The only way that BotF would get either Fast Ferry service is to watch a live sporting event, even one as depressing as the current Ashes Series. The Manly Fast Ferry has one thing going for it over the great, magnificent and irreplaceable traditional Ferry and that is the presence of TVs.
BotF bought some reasonably priced Heineken and settled in upstairs to watch 20 minutes of cricket. Short term panic set in when Deal or No Deal was on the telly. Fortunately the staff will still do anything for its patrons and they flicked over to the cricket.
At least beer was involved in multiple ways on an antiseptic trip. Watched the new Beer in the Aussie team bowl quite promisingly. Can’t believe he was dudded of his first wicket. He would’ve had that wicket in the old pre-tech days.
I can’t work out what is happening with the two Fast Ferry services. Both continue to operate. They seem to be hanging in there. Actually I don’t care and I look forward to getting the old service tomorrow evening.
BotF has been wondering where all the BotF crowd has gone. We thought it may have been the pull of the Fast Ferries with their legal beer and that has certainly been a factor. What became clear from today’s voyage on the MV Narrabeen is that maybe the 5.30pm is the big one. Plenty of the old school crowd with brown bagged long necks abounding. We caught the 5.30pm to get BotF original Chris to his darts night on time. Hopefully, he can continue to retain the Pittwater Cup.
We turned it into a mini trivia event by knocking off a Tooheys New six pack with the questions. Here’s the eclectic line-up.
1) In which year did Makybe Diva first win the Melbourne Cup?
2) What is Austalia’s largest lake?
3) In which year did Countdown launch on the ABC?
4) What did Dean Jones score in the first dig in the Madras tied test?
5) Which Aussie wrote the classic tale “A Fortunate life”?
6) Which horse holds the Melbourne Cup race record?
Plenty of large craft on the harbour. Not sure which millionaire was out and about, but the bloody big vessel dwarfed the poorly named “Supercat” that was slinking off to the Eastern Suburbs. Some lovely big yachts as well. Summer is coming and the harbour will be a whole lot more crowded.
BotF was looking very forward to a quiet trip home with an untried beer (review to come later). The night air was cool without having any edge to it, there were two other blokes out the back and the security guards had done their desultory useless circuit. A cry emerged from the side deck – “The ticket writers are coming” – and a beer went overboard – a beer went into a jacket – and one had nowhere to go. Two members of the NSW Police Force approached the other two blokes and asked them for their beers. The bloke who couldn’t get rid of his – handed it over and cheekily asked for “Just a warning”. I’m not sure what the wallopers said, but they didn’t write him a ticket – and walked straight past me.
This would really put the skids under Friday night drinks. A number of BotF regulars have moved to the Fast Ferry on a Friday because of the security guard issue and the occasional visit by the coppers. Both Fast Ferries now provide bar facilities – but as mentioned previously – having bevvies on the Fast Ferry is just not the same.
The addition of bar facilities on the Sydney Fast Ferry would seem to have made a marginal difference to the numbers of customers on the Sydney Fast Ferry. The operators of the SFF were also expecting an uptick because of the greater comfort of boarding at the wharves at CQ or Manly – and the weather has certainly been in their favour. They would seem, however, to have underestimated the hardiness of the Manly Fast Ferry customer – because the numbers just don’t seem to be enough. The SFF bar fridge is well stocked with both bottled varities of 4 Pines beer, Peroni, Extra Dry, Pure Blonde and Boags Light. There is a substantial discount for Travel 10 holders, and a post discount 4 Pines is $5.50 – which isn’t too bad.
BotF is not a regular patron of the Fast Ferry. An 18 minute trip does not suit a 3 unit pacing that well, and we’ve not tested the BYO rules yet. That said, the few times BotF has done the Fast Ferry, the overwhelming impression is good. They’ve raised the bar on service in many ways and the competition in turn has caused the public operators to lift their game.
Despite doing what is regarded as a sterling job after stepping into the breach in February when the government canned the JetCats, the operators of the Fast Ferry have lost a tender for the ongoing service and Seaflight Ferry Services will take over from 1 April 2010.
This has all the makings of a 4 corners episode. According to the Australian, Seaflight Ferry Services, is not listed in the phone book and I can’t find them on Google. It will be interesting to see what track record Seaflight has in running a ferry service and what improvements are made to the current service.
There is the usual political posturing when a decision like this is announced, but one can’t think Mike Baird might be on the money when he said that Manly Fast Ferry lost out because they made the public service look bad. Looking forward to the minister’s explanation on all of this.