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 has just boarded the Sydney Fast Ferry to commence his trip to Beijing with daughter No. 3. Have caught SFF because it is cheaper ($5 for us both). 6 staff and 5 passengers. At least there ia a real celebrity on board. Bloke at the far left of the photo is Richard Tognetti (trust me).
Failing of the SFF is the lack of a bar. I was looking forward to kicking the beer photos as early on as possible. I’ll have to wait for the airport now. SFF really needs it licence and it might double its patronage.
[/caption]BotF took the Sydney Fast Ferry (“SFF”) home last night only so that we could empty another schooner on the BotF Bar Review Map. It did give us an opportunity to experience the new service and see both sides of the fast ferry war. The SMH reported on the battle and it is hard to see two services existing in perpetuity. We got the 6.05pm and there would have been more staff than passengers on board. We were able to get 4 blokes on for free using the Manly Fast Ferry (“MFF”) card. The staff bent over backwards to make us feel welcome. Even though they had no liquor licence they were happy for us to BYO. The staff took our empties at the end of the journey and constantly checked to see that we were OK.
As a drinking venue, it has all the same issues as the MFF. Too noisy, too windy and too quick. That didn’t stop a couple of the BotF boys from polishing off a six pack between them. There is no etiquette on the Fast Ferry, so you can start drinking before the ferry leaves the wharf – so with the first finished before setting sail – the next two were no problems in the 18 minutes.
SFF reckons they’ll start to see patronage come their way from the MFF when the weather gets more wintery and wet and people will seek the warmth of the wharf to board and disembark. I’m not so sure that’ll be enough to break the loyal bonds formed between MFF and their patrons. At the very least SFF will need to sort out their liquor licence quick smart. There’s a price differential as well, with SFF being 50 cents more expensive. I kind of feel sorry for SFF, as when they won the tender they probably thought only one service could operate. They’ve got a rude shock and the Fast Ferry passengers are sticking it to the government by using the service that came from nowhere when the JetCat stopped. On the other hand, SFF should have done their research – so tough tit.
It’s all academic for BotF, as we have now reviewed both services and won’t be patronising it in the evenings – unless there is no normal ferry.