Wight Ryder 1 is launched at Cebu in the Philippines prior to going into service on the Ryde to Portsmouth route in the autumn.
THE first of Wightlink’s new fleet of catamarans for its Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde service has been launched on schedule in the Philippines.
Wight Ryder 1 was launched in a ceremony at the FBMA shipyard at Cebu on Monday, watched by Mark Parsons, Wightlink ship manager, who travelled out to the Philippines for the occasion.
Wight Ryder 1, named in a Wightlink staff competition by Mike Bristow, who works at Ryde Pier, is one of two new generation catamarans which form part of the multi-million pound investment by Wightlink across its cross-Solent routes.
Construction of Wight Ryder II is also well advanced and both catamarans are expected to leave the Philippines in June to be ready to enter service on the Solent by early autumn.
In preparation for this, berthing works have started at both Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier.
Chief executive, Andrew Willson, said: “Wightlink is delighted that construction of the new catamarans is progressing to schedule.
“This means that soon we will be able to phase out our existing FastCat fleet and replace them with this robust new generation of single-decked catamarans, which have been purpose-built for the service in order to deliver reliability and a high-class customer experience.”