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Displaying items by tag: Larne

Following the recent announcement of DFDS Seaways to sell two Irish Sea routes and four vessels to rivals Stena Line, the company are to close the Larne to Fleetwood route, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Stena claim the closure is not to do with the £40m transaction deal with DFDS Seaways. "The decision to close Fleetwood to Larne was taken some time ago on the basis of the current and projected performance of the route, and before the opportunity arose to buy these other routes," said Irish Sea area director Michael McGrath.

The route has made significant losses over recent years and to running an aging fleet on the 7-hour service. Stena cite that investment in new tonnage was not an option due to higher capitol costs. "No business can continue to carry such losses on an ongoing basis so there is no alternative but to close the route at the end of this year," he added.

The trio of vessels, Stena Leader (1975/12,879grt), Stena Pioneer (1975/14,426grt) and Stena Seafarer (1975/10,957grt) serve the link between Lancashire and Northern Ireland which takes freight, cars and their passengers but does not cater for 'foot' passengers.    

Late last month a fire took place in the engine room of the Stena Pioneer during a sailing to Fleetwood, the fire was extinguished using onboard equipment and fortunately without incident to crew or passengers.The Stena Pioneer was operated by B&I Line as their Bison in a joint service with Pandoro on the Dublin-Liverpool route between 1989-1993.

Under the new agreement, Stena Line's take-over of Belfast-Heysham, the port is a close neighbour to Fleetwood will include the 13,000 tonnes sisters Hibernia Seaways and Scotia Seaways.The other route aquired is Belfast-Birkenhead (Liverpool) which is significant in that the deal will include the purchase of the chartered 27,000 gross tonnes ro-pax twins, Mersey Seaways and Lagan Seaways. The sisters were built in 2005 at the Visentini shipyard, Italy, which also built the ro-pax sisters Dublin Seaways and Liverpool Seaways.

Measuring 21,000 gross tonnes these vessels operate Dublin-Birkenhead route but remain under DFDS Seaways control and this applies to their freight-only service from the Irish capital to Heysham served by the Anglia Seaways. The 120-trailer freight ferry is also a sister of the Belfast-Heysham pair.

Notably the transaction will see Stena Line enter operations on the Mersey for the first time.The Swedish operator will use the river's Birkenhead Twelve Quays ferryport terminal located on the Wirral, opposite the famous Liverpool waterfront.

Stena Line will not only share the double berth facility with DFDS Seaways but also the Isle of Man Steam Packet (IOMSPCo) which in recent years has operated winter sailings to Douglas. In the summer the Isle of Man ferry operator uses the Liverpool landing stage berth on the other side of the river which is also shared by the 'ferry cross the Mersey' fleet operated by Mersey Ferries.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Started in 1982 the season ending Hot Toddy event returned to it's originating Club in Larne on 22/23 October. Twenty two boats took to the water on a damp and overcast day with a Force 3-4 Easterly blowing over the hilly east coast of the lough, constantly varying in strength and direction and providing challenging racing conditions.

It seemed like business as usual for Tim Corcoran and Brendan Brogan, despite having sailed very little since the Irish Champs, as they reeled off three firsts in a row, starting and sailing very consistently. The first race was even more "business as usual" as John and Donal McGuinness took second place with President Richard Street and Dan Crilly third. Things were soon to change when silver fleet sailor (for how much longer?) Nigel Sloan and Michael Cox took second place holding off Norman and Rob Lee, While in the third race Curly Morris sailing with daughter Mel (bit of a comedown after sailing with Ger Owens in the last two events) took second with the rapidly improving Keith Louden and Dessie Hughes third.

Sunday was bright and clear although cool and as the wind backed slowly into a more northerly direction it became a little steadier in strength and direction. In the lightest conditions of the weekend (Force 3) Curly and Mel had another good pin end start but this time held on to lead at the first mark and throughout the race despite a strong challenge from Keith and Dessie who held off Tim and Brendan comfortably.

With the breeze strengthened to Force 3-4, Keith made a perfect pin end start and took a lead they were not to loose, despite strong challenges from both Norman and Rob and Nigel and Michael, the latter pair ultimately taking their second second place of the weekend. This was Keith and Dessie's first race win at a major event and well deserved. As both Keith and Richard have ben trying to "break their duck" by winning a race for a number of years, this was the inspiration Richard and Dan needed to do the same in the final race. With John and Donal in second place and well clear of the rest of the fleet their victory was hard earned with a lot of cover tacking! The Presidential celebrations could be heard all the way down to the leeward mark.

With a third and fifth in the first two races Tim and Brendan didn't need to sail the final race but for the next four boats the minor places were up for grabs. Race officer Richard Doig had reverted to an Olympic style course and with the wind backing steadily to the North the final reach became a bit of a cavalry charge with much tactical sailing. Robert and Ross Gingles managed to hold on to the inside berth at the final mark on Curly and Mel who in turn kept out Keith and Dessie and Alistair Duffin and Paul Whitcombe the latter having a quiet weekend by their standards. Despite slipping to 7th on the last beat this was enough to shade out Norman and Rob on tie break.

In the silver fleet Nigel and Michael's two second place finishes gave them a comfortable lead over Cathal Sheridan and David Lappin, with Steven Preston and Brenda Niblock doing enough to beat clubmates Lawrence Balham and T Brown

Lough Foyle Y.C. could be proud of their weekend as in addition to Keith and Dessie in second and Ken Louden and Ryan Louden also making the top ten. The bronze fleet was a L.F.Y.C. clean sweep! Kevin and J Lynch took the honours from Bill Johnston and James Hockley and Daniel and Gareth Gallagher in third place, with only eight points between the three of them. We look forward to seeing more of these up and coming sailors next year and not just when we go to Lough Foyle for one of our events.

The event marked 50 years of sailing at E.A.B.C. much of it dominated by a very strong GP14 fleet. Curly Morris was not the only sailor participating in the event to have launched their first GP14 fifty years ago – Commodore Paddy Thompson persuaded former N.I. champion Michael Hill to get his series 1 boat Trostan out of the garage and onto the water and revive a host of memories.

Published in GP14
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