As the year moves into autumn, so the numbers of yachts sailing through the Sound drops off. The smaller ones, particularly those which use their engines even when there's a favourable breeze and are, therefore, probably being 'sailed' by landlubbers, are the first to disappear, leaving the larger boats such as this one to enjoy the more testing conditions.
This is the first time we've seen Hapag Lloyd's Europa in the Sound. Completed in 1999, she's relatively modern by the standards of the other cruise ships working in British waters at this time of year but, as a ship aiming at the luxury end of the market, she's old. Despite this, she has consistently been rated at five stars for over a decade. Carrying only 400 passengers, she's primarily aimed at the German market.
I like the Arkow boats. They always look very well maintained, and are registered in their home port of Arlow in Co. Wicklow, not in some foreign port of convenience.
Usually, one can learn a great deal about a ship in a few minutes on the internet but there's little available about this neat little boat, which suggests that she might be very new.