Hi 5 Red Jet 5 is officially named

21-07-2009 Red Funnel Ferries newest Hi-Speed catamaran was officially named Red Jet 5 today by double Olympic Gold medal winning yachtswoman and BBC sports presenter Shirley Robertson OBE.

The traditional naming ceremony attended by invited guests and dignitaries took place at Cowes Yacht Haven on the Isle of Wight. The ship was formally blessed by Reverend Emblin of Cowes before Shirley Robertson smashed a celebratory bottle of champagne on the hull for good luck.  

The £2 million, 35m Solent Class catamaran, designed by FBM Marine, joins sister vessels Red Jet 3 and Red Jet 4 on Red Funnel’s Hi-Speed route between Southampton and West Cowes, Isle of Wight.

The interior layout is modelled on Red Funnel’s largest Hi-Speed craft, Red Jet 4. She will seat 186 passengers who will benefit from full air-conditioning, leather seats, laptop power points and onboard video. A range of hot, soft and alcoholic drinks, sandwiches and pastries will be available from ReFuel Express, Red Funnel’s in-house food and beverage offer.

Powered by environmentally efficient MTU 4000 series engines and propelled by Kamewa waterjet units, Red Jet 5 is highly manoeuvrable and capable of 38 knots. She also shares the same low-wash characteristics as her sister vessels, features which are essential for high speed ferry operations in the Solent.

James Fulford, CEO Red Funnel commented “We are delighted to welcome Red Jet 5 to our Hi-Speed fleet. Red Jet 5 offers a high quality travel experience for customers and is significantly larger and more comfortable than both of the older Red Jets she replaces. This investment, together with upgrades to both our Hi Speed terminals, especially in the context of the current economic climate, is a significant step towards achieving our goal of providing the best customer experience on the Solent.”

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Notes for editors:

Red Funnel is an integrated transport, travel and leisure company employing some 500 people in Southampton and the Isle of Wight. Operating the largest ro-ro ferries and with the newest fleet in service, Red Funnel Ferries carry over 3 million passengers per annum on its routes between Southampton and East and West Cowes, Isle of Wight. Red Funnel Holidays offer the widest choice of ferry inclusive holiday accommodation on the Isle of Wight which can be packaged with attractions and event admission. Red Funnel Distribution based at Newport, Isle of Wight, specialise in UK haulage services, contract distribution, palletised systems and drop trailer services for major retail brands.

Red Jet 5 facts & figures:
Built: Pequot River Shipworks, New London, Connecticut, USA
Type: Solent Class Catamaran designed by FBM Marine, Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK
Construction: Aluminium Alloy
Length (overall): 33m
Beam moulded: 8.32m
Weight: 209 tonnes
Speed: 38 knots
Range: 510 nautical miles
Passenger capacity: 186
Main engines: 2 x MTU/DDC 4000 Series 4 stroke direct injection liquid cooled turbocharged intercooled diesels developing 3,476 kW at 2,000 rpm.
Propulsion: 2 x KAMEWA SII waterjet drives
Survey: UK MCA Class IV
Certification: High Speed Craft Safety Certificate, Permit to Operate High Speed Craft, ISM Document of Compliance, ISM Safety Management Certificate
Port of Registry: Southampton, UK

Red Funnel’s Red Jet Hi-Speed service offers more sailings than its rivals with departures every 30 minutes in both directions during the day and every 60 minutes in the evenings.

The Southampton/West Cowes route also offers the quickest return journey times by rail and Hi-Speed ferry from London Waterloo to the Isle of Wight. The route carries 1.5 million passengers per annum and year to date, has a high-speed market share of 38%.

Red Funnel pioneered cross-Solent high speed ferry services as far back as 1933 with the introduction of the 11 seat Sea Coach "Island Enterprise". Later, in 1969 Red Funnel became the first hydrofoil operator in the UK with the introduction of the Italian designed 54 seat hydrofoils "Shearwater" and “Shearwater I”

After further trials with various hydrofoil and hovercraft designs, a regular high-speed service started in 1973 with the introduction of Shearwater III and Shearwater IV; both were 67 seat RH70 design hydrofoils from Cantière Navale Rodriguez. Growing passenger demand led to a doubling of capacity in 1980 with the introduction of Shearwater V and Shearwater VI in 1982.

In 1990, FBM Marine in Cowes was commissioned to design and build two 138 seat waterjet propelled catamarans. The revolutionary and highly successful Red Jets 1 and 2 were introduced in 1991 and the hydrofoils were demoted to back-up duties until they were finally withdrawn in 1998 with the arrival of 190 seat catamaran Red Jet 3. Demand continued to grow, particularly during the morning and evening peaks, leading to the construction of Red Jet 4 in 2003, the largest and fastest Red Jet to date.

Further information on Red Jet 5 is available at www.redfunnel.co.uk/redjet5