The change is being implemented to mitigate the impact of bad weather during the winter period, according to the company.
Journey times for passengers travelling onwards by road to parts of Brittany, such as Rennes, will be more than doubled by the alteration.
A Condor spokesperson said: ‘We are using Cherbourg this winter as it is a much larger port than St Malo and less affected by poor weather, so offers greater certainty. This is for January and February.’
The move also means an increase in driving time to reach some popular tourist destinations that are further afield. For example heading to Hossegor, a well-known surfing resort in the south, from Cherbourg could require an additional hour behind the wheel when compared with travel times from St Malo.
Yesterday morning the Condor Voyager was unable to dock in St Helier Harbour due to ‘higher-than-forecast’ winds, which prevented the boat from berthing safely.
The vessel instead returned to St Malo and the sailing was rescheduled for yesterday afternoon, with the return trip leaving Jersey at around 4pm. Additionally, sailings between Jersey and Poole were cancelled and passengers transferred to the Condor Liberation service.
Condor’s spokesperson continued: ‘Travellers affected have been contacted and transferred onto the alternative departures. The forecast for this weekend – notably on Sunday and Monday – indicates inclement weather continuing in the Channel Islands’ area. As a result, there may be some disruption and delays to high-speed sailings. We are monitoring the situation closely and will notify passengers if there are any further changes to schedules.’
This is not the first time that Condor has had to alter plans for sailings to St Malo. In July last year a number of services were cancelled when workers went on strike and blockaded the port.
The industrial action followed the collapse of SMM, a company which had previously provided freight- and baggage-handling services at the city’s harbour.
The Guardian recently reported that Cherbourg was among the six French ports where French retaliatory measures could be introduced if the ongoing dispute over fishing licences is not resolved. A response from France could include heightened customs checks and additional scrutiny. However, when asked about possible disruption, the Condor spokesperson said: ‘We do not foresee it being an issue.’
– St Malo to Rennes: 69.4km (1hr 4min).
– Cherbourg to Rennes: 233.7km (2hr 26min).
– St Malo to Hossegor: 703.7km (7hr 18min).
– Cherbourg to Hossegor: 864.6km (8hr 38min).
– St Malo to Annecy: 930.2km (8hr 30min).
– Cherbourg to Annecy: 908.7km (9hr 6min).
– St Malo to Paris: 417km (4hr 50min).
– Cherbourg to Paris: 357.3km (4hr 26min).
Disclaimer: optimal routes were calculated using Google Maps at the time of writing and may be subject to change.