In 1963, wanting to replace former British Railways service between Saint-Malo and the Channel Islands, two businessmen decided to establish their fast service between the French city and the Islands of Jersey, Guernsey and Sark.
They launched their company, named Condor Ltd, on 20th June 1964 when newly-built Condor 1 set sail for the first time on this route. Due to growing traffic, she was joined in 1969 by Condor 2.
Condor 2 was replaced in late-1970 by Condor 3, providing more space for passengers. Condor 1 and Condor 3 were joined by Condor 4 in 1974. The service grew rapidly and become more and more popular very fast and in 1976, Condor Ltd decided to replace Condor 1 by the much bigger Condor 5.
In 1980, Condor Ltd decided to try a catamaran on this route, and therefore chartered Condor 6 for that summer, replacing Condor 3. However, this catamaran proved to be less satisfying than the hydrofoils the company used to operate, and therefore she was replaced the following year by a further charter of Condor 2.
In 1982, due to strong competition on this service, Condor Ltd operated the Saint-Malo - Channel Islands service only using two hydrofoils instead of three. The service was upgraded back to three ships serving the route in 1985, with the introduction of Condor 7. The frequency of the service was again reviewed down in 1987, since the opening of the new Weymouth - Channel Islands service required on the Northern Route one of the three ships the company operates. Therefore, Condor 8 was purchased in 1988 to operate more sailings on both routes.
In 1990, Condor 4 ceased serving the route, replaced by Condor 9 that took most of the Northern Route's schedule. Therefore, Condor 5, Condor 7 and Condor 8 focused mainly on the Southern Route, although they kept operating services on the Northern Route. In 1993, Condor 9 joined the ships that were originally operating the service. She then has operated the route between 1997 and 2001.
In 1996, Condor France was introduced on the Saint-Malo - Channel Islands service. Condor France served the route until late-1998, being replaced in 1999 by Condor 9. Condor 5, Condor 7 and Condor 8 respectively ceased serving the route in 1992, 1994 and 1997. Therefore, the service has been gradually reviewed from three to one ship.
In 1998, Condor Ferries established a new Weymouth - Saint-Malo daily service (with one sailing each way every day at summers), serving en route to Saint-Malo Guernsey, using Condor Vitesse. This has been the first car carrying service operated by Condor Ferries on this route. The service was moved to Poole in 2001, and was scrapped only in 2013.
In 2002, Condor Ferries, wanting to compete with Emeraude Lines' car carrying services, introduced Condor 10 on the Saint-Malo service, replacing Condor 9 that have been operating alone the route since 1999. Condor 10 was operating three daily crossings every day, with one to Guernsey. In May 2010, Condor 10 was replaced by the larger Condor Rapide which keep operating the route today.
Condor Rapide is to be replaced in late-2017 by a new ship. It is likely that Condor Liberation will take her place on the route.
|SAINT-MALO - CHANNEL ISLANDS (1976 onwards)|
|Main Ship||Condor Rapide (2010 onwards)|
|Other Ship||Condor Liberation (2016 onwards)|
Condor 1 (1964 - 1975);
Condor 2 (1969 - 1970, 1981);
Condor 3 (1970 - 1979);
Condor 4 (1973 - 1990);
Condor 5 (1976 - 1987; 1990 - 1992);
Condor 6 (1980);
Condor 7 (1985 - 1986; 1988 - 1994);
Condor 8 (1988 - 1997);
Condor 9 (1991 - 1993; 1995 - 2001);
Condor 10 (2002 - 2010).
|Crossing Time||1h20 (Saint-Malo - Jersey); 1h55 (Saint-Malo - Guernsey)|
|Summer Frequency||Two daily sailings each way to Jersey; One daily sailing each way to Guernsey|
|Winter Frequency||Up to 6 weekly crossings to Jersey, No direct crossings to Guernsey|
|Passenger Traffic||478,772 passengers|
In 1997, Condor Ferries decided to move its operations from Weymouth to Poole, a harbour which was thought to be more suitable for service than Weymouth. Therefore, in March 1997, Condor Express was introduced on a new route linking Poole to the Channel Islands. However, the service proved to be very unpopular, and only a couple of months later it was already decide to revert to Weymouth in 1998. To fill its services, Condor Ferries had even to propose tickets at only £1.
