The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company provided another ferry crossing with one of their high speed catamarans after last years visit by Emeraude France. This vessel called Snaefell after the highest peak on the Isle of Man is a similar vessel and looked huge against the North Pier wall dwarfing the smaller of the harbour's two lighthouses. It is the sixth vessel to have that name and is the oldest in the fleet. It disembarked at 12:30.
A very strong cross wind was pressing the ferry up against the wall of North Pier and the control jet on the rear starboard struggled to get it free but eventually it gained enough room to pass the end of the North Pier.
The HSC Snaefell was a magnificent sight as it passed the West Pier lighthouse and once it was clear of the harbour it spun around with the aid of its control jets and dropped the pilot back onto the pilot boat. Snaefell is the new name for a boat with a long service with the Steam Packet Company. Built in 1991 in Tasmania, former names include Sea Express 1, Seacat Isle of Man, Seacat Norge, Seacat Boulogne, Sardegna Express and Hoverspeed France. Last year it had a dramatic crash with Alaska Rainbow, a cargo vessel, in the River Mersey and was badly damaged.
Eventually, at 12:50 Snaefell finally got away and those huge engines powered the fastcat at up to 36 knots across to the Isle of Man in about an hour. Unfortunately, after it left the weather closed in - lets hope there is better weather next time.
Snaefell is due for another Isle of Man trip from Whitehaven on the 1st July 2008.
Emeraude France visit in 2007
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