Peter’s Patter - Be careful what you wish for!

editorial image

We all know that the sailing from Ullapool to Stornoway would be far better with two ferries. It wouldn’t make the crossing quicker but it would be far more convenient having more crossings each day.

I am sure one day our wish will come true but after speaking to my dad last week I am crossing my fingers that no one comes up with the same solution as Guernsey in the Channel Islands did when the islanders demanded quicker crossings.

Like us they have debated ferry crossings for a number of years and like us they wanted them bigger, quicker and more reliable. Unlike us, yet, they included catamarans in their debate as these are basically fast ferries that skim across the water at a fair rate of knots.

They can be passenger only or have lots of room for cars as they do on the new Guernsey ferry but it might be worth noting that the islanders are already up in arms and demanding the removal of their unbeloved catamaran.

I have been on a catamaran before when we sped from Dover to Calais and I would heartily recommend it to anyone wishing to lose weight as I shed at least half a stone throwing up in the toilet for practically the whole duration of the crossing. It turned out that the first passenger catamaran to Guernsey was pretty much the same, at least on the days it actually sailed.

Their new catamaran takes as many passengers and cars as the Loch Seaforth which sounds great but it then proceeds to sail like a tumble dryer for the next three hours. Now the English Channel is no worse than the Minch as my parents can verify as they were the only passengers not to be sick on their crossing last week which was quite handy as their first aid skills were soon in high demand.

The problem with catamarans is that they are tend to clatter into every wave and the after effects are felt by those poor souls on board.

As my dad told me, he had no idea how many knots the catamaran was doing but you could measure the passenger deck on the Richter scale. It was not just passengers being sick as one poor dear went into shock and had to receive urgent medical attention.

On the funny side, the Duty Free area was still full of folk trying desperately to complete their purchase before throwing up. The bottles of booze were, literally, flying off the shelves as it turned into a farce with people trying to grab their bottle of booze before it crashed onto the floor.

Sounds like it was a smashing crossing.