In 1997 and 1998, Condor 9 has also operated a daily service to Jersey, then continuing to Saint-Malo at summers.
Between 1998 and 2015, Condor Ferries operated from Poole harbour services only at summers. In 2001, Condor Express shifted its routes with Condor Vitesse, therefore transferred at summers to Poole. Indeed, Condor Vitesse was to operate at mornings service from Poole to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, and at afternoons a service to Saint-Malo via Guernsey. These services ceased in late-2012, and Condor Express reverted to the Poole route, with Condor Vitesse in Weymouth. However, Poole has been Condor Ferries' main harbour between 2012 and 2013, whilst repairs were being carried out to Weymouth's quay.
In 2014, Condor Ferries announced that it would make Poole again its main Great Britain port for high speed services, beginning 27th March 2015 due to the Dorset Council that refused carrying out works to accommodate their latest purchase, Condor Liberation, in Weymouth. Since 27th March 2015, each day between March and October, Condor Liberation operates a daily service to Jersey and Guernsey from Poole.
Condor Liberation is likely to be transferred to the Saint-Malo route in late-2017, leading likely to the closure of the Poole service.
|POOLE - CHANNEL ISLANDS (1997 onwards)|
|Main Ship||Condor Liberation (2015 onwards)|
|Other Ships||Condor Rapide (2016 onwards)|
Condor Express (1997 - 2001, 2013 - 2014);
Condor 9 (1997 - 1999);
Condor Vitesse (2001 - 2012).
|Crossing Time||3h (Poole - Guernsey); 1h (Guernsey - Jersey)|
|Summer Frequency||One daily sailing each way|
|Winter Frequency||Up to four weekly sailings each way|
|Figures (April 2015 - March 2016)|
|Passenger Traffic||152,440 passengers|
In 2004, the two vessel that were still carrying in their hull the Commodore's name were repainted to full Condor Ferries livery. Therefore, this route which was operated by Condor Ferries' former owner before for decades with LoLo and then RoRo ships, became a Condor Ferries marketed route in 2004.
Commodore Shipping was established in 1952 and soon became one of the most important freight operator in the Channel Islands. In 1993, Commodore decided to order 2 new ships to establish a full RoRo service between Portsmouth and the Channel Islands: Island Commodore (2) and Commodore Goodwill (3). They were both introduced respectively in 1995 and 1996. However, in 1998, Commodore decided to replace Island Commodore (2) by a new RoPax ferry, that would provide accommodation to passengers in case of cancellation of the fast ferries service to the Channel Islands. This new vessel replaced therefore both Island Commodore (2) (since she is primarily intended for the freight market) and Havelet (which was providing accommodation when the fast crafts were cancelled). Therefore was introduced on this service in 1999 Commodore Clipper (5).
Commodore Clipper (5) and Commodore Goodwill (3) are still operating this lifeline route today. Both ships have been repainted to Condor Ferries 2015 livery in late 2015. When one vessel is being refitted, she is always replace by a chartered ship. Arrow has in the past year been the most often chartered for this purpose.
These vessels operate a round trip, serving either Jersey or Guernsey first, depending on the tides in Jersey, which does not have an actual deep water port. Once a week (usually on Saturday), Commodore Goodwill (3) serves Saint-Malo after having served Jersey, before sailing back to Portsmouth. In enables the importing of products from the mainland to the Channel Islands.
|PORTSMOUTH - CHANNEL ISLANDS (2004 onwards)|
Commodore Clipper (5) (1999 onwards)
Commodore Goodwill (3) (1996 onwards)
|Other Ships||Arrow (2005 onwards)|
|Crossing Time||7hours (Portsmouth - Guernsey); 2 hours (Guernsey - Jersey); 9h10 (Jersey - Portsmouth)|
|Summer Frequency||Up to two round daily sailing|
|Winter Frequency||Up to two round daily sailing|
In 2006, following the scrapping the previous year of the conventional summer-only service operated by Barfleur on the Cherbourg-en-Cotentin - Portsmouth route, Brittany Ferries decided to sign an agreement with Condor Ferries to launch a joint service between Cherbourg-en-Cotentin and Portsmouth at summers, using Commodore Clipper and aimed at the caravan market.
