Scillonian III Sailings Cancelled

scillonian III 2013The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has announced that, due to the predicted weather and sea conditions, tomorrow’s (9th May) sailing of the Scillonian III has been cancelled.

All passengers booked on the boat will be contacted by Isles of Scilly Travel to rebook for Friday’s sailing or receive a full refund.

The Company has apologised for any inconvenience this will cause to people’s travel plans.

For more information, call 0845 710 5555.

26 Responses to Scillonian III Sailings Cancelled

  1. Kev May 12, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I’m clearly in a minority on this forum, and will have to reflect on why my perspective (that ISSCo do a reasonable job) is at odds with other islanders, and their experiences. Clearly Nobby does have his finger on the pulse, but he does not speak for me. This thread started with somebody moaning because the SciIII was cancelled due to poor weather. My point was that it is bizzare to conclude the cancellation was a failing of the ISSCo, rather than the reality, such cancellations occur for the safety of passengers and crew. Take a look at Northlink Ferries, or Irish Ferries web-pages, they had cancellations too, and worse. Bleating on about necessary weather related cancellations that effect every type of ferry service is not going to magic up a helicopter service. And will razor thin profit margins enable ISSCo to replace the SCiIII with an all-weather, faster, smoother service. Anyway I have to concede defeat, this forum is simply too negative for me. So it’s back to the happier scenes and memories of the gig weekend!

    • Kev Wright May 12, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      Kev, I think you’re maybe missing the point slightly. Maybe some people are critical of the Steamship Company. Personally I’m not particularly, it’s a very hard time for them. And of course, whatever craft we have to get people to Scilly can’t be counted on 100% of the time and weather can stop just about anything. We’ve lost one popular form of transport (over the years I’ve spoken to many tourists who decided to come to Scilly because they’d always wanted a helicopter flight! It may be a small proportion but it all counts!) and this will deter many people as it is a little trickier to get to Land’s End and unpleasant for those who are not good at sea. Plus a helicopter can fly in worse conditions than a plane.

      It’s all these small factors that are contributing to lower tourist numbers. Yes you can get here, and many people will gladly return year after year however difficult it may become (and it will hopefully become easier in the future). It’s nice to hear from people on here that say they will still come. But lots of others say they won’t. I don’t have the answer because ut all comes down to money. Read what potential and ex visitors are saying.

      The fact is that there are less tourists than there were in the past, and as we’ve seen time and time again on this forum, people say they would love to visit but can’t afford to or won’t now that the helicopter has stopped. This isn’t us being negative, these are facts. We need to attract new visitors and win back the ones who’ve stopped coming. The Steamship Company may well be doing the best they can, but what they offer is clearly not the right option for some people. Numbers are declining, thinking happy thoughts won’t just make this fact go away I’m afraid.

      • Nobby Nobbs May 12, 2013 at 10:45 pm

        I agree with Kev Wright,

        The fact is, numbers are down and transport to and from the islands is a big factor in that, ignoring it, or claiming that people are being negative isn’t going to make the problem go away!.

        Last week Skybus (ISSco) cancelled all the flights on and off of the island because the forecast ‘looked’ bad, however the next day was absolutely fine.
        The cancellation (in my opinion) was more to do with not having to pay out compensation if flights are cancelled on the day, than it was to do with being able to fly, as proved by the calm weather the following day.

        Yes we live on an island and there will be days when connection to the mainland is not an option, but these should be kept to an absolute minimum.
        I also agree with our Swiss friend, customer service here leaves a lot to be desired, especially when you’re pay in access of £6k for a holiday.
        A seacat would be a good option, preferably one that started from the islands and returned to the islands each day, as this would better suit islanders needs and the travel arrangements of our visitors travelling to and from up country.

        As to the ISSco providing a reasonable service, it’s the ONLY bloody service available.

      • Kev May 13, 2013 at 9:47 am

        Hi Kev – you make sense as always, and I agree with much of what you say. But on reading the comments on this forum, you are left with the impression islanders think the sole reason for declining numbers is transport to the islands, and the sole solution is a different transport offer. I just happen to disagree with that view. Visitor numbers to Cornwall as a whole are in decline, Eden project has made redundancies due to a drop in numbers etc etc. If you read the news articles about this private companies and tourism experts say its a combination of things, the recession being the major one, and crap weather over the last few years. Personally I think it is over simplistic to just focus on transport, holidaying on Scilly as a package is not cheap, accomodation being the major cost. So I would argue for an holistic approach to attract more people. Just being negative about ISSCo is not going to attract visitors either. The fact is visitor numbers were in decline when BIH were operating, so perhaps we need to look a little closer to home for solutions too.

