27th March 2015

Condor Liberation enters service

Condor Ferries created a bit of a fanfare when it introduced Liberation, its brand new trimaran. It spent £50m on what it described as a “state of the art high speed ferry” that would “increase capacity and give our guests a much greater level of comfort”.

In a blog post, Condor said the ferry would be more reliable and able to cope with much higher waves.

Condor configured the craft to carry up to 880 passengers in three different classes, along with 235 vehicles, with a planned service speed of 35 knots (40mph or 64km/h).

Condor Liberation

Liberation naming competition

The craft had sat idle for four years before Condor bought it, which it did when its licence to serve the Channel Islands was extended through to 2020. It had been built by Austal in Australia under the name Austal 270. When Condor bought it, it briefly renamed it Condor 102 (it’s 102m long), and launched a competition to give it its final name.

More than 7000 people submitted an idea in the hope of winning a year’s free travel, by sea, to and from the islands. The winning name was announced on the dedicated Condor 102 blog and in the Guernsey Press and Jersey Post.

“Liberation” had been suggested by several entrants, as the ship was entering service 70 years after the Channel Islands had been liberated following the occupation. Condor put all the Liberation suggestions into a hat and picked out the winner. It was 49-year-old Guernseyman Clive Davies, who was invited to Poole to see the name being painted onto the ship.

Three-hour crossings

Upon launch, the Bahamas-registered vessel completed its mainland to Guernsey crossings in around three hours, which compared favourably against the seven hours taken by a conventional ferry. However, on its second day of operation, when berthing at St Peter Port in high winds, it struck the harbour and had to be taken out of service for a week.

Passengers were quick to point out that the crossings could also be turbulent, in even fairly small swells.

However, a report prepared for the States of Guernsey and Jersey by Houlder, an independent marine engineering firm, found that the Liberation had no stability issues. It said that it rolled less frequently than a catamaran would (although it may roll to a larger roll angle). Houlder also said in the October 2015 report that damage the vessel had sustained was not uncommon on high speed craft.


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Other events that occured in March

Debut of Guernsey-set comedy This is Jinsy 1st
Channel 4 broadcasts Sark-based Mr Pye 2nd
First ever broadcast of Puffin’s Pla(i)ce 3rd
Dead man appointed to run Guernsey Airport 4th
Guernsey’s entire police force is arrested 5th
Isle of Guernsey delivered to its new owners 6th
Guernsey players set darts record
Guernsey heads call for an end to the Eleven-plus 7th
Guernsey’s first governor, Edmund Weston, is appointed 8th
Occupying forces mount a desperate raid on Granville 9th
Guernsey emergency services prepare for a disaster 10th
Birth of Baron James de Saumarez 11th
First publication of Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea 12th
Building work starts on Guernsey Airport 13th
Guernsey’s island-wide police force is established 14th
Guernsey exchange student goes missing in Virginia 15th
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is published 16th
BBC Radio Guernsey takes to the air
Guernsey clears up after heaviest snow in years 17th
Torrey Canyon spills oil on Guernsey’s beaches 18th
Guernsey issues banknotes featuring famous locals 19th
Guernsey guidebook pioneer Henry Inglis dies 20th
Soldiers staged a mutiny at Fort George 21st
Alderney arrest sparks a “riot” 22nd
Guernsey nurse Elizabeth Lincoln elected to the States 23rd
Famed printer Thomas de la Rue born 24th
Guernsey votes for equal age of consent 25th
Guernsey to UK telephone connection inaugurated 26th
Condor Liberation enters service 27th
Guernsey Post Office is established 28th
Enemy at the Door comes to the end of its run 29th
Guernsey adopts Sterling currency 30th
Guernsey and France tackle the Amoco Cadiz oil spill 31st