The Cheetah Marine catamaran to be used on the service.
A NEW cross-Solent ferry service promises to create new jobs and offer commuters an alternative route to London.
Nauti Fast Ferries plan to offer a new passenger Cowes to Portsmouth route, initially using two or three, 11-metre Cheetah Marine catamarans built in Ventnor.
A trial run, in mid-February at peak times, would pave the way for a full round-the-clock service at 30-minute intervals.
Price one way would be around £15 but there would be season ticket options and bulk discounts for regular users according to businessman, Paul Duffield, who has invested his own cash as well as a £50,000 Bridging the Gap grant from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership in the venture.
He said the vessels, which have a top speed of 40 knots and an operating speed of 22 knots, would carry 12 passengers and two crew, while the crossing would take around 20 minutes depending on tides.
Each vessel was expected to create at least ten jobs, with four crew changes over a 24-hour period.
He said he was in the final stages of negotiating berthing arrangements in Cowes and Portsmouth.
If the service proves a success, Mr Duffield, who is based in Portsmouth where he runs an internet marketing company and his own boat charter firm, said he planned to run ferries from other Island locations.
He said he believed there was a gap in the market for a new ferry service to and from the IW. The service was aimed at regular commuters as well as tourists.
"This will give people an alternative route to London. Our crossing will take around the same length of time as Cowes to Southampton but without the need to catch a bus to the train station," he said.
"Shoppers and tourists can visit Gunwharf Quays and people returning in the small hours from London can still get back to the Island."