MSC Magnifica
The first new ship of 2010 called into Southampton arrived on the 26th February.  MSC Magnifica, MSC's latest 92.400grt vessel left the Saint Nazaire shipyard around 3pm CET the day before for a two day showcase for travel agents and journalists.  There was apparently some concern the workers wouldn't release her unless MSC agreed to build another ship.  She was due to arrive at City Terminal for 3pm which was brought forward half an hour. Then they changed portside docking to starboard and added ten minutes to the arrival time.  So we decided to go to Town Quay to get her.  The weather was dreadful.  After a week of rain we now had a force 8 gale but at least it was dry!  My friend John had texted in the morning to say he would be coming down to see her.  He caught up with us freezing at the end of Hythe pier as we waited for the 1.40pm ferry.  Because the weather was so bad, the ferry was late and docked starboard using double ropes.  There was no sign of the ship until we were onboard at 1.50pm.  With the combination of gales and moving boat I was lucky to have any photos of her coming around Calshot come out at all!
I gave it up as a lost cause and put the camera away.  Because of the weather, the Red Jets were running late so we had to hang around waiting for the 1.45pm to leave.  I wish ABP would fix the Hythe ferry part.  Then we went to the end of Town Quay and an amazing sight - NO fishermen!  Wooo!!!!!  We now have a theory the end is really barriered off to stop their lines getting tangled in the ferry propellers.  If we're right, the fisherpains are more hated than before!  We saw a couple of blokes with large lenses sheltering from the wind and asked if they were waiting for the ship.  One said yes so I told them she was coming round Calshot when we left Hythe pier.  As we got to the end we saw her off Netley.  The wind was ATROCIOUS.  It was hard enough staying upright, never mind keeping the camera still.  By now more had come.
Red Osprey may not be sponsored by Ikea any longer so not a banana but she hadn't got out of the year-long habit of getting in the way and ruining shots!!!!
We left as she was getting ready to dock and made our way towards Mayflower Park.  The further inland you went, the less breezy it became.  She was almost docked by the time we got there and there were some people milling about with cameras.  I'd hoped to meet up with Rory Coase from Facebook but I missed him.  However, filming in the sheltered seating was Steve Read of The Sun and Sky Travel.  I've known him via forums and things a few years so it was nice to finally meet up, alebit accidentally.  He would be going on the ship, jammy sod.  After a little natter he headed off and we got more pics.
We think the Itchen Marine tug was there just in case she swung a little bit from the berth.  They were using more ropes than usual to make her fast.  The weather forecast was meant to be worse over the next two days.
We said goodbye to John and as we headed back to the ferry bumped into Barry from Worthing, who we'd seen several times down the marina and also at Mayflower Park last October.  Then we got the ferry back (which was running ten minutes late now) and went home to warm up!  To see photos of her departure, click here.

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© Patricia Dempsey 26th February 2010
Not to be reproduced without permission