News: Our ferry is faster: Digby mayor challenges Yarmouth mayor to a boat race

Digby Courier - December 4, 2014

Digby’s mayor took a good look at the replacement ferry for the Digby-Saint John service and he thinks she’s fast.
So fast, he wants to challenge the Yarmouth mayor to a “boat race”.

“That is a fantastic looking ferry and I’m really looking forward to seeing it enter into service next year,” said Mayor Ben Cleveland on the rocks at Point Prim outside Digby as he watched the new ferry steaming off towards Halifax at noon on Dec. 4.

The new-to-us ferry, formerly known as Blue Star Ithaki, and temporarily called Canada2014, arrived in Digby Tuesday, Dec. 2 about 9 p.m.

While here crews verified the fit between the ferry ramps and the Digby wharf, as was done the day before in Saint John.

In Halifax the ship's engines will undergo a 72,000-hour overhaul and conversion from heavy fuel to marine diesel oil.

The ship also needs minor modifications to ensure the vessel complies with Canadian safety regulations, and is compatible with existing shore-based infrastructure and for operation in the Bay of Fundy.

Cleveland said it is great to have southwest Nova Scotia linked with New Brunswick and also with the US via the Yarmouth – Portland ferry service.

“She looks to be a very seaworthy ship and with her faster cruising speeds, she could increase traffic to the service and we could possibly even see an extra trip,” said Cleveland. “Watching it cruise out of the harbour today, I think it is faster than the Yarmouth ferry and so I’d like to challenge (Yarmouth Mayor) Pam Mood to a boat race.”

How would it work?

“The mayors each at the helm of their ferries, Yarmouth to Digby and we’ll cook up a feed of scallops for the losers,” said the Digby mayor.

The Courier passed on this challenge to our colleagues at the Vanguard who asked Mayor Mood of Yarmouth if she would like to respond.

And respond she did:

“First let me say how thrilled we are about the new ship,” said Mayor Mood. “Transportation links are vitally important to the entire province and this one is a beauty in the perfect port.

“As to Mayor Cleveland's challenge, get your captain's hat on and get cooking.

“Because while we are fully capable of leaving you in our wake, the Nova Star isn't built for speed: she's built for pleasure and she's all about the journey.

“Looking forward to those Digby scallops. I'll bring some Yarmouth lobster... You deserve a real treat.”

The two ships have similar ratings – the Nova Star Cruises webpage shows her cruising speed at 21 knots and a recent Transport Canada press release says the Digby-Saint John ship has a cruising speed of 20 knots.

“So it will come down to the person at the helm,” said Cleveland when confronted with those numbers.

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