This morning in the Globe and Mail I read a story about a fast ferry called Spirit of Ontario that is to offer service between Toronto and Rochester. I paid attention to the story both because the ferry had suffered a gash in its side, and also because Rochester is my birthplace.
Today I was wandering around aimlessly in lower Manhattan looking for a place to have dinner, and I rounded a corner and, by complete coincidence, stumbled across the selfsame Spirit of Ontario, gash and all.
For some reason, my compatriots in Rochester are taking this all very seriously (who would have ever thought the prospect of people from Toronto boating across the lake could be so compelling?), to the point where a mobile news truck from WHEC-TV, the local NBC affiliate, is live on the scene.
For the record, the gash is very, well, gash-like. It looks like God took a misshapen can opener to the side. They’re doing their best to hide the hole with a big tarp, but you can see the gnarled edges around the sides. The operators of the boat are downplaying the accident, but you gotta think that “gash” and “boat” are two concepts you don’t want associated with each other.
At least the gash was above the waterline. The boat is made of aluminum & fibreglass — relatively easy to fix compared to steel — but also much easier to dent/ding/puncture. I’m betting that the shipbuilder Austal Limited is wanting this attention to go away very quickly! I’m still hoping to ride on her this summer. I’m still questioning the plan for year-round operation given that both Rochester & Toronto harbours can freeze & ice would not be a good thing for her hull.
In other ferry news, check out the latest news I posted on M/V Abegweit and the Alang shipbreakers.
You’ll be glad/disgusted to know (I’m in the disgusted camp) that the disabled catamaran is now called ‘The Breeze’ and not ‘The Spirit of Ontario.’
I suspect the involvement of the same group of people who kicked up the stink resulting in Stratford-upon-Hillsborough. ;-)
I’m joining Matt McQuaid in the disgusted camp. “The Breeze”, though it has not sunk yet, has been plagued with problems since its’ conception. Picking up after the repairs were finally made, the ferry arrived late in Rochester. To late for its’ scheduled maiden voyage. The christening even failed when the champagne bottle failed to break on the first try. The ferry was sent to Toronto for repairs to the engines. The docking area in Toronto has yet to be completed. Trips have been cancelled due to overheating engines and blown hydraulic lines. There were communications failures which resulted in original trips being underbooked. And with all of this, ticket prices have increased twice since the original fares were determined. The “Breeze” in my opinion should be renamed “The Sinking Ship” as this title is more in line with the economic status of the City of Rochester. Now is the time to hang the FOR SALE sign.
THE SPIRIT OF ONTARIO (THE BREEZE) -A PASSENGER/VEHICLE FERRY-August 6th, 2004
Just returned from a most wonderful voyage back to Rochester on “The Spirit of Ontario.” (August 6th) We are visiting from Pennsylvania and battled the traffic on the roads to Toronto (in particular the QEW).
Our return by way of the “The Breeze”, “The Spirit of Ontario’s” nickname, began with us driving our van into the belly of the vessel at the port in Toronto, a fun experience for everyone.
As our family left our van, we climbed the stairs to the next level which revealed a beautifully appointed and impeccably clean interior. All seats were comfortable and provided a view of Lake Ontario.
There was nothing quite like the feel of the thrust of the engines that launched the catamaran from its port at the exact departure time and worked up to a speed of approximately 45 mph (fast!)
Upon exploring the vessel, we discoved two movie theaters, 38 satellite TV’s and wireless Internet access.
A play room for small children, game room and special business seating areas made this an accomodating vessel for all.
The 2 hour and 20 minute journey into Rochester went by much too quickly! We would highly recommend this trip!
….A visiting family from Pennsylvania
Spirit of Ontario Give It A Chance
Reading the comments regarding the Spirit Of Ontario (The Breeze) give it a chance it
My family and I are excited about possibly taking the ferry to Toronto at the end of the month. Unfortunatly, I can’t seem to find anywhere on the web information on:
Where to pick up the boat in Rochester (Directions)
Times of Departure..etc.
the web site
http://www.spiritofontario.com… has been down for days.
