Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my dinghy cruising blog about my John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. Built over three years, Arwen was launched in August 2007. She is a standing lug yawl 14' 6" in length. This blog records our dinghy cruising voyages together around the coastal waters of SW England.
Arwen has an associated YouTube channel so visit to find our most recent cruises and click subscribe.
On this blog you will find posts about dinghy cruising locations, accounts of our voyages, maintenance tips and 'How to's' ranging from rigging standing lug sails and building galley boxes to using 'anchor buddies' and creating 'pilotage notes'. I hope you find something that inspires you to get out on the water in your boat. Drop us a comment and happy sailing.
Steve and Arwen

Friday, 14 August 2015

MV Ocean Majesty

We first saw her stern. You could almost have mistaken it briefly for the stern of one of the Brittany Ferries. As we came out of Sutton Harbour, under motor, I glanced along the Hoe foreshore as I always do. There reversing out of Millbay Docks was a towering white ship's stern........but wait, this one was, I felt, strangely shaped.

Ah Ha!  Stranger visitor lurking at the ferry terminal. Swiftly, 'Ocean Majesty' reversed her full length out across the channel and then turned to starboard. Within a minute her sharp bow was pointing south as she made way out between the red and green channel buoys. After passing the eastern end of Drakes Island and the danger marks, she came to a stop just south of the island and to one side of the channel. The port pilot boat stood station off her starboard bow.

Rarely do ships anchor in this part of the sound. Mistakenly I had thought she was getting underway and departing our fair city, but not quite yet. A glance to the horizon and there very faintly, the unmistakeable shape of the Brittany Ferry 'Amorique'. The riddle is solved. MV 'Ocean Majesty' was giving up her comfortable berth to the rightful owner.

Later on that afternoon as the tide built, one of our river cruise tourist boats emerged from Millbay Docks. On the starboard side of the cruise ship, just above the waterline, a large door had been opened in the hull and the little tourist boat, dwarfed by its giant 'cousin' gently drew forward under the starboard bow to come alongside. Passengers were disgorged into the bowels of the ship and another similar trip was made during the next half hour or so.

We didn't see 'Ocean Majesty' depart. Mind you we didn't see her arrive either......a ghost ship slipping in and out of ports unnoticed ................spooky!

So who is this long, sleek, white leviathan? Well a little research threw up a surprise. She was formerly a ferry called the 'San Juan' and she was built in 1966 which makes her almost as old as me. Wow! She has had several name changes but became her current self in 1988. Registered in Madeira, Portugal, she has previously been registered in Spain and Greece as well. She is 10,000 tonnes, 134 m long and 15m wide. She has a crew of 257 and can carry around 650 passengers. Her speed is 18 knots. Further research shows that she is a charter vessel and often chartered to the UK based holiday company Page and Moy. It would seem that she caters mainly for German speaking customers and primarily completes two week cruise packages around the Mediterranean and Baltic.

And fancy that........Plymouth seems to be on her cruise destination.......well there we go. Our fair city has had at least two cruise liners this's getting quite busy and hectic out there in the sound!!

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