HRH The Duchhess of Cornwall officially welcomes Red Jet 7 to the fleet (Image: Jake Sugden Photography)
Red Funnel’s new high-speed flagship was christened Red Jet 7 by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall at a ceremony at Trinity Landing in Cowes on the Isle of Wight on 24 July.
During the ceremony, The Right Reverend Christopher Foster, Lord Bishop of Portsmouth blessed the new ship, before HRH The Duchess of Cornwall broke a bottle of ‘champagne’ produced on the Isle of Wight Red Jet 7’s bow and unveiled a commemorative plaque. The christening was watched by representatives from Red Funnel and Wight Shipyard Co., civic dignitaries, media representatives and members of the public, including 300 children from local schools in Cowes.
Members of the public were also able to enjoy a short early afternoon excursion onboard Red Jet 7, with the proceeds from the tickets being donated to the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary, which is Red Funnel’s Charity of the Year.
“We would very much like to thank HRH The Duchess of Cornwall for naming Red Jet 7,” said Kevin George, Red Funnel chairman. “It is only fitting that the naming ceremony took place in Cowes where the boat will be a very frequent visitor and in sight of where she was built in the ‘Union Jack’ building. Red Jet 7 represents another significant investment by Red Funnel in marine manufacturing on the Island and the team at Wight Shipyard can be extremely proud of not only building a ship of such high quality but also for delivering her on time and on budget.”
The £7 million Red Jet 7 was built in East Cowes by Wight Shipyard Co, following its successful project to build her sister Red Jet 6. The order for Red Jet 6 in 2015 led to the resurrection of aluminium fast ferry shipbuilding on the Isle of Wight after a gap of 15 years. Since then, Wight Shipyard has won vessel refit work and newbuild orders from domestic and international fast ferry operators.
“Red Jet 7 demonstrates once again that we can build technically advanced high-speed ferries that are amongst the best in the world,” said Peter Morton, CEO of Wight Shipyard Co. “The manufacturing skills and dedication of the entire team at Wight Shipyard is unsurpassed and I’m confident that Red Jet 7 will help us expand our already full order book in the years ahead.”
Like her sisters, Red Jet 7 uses Hamilton DRP-500QD waterjets rather than propellers to aid manoeuvrability, while an advanced hull design and computer-controlled interceptors also keep the wash to a minimum. Red Jet 7 is powered by generators and four main MTU 2000 series diesel engines, which will minimise fuel consumption and ensure emissions meet International Maritime Organization Tier II regulations. She is also covered in vinyl instead of paint to save weight and reduce the environmental impact from volatile organic compounds. These innovations makes her the greenest ferry in the fleet.
Onboard, Red Jet 7 has 275 high-back leather seats with cup-holders, space for four wheelchairs and luggage, wheelchair-friendly unisex toilets, LED lighting, an advanced air-handling system, free wi-fi and USB charging points for phones and tablets at all window seats. There are also six LED HD TV screens that display local and national news headlines, weather and live travel connections for buses, coaches and trains in real time. The screens also show the vessels GPS position along the route and can display a live video feed from external cameras facing forward and aft.
Red Jet 7 will replace Red Jet 3 on the route between Southampton in mainland England and West Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The newbuild has 51% more seats (275 in total) than her predecessor and is also the first in the high-speed vessel in Red Funnel’s fleet to offer charter and excursion sailings outside of the Solent.
“Red Jet 7 adds more capacity to our Southampton-West Cowes route to accommodate the anticipated growth in the Isle of Wight’s population and economy over the next 10 years,” said Fran Collins, Red Funnel CEO. “We are actively encouraging more people to visit the Island on foot and the new Red Jet based day-trip tours and packages that we have just launched will make the Island even more accessible for visitors. Red Jet 7 will also be used to help develop the excursion and private charter market to places like The Needles and to watch events like the Bournemouth Airshow.”
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