Axe for funboat sailings

Snaefell sailing from Fleetwood to the Isle of Man. The Snaefell passes Wyre Light.
Snaefell sailing from Fleetwood to the Isle of Man. The Snaefell passes Wyre Light.

FLEETWOOD is to miss out this summer when there will not be a single sailing to the Isle of Man.

In recent years enthusiasts of the Fleetwood to Douglas sailings have snapped up the tickets in days when the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has run rare trips.

Last year the company offered just one sailing with 480 places on the seacat, which was yet another sell-out.

It was hoped that with the sad demise of the Stena ferry, there may be an opportunity for more Manx trips this year as the port lies empty.

But this week the Manx company confirmed that such day trips to Fleetwood have been axed.

The Steam Packet Company has replaced the old seacat Snaefell (pictured) which undertook the Fleetwood sailings, with the newly revamped Manannan.

And the company says that with its new schedules, there is no room for Fleetwood trips, which were “not profitable”.

It means day trips to the Fylde coast are out – possibly for good.

The news was blasted as a missed opportunity by Bill McCormick, who for the last few years has been calling for more trips.

He told the Weekly News: “It just does not make any sense at all to ignore such huge demand.

“The company must have noticed how quickly the two sailing in 2009 sold out, and the one last year.

“There is huge interest and it would be a boost to not only the economy of Fleetwood and the Fylde coast, but to the Isle on Man. “With Stena going they would have the Fleetwood berth to themselves.

“I would love to see a change of heart, but I am not hopeful.”

A spokesman for the company said: “It is true, there are no plans to run day-trips to Fleetwood this year.

“In effect, as Snaefell was used for the Fleetwood trips, as she is no longer in the operational fleet, the day-trips cannot be accommodated in the schedule.”

The writing was on the wall after a New year address by Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward, who announced the return of Manannan after a refurb, and the withdrawal of Snaefel.