Red Funnel

Red Funnel, formally the Southampton Isle of Wight and South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Company Limited,[3] is a ferry company that carries passengers, vehicles and freight on routes between the English mainland and the Isle of Wight. High-speed foot passenger catamarans, known as Red Jets, run between Southampton and Cowes, while vehicle ferries run between Southampton and East Cowes.

Red Funnel's main competitor is Wightlink whose services operate from Portsmouth to Fishbourne and Ryde, and from Lymington to Yarmouth. The other major Solent ferry company, Hovertravel, operates between Southsea and Ryde. Both provide a frequent service to the Isle of Wight, but neither normally serve Southampton, Cowes or East Cowes.

Red Funnel
HeadquartersBugle Street, Southampton, England[1]
Area served
SouthamptonCowes Passenger
Southampton – East Cowes Vehicle & passenger
Key people
Kevin George
Fran Collins
BrandsRed Funnel
Red Jet
Red Funnel Holidays
Steam Coffee Company
RevenueIncrease £45.4 million (2014)[2]
Increase £14.3 million (2014)[2]
Increase £9.7 million (2014)[2]
Total assetsIncrease £44.6 million (2014)[2]
Total equityIncrease £39.4 million (2014)[2]
OwnerWest Midlands Pension Fund and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of the Province of Ontario
Number of employees
Footnotes / references
Red Funnel flag

Red Funnel's house flag


The company's seal
Red Funnel's previous "Solent" logo,[4] used between 1969 and 2001.
Red Jet-3--2
Red Jet 3 in June 2013

The origins of Red Funnel date back to 1820, when the Isle of Wight Royal Mail Steam Packet Company was established by Cowes interests to operate the first steamer service from there to Southampton. In 1826, the Isle of Wight Steam Packet Company was formed in Southampton, and by the following year the two companies had started co-ordinating their operations. In 1860, the Southampton, Isle of Wight & Portsmouth Improved Steamboat Company was created to compete with the two established operators, and the threat posed caused the two older companies to merge. They subsequently acquired the assets of the Improved Steamboat Company in 1865.[5]

Formed in 1861, and called The Southampton, Isle of Wight and South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Company Limited, the merged company's name remains the longest for a registered company in the United Kingdom.[3] The shortened name Red Funnel was adopted after 1935 when all the company's ships had a black-topped red funnel. The longer name remains the company's formal name.

The company originally operated a paddle steamer ferry service between Cowes, Isle of Wight and Southampton. During its history the company has operated other routes connecting the Isle of Wight and the English mainland, together with a sizable excursion steamer business along the South Coast of England including day trips from the Isle of Wight to France, but today services are concentrated on two routes. In 1931 it introduced its first diesel ferry, the MV Medina. Ferries have steadily increased in size to the current Scottish-built Raptor class operated between East Cowes and Town Quay in Southampton. Between 1969 and the 1990, the company also ran Italian-built hydrofoils between Town Quay and Cowes. This route is now served by high-speed, passenger-only catamarans.

In 1867 Red Funnel instituted a service crossing the River Medina between Cowes and East Cowes. This service was operated by a series of small launches over the years. The service ceased on the outbreak of war in 1939 when the vessels involved were requisitioned by the Admiralty. In 1868 the company took over the Cowes Floating Bridge Company and operated the floating bridge until 1901.[6]

In 1885 the company bought the New Southampton Steam Towing Company and operated tugs and tenders under the subsidiary Red Funnel Towage. In 2002 Red Funnel Towage was sold to the Adelaide Steamship Company, later passing to Svitzer Marine.[7]

In 1946 Red Funnel acquired a controlling interest in Cosens & Co Ltd, a rival pleasure steamer operator based in Weymouth. This enabled the combined company to coordinate their excursions and also gave Red Funnel access to the Cosens' marine engineering and ship repair facilities. Excursions came to end in 1966 but the engineering side continued until sold off in 1990 to a management buy-out.[8]

In 2001 the company was sold to JP Morgan Partners Inc. by Associated British Ports Holdings, which had acquired the company in 1989 as a white knight to fend off a hostile takeover by Sally Lines. In 2004 the company was sold again in a management buy-out backed by the Bank of Scotland for £60 million. On 12 April 2007, the owners of Red Funnel (who include HBOS) announced that they were considering selling Red Funnel.[9] In June of the same year, the company was sold to the Prudential's infrastructure specialist, Infracapital, in a deal valuing the business at more than £200m.

