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New Alderney ferry service to be launched tomorrow

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ALDERNEY’S new ferry service launches tomorrow – with its first early sailing to Guernsey almost fully booked.

The Little Ferry Company’s Spike Islander ferry arrived into Alderney ahead of its sailing tomorrow. (Picture by Emma Pinch, 21977675)

The Little Ferry Company is a partnership which includes Bruno Kay-Mouat, managing director of Alderney Shipping, and Isle of Wight-based Nick Sice, MD of Faversham Ships, whose company bought the vessel and which also owns the Valiant.

The service, supported by a £77,000 States of Alderney subsidy, will operate two sailings per day between Alderney and Guernsey, over 11 weeks.

The 12-seater Spike Islander sailed into Alderney from the Isle of Wight on Tuesday and on Wednesday crew presented the boat and its licences to the Harbour Office in Alderney and then later on in Guernsey.

The multi-role catamaran, which will be based in Alderney, was built in 2009, originally to service wind farms but has been used primarily for a ferry operation in northern Holland.

The first crossing to Guernsey goes at 7.30am, arriving at 8.30am, and departing Guernsey for Alderney at 9am.

In the afternoon, the boat will leave Alderney at 4.30pm, arriving at 5.30pm and set off back to Alderney from Guernsey at 6pm. They also carry pets and bikes for a supplementary charge.

When it is not employed on scheduled crossings it will be available for charters or extra sailings between the island.

Mr Kay-Mouat said: ‘The last three weeks have seen the vessel viewed, purchased, brought to the Isle of Wight and then onto Alderney and a tremendous amount of work has been done by all of us. So we are all very excited to see the service launched.

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‘My aim is to see this become a community project and the whole community become involved and hopefully tourism improved for Alderney and supplement the existing carriers.

‘People of Alderney, thank you very much for your support, it’s been tremendous and people of Guernsey, you are missing a trick if you don’t come to Alderney.’

Mr Sice has worked with Mr Kay-Mouat for eight years, and together they worked on the concept of a small ferry linking the two islands to present to the States of Alderney.

The main advantage of a small ferry company was how flexible it could be for the needs of a particular island.

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‘It would be able to carry diverse cargo, from coffins to sports equipment.

'We can move quickly to provide what they need instead of being constrained by the structure of a large company,’ he said.

‘We hope the business itself will not just be passengers and their limited numbers but other things needed by the island, and it should then be, we hope, self sustainable.’

Policy and Finance Committee chairman James Dent said the operation was an experiment to gauge demand for such a service.

‘We are very glad to see it up and running so quickly and we will be keen to find out how much it is used over the next 11 weeks.

‘It will be a case of “use it or lose it”, he said.’

The Spike Islander is being skippered by Albie Bulbeck, who used to run the Alderney to Guernsey Valiant operation with Sam Sice, son of Nick Sice, as deckhand.

They hope to recruit Alderney residents in future to crew the vessel.

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