13th May: on the Bridge of Red Eagle
As part of the training regime for watchkeepers at NCI Calshot Tower and NCI Stone Point our Public Relations officer, Nick Roe, has organised opportunities for watchkeepers to be on the Bridge of a Red Funnel ferry during a trip from Southampton to the Isle of Wight and back. The first such visit took place on the 11am sailing of the Red Eagle ferry on Saturday 13th May 2023. The NCI personnel were the Station Manager, Bryan Young, watchkeeper John Hooper, and myself (Deputy Station Manager – Stone Point).
Bryan had worked on P&O cruise ships and I have my research ship experience, so I think John Hooper benefitted most from the experience and he wrote up a very good report a version of which appeared on our Blog. I actually got the impression that navigating the ferry through the crowded waters of the Solent was somewhat easier than for Seatern since most pleasure craft keep out of the way of the ferry!
We were allowed on the bridge after the ferry had departed the dock and up to docking at Cowes. Similarly after we had left Cowes and until we had swung off Pier Head. Being double-ended, the ferries normally do not swing, but one of the Red Eagles horns had a fault so she was operating such that the working horn faced forward.
Here are some photos from the trip.