MV Red Eagle departing from Red Funnel's East Cowes Terminal, 23 August 2018
MV Red Eagle departing from the newly-enlarged terminal at East Cowes, 2018

In 2017 the company was sold to a consortium, including West Midlands Pension Fund and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of the Province of Ontario, for an undisclosed sum.[10] In the same year, construction work began on renovating and enlarging the terminal at East Cowes, which was completed in 2018.

The House Flag

The house flag was inspired by the names of the early paddle-steamers, Sapphire, Emerald, Ruby and Pearl. A simple rhyme was the guide to flying it correctly:

Blue to mast, green to fly,

Red on deck, white to sky.


Notable events

MV Red Eagle in 2018
Red Eagle, Red Funnel's flagship, in 2018, bearing the new upper deck lounges added during refurbishment.

The Red Eagle collided with Humber Energy in the Thorne Channel, near Southampton Water, on the evening of 21 December 2006.[11] Coastguards said nobody was injured and neither vessel was badly damaged. Richard Pellew, of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said: "Having examined the minor damage sustained to the Red Eagle we are advising Red Funnel on the repair work the ferry needs before it can resume normal service."

On 10 March 2006 the car ferry Red Falcon, collided with the linkspan at the Southampton Town Quay terminal.[12] Eight passengers and one crew member were injured and significant damage was caused to the Southampton end of the Red Falcon and to the linkspan. The collision caused a 5-metre (16 ft) hole above the waterline and buckling of the car deck doors. The accident occurred 9 years and 1 day after the Red Falcon collided with the dredger Volvox Hansa in Southampton Water with limited visibility due to fog.

On 5 November 2016 a man on a personal water craft collided with Red Jet 4. No one was injured and no damage was caused.[13]

The Red Eagle was involved in a collision in thick fog on 27 September 2018. It was reported that the ferry had ploughed through the moorings of three yachts and a channel marker was struck.[14] The following month, the Red Falcon also hit several yachts in thick fog, sinking one of them. The vessel was grounded in the incident with forty passengers aboard and was not refloated until three hours later.[15]

Current fleet

Vehicle ferries

Red Funnel MV Falcon in the Solent
MV Red Falcon in the Solent
Vehicle Ferries Status Route
MV Red Falcon In service Southampton <> East Cowes
MV Red Osprey In service Southampton <> East Cowes
MV Red Eagle In service Southampton <> East Cowes
MV Red Kestrel In service[16] (freight) Southampton <> East Cowes

The first three vessels were built by Ferguson Shipbuilders of Port Glasgow, and entered service between 1994 and 1996. Between 2003 and 2005 the ferries were refitted and extended both in length and height by Remontowa S.A. in Gdańsk, Poland.[17] This was following a corporate decision driven by Tom Docherty to maximise summer operating capacity taking the previous capacity from around 100 CEUs to 213 CEU.

During 2014 Red Falcon underwent a £2.2 million refurbishment, which saw the interior and facilities replaced with a bright and new modern look.[18] Due to success and increase of passengers on their services during 2014, it was confirmed that Red Osprey would also receive a £2.2 million refurbishment.[19] Like her sister ship, the Red Osprey was refitted and relaunched almost exactly a year later. After a delay of three years, the Red Eagle was refitted at the end of 2017.

MV Red Kestrel Entering Southampton.
Red Kestrel enters Southampton Water for the first time

In February 2018, Red Funnel announced plans to introduce a new freight only ferry into the fleet, to coincide with the refurbishment of their facilities on both sides of the Solent. It will be built at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, and is designed to have similar dimensions to Red Funnel's Raptor class fleet, allowing it to load and unload with the same linkspan used by the other ferries. It is expected to be in service from 2019.[20] Construction of the new ferry began on 31 May 2018 with a formal Keel laying ceremony.[21][22] During this event, the ship's name was announced to be Red Kestrel, placing its name in line with those of the rest of Red Funnel's RO-RO ferry fleet. She entered service in May 2019.

