I do not know how many people realised that there were two ships in the port today that bore the name Europa and that both sail/sailed for Hapag Lloyd. The one sails as Saga Sapphire today, and the other is a new build. Europa 2 was my real mission though, and she was berthed up at QEII which is not always the easiest place to get photographs from if you are at Town Quay. Fortunately today was a Bank Holiday and Southampton was on the second day of her Maritime Festival, and I was fortunate enough to have a short cruise scheduled on board Shieldhall.
First glimpse did not tell me anything about her except angles. I was hoping that our trip around the harbour would take us past her before she sailed. Up till then I would have to just grit my teeth and enjoy myself.
We cast off from our berth at 16H00, with Europa 2 scheduled to sail at 18H00 (which also co-coincided with our own arrival back from the cruise). However, we did not get very far because Saga Sapphire had sailed at the same time as we did so we hung around waiting for her to pass before we carried on with our journey.
We then sailed towards the container berths before turning around and heading back down towards East Docks and Hythe. The angle was improving and soon I was able to make a better appreciation of this sleek German vessel.
Please note, the lattice tower sticking up above the ship is not part of the vessel. The ship had a sharply sloped stern which was at a similar angle to the bow. There were only 3 lifeboats per side and a strange 4 deck glassed area really asked for further investigation.
I was glad to see that the familiar blue and orange stripe was present, and the funnel still bore the familiar Hapag Lloyd logo.
She is not an ugly ship, if anything she is quite a nice looker, with an almost simple design that does away with water slides, climbing walls, loud garish decor and flying saucers above her bridge. Her bridge wings are self supporting too! In spite of our best efforts the master of Shieldhall could not coax the Europa 2 to a whistle blowing context, and the best we got was a disciplined single blast of her horn. Und nothing else!
We sailed past, turned around and came past her again on our way back to our berth. I was able to zoom in on that glass section.
The overall impression I do get of her design is of a ship that is like an arrow, and its going there in a hurry. On board her safety announcements were being made and we were coming alongside. Who would be first away? I am happy to say Europa 2 won, but I did dawdle so that I could catch her as she made her turn, so I was at least able to get a truncated view of her as she sailed.
And what about the other Europa? I am not positive but Europa 1 may be the ship I saw in Hong Kong in 2008.
And Saga Sapphire? I photographed her as Europa in Durban in 1992. Unfortunately weather really ruined those colour slides of mine. However, a company postcard proves my point.
DRW © 2013-2022. Images recreated 04/04/2016