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Displaying items by tag: Stena Superfast V

#StenaHSSfuture? – Stena Line's introduction of Stena Superfast X to expand capacity on the Dublin-Holyhead route in early 2015, raises uncertainty over the future of the Dun Laoghaire HSS operated service to Wales, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Now that Superfast X a larger passenger and freight ship of 29,500 tonnes is to make a debut in early 2015, this week's announcement comes at a time when speculation continues to mount over the re-opening in 2015 of the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route. In addition it raises the issue of whether the High Speed Sea-Service (HSS) Stena Explorer will return or by a smaller fast-ferry?

The route's main summer-season service ceased in September and the recent news to cancel Christmas sailings marked the first time the HSS operated route has been closed over the festive and early New Year. asked Stena to comment on the introduction of increased capacity by Superfast X on the Dublin Port route and the future viability of the Dun Laoghaire route served by the High Speed Sea-Service (HSS) Stena Explorer currently tied-up in Holyhead.

Once again the reply was a familiar response, "Stena Line is currently engaged in on-going discussions with Dun Laoghaire Harbour in relation to the provision of a seasonal fast craft service in 2015".

When Stena Superfast makes her debut in early 2015 on the core Dublin-Holyhead central corridor route, she will bring increased capacity for 1,200 passengers, notably compared to around 400 as carried by the vessel she is to directly replace, Stena Nordica.

In addition the newcomer most recently serving Dover-Calais service, is currently undergoing vehicle deck conversion work by MacGregor, the contractor which will also increase capacity to almost 2kms of lane space for cars and freight.

Plus the 'Superfast X' is having a refit to upgrade of passenger facilities in readiness for when she enters on the Dublin route. She will join the existing service's second ship, Stena Adventurer which is more of an even match compared to the 'Nordica'.

Stena Line clearly are confident in the route's potential as Dublin Port is a key strategic tourism gateway and on foot of a recovering economy. The operator citing leisure and commercial traffic between Ireland and Britain are showing really encouraging signs of future growth.

Already in service since 2011 are her sisters Superfast VII and VIII which operate on the Belfast-Cairnryan route.

As for the fuel thirsty and expensive to operate HSS Stena Explorer, the catamaran fast-ferry stood down from the Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead having operated the summer-seasonal service that began in April and ran through to early September.

This year was the HSS crafts third consecutive season of only operating a summer-only service since her introduction in 1996. The fast-ferry having then replaced the last conventional ferry to run on the Ireland-Wales link.


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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