Home' Work Boat World : January 2010 Contents The best is not always left to last
Top 10 from 10 ago
Since it's 2010, I thought it might be interesting to look at
what happened in the fast craft business a decade ago.
Now I'm not so bold as to choose the ten best lightweight
flyers from the year 2000. So, instead of trying to identify quality
-- which is so subjective -- I'll go with something slightly less open
to interpretation: quantity. So, what has become of the ten
longest high-speed ferries built in 2000? Let's count down towards
Numbers 9 and 10 are sister ships -- 'Highspeed 2' and
'Highspeed 3'. These 72-metre cats have had a rather boring life,
which is usually an indicator of success. While the name and
ownership of the company that owns them has changed they
remain, for all intents and purposes, doing the same service in the
Greek islands trade that they were doing when delivered. Perhaps
the most notable change is the addition of the name of a
telephone company in large lettering down their sides.
Stretching the tape measure to 86 metres, Number 8 has a rather
similar story. Same operation all this time, albeit with a change of
colours. 'Villum Clausen' is notable for setting a 24-hour record on
her delivery voyage -- a record that still stands, I believe. Of course,
she has turbines -- something that you don't see too much in these
high fuel price days. Still, she must have been quite successful as a
new stable-mate has been ordered form the same builder.
'Highspeed 4' is the moniker of Number 7 and, you guessed it,
the story is pretty much identical to that of 'Highspeed 2' and
'Highspeed 3'. Just change the 72 to 92.
Appropriate for 2000, Number 6 was, and is, named 'Milenium'.
Of course my computer tells me that's spelt wrongly but I am
assured that is how her Spanish owner likes it. The "still with the
original owner" theme continues with this 96-metre wavepiercer
having spent her entire working life in the Mediterranean. Her
owner, though, has been sold during that time -- and rumour has it
that 'Milenium' could be yours if you had the right kind of money.
See if they'll throw in the extra L and N.
Two metres longer, Number 5 has had a more varied life. Not
many ships can claim to have been a meeting venue at an Olympic
Games, but alongside in Sydney was where what is now 'Normandie
Express' first worked. Then it was off to New Zealand for a while
before a stint back at her builder's (and owner's) yard. In 2005 she
headed to Europe -- via Indonesia where she dropped off some aid
following the tragedy of the Boxing Day tsunami. That charter later
developed into a sale to her current owner, Brittany Ferries.
Number 4 is the first monohull on the list. Delivered as 'Volcan
de Tauro' this 114-metre monster has not had the happiest
childhood. Her original operator had her for a rather short period,
then she waited around for a while before changing hands and
names. She joined a similar size boat from the same builder but
built a year later...and it would seem that the second had benefited
from the lessons of the first, for the year 2000 "prototype" has only
seen sporadic service and is currently without livery and very
much for sale -- by the finance company related to her engine
builder if you want to find out more.
Add another five metres and you get to Number 3, another
mono. This one hasn't changed ownership but has had a change in
name, with the 'Express' part giving way to 'Kenteris', reflecting
the success of a Greek athlete who won a Gold medal at the
aforementioned 2000 Olympics. No prizes for guessing what flag
this boat flies but that doesn't mean she has always been in the
Hellenic trades, with a short stint to the Red Sea thrown in a while
back. She was also the subject of a long running dispute that
resulted in her French engines being replaced with more
commonly used German ones.
Number 2 has that number of hulls and was built in that
infamous Canadian project which saw three boats built at great
expense and with little resultant use before lay-up, an auction
which saw them sold for a fraction of their cost and then another
long period of lay-up. 'Pacificat Voyager' has, as regular readers will
know, just made her longest voyage ever -- on the back of a lift ship
in preparation for a new life in the Gulf. It will certainly be
interesting to see how that little venture goes.
And coming in at Number 1 in the class of 2000 is 'NGV
Liamone' -- a 134-metre, twin turbine, twin diesel mono with space
for over 1,100 passengers and 250 cars. Continuing a bit of a
theme she, too, has been in the same service and under the same
ownership her entire life. The owners of her owner have, however,
changed -- from Government ownership to private industry. Right
now, though, the talk is that she will be saying goodbye to the
Med and hello to the South Pacific. According to dispatches from
the frontline she's no longer sporting her current owner's livery
and is Tahiti bound. This has caused quite a storm in those islands,
with the current operators stopping services in protest. As with the
runner up it will be interesting to see how that goes.
The Incat-built 'Milenium'
Austal's 'Highspeed 2' in the year 2000
January 2010 WORK BOAT WORLD
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