Passenger ferries

Red Funnel Red Jet 4 in the Solent
Red Jet 4 passes Fawley refinery
Red Jet Status Route
Red Jet 4 In service Southampton <> West Cowes
Red Jet 6 In service Southampton <> West Cowes
Red Jet 7 In service Southampton <> West Cowes

Red Jet 4 was built new for Red Funnel by North West Bay Ships of Tasmania in 2003.[23] Red Funnel have taken delivery of a new 40-metre high speed catamaran constructed in East Cowes by Shemara Refit LLP.[24] Named by the Princess Royal on 4 July 2016, Red Jet 6 entered service later in the summer.[25] Red Jet 7 was built by the Wight Shipyard Co. in East Cowes. Red Jet 7 was lowered into the River Medina at East Cowes on 6 June 2018, and was christened during a launching ceremony on 24 July 2018.[26]

Retired fleet

Classic ferries

Between 1840 and the 1960s, Red Funnel line and its predecessors operated 40 different classic passenger ferries, many of these being paddle steamers. Later ferries sometimes had space allocated for carrying cars but it was not until 1959 that the first purpose-built car ferry was introduced. Classic passenger vessels continued in service until the Balmoral was sold in 1969.[27][28][29][30][31]

Paddle steamers

Ship Service Notes
PS Gem 1840–1883
PS Ruby 1841–1872 The first Isle of Wight steamer to be built of iron
PS Pearl 1844–1867
PS Queen (I) 1848–1876
PS Medina (I) 1852–1882
PS Emerald 1857–1871
PS Sapphire 1860–1873
PS Lord of the Isles 1861–1889
PS Lady of the Lake 1861–1887
PS Vectis 1866–1910
PS Southampton 1872–1902
PS Carisbrooke 1876–1905
PS Prince Leopold 1876–1905
PS Princess Beatrice 1880–1930
PS Princess Helena 1883–1950 Sent to Dunkirk in 1940
PS Her Majesty 1885–1940 Sunk during an air raid on Southampton
PS Princess of Wales 1888-1888 Sunk during trials in Scotland before entering service
PS Bangor Castle 1888–1899 ex PS Palmerston chartered to replace the sunken Princess of Wales[32]
PS Solent Queen 1889–1948 Sent to Dunkirk in 1940
PS Prince of Wales 1891–1937
PS Lorna Doone 1891–1947
PS Duchess of York 1896–1949 HM Minesweeper 0102 1916–1922. Renamed Duchess of Cornwall in 1928
PS Victoria (I) 1899–1900 Launched 1881. Ex London and South Western Railway and London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. Status unclear. Transfer recorded in official register but no mention on Red Funnel's records.[33]
PS Balmoral (I) 1900–1947
PS Queen (II) 1902–1938 Renamed Mauretania in 1936 then renamed Corfe Castle in 1938
PS Princess Royal 1906-1906 Not accepted after trials and sold to Cosens & Co Ltd. Renamed Emperor of India
PS Stirling Castle 1907–1916 Sunk off Malta on war service
PS Bournemouth Queen 1908–1957
PS Lord Elgin 1908–1955
PS Princess Mary 1911–1919 Sank in the Mediterranean after colliding with the sunken wreck of HMS Majestic
PS Princess Elizabeth 1927–1959 Sent to Dunkirk in 1940. Appeared in the 1962 Walt Disney film In Search of the Castaways.[34] Now moored at Dunkirk as a conference centre
PS Gracie Fields 1936–1940 As HMS Gracie Fields she was sunk at Dunkirk
PS Lorna Doone (II) 1949–1952 Ex Queen of Kent ex HMS Atherstone
PS Solent Queen (II) 1949–1951 Ex Queen of Thanet ex HMS Melton

Twin-screw steamers

Ship Service Notes
TSS Upton 1946–1950 Purchased from Birkenhead Corporation
TSS Robina 1948–1949 Purchased from Coast Lines Ltd

Motor vessels

MV Balmoral at Menai 1
The Balmoral in Waverley Excursions ownership
Ship Service Notes
MV Medina (III) 1931–1962 The first diesel engined ferry on the Solent
MV Vecta (I) 1938–1965 Sold to P & A Campbell, renamed Westward Ho
MV Norris Castle (II) 1947–1962 Ex LCT 828
MV Balmoral (II) 1949–1969 Purchased by P & A Campbell in 1968 and ran with them until 1980. In 1981 it was sold for use as a floating nightclub in Dundee. This venture was unsuccessful and she was bought in 1985 by supporters of the PS Waverley. She ran acting as the sister ship of the Waverley until 2012 when they decided she was no longer viable and Balmoral was laid up. After raising more than £300,000 and receiving a coastal communities grant MV Balmoral Fund Ltd started to run her again on 19 June 2015 through White Funnel Ltd.

