Bright Future for 'Wight Light' Route

'Wight Light' heads down the slipway at the Brodogradiliste Kraljevica yard in Croatia.
Industry Database

Ferry operator Wightlink has launched the first of three new ferries at the Brodogradiliste Kraljevica yard in Croatia, where all three of the vessels are being built.

Designed by Portsmouth based naval architects and marine engineering consultancy Hart Fenton, Wight Light is the first Wight class vessel which, with its sister 'Wight Sky' and 'Wight Sun', will service the busy Lymington - Yarmouth route. The sister ships are due to be launched in the summer of 2008 and late 2009 respectively. The three newbuilds will replace Wightlink’s older C class vessels Caedmon, Cenred and Cenwulf, which were built in 1973 and are now more than 30 years old.

The newbuilding programme involves a total investment for Wightlink of £26 million, which includes the design and build of the ferries, and shore based infrastructure work which was required prior to decision to build the new vessels.

The design of the ships evolved from a working party made up of staff from the route, managers and representatives from Hart Fenton. It is intended that this design will help secure the long term financial viability of the route, which has been in operation since 1830.

Designed especially for operation on the Lymington River, the new Wight class vessels are much more efficient vessels than the ships they will replace, offering greater flexibility, enhanced manoeuvrability, reduced emissions and better, more modern passenger facilities.

Wightlink project manager Colin Stanton is based at the Croatia yard or the duration of the build of all three ships, with technical advice and support provided by Hart Fenton.

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