To slightly less profound issues and CalMac having won their bid to run services for another 8 years were soon embroiled in the day to day reality of breakdown problems with Isle of Lewis and Isle of Arran both giving trouble while the grumbling over the moving of Coruisk from Skye to Mull service continues.
And Ali Cat on Argyll Ferries Gourock-Dunoon service had to be replaced by Clyde Clipper before she could be back after her overhaul. Surely it all points to a need for more realistic investment in new vessels and having an eye to standardising equipment and not least ensuring there are the facilities and skills to maintain the ships.
The innovative builders Manor Marine at Portland, Dorset, have delivered a new Ali Cat to Solent & Wightline Cruises confusingly very similar in name, design and appearance to the Argyll Ferries vessel. The companies may have to fight over the name. She is currently being fitted out at Cowes by her owners and should be in service later this year.
An earlier delivery from Manor Marine was Connemara Lady 173,’99 for Connemara service specifically for Killary Fjord trips. Manor Marine was appointed to construct the 22 metre catamaran ferry, to my eye better looking than many catamarans, capable of carrying 155 passengers. She mainly offers 90 minute cruises on the special waters of Killary Fjord in the far west of Ireland. She has a bar and cafeteria with viewing areas over two decks and is constructed of profiled mild steel and powered by twin Scania engines giving a top speed of 12 and service speed of 10 knots. A gradually sloping bow ramp provides access to the vessel via the lower deck and is both child and wheelchair friendly.
The company operate a unique mix of vessels. In addition to Connemara Lady over at Dublin, they have an excursion sight-seeing launch on the Liffey and they also market the replica emigrant ship Jeanie Johnston moored there and in addition a sleek looking restaurant barge on the Grand Canal.