Therefore, Commodore Clipper has been operating at summer each Sunday a crossing to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. Initially the service was marketed by Brittany Ferries and operated by Condor Ferries. However, Brittany Ferries decided later to stop marketing the service, only ensuring Commodore Clipper's weekly casting off on this service which has been marketed by Condor Ferries since.
In September 1986, in order to provide alternatives to travellers affected by Sealink's crews strike, Condor Ltd operated a Weymouth - Channel Islands service using one of their hydrofoil. The service soon became popular and Condor Ltd establish a regular service between Weymouth and the Channel Islands in 1987, using Condor 7. Condor 5 replaced her in 1988, until the delivery of Condor 9 in 1990.
In 1993, Condor Ltd decided to compete with British Channel Islands Ferries car carrying services, and launched its fast car-carrying catamaran Condor 10 on the Weymouth service. However, Colin Carter, BCIF chairman said that this type of vessel was inadequate for this route, otherwise they would have launched their own. "Conventional ferries are the only way forward".
In 1994, following BCIF's purchase by Commodore, Condor Ltd's owner, Condor Ltd chartered former BCIF's vessel Havelet to provide a conventional service alongside Condor 10, since would not be affected by inclement weather. Colin Carter added that the charter of Havelet because of Condor 10's inability to carry enough passengers and cars to make the service profitable.
In 1995, Condor 10 was replaced by larger Condor 11 on the Weymouth run. However, this ship has not been popular and was replaced in 1996 by Condor 12, chartered until the delivery of a much larger high speed craft, Condor Express. However, Condor Ferries found Weymouth unsuitable for Condor Express and therefore moved its operations to Poole, and ceased chartering Havelet. However, the move to Poole was unsuccessful and Condor Ferries resumed service from Weymouth using Condor Vitesse in as soon as 1998. Moreover, Condor Ferries has been forced to purchase Havelet to cover for any cancellation of the High Speed Craft, which have been abundant in 1997.
In 1999, Havelet was replaced by the larger RoPax Commodore Clipper. Commodore Clipper was initially to be operated from Weymouth but she was eventually allocated to the Portsmouth service.
In 2001, Condor Express and Condor Vitesse shifted their routes, and therefore Condor Express began operating the Weymouth service. This service was interrupted between 2012 and July 2013 due to repairs being carried out to Weymouth's quay that collapsed. In July 2013, Condor Vitesse reverted to the Weymouth service with Condor Express on the less taxing Poole service.
In late-2013, Condor Ferries announced that it was to purchase a new trimaran that would be operated from Weymouth. However, the company later discovered that she would not fit the harbour at low tide, claiming for works to be undertook. However, the owner of Weymouth harbour, the Dorset Council refused to do so and therefore Condor Ferries announced that il would move its operations to Poole beginning late-March 2015, leaving the Weymouth harbour useless.
|WEYMOUTH - CHANNEL ISLANDS (1987 - 1996; 1998 - 2015)|
|Main Ship||Route no longer operated|
Condor 5 (1987 - 1988);
Condor 7 (1987 - 1993);
Condor 8 (1988 - 1990);
Condor 9 (1990 - 1994);
Condor 10 (1993 - 1994);
Havelet (1994 - 1996 ; 1997 - 1998);
Condor 11 (1995);
Condor 12 (1996);
Condor Vitesse (1998 - 2014);
Condor Express (2001 - 2014).
|Summer Frequency||Up to two daily sailings each way|
|Winter Frequency||Up to four weekly crossings each way|
In 1995, Condor Ferries decided to transfer Condor 9 to a new summer-only service serving the Channel Islands from Torquay.
The service lasted until 1996, and Condor 9 was moved to the Saint-Malo service in 1997.
In 2001, Brittany Ferries and Condor Ferries agreed on the establishment of a new joint summer only fast service that would link Cherbourg-en-Cotentin and Poole.
This service was to be operated by Condor Vitesse, which would wear a joint livery (with the Brittany Ferries' logo painted on her stern). In the first year of this service, Condor Vitesse carried more passengers than expected, ensuring the existence of this service.
The service lasted until late-2012, when Brittany Ferries announced it would not renew their partnership with Condor Ferries. Indeed, Brittany Ferries announced it prefers operating their conventional ferries Barfleur with limited passenger capacity on this route rather than marketing this joint service.