Car ferries

The Red Funnel Ferry weaving its way between the yachts - - 1203867
Cowes Castle

Although some earlier ferries provided space for cars, the first car ferry purpose built for Red Funnel was introduced in 1959. Besides the Raptor class vessels that are still in service, the following purpose built car ferries have been used by Red Funnel:[31][35][36]

Ship Service Notes
MV Carisbrooke Castle 1959–1974 Sold to Italy and renamed Citta di Meta. Scrapped 2007[8]
MV Osborne Castle 1962–1978 Sold to Canada and renamed Le Gobelet d'Argent, then Le Maxim, then Cavalier Maxim[8]
MV Cowes Castle 1965–1994 Sold to Croatia and renamed Nehaj. Scrapped 2008[8]
MV Norris Castle (III) 1968–1994 Sold to Croatia and renamed Lovrjenac. Scrapped 2008[8]
MV Netley Castle 1974–1997 Sold to Croatia and renamed Sis[8]
MV Bergen Castle 2003–2005 Ex Nordhordland, purchased to maintain a three boat service during refit period of current fleet. Sold and renamed Stella[8]

Fast passenger ferries

The first fast ferry introduced by Red Funnel was the Sea Coach Island Enterprise, a motor cruiser capable of carrying 11 passengers at 20 knots. She was built by the British Power Boat Company in Hythe, and operated from 1933 to 1938.[31]


In 1968 the company ran trials with an HM2 sidewall hovercraft, number 002, in order to compete with the Seaspeed service which used an SRN6 between Southampton and Cowes. Due to the unreliability of the craft it never entered passenger service. In 1981 Red Funnel acquired a pair of HM2 MkIIIs, GH2019 & GH2024, which were primarily used on the charter service for Vosper Thorneycroft transporting workers from the Isle of Wight to the Woolston yard and back each day. These two craft were disposed of in June 1982 and the charter subsequently operated by the augmented hydrofoil fleet.[6]


Shearwater 3
Shearwater 3 at speed on Southampton Water

The first hydrofoils to operate on the Southampton to Cowes route, and the first in commercial service in the United Kingdom, were the Italian designed Shearwater and Shearwater 2. These were introduced by Red Funnel in 1969, and each seated 54 passengers. They were replaced in 1973 by two 67 seat RH70 hydrofoils built by Cantière Navale Rodriguez and named Shearwater 3 and Shearwater 4. The latter was delivered some 5 months after the former and in the interim a PT20 craft, Fleccia di Reggio, was chartered to stand in. In 1982 Shearwater 5 and Shearwater 6 were added to the fleet. In 1991, with the introduction of the first Red Jet catamarans, the hydrofoils were demoted to back-up duties until they were finally withdrawn in 1998.[37]

Red Jets

Red Jet 1
Red Jet 1 at Town Quay
Ship Service Notes
Red Jet 1 1990–2009 Sold to Caspian Mainport, renamed CM Jet 1.[36][37][38]
Red Jet 2 1990–2009 Sold to Caspian Mainport, renamed CM Jet 2.[36][37][38]
Red Jet 3 1998–2019 Sold to Adriatic Fast Ferries in Split, Croatia.[39]
Red Jet 5 2009–2016 Ex Bo Hengy. Sold to Italy and renamed Schiopparello Jet.[23][32][40][41]

Tugs and tug tenders

Some tugs also had passenger accommodation to enable them to serve as tenders to liners not actually berthing in Southampton and to augment the excursion fleet on occasion.[6]