  2. Samual Vimes cmdr May 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    I got a flyer in my ISSco bill today informing me of a rise in freight charges,
    The ISSco states….
    “Whilst we understand no customer welcomes a rise in their distribution costs, we firmly believe our course of action is necessary in order to MAINTAIN THE RELIABLE DELIVERY AND AFTER SALES SERVICE WE CURRENTLY PROVIDE”

    Oh dear, I was rather hoping for an improvement in the reliability and after sales service they currently provide,

  3. Happy Chappy. May 10, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Diane Cidade – Do please Gwendoline Gossips’s last comment, and do please read it carefully.
    Not so sure I agree with Roger’s comment about nobby nobbs, the fictional Terry Pratchett character.
    I would say that the voice of the people is Steve Sims – now there is an islander who does not suffer fools gladly.

    • Kev Wright May 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      Of course we need to promote Scilly and constant negative comments won’t help, but problems can’t be swept under the rug and we can’t pretend they don’t exist. I generally avoid gig weekend but I believe this year it was a great success and the Steamship company definitely deserve credit for this, and blaming them for problems at the moment is silly.

      But it’s A FACT that visitor numbers are down it’s A FACT that many businesses rely on day trippers to help them stay afloat and it’s A FACT that without the helicopter these will be reduced, as the helicopter could operate on days when it was too rough for the boat. So we’ve lost one method of getting people here. The methods we have are fine but are weather dependent – and of course the helicopter was too – what we need to be able to look to do in the future is improve the guarantee that if passengers make it down to Penzance (which is a long way for many people) that they will not come to a dead end, because there’s not much other reason for them to go there!

      So we should be looking for the potential Scillonian replacement to be able to travel in worse conditions or offer a smoother ride, and we should also continue to look for a replacement for the helicopter. The last lot were about as much use as an inflatable dartboard when it came to having craft operating without fault, but that was because the craft were aging and going “technical”. A newer fleet shouldn’t have this problem. We can’t just pretend everything is OK and carry on. Times change and people’s expectations change. They want easier travel and they want cheaper travel. If you want proof that this is also A FACT then take a look at our visitor numbers. They’re dropping, and that’s not because a few people complain about things on here. Yes you could argue that Mr Nobbs shouldn’t live here if he’s not happy with the current arrangement, but it’s also correct to assume that if a local person (we’re used to this kind of disruption in Scilly) isn’t happy about the extra cost/time/wasted leave of going on holiday from here, then the same will apply to people who want to visit here. Times change, Scilly is not changing with them. Businesses have gone bust and by the end of the season maybe (hopefully not) some more will have,

      But we should just carry on as normal, because there is no problem, right?

      • Adam Cooke May 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm

        Tourist from Switzerland here, visiting Scilly yearly since 2009. Addicted, love it ! but 2012 was our last stay until a solution is found in transportation. A Seacat would solve it all, why but why is this never talked about? Thanks for your answers

        • Kev Wright May 11, 2013 at 10:08 am

          Hi Adam,

          Thank you for helping prove the point that many seem to shy away from. I’m sorry that you won’t be able to visit again. Other transport solutions have been talked about, including a Seacat. Hopefully something better will replace the current Scillonian (which has served us well) when it finally reaches the end of its service. The problem seems to be the cost in buying a new ship (or renting one) but only The Steamship company can give you firm answers on the likelihood of this. I’m sorry to say it, but don’t hold your breath.

          • Adam Cooke May 12, 2013 at 9:21 pm

            Thanks for your answer, here’s my mail to Isles of Scilly Travel:
            “Hi, there is discussion on about the downgrade in terms of service since the choppers are gone and you cut flight destinations.
            You may retrace my stay last summer by looking for my name in your database. I lost about 1500£ because you were unable to get us to Bristol on time for our connecting flight to Geneva. I wouldn’t regret these 1500 quids if they’d been spent on the IOS / your company, but they were spent on stupid Easyjet because of rebooking.. That’s sad.
            IOS is and has always been difficult to reach, and luckily this is what makes it so special. No mass tourism. But nowadays you can’t rely only on local tourism alone, as even they are going to miss out if you don’t find a solution.
            A typical party of 3 like us on a 14 days-holiday easily spend 6000£ on the islands (2000£ lodging, 2500£ eating and 1500£ leisure) plus 2-3k for travelling. We don’t mind if we have to pay more for mainland-to-island transportation, but make sure it works: what we hate and will hold us from coming back is YOUR complete out of date customer service, you cannot expect satisfaction from customers having paid thousands for their trip when in the end you shove them on a creepy Scillonian after hours of waiting a flight that will never roll, middle of the rain, without any refund. You just can’t, this is total rip-off.
            So if we won’t be back, it is not because of the beloved People of IOS, but because of you, and you seriously have to think about a solution. How does a Seacat work?”

