Boarding had commenced when I arrived at Douglas Sea Terminal as I arrived around 06:40. I usually make a point of ensuring that I arrive promptly at the terminals, however, I had delayed checking out of my hotel as the Friday evening Seawatch bulletin on Manx Radio had advised passengers to phone the information line after 06:00 to ascertain if Saturday's departure would be on time. This I had done on several occasions after 06:00 as I had no desire to arrive at the terminal early for a delayed departure at that time of the morning.
The recorded information line was actually only updated around 06:30. Fortunately the Sefton Hotel is quite close to the Sea Terminal.
Once on board I ascertained that the 19:00 sailing from Liverpool on Friday February 22 had taken just over six hours. The LADY OF MANN arriving at Douglas around 01:15 after a very lively passage! There was a certain amount of evidence of the rough weather in the scuppers on the boat deck which suggested little cleaning had been undertaken following the late arrival! Down in the Blue Riband lounge I noted that drawers had been removed and placed on the floor. Also in the main passenger saloon one seating bay had been roped off for some reason or another.
The LADY OF MANN appeared ready to depart ahead of schedule with the baggage trolleys coming on board around 07:22. However a quick get away didn't materialise. This new Bentley Convertible presented itself at the Victoria Pier gates after the baggage trolley had loaded and there appeared to be some debate amongst the ground crew as to whether it would be allowed to board. One of the harbour policemen eventually opening the electric gates to allow the car through.
Once this car was onboard a further delay followed as some policemen appeared at the end of the covered passenger walkway. They were seeking permission to come on board to search the vessel for someone who should not have been leaving the island. However, they didn't remain on board very long and were seen walking back obviously without the person they had been looking for.
The LADY OF MANN departed from berth #3 at 07:36 with 309 passengers and 44 vehicles under the command of Captain O'Toole.
As the Lady set off a medium sized container ship could be seen in the outer area of Douglas Bay. To the north could be seen three coasters sheltering in Laxey Bay, one of which the STINA had been sheltering there the previous day.
A fairly uneventful crossing followed, despite the high winds and rough seas.
At around 09:30 the chief officer gave an update on our progress. The Lady was running at 19 knots with the wind westerly force 8 to 9. ETA for Channel was 10:40 with going ashore at 11:50.
Liverpool Bay OSI was passed at 10:00 the OSI's guard ship heading into the sea was certainly making heavy weather of things! Despite the significant swell which at times was higher than the Blue Riband Lounge windows the Lady was running quite smoothly almost surfing along. Wandering around the passenger areas, the passengers did not appear to be suffering any bad effects and the Promenade Cafe appeared to be doing good business. A certain indication that things are not too rough from the average passenger's point of view.
As the Lady of Mann approached the Liverpool Bar a rather off schedule NORBANK could be seen inbound from Dublin. She appeared to slow up to allow the Lady enter the Queen's Channel approaches first. The Bar light float was passed at 10:40 and Formby Lightfloat at 10:55. As we ran past the Radar Tower an Adsteam Tug was seen heading outbound to assist the in bound NORBANK.
The LADY OF MANN was on the stage at 11:40 and secure by 11:50. Despite the conditions, the crossing from Douglas had been quite smooth given the following sea which had enabled the Lady to basically surf across to Liverpool. However, as the gale force winds continued all day the evening return sailing was delayed until 22:00.