Preserved tug Calshot moored at Southampton
Chale assisting QE2
Red Funnel tug Chale turning the Queen Elizabeth 2
Sir Bevois
Sir Bevois tug
Ship Service Notes
ST Sovereign 1885–1894
ST Alexandra 1885–1897
ST Fawn 1885–1897
TSS T/T Albert Edward 1886–1934
TSST Hercules 1890–1927
TSST Vulcan 1893–1957 Rescued the SS New York after her near collision with the RMS Titanic[6]
TSST Ajax 1894–1936
TSST Neptune (I) 1896–1904
TSST Hector 1903–1958 One of the tugs that assisted RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage[42]
TSST Neptune (II) 1910–1961 One of the tugs that assisted RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage[42]
TSST Sir Bevois (I) 1916–1941 Sunk during an air raid in Plymouth
ST Minas 1920–1931
ST Ascupart 1922–1927
ST Morglay 1922–1927
TSST Canute 1923–1965
TSST Clausentum 1926–1966
TSS T/T Calshot (I) 1930–1964 Renamed Galway Bay. Now preserved at Southampton as Calshot
ST Empire Lilliput 1944–1947 Managed for Ministry of War Transport
ST TID 69 1944–1947 Managed for Ministry of War Transport
ST Bantam 1946–1958
TSS T/T Paladin 1946–1960 She appeared in the 1959 Peter Sellers film The Mouse That Roared to transport the Grand Fenwick army from France to invade America.
ST Beamish 1951–1952 Ex Queensgarth, ex Empire Paul. Later renamed Thunder Cape
TSST Hamtun (I) 1953–1970
TSST Sir Bevois (II) 1953–1968
TSMT Atherfield 1956–1971
TSMT Culver 1956–1983
TSMT Dunnose 1958–1980
TSM T/T Gatcombe (I) 1960–1969
TSMT Thorness 1961–1983
TSM T/T Calshot (II) 1964–1985
MT Bonchurch 1966–1983 Ex Baie Comeau, ex Abeille No 13, ex TID 174
TSMT Chale 1965–1986
MT Gatcombe (II) 1970–1997 Sold and renamed Multratug 6
MT Vecta (II) 1970–1999 Sold and renamed Multratug 8, renamed Serwal 4
TSMT Clausentum (II) 1980–1993 Sold and renamed Strathfoyle, renamed Westlund
TSMT Gurnard 1982–1985 Ex Aziebank. ex Azie
TSMT Totland 1982–1985 Ex Europabank, ex Europa
TSMT Hamtun (II) 1985–2002 Renamed Multratug 16
TSMT Sir Bevois (III) 1985–2002 Renamed Svitzer Bevois, renamed Beaver
TSMT Portunus 1985–1993 Ex John af Goteborg, resumed name of John af Goteborg, renamed John
TSMT Redbridge 1995–2002 Renamed Adsteam Redbridge, renamed Svitzer Redbridge

Medina crossing

Ship Service Notes
SL Precursor (I) 1867–1883
SL Princess Louise 1871–1944 Sunk in collision with a landing craft off Town Quay shortly before D-Day
SL Medina (II) 1884–1931
SL Precursor (II) 1898–1939 Requisitioned by the Admiralty for service in the Mediterranean
ML Norris Castle (I) 1938–1939 Requisitioned by the Admiralty for service in the Mediterranean


  1. ^ "Red Funnel Corporate Information." Red Funnel. Retrieved 19 October 2010. "Red Funnel Travel Centre: 12 Bugle Street, Southampton, SO14 2JY, UK."
  2. ^ a b c d e "Financial Statements (2014)". Open Corporates.
  3. ^ a b Companies House extract company no 2404 Southampton Isle of Wight & South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Company Limited}
  4. ^ a b Red Funnel. "Red Funnel Company History". Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  5. ^ "Timeline". Red Funnel. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e Adams, RB (1986). Red Funnel and Before. Southampton: Kingfisher Publications. ISBN 0-946184-21-6.
  7. ^ "Chronology | Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries". Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Adams, Keith (2010). Red Funnel 150. Isle of Man: Richard Danielson. ISBN 978-0-9513155-5-2.
  9. ^ "Island ferry company may be sold". BBC. 12 April 2007. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  10. ^ "Red Funnel ferry operator sold to pension funds group". BBC News. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  11. ^ Ferry and barge channel collision BBC News
  12. ^ "Investigators examine ferry crash". BBC. 11 March 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  13. ^ "Man on jet ski ploughs into ferry off Southampton". BBC. 5 November 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Car ferry 'tears yachts from moorings'". BBC News. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  15. ^ "Run aground ferry captain suspended". BBC News. 22 October 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Red Funnel – Vehicle ferry fleet". Retrieved 25 December 2008.
  18. ^ "New look for Red Eagle". Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Woolven, James. "PICTURES: Construction officially begins for Red Funnel's new freight ship". Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  22. ^ "Ferry firm's new, British-built, 74m vessel, costing £10m, will be named Red Kestrel". Daily Echo. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  23. ^ a b "Red Jet Hi-Speed Fleet". Red Funnel. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  24. ^ "Red Jet 6 Specification". Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Royal naming for new Red Jet 6 passenger ferry". BBC News. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  26. ^ Tew, Imogen. "GALLERY: Red Funnel's new Red Jet 7 in the water for the first time at East Cowes". Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  27. ^ "Vessel Archive 1840–1860". Red Funnel. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  28. ^ "Vessel Archive 1861–1880". Red Funnel. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  29. ^ "Vessel Archive 1881–1900". Red Funnel. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  30. ^ "Vessel Archive 1901–1920". Red Funnel. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  31. ^ a b c "Vessel Archive 1921–1950". Red Funnel. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  32. ^ a b Keith Adams [2010], Red Funnel 150; Richard Danielson, ISBN 978-0-9513155-5-2
  33. ^ Adams, Keith (2010). Red Funnel 150 Celebrating One Hundred and Fifty Years of The Original Isle of Wight Ferries. Richard Danielson. p. 15. ISBN 9780951315552.
  34. ^ "Princess Elizabeth". Association of Dunkirk Little Ships. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  35. ^ "Vessel Archive 1951–1980". Red Funnel. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  36. ^ a b c "Vessel Archive 1981–2010". Red Funnel. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  37. ^ a b c "News Release 21-07-2009". Red Funnel. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  38. ^ a b "Red Jets sail into sunset". Isle of Wight County Press. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2009.
  39. ^ "Red Funnel's Red Jet 3 sold to Croatian ferry company". Red Funnel Ferries. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  40. ^ "Vessel details for SCHIOPPARELLO JET". Marine Traffic. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  41. ^ "Schiopparello Jet: the new fast way to cross to and from Piombino and Elba". Infoelba s.r.l. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
  42. ^ a b photographs taken by Rev Francis Browne