    • Diane Cidade May 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      I have read it carefully, and Gwendoline Gossip adds something useful to the discussion, and I agree with what they say. My point was that you need to look at comments like John Dawson’s below to see perhaps a slightly bigger picture in which it’s not just people living in Scilly who are getting their backs up about our transportation infrastructure. Not listening to visitors’ complaints will only frustrate them and they’re bound to go somewhere else. Word of mouth from personal negative experiences is probably far more damaging to our ‘reputation’ than meaningful dialogue that airs views with an aim to solve problems. Telling people to just stay at home can work both ways. I agree that most of us choose to live here and so we are able to justify the ‘hiccups’ of living here because we know the good aspects far outweigh the bad, and of course that’s the message I would have thought we want to convey to visitors/potential visitors. I would never take the stance that BIH was perfect. I, too, have experienced being stranded on the mainland when a couple of late afternoon flights had to be cancelled due to fog and BIH staff did the best they could to find beds for about 30 people. I could take it on the chin because I know that’s what life is like on the islands, and I wasn’t ‘wasting’ a day’s holiday nor had I travelled hundreds of miles to get to Penzance.

      You won’t solve any problems if you don’t point out what they are.

  4. J Whiteside May 10, 2013 at 9:43 am

    Am I being over-simplistic, but couldn’t all the IOSSCo shareholders vote in favour of Sunday sailings? Could they also not vote in favour of dropping the freight charges to the Co-op so that the savings can be passed on to customers? If no savings are met, then the Co-op can be charged full price and a competitor can be offered vastly reduced rates?

    Somewhere along the line, I seem to remember the IOSSCo being a publicly owned company designed to keep the islands alive, not strangle it to death. So what if the profit margins are razor-thin? It’s not supposed to be shares in Microsoft, it’s supposed to be a mechanism for keeping us alive.

  5. Kev May 10, 2013 at 9:42 am

    It truly saddens me to read the negative comnents. I’ve just been looking at the pictures of the gig weekend, it is a fantastic event, and was a great weekend enjoyed by thousands. But there are no comments saying well done Steamship company, providing reliable transport to and from Scilly on the busiest weekdend of the year, for the first time, post BIH. I can understand complaints when the company lets us down due to their own mis-management, but criticising when disruption is caused by the weather is bizzare (in my view). Some people like me recall the truth about the reliability of the heli service, it wasn’t great. If we want another heli service perhaps we should focus on just that. Constantly treating the ISSCo as the whipping boy, when it is not justified, is counter productive, it simply discourages potential visitors. Mr Nobbs comments seem at odds with somebody who has chosen to live on these islands, and are as we have come to expect simply an opportunity to moan about ISSCo rather than contribute constructively. The negative comments are a sad reflection on the mindset of a number of individuals, when we should be celebrating a successful weekend.

    • Nobby Nobbs May 10, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Some days, it takes longer to get from London to Scilly, than it does to get from London to America !!!!

      As to moaning about the sterling job they do, How about the ISSCo introduce a fair and transparent pricing system for freight and then introducing a system that stops freight from going ‘missing’.or getting damaged.

      The helicopter had it’s faults but at least it gave one the option of using another carrier.

  6. Roger May 10, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Apathy rules here on Scilly, certain Councillors have been a bit too keen to feather their own nests and this is where I believe Nobby fits in, he keeps them on an even keel, he is the voice of the people, long may he continue.

    • Nobby Nobbs May 10, 2013 at 12:32 pm


  7. Gwendoline gossip May 9, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Diane, I was under the impression that Nobbys comments were from the perspective of living in Scilly not from a visitors. My response was from the point of view that living in Scilly has always brought problems and sacrifices, some big some small depending on your point of view. I personally am getting a little fed up of the point of view whereby everything was grand and rosy with our transport service when the helicopter was running and now it is not. For me that is far too simplistic, the helicopter service of recent years left a lot to be desired too, and was at times very unreliable. We are all suffering through lack of visitor numbers and I am sure there will be more failed businesses by the end of this season, but blaming it solely on the transport services is unfair. The publicity on the demise of the helicopter has left many with the impression that Scilly is impossible to get to, but the truth is its no more difficult now than it ever was, weather and technicals were always a constant blight and at least now it’s more weather than technicals. Yes Scilly is going through a tough time, and we need to sort it out but this constant knocking of our transport isn’t helping to encourage people to travel here, and is sending the wrong message.

