Hengist, Horsa, Senlac: The Rafina Summer of 2004

Although built together for Sealink, being delivered in 1972-73, the Hengist, Horsa and Senlac never operated together as such, the Senlac being Newhaven-based. There were a few occasions when the Senlac ventured east, with Newhaven-Boulogne even being operated as an emergency service on occasion when Dieppe was out of action. However these were never anything other than temporary measures.

When Hellas Ferries was created in 1999/2000, the ships, by then all operating for different Greek operators, once again came together in one fleet. Agapitos Lines’ Panagia Ekatontapiliani (ex-Hengist) became the Express Artemis, Agoudimos Lines’ Penelope A (ex-Horsa) became the Express Penelope whilst Agapitos Express Ferries’ Express Apollon (ex-Senlac) retained her name.

They remained together in the same fleet, generally operating rather different itineraries to one another, until early 2004, when the former Hengist and Horsa were sold by Hellas Ferries to local competitors – the Hengist to her original Greek owners, Ventouris Sea Lines, and the Horsa back to Agoudimos Lines.

2004 was Olympic year and for that season only Hellas Ferries made the decision to deploy two ships out of Rafina rather than the main but busy port of Piraeus, namely the Express Apollon and the Express Aphrodite (ex-St Columba). Rafina had been the home to the Penelope A/Express Penelope for the duration of her Greek career. Along with the Superferry II (ex-Prince Laurent) there were therefore four ex-Sealink ships engaged in the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos trade that Summer.

The ‘H Class’ connection was complete when the Hengist, renamed Agios Georgios, was given a licence to operate Rafina-Paros-Naxos-Santorini sailings, being hurriedly introduced into service on 8 July.

Thus for one glorious Summer, late in their careers, the sisters were based together at the same port. Tasos Papanastasiou was able to capture these unique images of the three ships, once again operating for different companies, but this time coming head-to-head against each other in Rafina. For each picture, click for a larger image.

The Penelope A (ex-Horsa, left) chases the Express Apollon (ex-Senlac, right) into port.

The Penelope A (ex-Horsa, left) chases the Express Apollon (ex-Senlac, right) into port.

At the port entrance...

At the port entrance...


... it's single file only.

... it's single file only.

Together at Rafina

Together at Rafina

Another view of the three sister ships

Another view of the three sister ships

Lastly a unique, never to be repeated view showing five ex-Sealink ships together at Rafina. From left to right: the Penelope A, Express Aphrodite (ex-St Columba), Express Apollon, Superferry II (ex-Prince Laurent) and Agios Georgios.

Lastly a unique, never to be repeated view showing five ex-Sealink ships together at Rafina. From left to right: the Penelope A, Express Aphrodite (ex-St Columba), Express Apollon, Superferry II (ex-Prince Laurent) and Agios Georgios.

Images courtesy Tasos Papanastasiou & originally posted to nautilia.gr.

2 Comments

  • By Andy Gilbert (aka meechingman), March 23, 2009 @ 8:21 am

    Hi. Fantastic set of pix. Love the ‘chase’!
    Re Folkestone-Dieppe. Are you certain this actually happened. I recall reading this somewhere but the text said that ‘Senlac operated from Folkestone when the ramp at Dieppe was out of action’. No-one here remembers it, and my late brother didn’t recall it either. He was 2nd Engineer on her at the time. I do know that she ran Newhaven-Boulgone for a few trips when Dieppe was out of action, so maybe that’s where the confusion occurs.

    Is is possible for you to ask Tasos for permission to add a pic or two of Senlac to my Senlac page at the Newhaven community site at http://www.ournewhaven.org.uk? I have a couple of her in the Med, but not all three ships together.

    Regards
    Andy

  • By Funny, June 8, 2009 @ 1:50 am

    thx thx thx for this

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