Could someone email me with a link or phone #…email@example.com
Well folks. If you had scrolled through the previous posts, you will see that I was one who had posted negative comments on “The Breeze” (aka: The Spirit of Ontario) on July 3rd. For those who had taken the trip between Rochester, NY and Toronto, I am glad you had an enjoyable voyage. Hopefully, you had not purchased a season pass.
The Breeze, after having rave reviews in the Rochester Democrat & Chronical newspaper this past weekend, is once again headline news. This afternoon, our local media announced that service on The Breeze has been suspended indefinitely. According to the media, The Breeze is losing money daily and cannot operate at such losses.
Back in July, I closed my message with the statement “Now is the time to hang the FOR SALE sign.” Maybe I jumped the gun a little bit. How about now???
I’m feeling really negative feelings towards this craft on here — fastcraft are good news for most people, and the amount of problems she has encountered are tiny compared with many fast crafts in operation. Ships get damaged, break down and have to cancel on occasion — it happens but the spirit of ontario has had little down time compared with most fast craft in operation over the over side of the atlantic on the English Channel and Irish Seas! Austal has proved itself as a highly reliable builder of ships and engine problems and damaged hull cannot be attributed to ship builder — someone else builds the engine and a captain and navigator are responsible for steering her clear of trouble.
YOU ALL NEED TO GIVE THE BREEZE A CHANCE. JUST FOR THE SAKE OF REFERENCE, THE BREEZE WAS MAKING MONEY. IT WAS THE COMPANY WHO WAS RUNNING IT THAT WAS NOT MANAGING IT PROPERLY, IT WAS THEIR OWN MONEY PROBLEMS, NOT THOSE OF THE BREEZE ITSELF. THEY SIMPLY DIDN’T PLAN ON ALL IT WOULD COST TO START AND HAD NOT TAKEN EVERY DETAIL INTO ACCOUNT. IF YOU HAVEN’T RIDDEN IT, THEN IN MY OPINION, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO CRITICIZE. THE PROBLEM WTH THIS TOWN IS ALL THE NEGATIVE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN IT. I FOR ONE SUPPORT THE CITY IN THEIR PURCHASE OF THE BREEZE. I THINK IT WILL SERVE THE AREA WELL AND BRING BUSINESS. LIGHTEN UP FOLKS!
I say HURRAH !
Lets hope the teething pains go away and the service can thrive. It will be one of the most unique experiences on inland waters anywhere in the world andgiven proper rates, advertising etc can and should become an institution for Lake Ontario and turn help Toronoto and ROchester become the Twins
Link to CBC PEI story.
CBC PEI is reporting that Charlottetown’s Bay Ferries has been hired to run this service.
The City of Rochester has indeed bought the ferry. Maybe, just maybe it will set sail this Summer. Yes, I am one of the “negative people” in this town who is concerned about the recent $32 million dollar gamble. And no, I had not ridden the ferry. But as a taxpayer, I most definitely DO have the right to criticize and question the feasability of this venture. Possibly my opinion will change after the $2 million dollars in engine repairs is made. Yes, it is true that only after the City of Rochester bought the ferry at auction for $32 million, we may now be spending another $2 million to repair or replace the engines. It is wise to have an inspection done on a home you plan to purchase. For a $32 milion dollar investment, I would expect that this vessle would have received a complete inspection as well.
I was thrilled to see the Spirit of Ontario in the dry dock at Port Weller on May 15! Hurrah! I do hope that is a sign that she will be back in action early this summer. The trip across Lake Ontario that I was lucky enough to take last year was a fine experience. The City of Rochester, which has a great dock/departure building, deserves congratulations for the purchase of the ship. I do hope that new opertions and better management will prove to be a good investment. My intention is to sail aboard the Spirit of Ontario as soon as the service re-starts.
I need information on the Breeze. I’m looking forward to a trip in late September but cannot find information
When does the sailing season end?
WHAT IS THE RESERVATIONS WEBSITE?
Where is the embarcation point?
Are there car rental companies at the port of embarcation?
You will find information regarding The Spirit Of Ontario at http://www.catfastferry.com/
I wonder if the fast ferry “Spirit of Ontario I” is for sale for any reason ?
Finally, the “Farce Ferry” is sold.