External links

Funnel (ship)

A funnel is the smokestack or chimney on a ship used to expel boiler steam and smoke or engine exhaust. They are also commonly referred to as stacks.

HMS Atherstone (1916)

HMS Atherstone was a Racecourse-class minesweeper of the Royal Navy. The Racecourse class comprised 32 paddlewheel coastal minesweeping sloops.

HMS Melton

HMS Melton was a Racecourse-class minesweeper of the Royal Navy. The Racecourse class comprised 32 paddlewheel coastal minesweeping sloops.

Isle of Wight ferry services

There are currently three different ferry companies that operate vessels carrying passengers and, on certain routes, vehicles across the Solent, the stretch of sea that separates the Isle of Wight from mainland England. These are Wightlink, Red Funnel and Hovertravel.

MS Sis

Sis is a car / passenger ferry owned and operated by Jadrolinija in Croatia, where she operates between Zadar and the island of Ugljan. The vessel was previously known as Netley Castle when operated by Red Funnel on services to the Isle of Wight in the UK.

MV Balmoral (1949)

MV Balmoral is a vintage excursion ship owned by MV Balmoral Fund Ltd., a preservation charity. Her principal area of operation is the Bristol Channel, although she also operates day excursions to other parts of the United Kingdom. The Balmoral is included on the National Historic Ships register as part of the National Historic Fleet.

MV Red Eagle (1996)

MV Red Eagle is a Raptor Class vehicle and passenger ferry operated by Red Funnel on their route from Southampton to East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The largest of its class, Red Eagle is the current flagship for Red Funnel.

MV Red Falcon

MV Red Falcon is a Raptor Class vehicle and passenger ferry operated by Red Funnel on their route from Southampton to East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. She was built by Ferguson Shipbuilders in Port Glasgow.

She first entered service in 1994, being bought new by Red Funnel along with sister ship Red Osprey and as such, has operated the same regular route throughout her life. Between January and March 2004 she underwent modifications by Remontowa in Gdańsk, Poland, in order to increase vehicle capacity by 80 and allow a greater passenger capacity. This involved the lengthening of the ship by 9.6 m (31 ft).

MV Red Kestrel

MV Red Kestrel is a freight ferry built by Cammell Laird for Red Funnel for use on their route from Southampton to East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. She was launched on 19 February 2019 and entered service in May 2019 after completing her sea trials.

MV Red Osprey

MV Red Osprey is a Raptor Class vehicle and passenger ferry operated by Red Funnel on their route from Southampton to East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. She was built by Ferguson Shipbuilders in Port Glasgow.

PS Victoria (1881)

PS Victoria was a passenger vessel built for the London and South Western Railway and London, Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1881.

