New Red Jet for Red Funnel's Hi-Speed fleet

06-05-2009 Cross-Solent ferry operator, Red Funnel is investing £2m on a new 33m Solent Class catamaran which will be named Red Jet 5 when she enters service in July 2009.

Joining sister vessels Red Jet 3 and Red Jet 4, the new vessel will be used on Red Funnel’s Hi-Speed route between Southampton and West Cowes, Isle of Wight.

The vessel, designed by FBM Marine and built in the USA in 1999 is similar to Red Jet 3 with respect to passenger capacity and performance; she also shares the same low-wash characteristics that are essential for high speed operations in the Solent.

Powered by environmentally efficient MTU 4000 series engines and propelled by Kamewa waterjet units, Red Jet 5 is highly manoeuvrable and is capable of 38 knots.

The interior will be brand new, with the layout modelled on Red Funnel’s largest Hi-Speed craft, Red Jet 4. She will seat 187 passengers who will benefit from full air-conditioning, leather seats and onboard video. A range of hot, soft and alcoholic drinks, sandwiches & pastries will be available from ReFuel Express, Red Funnel’s in-house food and beverage offer.

James Fulford, CEO commented “We are delighted to announce this investment in the current climate. The new vessel will offer the same high quality travel experience for customers as Red Jets 3 and 4, and will help ensure Red Funnel is the first choice for Hi-Speed travel across the Solent”.

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): 35m
  • Beam moulded: 8.32m
  • Weight: 209 grt
  • Speed: 38 knots
  • Range: 510 nautical miles
  • Passenger capacity: 187
  • 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 VI
  • 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

Notes for editors
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 Jet's 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.

Click here for further information on Red Jet 5