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Superyacht Elandess and BNS Crocus on the Thames

Sitting at Westferry Circus in the warm weather is one of the delights of living on the Isle of Dogs. It is a very good location to watch the various ships going up and down the river. In quick succession, two very different ships passed by.

The first was the very large super yacht called Elandess, the 244 ft yacht was on its maiden voyage after being built by Abeking & Rasmussen in Germany at their Bremen shipyard. Elandess has been designed to accommodate up to 14 guests overnight in 7 cabins and can carrying up to 24 crew onboard.

The cost of the new yacht is estimated at 75 million pounds and the owner is reported to be Travelex founder Sir Lloyd Dorfman.

The second vessel was the more familiar BNS Crocus (M917) of the Belgian Navy which is a Tripartite-class minehunter.

This type of vessel is very common amongst NATO ships and this one was making its way up to Tower Bridge.

With more limited vessels in West India Dock, a seat overlooking the Thames can be very rewarding for ship watching.

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Watching the Historic RAF 100 Flypast from the Isle of Dogs

It seems ironic that after weeks of clear blue skies, it was grey skies and low clouds on the day of the flypast of aircraft to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force.

Rather than battle the hundreds of thousands packing the Mall and Central London, I decided to join the large number of office workers who streamed out of work and made their way to Westferry Circus to get the best view of the flypast over the City of London.

The flypast began to form over Suffolk at around 12.45pm before heading towards London. It was just before one o’clock when the first aircraft appeared. The flypast consisted of 100 different aircraft of 23 different types, with 200 aircrew from 25 different RAF squadrons.

The list of aircraft included: Puma HC2, Chinook HC4, Juno H135, Jupiter H145, Dakota, Lancaster, Spitfire, Hurricane, Prefect T1, Tucano T1, Shadow R1, Hercules C-130J, A400M Atlas, C-17 Globemaster, BAE146, Sentinel, Voyager, Rivet Joint RC-135W, E-3D Sentry, Hawk T1, Hawk T2, Tornado GR4, Lightning, Typhoon FGR4 and Red Arrows.

It was the nine helicopters led the armada before the distinctive Dakota, Lancaster, Spitfire and Lancaster.

The heavyweights followed with the Hercules and Globemaster before the Hawks, Tornado, Typhoon, Lighting and finally the Red Arrows streamed red, white and blue smoke to finish the show.

It seems remarkable that one hundred years as passed since the The Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service merged to create the RAF on 1 April 1918 to become the world’s first independent air force. Since that date, the RAF have played a major role in the nation’s defence at home and abroad.

Tall Ship Atyla in West India Dock


After a few super yachts, it is nice to welcome a tall ship into West India Dock, the tall ship is the Atyla which is a Spanish based and used for educational and training purposes. Like a number of training ships, the Atyla is run by a non-for-profit organisation which creates exciting and challenging experiences for people from a variety of backgrounds.

During the summer season Atyla sails on voyages of 1 to 4 weeks with a crew is composed of: 4 professional Crew members, 1 Educational Coach, 3 Watch Leaders and 16 Trainees.

During the winter, the ship normally stays at her homeport, the Maritime Museum of Bilbao, where her crew runs local educational activities and carry out essential maintenance works.

Atyla was built in Spain between 1979 and 1984 and was intended to try to circumnavigate the earth following the Magellan-El Cano route, she finally stayed in the Canary Islands doing day trips. In 2005 the government of the region of Cantabria (Spain) hired the ship for promotional services before it began to be used for educational purposes.

The ship has a length of 31 metres with a beam of 7 metres and last year travelled to  Portugal, Bermuda, USA, Canada and France.

It is believed that the ship will be in dock for number of days and will be open to public for some of the days.

Superyacht Reef Chief in West India Dock

It would seem that Superyacht season is in full swing with the arrival of the Reef Chief in West India Dock.

Reef Chief is a 49.07m, 160.76ft  luxury yacht which was built in United States of America by Trinity Yachts and delivered in 2009

The  yacht was previously named Anjilis and her luxurious interior is designed by Glade Johnson Design and her exterior styling is by Geoff Van Aller.

The yacht has a aluminium hull superstructure with an ultra-modern stabilization system.

Reef Chief can accommodate 11 guests in 5 rooms and can carry up to 9 crew onboard.

Various reports suggest the yacht has been sold recently, but as usual it is very difficult to find out who actually owns the vessel.

It is nice to see a few ships beginning to visit the dock despite the development all around the dock.

SuperYacht Forever One in West India Dock

After a quiet period, there appears to be a bit more activity with ships visiting West India Dock, the latest arrival is the superyacht Forever One.

The 179 ft yacht was built by ISA yachts at the Ancona shipyard in Italy and launched in 2014. The yacht was designed by Horacio Bozzo Design with interior design by Studio Massari.

The yacht has a reverse bow and fold-down balconies with an unusual colour design on the exterior with red touches here and there. The red relates to the owners’ connection to Coca Cola.

According to various sources, Bruce Grossman is the owner of the yacht Forever One, he is considered to be one of the richest men in Mexico. The name Forever One refers to Bruce’s wife Elsa.

The yacht allegedly cost 40 million pounds and features all the usual features like Stabilizers , Jacuzzi (on deck), Beach Club, Gym, and Lift. The yacht can accommodate 10 guests in five large cabins and has a crew of 12

The yacht did visit the dock before in 2015, It is not known how long the Forever One will be in dock.

French Navy ships : Lynx (A751) and Guépard (A752) in West India Dock

After the arrival of three training ships of the French Navy,  Léopard (A 748), Panthère (A 749) and Lion (A 755) yesterday, we have two more ships arriving to with the Lynx (A751) and Guépard (A752.

All the ships are Léopard-class training ships which are used for navigational and practical training of potential French officers.

In the 1970s, the French Navy decided to build eight vessels to provide practical training in the operation and navigation of naval vessels. Lion and Lynx  were built by La Perrière in Lorient, and Panthere, Guepard and Leopard were built by Ateliers et Chantiers de la Manche (ACM) in Saint-Malo in the early 1980s.

The ships of this class usually have a crew composed of 1 officer, 10 sailors, and 4 quartermasters; plus 1 or 2 officers, 2 instructors, and 18 students.

Still in the dock is the Marienborgh yacht, so for a short time we have interest in the dock rather than watching the various developments moving higher and higher.

It is not often we have five naval ships in the dock, hopefully they will be here for a little while.

French Navy ships : Léopard (A 748), Panthère (A 749) and Lion (A 755) in West India Dock.

After a very quiet period in West India Dock, we welcome the arrival of three training ships of the French Navy. Léopard (A 748), Panthère (A 749) and Lion (A 755) are Léopard-class training ships which are used for navigational and practical training of potential French officers.

In the 1970s, the French Navy decided to build eight vessels to provide practical training in the operation and navigation of naval vessels. Lion were built by La Perrière in Lorient, and Panthere and Leopard were built by Ateliers et Chantiers de la Manche (ACM) in Saint-Malo in the early 1980s.

These types of vessels have been regular visitors in the last few years, but I do believe these particular ships last visited in 2013.

The ships of this class usually have a crew composed of 1 officer, 10 sailors, and 4 quartermasters; plus 1 or 2 officers, 2 instructors, and 18 students.

Still in the dock is the Marienborgh yacht, so for a short time we have plenty of interest in the dock rather than watching the various developments around the dock moving higher and higher.

I expect the visit is just part of the training on the ships and it is not known how long the vessels will be in the dock.