RMS Mauretania (1938)

RMS Mauretania was launched on 28 July 1938 at the Cammell Laird yard in Birkenhead, England, and was completed in May 1939. The second Mauretania was the first ship built for the newly formed Cunard White Star company following the merger in April 1934 of the Cunard and White Star Line. On the withdrawal of the first RMS Mauretania in 1934, to prevent a rival company using the name and to keep it available for the new liner, arrangements were made for the Red Funnel paddle steamer Queen to be renamed Mauretania in the interim.The new liner had a tonnage of 35,739 gross, an overall length of 772 feet (235 m) and a beam of 89 feet (27 m) and had a exterior design similar to RMS Queen Elizabeth. The vessel was powered by two sets of Parsons single reduction-geared steam turbines giving 42,000 shaft horsepower (31,000 kW) and driving twin propellers. Her service speed was 23 knots (43 km/h) with a maximum speed of 26 knots (48 km/h).

Red Jet 3

MV Red Jet 3 is a passenger catamaran ferry formerly operated by Red Funnel on their route from Southampton to Cowes on the Isle of Wight along with sister ships Red Jet 4, Red Jet 5 and Red Jet 6. She was built by FB Marine Ltd on the Isle of Wight, United Kingdom at a cost of £2.73 million and entered service in 1998. The ship reached a speed of 37.4 Knots during a publicity cruise on 14 July 1998 before entering into regular service on 27 July 1998. This entry into service meant that the older Shearwater 5 and Shearwater 6 hydrofoils were no longer needed to provide backup for the Red Funnel high speed service and they were withdrawn. The high speed fleet then consisted of Red Jet 1, Red Jet 2 and Red Jet 3.In March 2019, Red Jet 3 was sold to Adriatic Fast Ferries, a ferry company operating in Split, Croatia. Red Jet 3 is expected to enter service with Adriatic later in the year.

Red Jet 4

MV Red Jet 4 is a passenger catamaran ferry operated by Red Funnel on their route from Southampton to Cowes on the Isle of Wight, along with sister ships Red Jet 6 and Red Jet 7.

She was built by North West Bay Ships in Hobart, Tasmania. After her launch on 20 February 2003 the catamaran was placed aboard a heavy lift ship to be transported to Southampton which arrived on 9 May 2003. She was officially named by Dame Ellen MacArthur on 18 June 2003 and entered service five days later. During those 5 days the ship was used for a number of excursions including following the Round the Island Race.On 11 November 2008 Red Jet 4 was used on a number of sightseeing trips to view Queen Elizabeth 2 before it left Southampton for the final time.Red Jet 4 is featured in the 2008 video game Ship Simulator 2008 with the MV Red Eagle as a sailable ship.

Red Jet 6

MV Red Jet 6 is a high-speed Catamaran ferry constructed for Red Funnel in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight as the sixth member of the company's expansive Red Jet line of catamarans.

Red Funnel announced in May 2015 that they had placed an order for the ₤6 million vessel with Shemara Refit LLP of East Cowes, making Red Jet 6 the first high-speed ferry built in the UK in fifteen years. Red Jet 6 was constructed in East Cowes's famous aircraft hangar that had been originally built for the long defunct aircraft company, Saunders-Roe. She entered service in the summer of 2016.

Red Jet 6 is 41.12 metres (134.9 ft) long, with a passenger capacity of 275. She is powered by four MTU series 2000 diesel engines, each powering a waterjet for propulsion and steering giving a service speed of 38 knots (44 mph; 70 km/h), allowing a crossing time of 23 minutes. She can operate with one engine out with only a minor reduction in speed.Red Jet 6 was named by the Princess Royal at a ceremony at East Cowes on 4 July 2016.On 29 June 2017, Red Jet 6 set a new record for the circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight by multihulls, starting and finishing at the Royal Yacht Squadron starting line at Cowes, taking 1hr, 17mins, 17secs at an average speed of 39.42 knots (73.01 km/h; 45.36 mph).

Red Jet 7

MV Red Jet 7 is a British high speed catamaran ferry to be operated by the ferry company Red Funnel on its Southampton-Cowes route, alongside the company's other current Red Jets 4 and 6. Constructed on site at the Wight Shipyard where Red Jet 6 was also built, it has been built to a similar specification as its predecessor and was placed into service before 24 July 2018, in time for the surge in traffic over Cowes Week. Red Jet 7 was successfully launched on 6 June 2018 to undergo system tests prior to being placed into service.

