Joy as keel is laid for Brittany Ferries’ new ship Honfleur

Honfleur first mate Fleur Le Derff and FSG head of building berth Michel Bollman at the keel laying ceremony. Picture: Brittany Ferries
Honfleur first mate Fleur Le Derff and FSG head of building berth Michel Bollman at the keel laying ceremony. Picture: Brittany Ferries

A FERRY company which operates from Portsmouth has celebrated the second milestone in the building of its latest ship, Honfleur. 

Representatives from Brittany Ferries have joined with workers at the FSG shipyard in Flensburg, Germany, to watch the ship’s keel be laid. 

Keel laying is the process in which the first blocks of a ship’s hull are lowered on to a slipway – where they will eventually form a complete hull. 

Digitally tested using ‘computational fluid dynamic software’ before the procedure, Honfleur’s hull is expected to create smaller waves than previous Brittany Ferries ships. 

This will mean less energy is wasted and the ship will be able to meet efficiency targets by sailing at greater speeds using less power. 

‘Technology has transformed the way we design hulls,’ said Heike Billerbeck, head of ship theory and hydrodynamics at FSG. 

‘Over the past 20 to 30 years we've reduced wave resistance by between a third and a half. 

‘Passengers will never see Honfleur’s hull, but they will certainly feel its benefit, Think of your car. It has been designed to slip through the air as cleanly as possible to maximise its fuel efficiency.

‘The hull of a ship is just the same. It’s just a question of hydrodynamics rather than aerodynamics.’ 

To mark the keel being laid on Monday, representatives inserted coins into it – following an ancient tradition believed to be a token of good fortune. 

The origins of this tradition can be traced back to Roman times, when coins were placed into the mouths of soldiers killed in war in order to pay Charon, the mythological ferryman, to carry them across the River Styx.