Naming and Dedication Ceremony for BMT Nigel Gee Designed 'Wight Ryder I' and 'Wight Ryder II'
Prior to the two planned Open Days at Portsmouth Harbour on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th September when members of the public are invited to check out one of Wightlink's new catamarans, purpose-built for the Portsmouth-Ryde passenger route, Wight Ryder I and Wight Ryder II were officially named in a private naming and dedication ceremony on Thursday 17th September.
Wight Ryder I and Wight Ryder II were blessed by Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight, Caroline Baston, and Wight Ryder I's plaque unveiled by 13-year old Jasmine Steel. Speaking to an invited audience of stakeholders from the Isle of Wight and the mainland, Wightlink's new Chief Executive Russell Kew said that ‘these two catamarans have been designed specifically for the Portsmouth-Ryde passenger route and are part of a multi-million pound investment package to improve all three of Wightlink's cross-Solent routes.
‘Providing greater stability during travel and better berthing capabilities, Island commuters and leisure passengers travelling between Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde can look forward to a more efficient ferry operation.' Russell Kew went on to reiterate Wightlink's plans to provide improved facilities and ease of transit for all its passengers with a range of terminal alterations and improvements.
Custom designed by Southampton-based BMT Nigel Gee, one of the world's top marine specialists, and built in the Philippines, the new catamarans can each accommodate up to 260 passengers. The design of the new ships with advanced electronic management systems is expected to result in fuel savings of around 1.3 million litres per annum compared to the existing FastCats, making them more environmentally friendly with a reduction in emissions equivalent to over 3.4 million kg CO2.
Wightlink will throw open its doors from 10am-4pm on Friday 25th and 10am-2pm on Saturday 26th September for Open Days, when members of the public can board Wight Ryder I at Wightlink's Portsmouth Harbour terminal and see firsthand the range of on-board facilities. The Open Days are free and staff and crew will be on hand to answer questions.
The catamarans are expected to go into service on Tuesday 29th September. To celebrate their introduction into service, Wightlink has released 10,000 £5 day return tickets on its website on a first come first served basis for online bookings on the Portsmouth Harbour-Ryde Pier Head route.