where the summer schedule is to be increased in frequency up to September.

The nearest port to Ardrossan in Ayrshire, for those travelling across from Northern Ireland is Troon where P&O Ferries 'Express' seasonal-only fast-ferry service from Larne reopened last month.

Alternatively there are conventional ferry services also running from Larne to Cairnryan with the same operator or Stena Line's 'Superfast' ferry sailings from Belfast to Cairnryan.

In addition there is a third option, Kintyre Express 'foot'-passenger only Ballyscastle-Campeltown route operated by high-speed RIB craft. The passenger-only service would at least permit a circular route tour in either direction to encompass the Glens of Antrim, Mull of Kintyre, Forth of Clyde options and Dumfries & Galloway.

If going clockwise, Ballycastle which also has the ferry service to Rathlin Island, would involve firstly crossing to the Mull of Kintyre and then to Ardrossan, unless taking the Saturday-only sailing as mentioned to Isle of Arann as an added attraction.

Finally the last leg of the circuit would be to take a North Channel ferry from Cairnryan to either Larne or arrive in Belfast Lough.


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.


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. 

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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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