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Vessel Archive 1951-1980

Company seal
MV Carisbrooke Castlemotor vessel
Registered No:300672
Builders:J Thornycroft & Co. Ltd Woolston
Built:1959
Max Speed:18 knots
Tonnage:672 tonnes gross
Dimensions:191'2" x 42'2"
Machinery:2 x 8 cyl oil, twin screw
Withdrawn:1974

A purpose built passenger vehicle ferry. Although not an attractive ship, she was effective in her role, carrying 15,829 cars and 3,147 commercial vehicles in the first six months. She could alo make the trip to Cowes in 40 minutes! She had a couple of collisions, the worst was with an Esso Tanker in 1964 in thick fog, no injuries were reported. With the arrival of the Netley Castle she was sold to operate in Naples.

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MV Osborne Castlemotor vessel
Registered No:303396
Builders:J Thornycroft & Co. Ltd Woolston
Built:1962
Max Speed:unknown
Tonnage:736 tonnes gross
Dimensions:191'2" x 42'1"
Machinery:2 x HRN 8/45 diesels, twin screw
Withdrawn:1978

The Osborne Castle was seen as an improvement on her sister ship the Carisbrooke Castle. Despite this she was mainly restricted to tender work because her design meant she was unsuitable for pier work. She continued until 1978 when she was sold to a Canadian ferry company.

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MV Cowes Castlemotor vessel
Registered No:307303
Builders:J Thornycroft & Co. Ltd Woolston
Built:1965
Max Speed:12 knots
Tonnage:786 tonnes gross
Dimensions:191'0" x 41'6"
Machinery:2 x 8 cyl Premier diesels, twin screw
Withdrawn:1994

The Cowes Castle was of a similar shape to the Osborne Castle up until 1975 when she was converted to become a roll-on roll-off ferry. Mezzanine decks were also fitted to enable her to carry an extra 25 to 30 cars. On arrival of Red Falcon in 1994 she was sold to Jadrolinija for service in Croatia.

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MV Norris Castlemotor vessel
Registered No:336718
Builders:J Thornycroft & Co. Ltd Woolston
Built:1968
Max Speed:12 knots
Tonnage:734 tonnes gross
Dimensions:191'3" x 42'1"
Machinery:2 x 8 cyl Premier diesels, twin screw
Withdrawn:1994

The Norris Castle was a modernized version of her namesake and principally used for commercial vehicles in her early life. Like the Cowes Castle, she was later converted to a roll-on roll-off ferry and mezzanine decks were fitted. In gale force winds in 1981 when turning in the River Medina she was blown on to the Cowes floating bridge but there was no real damage done to either vessel. On the arrival of Red Osprey in 1994 she, like her sister was sold to Jadrolinija for service in Croatia.

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Shearwaterhydrofoil
Registered No:336741
Builders:Sea Flight SpA, Sicily
Built:1969
Max Speed:32 knots
Tonnage:26 tons displacement
Dimensions:61'0" x ?
Machinery:2 x 530 hp Fiat diesels, twin screw
Withdrawn:1973

The demand for a quicker crossing time led Red Funnel to experiment with different types of high-speed passenger craft. Shearwater was the first of 5 hydrofoils that were introduced during this period. She carried 54 passengers at a speed of between 32-35 knots, the the only problem was reliability. When Shearwater 3 arrived this craft was used as a standby vessel, she was disposed of in 1973.

Company seal
Shearwater IIhydrofoil
Registered No:unknown
Builders:Seaflight SpA, Sicily
Built:1970
Max Speed:32.5 knots
Tonnage:26 tons displacement
Dimensions:61'0" x ?
Machinery:2 x 530 hp Fiat diesels, twin screw
Withdrawn:1971

Convinced there was a market for speed and that the hydrofoil design philosophy was suitable, the company bought Shearwater 2 to improve reliability. This did not prove to be the case and instead she was used as parts to maintain the original hydrofoil. In 1974 she was towed to Portsmouth for scrapping but ended up being sold to operate a ferry service in Loch Fyne.

Company seal
Shearwater IIIhydrofoil
Registered No:357766
Builders:Rodriguez, Messina
Built:1972
Max Speed:32.5 knots
Tonnage:35.1 tons displacement
Dimensions:73'0" x ?
Machinery:1 x 1350 hp V12 Maybach diesel
Withdrawn:1992

This new improved hydrofoil with a powerful Mercedes engine proved to be far more reliable and became the mainstay of the service. She could carry 67 passengers and do the crossing in 23 minutes at 32.5 knots. This led to the reintroduction of a winter service. She was held in reserve after the arrival of Red Jet 1 in 1991 and later sold in 1992.

Company seal
Shearwater IVhydrofoil
Registered No:351756
Builders:Rodriguez, Messina
Built:1973
Max Speed:32.5 knots
Tonnage:35.1 tons displacement
Dimensions:73'0" x ?
Machinery:1 x 1350 hp V12 Maybach diesel
Withdrawn:1992

This vessel joined the fleet in August 1973, joining her identical sister Shearwater 3. The vastly improved reliability of these two craft made the previous two hydrofoils redundant. She was demoted to back-up boat after the arrival of Red Jet 2 in 1991 and sold a year later in 1992.

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MV Netley Castlero-ro ferry
Registered No:361802
Builders:Ryton Marine Ltd, Wallsend
Built:1974
Max Speed:14 knots
Tonnage:1183 gross tonnes
Dimensions:242'2" x 49'9"
Machinery:4 x 8 cyl Caterpillar diesels, 4 x steerable propellers
Withdrawn:1997

At the time, Netley Castle was the largest vessel built by Red Funnel and was capable of carrying 80 cars (with mezzanine decks deployed) and nearly 1,000 passengers. She was a true doubled-ended design with two wheelhouses which meant on the Southampton-Cowes run she did not have to turn around. With 4 separate Caterpillar engines each driving a steerable propeller, reliability was excellent. On the arrival of Red Eagle in 1996, the Netley Castle was sold to Jadrolinija, joining her old running mates in Croatia.

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RedFunnel Address post@redfunnel.co.uk.

Contact Centre: Bookings Tel (Within UK): 0844 844 9988. Tel (Outside UK): 0845 155 2442. Customer Services: Tel +44 (0)23 8001 9192

Switchboard: Tel +44 (0)23 8024 8500. Fax +44 (0)23 8024 8501.

Registered in England: 002404, VAT number: GB 902 873131. All Rights Reserved, © 2014 Red Funnel (i-9b3956db)

Isle of Wight Port Addresses: Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries, Trinity Road, East Cowes, Isle of Wight PO32 6RA | Red Funnel Red Jet Ferries (West Cowes), Fountain Yard, West Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 7AR.

Southampton Port Addresses: Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries (Terminal 1), Terminal 1, Dock Gate 7 off Town Quay Road, Southampton, SO14 2AR | Red Funnel Red Jet Ferries (Terminal 2), Terminal 2, Town Quay, Southampton SO14 2AQ.

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Red Jet Hi-Speed service
Southampton <> West Cowes, Isle of Wight
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Service is operating normally

Passenger Vehicle Ferry service
Southampton <> East Cowes, Isle of Wight
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Service is operating normally

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