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Bring Back the Swansea Cork Ferry / Peoplesferry.com - Newsletter April 2010

Hi folks!

Now we are two!
It's been a while since our last newsletter - but, as you will have heard, it's been an eventful few months. As this week sees the 2-year anniversary of the start of the campaign to restore the Swansea-Cork Ferry, it seemed like an opportune time to contact you all again.

Who'd have thought, back in April 2008, that in two short years the ferry link would be restored, with a great ship, funded by a cooperative of even greater people?

Good news / bad news
They do say that there's no such thing as bad publicity - and the first few weeks of Julia's operations certainly put that maxim to the test. You'd be amazed how many 'experts' were on hand to tell Fastnet Line exactly where they were going wrong, and what they should have done to avoid the unfortunate situations. Thankfully, the initial problems with certification, electronics, tidal conditions and delays are now well behind us, and Julia and her crew are settling into their regular routine.

There's no doubt that there will still be the occasional glitch, but Julia is now well on the way to providing the level of service that her customers deserve.

Frequent Traveller Scheme
Many of you have asked about the possibility of discounts for frequent travellers - and Fastnet Line have put together an attractive discount package that will be of interest to you. http://www.fastnetline.com/frequent_traveller_program.html

More special offers!
News just in of special discounts for members of the UK Caravan Club and the UK Caravan and Camping Club. Club members - contact your respective clubs for more information - we look forward to welcoming you and your campers, 'vans and tents to sunny West Cork.

A new man at the helm!
We're pleased to welcome Phil Jones aboard Fastnet Line as the new full-time CEO - replacing Tom Barrett, who has completed his short-term contract to get the company up and running. Phil has extensive experience in the hotel and hospitality industry, and we believe he will bring an new enthusiasm and drive to the organisation.

Tell us your 'Julia' stories
We used to get some great stories from you on the website via the e-petition, and, now there's no need for 'Please bring back the ferry'-type messages, we though it would be fun to have a "Guest book" on the new website (www.peoplesferry.com) where you could tell the world about your Julia experiences. We'll also pass on your comments to Fastnet Line, and they will take heed of them when improving the facilities and service on-board Julia. Contact us here

You may have noticed reports about funding for Fastnet Line from the Irish Government - and we've just heard that similar funding will also be forthcoming from the Welsh Assembly. This funding is in the form of investment, rather than a gift, and offers a good rate of return for the parties involved as well as going a long way towards securing Fastnet Line's financial future.

Spot the (UK) number plate!
One of the early effects of the demise of the old ferry was the dearth of UK-registered cars / campers on the roads of West Cork. As this Easter holiday week draws to a close, a number of poeple have pointed out to me that the UK-plates are back - which is great news. The Easter Friday sailing from Swansea was fully-booked - which is excellent news. If you are one of the people who've taken advantage of the relaxing route from the UK / EU to West Cork - welcome - it's great to see you back. The traffic works both ways, of course - and I'm hearing from more and more citizens of the Peoples' Republic of West Cork who are using the ferry as a convenient way to visit friends and family in the UK, or even explore Swansea and the south-west of Wales.

We've got a new website!
Apparently, we were in danger of confusing some folks (or so the 'official' letter said) - so we've moved from the old campaign website to www.peoplesferry.com

On this new site we have a brief history of the campaign, a complete news (and newsletter!) archive and a selection of interesting articles and videos about 'The Peoples' Ferry'. Even though the campaign has pretty much run its course (successfully!) we feel that it's right to keep the website running as a way of telling the story of the campaign, and honouring you great people who were instrumental in making all of this happen.

Finally.... the truth can be told...
I'm forever being asked 'Have you been on the new ship yet?'
Well - here's the guilty secret.....
...actually, I'm the world's worst sailor - I can get seasick in a car-wash!

While we were campaigning for the return of the ferry, it didn't seem like a good time to mention my aversion to all things nautical - but now the truth is out!

Having said that, I'm assured that Julia behaves very well even under the roughest of weather, and one day I'll be sure to find out .

Anyway, the hectic pace of life out here in West Cork with gardening, polytunnels, chickens, dogs and open-air markets doesn't leave me much time for pleasure cruises - so it's OK - you can have my cabin !

On the subject of markets - if you're in West Cork and looking for some great value food and crafts - don't forget to check out your local market at www.westcorkmarkets.com

That's all folks!

Nothing much more to report, really.....

We just started a campaign, had tremendous support from a truly amazing group of people, formed a co-op, bought a ship and started a company to run her. Pretty much a normal day at the office

We'll continue to update the website at www.peoplesferry.com with all the Julia / Fastnet Line news as it comes in - and don't forget to check www.fastnetline.com for your online bookings and everything you need to know about travelling on your ship.

Thank you once again, one and all for being such amazing people - and I do hope you enjoy travelling on the Julia for many years to come.

Bon voyage!