InCat celebrate 25 years holding the Hales Trophy
The Hales Trophy - awarded to “the ship which shall for the time being have crossed the Atlantic at the highest speed” - will bring to mind for many of our readers the majestic passenger liners of yesteryear which were the greyhounds of the transatlantic crossing. The trophy has, in fact, been held for the last quarter of a century by ships built by InCat, the Australian based builder of fast passenger/car carrying catamarans. In June 1990 the InCat-built Hoverspeed Great Britain (commissioned by Sea Containers for commercial service between England and France) broke the record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by a commercial passenger ship.
The crossing from Ambrose Light at New York commenced at 1930hrs on June 19th, 1990 and 2,922 miles later, on the morning of 23rd June, the Hoverspeed Great Britain passed Bishop Rock in the UK. This wonderful achievement attracted huge media attention, securing some great publicity for both InCat and Sea Containers. The previous record had been held by the SS United States (1952- 1990); prior to that various other great liners had vied for the honour and prestige of winning the Hales Trophy.
In 1998, another InCat built ship, the Catalonia, took the record; then just a month later another InCat build Catlink V broke the record. There have been no challenges to the record since and none are in sight. The current record is 41.284 knots average over two days, 20 hours and 9 minutes.
The Hales Trophy is a heavy gilded trophy over one metre in height and is on display in the Fast Ferry Museum in InCat’s home city of Hobart, Tasmania. Many will still associate the Hales Trophy and the Blue Riband with the days of the great transatlantic liners, but all credit to InCat for their efforts over the last quarter century which have stimulated great excitement and renewed interest in the Hales Trophy.HAMISH ROSS, EDITOR