Red Jet 7 has a length of 41.12 metres (134.9 ft), a beam of 10.87 metres (35.7 ft) and a draught of 1.30 metres (4 ft 3 in). She carries up to 277 passengers with a crew of 3 or 4 and is powered by four MTU 2000 diesel engines driving four Hamilton HM751 water jets, giving her a speed of 38 knots (70 km/h; 44 mph).

SS Duchess of York (1928)

SS Duchess of York was a 20,021 ton ocean liner operated by the Canadian Pacific Steamship Company. Built in 1928 in Clydebank by the shipbuilders John Brown & Company, she was originally intended to be named Duchess of Cornwall. However agreement was reached with Red Funnel company to swap names with the latter's paddle steamer Duchess of York, launched in 1896.She was sunk in 1943 off Spain after being damaged by long range German bombers.

Schiopparello Jet

MV Schiopparello Jet is a passenger catamaran ferry, formerly known as Bo Hengy and Red Jet 5. She operates on routes from Tuscany to the Tuscan archipelago on behalf of ferry operator Toremar (Toscana Regionale Marittima). She carries the IMO number IMO 8954415 and was built in 1999.

Schiopparello Jet is a sister ship to Red Jet 3, a catamaran designed and built by FBM Marine on the Isle of Wight for operation by Red Funnel. However, unlike her sister ship, she was built in the United States. She is distinguished from her sister by having a sheltered sundeck.

TSS T/T Calshot

TSS T/T Calshot is a tug tender built in 1929 by John I Thornycroft & Co, and completed in 1930 for the Red Funnel Line. Upon the tugboat's completion, she was put into service tendering the various liners that stopped either in the Solent or Southampton Water which saved them the time and expense of docking just to take up or set down a few passengers. She was also used to augment the excursion fleet. Calshot remained in service with Red Funnel from 1930-1964.At the outbreak of World War II, Calshot was appropriated by the Admiralty for use at Scapa Flow. In 1942 she was transferred to the River Clyde where she acted as tender to the two Cunard Line Queens, RMS Queen Elizabeth and RMS Queen Mary, transferring approximately 1,500,000 servicemen. In 1944 she returned to Southampton for the build up to D-Day.

Calshot featured prominently in the 1952 British Transport Films production "Ocean Terminal", in which, amongst other things, she was filmed easing RMS Queen Elizabeth away from its berth.

In 1964, Red Funnel sold the Calshot to a subsidiary of the Holland America Line, for use as the tender for the liners Maasdam and Ryndam. For this she was based in Galway Bay, Ireland, and was renamed Galway Bay after her new area of service. She would later be operated by CIÉ as a ferry between Galway and the Aran Islands.

In 1986, Calshot was bought back by her port of registry (more specifically the Southampton City Council), with the intention of making her the centrepiece of a maritime museum in Ocean Village. In 1991, she was moved to an apparently permanent berth at the Town Quay. However, she was later moved to the Council Wharf. On 5 April 2011, Calshot was moved by tugboat from Berth 50 to Berth 42.

Calshot is one of only three surviving classical tender ships which served the great ocean liners (another famous example is the SS Nomadic, which tendered the ill-fated RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage at Cherbourg, France. The third being the Manchester Ship Canal's Daniel Adamson).

In her career, Calshot has tendered some of the most famous ocean liners ever built, such as the RMS Caronia, the Cunard Queens RMS Queen Elizabeth and RMS Queen Mary, the SS United States, and the White Star Line ship RMS Olympic.

The Calshot is currently berthed in Southampton, where her restoration is being overseen by the Tug Tender Calshot Trust. The intention was to display her as part of the Aeronautica Museum in Trafalgar Dock, Southampton originally due to open in 2015. In 2012 the Associated British Ports (ABP) withdrew the Trafalgar Dock location for the museum citing the need to relocate Red Funnel Ferry operations. In January 2017 the vessel was declared unseaworthy by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Without a long-term berth, the board was unable to develop a sustainable business plan as required for a Heritage Lottery Grant. In October 2018 ABP informed the owners that the ship must vacate her berth by June of 2019. The owners requested a place to move the ship to dry land as the deteriorating condition of the ship will not allow it to remain in the water. ABP infomed the owners that space was "not an option".In May 2019 the owners proposed that ABP and the Southampton city council tow the vessel to Mayflower Park and fill it in with dredging material, thus turning her into a land-locked exhibit. As of 30 May the vessel was offered for sale at 1GBP.



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