Van on Ferry

May 7, 2005
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My wife and I owned a coachbuilt motorhome for 5yrs,but owing to my poor health(arthritis) decided last year to change to a caravan,as we now need transport for getting around once we've set up.We purchased an Award Tristar.the fixed bed made the choice for us.For other motorhome owners who are considering the same option as us,its the best decision we could have made.

There's more room for lounging,but best of all, as we also camp in the winter months,its much warmer.I tow with a Ford Galaxy 1.9td auto,the furthest we've been was last summer to Cornwall.and Somerset,I did'nt want to take the van abroad untill I'd had some experience towing on familiar roads.Now;some of you seassoned 'Tuggers'out their may think this is a silly question,But what is the proeedure when parking the outfit on the ferry,I've been to France Spain Algarve etc with the motorhome,but I never bothered to take notice what caravanners do e.g.do I just pull on, put the van handbake on,and thats it.I want to go to the Atlantic coast of France this year down to the Pyrenese,I do'nt like autoroutes ,as I like to visit the towns and villages.If any of you campers can offer advise to a 67yr old thats me, not the other half,my wifes younger.I'd be very grateful.Cheers and Happy and safe holidays to you all.Edward
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Edward, I am sure that with your experience of taking the motor home on the ferry that a van will be no problem.

Drive on slowly and follow the instructions of the load master. When parked put the car in gear and handbrake on. Remove the wing mirrors so that they are not knocked off by people walking past. Put the van handbrake on. That's it really.

What portr are you arriving at?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I forgot to turn off the 12v fridge after boarding a ferry for an 18 hour crossing once. Needless to say, the battery in the car was flat by the time we reached the port of destination and obviously the car wouldn't restart. In fact, it was so flat that we couldn't even get into the car with the remote key. The whole line of cars behind us was held up until someone from the crew brought a battery charger. Bright red face held down in shame. Since then, I've always disconnected the electrics between car and caravan on long crossings so that something like that can never happen again.
 
Jun 29, 2004
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Sounds obvious but make sure the jockey is as high as possible because, depending on the tide the linkage between dock and ship and bits of metal used to make up the gap can be at odd angles and foul the jockey. I have noticed this problem less lately but as it once caused me a disconnect it is one of my little pets.

ttfn

Norfolk Mike
 
Dec 16, 2003
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Snap Lutz, had the same experience relay that cuts power to fridge when ignition is turned off jammed open. Alarm prevented car from being jump started and had whole rif towed from ferry. Breakdown service and and I took two hours to work out how to reset alarm even with the instuctions!

Always disconnect cables between van and car on long crossings Edward !!!!!!!!!!!!! Just in case ;-)
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi

Edward, have you thought about going via the tunnel? I can thoroughly recommend it. you just drive in to the carriage (staff very very helpful) Stay in your car if you want and have no worries about climbing stairs to the decks. Also no chance of bumping in to other vehicles as on the ferry.

Very relaxing and before you know it you are on the French motorways. Which ever choice you make of crossing the water I am sure you will enjoy it.

All the best, Nidge
 
Jan 2, 2006
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Just a little tip for anybody who is not very agile and finds climbing several flights of steep step on the ferry,in the case of P&O when you check in if you ask to use the lift they will load you so that you are right next to the lift door which will be open with a man waiting for you to ensure others dont use it first!Not sure if the same applies to Brittany,I would be interested to know though.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Handbrake on + leave in gear.

If you apply on line for a ferry ticket there is a tick box to say whether you are handicapped like me; this fairly automatically gets you close to the lifts.

It does work in my experience.
 
May 7, 2005
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Thanks to all who replied Re;my parking on ferry, I found all the replies very useful and interesting. Like Evans of Sprot, I suffer ill health and am registered disabled, so to make life easier not only for myself,but also my wife,its very handy to pick the brains of you experienced campers,than not to ask,and then worry about it. With the motorhome,I just drove on the ferry.put the hand brake on left it out of gear as instructed by the chaps directing you and that was it.Once you had switched the ignition off, the fridge etc was switched off automatically.I've found that you have to give more attention to loading a caravan than a motorhome,but then like most things its just a matter of being sensible.As I stated previously in the short time we've had the van, not once have we regretted getting rid of the motorhome,and find that after breakfast its great to jump in the car and off without having to spend time packing away.Again many thanks to you all for replying,its reasuring to know theirs always someone out their to offer advise,I'm sure over the next few months you'll be hearing more from me. Cheers Edward. P.S. My wife said you're all probably peed off with me already.
 
Dec 16, 2003
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Edward.

You gave a good explanation of why you were asking and I doubt veryt much that any one would be put out with you.

Any little info that may help has to be good.Both my parents are disabledand I admire you and others who are able to make the effort to travel and not just sit at home.

I find the ferries very good if you make yourself and concerns known to them, I now use and prefer Dover Calais crossing. The ferry gives a nice break and time to eat before driving the other side, the tunnel is OK but I have witnessed problems for people with mobility problems with toilets and then a panic the other soide of where the people could stop.

There may be a facility for disabled but I am not aware of it.

We have met quite a lot of people with varying dissabilities over the years on caravan sites in France and Italy and some have been amused at the help people will give them

if needed and wanted.

A gent a wheel chair in France two years ago was shocked to see his van passing the reception before he had filled in his booking in form. His requirement noted from his booking they had the site tractor waiting and had the van parked by the time he and his family got to the pitch, the site guys aided by a couple of us had the Awning up in no time.

The chap and his wife were pleased but thought they were getting "special" treatment until they realised a few days later that there were quite a few people with dissabilities and also age related problems and everyone was pleased to help. Site staff and fellow Caravanners!

We have seen similar on many sites so hope I hope you get the same help if you want or ever need it.
 

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