Wightlink is celebrating the entry into service of its new 8,041gt hybrid ferry, Victoria of Wight.
With it the completion of a GBP 45 million investment in its Portsmouth-Fishbourne route, which has also included the introduction of two-tier boarding and a new customer building, is complete.
The new vessel arrived in her homeport of Portsmouth on the morning of 10 August having been towed 3,019 nautical miles from Turkish builder Cemre Shipyard in Yalova. Two days later, she left Portsmouth Harbour under her own power for the first sea trials with a Wightlink crew. This included a full speed run to the Nab Tower at up to 14 knots and manoeuvring exercises at Spit Head. The Victoria of Wight also berthed successfully at Wightlink’s terminals at Fishbourne and Portsmouth.
Project Director John Burrows was on board for the sea trials and said the day was very successful. “Victoria of Wight performed excellently, and her crew was impressed with her speed and responsiveness. We also had our naval architects Houlder on board and everyone was impressed by how well she handled,” he said.
Designed by Portsmouth-based naval architects and marine engineers Houlder, the Victoria of Wight has been purpose-built for the 45-minute Fishbourne route. She differs from her fleetmates, however, in being the most environmentally friendly ferry yet designed for operation on cross-Solent services. A hybrid diesel/battery-powered vessel utilising Voith Schneider propellers the Victoria of Wight operates on both batteries and low sulphur MGO.
Finland’s Wärtsilä has provided the propulsion and hybrid battery systems in the new ship. This comes in the form of four Wärtsilä diesel engines, each fi tted with a generator, and each driving a Voith Schneider propeller. She also features a number of other energysaving features, such as LED motion-sensitive lighting, elevators that put power back into the ship’s electrical system and heating that uses waste heat from the main engines. The battery packs are designed to smoothout power demands, so the engines run closer to optimum efficiency.
Houlder has been working with Wightlink on this project for the past five years and was originally responsible for the concept design and production of technical requirements documents. The company also provided Wightlink with technical support during the shipyard tendering process and acted as Owner’s Representative and Technical Advisor during construction.