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Catamaran bought for ferry link to South Wales

By This is Exeter  |  Posted: December 17, 2009

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SEVERN Link, which will operate the new ferry between Swansea and Ilfracombe, has bought a vessel to use for the service.

Ahead of the eagerly-awaited cross-Bristol Channel link starting in March, the company has purchased a new 360-passenger 34 knot catamaran.

It is the first delivery in a two-vessel deal due to be completed in the New Year.

The Kvaerner FlyingCat catamaran was bought from Isle of Wight operator WightLink for a seven figure sum.

The ferry, which previously operated as the FastCat Shanklin under Wightlink ownership, has now been lifted from the water at Portchester in Portsmouth and is currently undergoing a full exterior repaint, re-branding and overhaul.

Once the repaint is complete, Severn Link will move the as yet unnamed ferry to its new base in Swansea for a full interior refit of the vessel which goes into service in March.

The entire refurbishment is expected to cost in the region of £100,000, with all suppliers for the interior refit being sourced wherever possible from Swansea and South Wales.

Geoff Metcalf , managing director of Severn Link, said, "Completion of the purchase by Severn Link brings closer to fruition the company's plans to run ferry services.

"This excellent modern vessel will make a crossing from Swansea to Ilfracombe fun, fast and affordable."

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    Derek Gawn, Ireland  |  March 13 2010, 11:12PM

    I retract the last comment Chris Jones - the Julia has broken down the last 2 nights & taken 15 hours for the 10 hour crossing - and is now temporarily suspended again I believe! Sorry, back to subject - what is going on with Severnlink???

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    Derek Gawn, Ireland  |  March 11 2010, 6:45PM

    She was a little late arriving Chris, about 0940 - apparently only ran at about 15knots across. So that's one new ferry service from Swansea up & running. Now how about some news from Severnlink?

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    Chris Jones, Bristol Channel  |  March 10 2010, 8:15PM

    MV Julia should arrive at Cork 0700 tomorrow. She moved onto the ferry terminal this evening at Swansea. Looking forward to a trip on her soon. By the way Saga Pearl II departed Swansea last weekend for Southampton and the start of her Saga career.

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    Derek Gawn, Ireland  |  March 02 2010, 11:43AM

    Thanks for info Chris. The Julia's return to Cork is also delayed - I'm writing this on 2/3, the day after she should have entered service. Yes, I'm sure the new jetty at 'Combe is far more exposed than the old pier. I guess the NW force 6 on the day in question was why Fastcat Shanklin didn't call - which, if so, kind of proves a point?

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    Chris Jones, Bristol Channel  |  February 10 2010, 8:42PM

    Derek, she is on D shed in Kings Dock. Keeping company in the port with Julia and Saga Pearl II. I am at the port shortly and hope to get some pictures. I was surprised she didn't go alongside at 'combe - perhaps the swell was too much on the jetty? The jetty seems to catch the swell a lot more than the old pier did - Waverley and Balmoral seem to surge more on there now?

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    Derek Gawn, SW Ireland  |  February 01 2010, 1:08AM

    Where is she berthed in Swansea? Anyone know what sort of trip they had round from Portsmouth? I hear it called in at 'Combe in a NW force 6, but was unable to berth as yet.

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    Chris Jones, Bristol Channel  |  January 28 2010, 6:57PM

    Fastcat Shanklin has now arrived in Swansea . . . they are actually going to try this!!!!!

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    Derek Gawn, Ireland  |  January 14 2010, 1:39PM

    Yes, Fastcat Ryde is the second of the vessels destined for the new service. Fastcat Shanklin is the one already owned by Severnlink - it is in a boatyard at Portchester at present. Berthing at Ryde Pier, if there was a strong wind from the East, was always the problem for these lightweight craft. Hopefully there is not too much damage this time.

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    steve adamson, Ilfracombe  |  January 13 2010, 9:41PM

    I came across this report on a Solent Shipping Website - Fastcat Ryde crashes into Ryde Pier | Fastcat Ryde crashed into Ryde Pier last night Tues 12th Jan. No injury was caused to any passengers or crew. It has as been withdrawn from service while a full investigation is carried out. Is this one of vessels proposed for the Ilfracombe service?

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    St Eustace, Up above, not down below  |  January 08 2010, 2:15PM

    I see from the comment posted by Terry Cresswell that his friend, the Rev Norman Bird, is offering odds on the success or otherwise of the proposed ferry. Is it entirely proper for a man of the cloth to be running a book on such an enterprise? For, as it is writ, "You pays your money and you takes your choice, sayeth the Lord". Peace on you.