Wightlink’s new £30million flagship – Victoria of Wight – is making her way to the Solent to join the rest of the company’s fleet.
The hybrid energy ferry departed from the Cemre shipyard in Yalova, Turkey on last night (Monday) for the 3,019 nautical mile journey to Portsmouth.
Victoria of Wight has been specifically designed and built to serve the Isle of Wight on the Portsmouth – Fishbourne route.
She is being towed by the specialist tug Amber II through the Sea of Marmara, past Gallipoli through the Dardanelles, then westward through the Mediterranean passing Greece, Sicily and Spain before turning north at Gibraltar to sail along the Portuguese coast, across the Bay of Biscay and into the Channel.
The trip should take 17 days if weather conditions are favourable.
Wightlink Chief Executive, Keith Greenfield, said:
“We are delighted to announce Victoria of Wight is on her way home. This is the final stage of our £45million investment in the Portsmouth – Fishbourne route and we look forward to introducing her to our staff and customers this summer.
“Victoria of Wight will set new standards for comfort and her environmental credentials are impressive.”
The new ship has room for up to 178 cars and more than 1,000 passengers. Powered by hybrid energy, Wightlink says Victoria of Wight will be quieter and with fewer emissions than other vessels.
Wightlink selected Cemre to build its new flagship following a competitive tendering process based on quality, delivery time and price. Although there was interest from many shipbuilders around the world, Wightlink says no UK yards submitted a tender which complied with the company’s requirements.
Project Director John Burrows has frequently travelled to and from Turkey to observe progress over the last two years.
“We have a wonderful ship for our staff and customers to enjoy. She performed well in sea trials, almost reaching 14 knots in the Sea of Marmara, and will transform our services on the key Portsmouth-Fishbourne route.”
When she arrives in the Solent, Victoria of Wight will be made ready to enter the fleet, stocked with catering and other supplies and crews will be trained to operate her. Wightlink expects the ship to enter service this summer.