  8. Diane Cidade May 9, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Happy Chappy: Please read John Dawson’s comment. It could be just as easy for potential visitors to stay at home and not bother coming to Scilly to save themselves the headache of the will-they-won’t-they saga when it comes to transport to and from the islands.

    There are issues with transport that extend far beyond the select few days when the wind is blowing too strongly. We need to stop shying away from or belittling criticisms; In doing so we are ignoring the opinions of the thousands of people who AREN’T coming to our islands because they are dissatisfied for any number of reasons, or because they have gotten the wrong impression of Scilly (which a lot of the time is probably the right impression, but not one most are willing to admit to). If Nobby Nobbs isn’t happy enough to settle for what I would say in their view is a dysfunctional system, then I’m sure there are many more out there who feel the same. Maybe it’s the opinions that go against the grain that will actually kick Scilly back into shape and show that we’re open for business and are willing to do the work needed to remain competitive and offer an amazing (not lukewarm) welcome and an excellent (not outdated) product. Perhaps we could influence the people making the decision on what type of vessel will replace the Scillonian III in the not-too-distant future, and openly discuss what works and what doesn’t with the current setup, instead of brushing the problems aside? The Steamship Company used to advertise the number of passengers and day-trippers that were due to come on the boat and that just doesn’t happen now; are the numbers just too grim, so we’ve taken an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach instead?

    It’s terribly sloppy to give the excuse of ‘that’s the way it’s always been’ in one instance but not in others. Day-trippers historically have been the bread and butter of many businesses in Hugh Town, but where are they now? Ignoring their concerns won’t get them back.

    • Nobby Nobbs May 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      There speaks the voice of reason

      I live here and I’m p’eed off with the unreliability of the transport link (yes I know its an island bla bla bla). But the islands whole economy is based on Tourism and the people on the mainland can’t afford to waste days in an airport or a B&B in Penzance or be stranded here on the islands, They have commitments to keep in the real world, plus they don’t need the additional cost delays add to their holiday.
      If we don’t make the link to the mainland more reliable then it is us, the islanders and the islands businesses that will suffer, as the tourists stop coming.

      As to moaning about things, if people don’t speak up, then thinks remain the same for ever, I know there are some old Scillonian’s who would like that, but it’s 2013 not 1873.

      We have to provide our tourists with a reliable transport link.

  9. Jeff Eastick May 9, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Having sailed on the old Scillonian 11 and 111 , the present is far better than the past but it should be pointed out to all first timers on the boat that the return trip is, generally , far easier than the outgoing. I continue to wonder why Nobby stays in Scilly when all he does is complain about anything and everything. Living 28 miles out into the Atlantic is bound to throw up ( no pun intended ) the odd problem but surely it is far outweighed by the pleasure of living in what most visitors regard as idyllic surroundings although , admittedly, we see the Islands for all too short visits during what passes for the best time of the year.
    Having said that , we have had our share of horizontal rain at the tail end of a hurricane and other numerous storms and fog laden days but still look forward to next July as soon as we return home each year.

  10. Happy Chappy. May 9, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Not sure of your point Nobby, leaving days either side of holidays has been standard practice for living here for as long as I can remember. We all do it.

    Quite right Gwendoline. Nobby Nobbs seems unable to work that out.

    Staying at home would be the easiest way of solving the problem.

  11. john Dawson May 9, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Having just returned from the magic islands we encountered a day lost at the beginning of the holiday due to no flights and had to be transferred to the Scillonian the next day but thankfully if was a calm crossing. If we had been delayed a further day or the crossing cancelled then on a original 7 day break it would not have been worth coming over for what would have been left of the holiday.

    Some people having lost a day on short three days breaks said they wouldn’t be back and other first timers were dreading the return to the main land in case it was by ship again – unfortunately more lost revenue for the islands.

    Come back a helicopter which could fly in fairly poor weather and it wasn’t a monopoly transport system.

  12. Gwendoline Gossip May 9, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Not sure of your point Nobby, leaving days either side of holidays has been standard practice for living here for as long as I can remember. We all do it and its one of the “joys” of living here. It’s no worse now than it ever was……even when the sainted helicopter was running she wasn’t exactly reliable and bad weather affected that too.

  13. Ly Tin Wheedler aka Steve Sims May 9, 2013 at 12:19 am

    And the rest of us would be glad in sympathy.

  14. John Hicks May 8, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Thats one of the joys of living on the Islands surely.

  15. Nobby Nobbs May 8, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Impossible to plan anything
    I waste a weeks holiday every year adding extra days travelling on and off the island, just to make sure I ‘can’ get off the island and don’t miss important meetings or expensive connections.
    I would gladly throw up for three hours if it meant keeping my appointments