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£1.6m catamaran to boost Cruises’ fleet
A NEW vessel is being built which will be a familiar sight in and around the Solent next year.
Being constructed for Solent and Wightline Cruises, the craft represents an investment of up to £1.6m and will boost the company’s total fleet to nine vessels.
The new vessel’s hull and superstructure is being built of aluminium in Portland, Dorset, by Manor Marine and will be fitted out at Solent and Wightline Cruises’ base at Thetis Wharf, Cowes, ready to enter service in May or June, 2014.
Built to Maritime and Coastguard Agency Certification with a maximum capacity of 300 passengers, this is a totally new venture for the business as former vessels have been constructed of steel or glass reinforced plastic.
The vessel will be a catamaran with a length of 19.9 metres and a top speed of approximately 15 knots.
The craft will be used for passenger transport, cruises and harbour tours to supplement the other vessels in the fleet which have a capacity varying from 75 to 500 passengers.
The company was originally established by Mark and Jenny Rayment and started by offering fishing trips around Bembridge in 1969.
Mark and Jenny then decided to expand the business and went to Cowes for the annual regatta in 1973 with a 12- seater boat called the Jenny Lee.
Mark and Jenny passed the operation over to their children Lee Rayment and Alison Rayment in 2007.
“Having been in the business for nearly 40 years, we are one of the sole passenger boat operators remaining and are constantly looking at ways of improving the business and the services we offer,” said Lee.
The company now operates out of Cowes and Portsmouth and encompasses Portsmouth Naval Base Harbour Tours, the Portsmouth Waterbus Service and undertakes regular cruises from the Island, while Blue Funnel is based in Ocean Village, Southampton.
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