No, not my last Voyage report but the last[?] Liverpool to Dublin voyage aboard the LADY OF MANN. On Monday 5th January the LADY OF MANN operated her final return sailing on the Liverpool to Dublin route. After the previous day's wild weather, Monday 5th January was relatively calm. Though onboard the Lady there were something's out of place which suggested a wild time the previous day, including a damaged door on the starboard rear staircase from A to B deck; a leak into B deck from above; and some missing light covers. All of which had been intact when I travelled a couple of days earlier! During the course of the journey the ship's carpenter removed the door, lashing it to a side rail.
The LADY departed from the stage at 08:29 with 102 passengers, 20 cars and one motorcycle. It is very rare to hear the LADY's whistle, however, as she moved off the stage she gave a long blast.
"DOOGIE" the baggage tractor and trailers did not travel aboard the Lady. Instead use was made of her luggage lockers, whilst "DOOGIE" peered out from the vehicle inspection shed on the Landing Stage.
There was only one inward vessel the cargo ship INGRID passed at Q2. Passing the Bar at 09:28 IRISH SEA PIONEER was seen jacked up against the Hamilton Platform as she had been on the previous Friday. The Douglas Platform was passed at 09:52 with her support vessel GRAMPIAN SUPPORTER standing close by. Skerries Light was passed about 12 miles to the north at 11:44 .At 12:00 a coaster was spotted off Holyhead heading west bound. To the north [starboard] much of the Isle of Man was clearly visible whilst on the port side the LADY OF MANN rapidly overtook an unidentified west-bound James Fisher tanker. To the north-west the snow covered Mourne Mountains appeared like iced cakes, rising steadily above the horizon, as the sun shone on their distant slopes.
As Dublin Bay was entered the higher parts of the Wicklow Mountains were seen to have a light dusting of snow in the golden winter afternoon sun.
The Baily light was passed at 14:36. As Dublin was approached the Dublin Pilot Boat LIFFEY was seen waiting near the Bay Buoy to pick up the pilot from the CLIPPER HARMONY which was in the channel heading out to sea. At 14:50 just off Poolbeg the CLIPPER HARMONY passed outbound.
MERCHANT BRILLIANT occupied the Merchant Ferries berth, other regular container ship visitors to Dublin could be seen at the various berths KATHARINE B, COASTAL ISLE and RHEIN MASTER.
The LADY was made secure at 15:10. There was a good number of vehicles waiting for the return sailing, enhanced by those stranded by the recently disrupted sailings on the Irish Sea. I wandered off to take some photos of the newly completed terminal building and the MERCHANT BRILLIANT. Looking back to the LADY OF MANN basking in the late afternoon sunlight, conditions appeared just right and appropriate for her last departure from Dublin despite the fact she would be sailing out of the sunset rather than into it!
There were 123 cars for the return sailing with 393 passengers. Departure was at 16:30 and once again the LADY gave a long blast on her whistle as she moved off the berth. Justin Merrigan and his team from Dublin Maritime Ltd, who handle the Steam Packet sailings at the terminal, assembled on the quayside for the final departure.
I didn't keep detailed timings on the return run, though the LADY appeared to make good time to a position off Skerries. However, she then appeared to loose time and arrival back at Liverpool was after 23:20, the exact time I forgot to write down so no records were broken on this last day. However, she has on a number of occasions offered a crossing time under 6 hours.
Now it was all over! It has been a great seven months. Personally I have made 14 sailings on the run and I would have made more if it hadn't been for the unfortunate mechanical problems in November.
In a few weeks SUPERSEACAT TWO will appear, and I dare say its high speed [3 hours 50 min.] crossing time will be appreciated by many as it will offer significant time in Dublin and make a good day trip possible without the hike out to Holyhead. However, SUPERSEACAT TWO does not have the same grace and style as the LADY which, for the amount of time I have spent aboard this year, feels as though she is becoming my second home! SUPERSEACAT TWO is unproven in the wild waters of the Irish Sea and somehow one anticipates that more delays/cancellations will occur in adverse weather conditions. The Lady lost a handful of sailings due to very severe weather, though she served the route well on days that would have seen a SeaCat run for shelter. Perhaps we might not have yet seen the last of the LADY on the Liverpool to Dublin run - time and the weather will tell!
Voyage Report Update - LADY OF MANN Dublin - Liverpool 5th January:
Though I did not keep accurate records of the return timings a MSN reader did. Here are the timing details courtesy Matthew Forrest:
No 49 Berth 1628
Bar L/F 2221
Rock Lt 2312
Capt. S.T. Cowin. Pax:392 Crew:52 Cars:123 Vans: 3 Solos: 1
Wx: NWxW 5/6 Mod Sea Mod Swell
Thanks - Matthew - much appreciated!