Wightlink

Wightlink is a ferry company operating routes between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in southern England.

The core routes are car ferries between Lymington and Yarmouth (40 minutes) and between Portsmouth and Fishbourne (45 minutes). A fast passenger-only catamaran operates between Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier Head, taking 22 minutes, and directly links with the Island Line rail line.

In recent years the firm has been owned by the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund, then sold to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners in 2015, but as of 2019 is owned by Basalt Infrastructure Partners and Fiera Infrastructure Inc. Each of whom own a 50% stake in the firm.

Wightlink's main competitors are Red Funnel, who run passenger catamarans between SouthamptonCowes and vehicle ferries between Southampton – East Cowes, and Hovertravel who operate passenger hovercraft between Southsea and Ryde.

Wightlink
Limited Company
IndustryShipping
Founded1991
HeadquartersPortsmouth
Area served
LymingtonYarmouth Vehicle & passenger
Portsmouth and Fishbourne Vehicle & passenger
Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier Head Passenger
RevenueDecrease £59,608,000 (2015)[1]
Decrease £12,343,000 (2015)
Decrease £11,861,000 (2015)
Total assetsIncrease £165,179,000 (2015)
Total equityIncrease £165,166,000 (2015)
OwnerBasalt Infrastructure Partners LLP/Fiera Infrastructure Inc
Number of employees
between 600 – 750
Websitewww.wightlink.co.uk
Footnotes / references
Wightlink-house-flag
Wightlink's House Flag

History

Wightlink and its forerunners have provided ferry services to and from the Isle of Wight for more than 160 years.[2] In the early 19th century, ferries ran to the island from Lymington and Portsmouth. Later, steam ferries operated a circular route around Lymington, Yarmouth, Cowes, Ryde and Portsmouth. When the rail companies became involved they concentrated on two direct routes, Lymington – Yarmouth and Portsmouth – Ryde.[2] Ownership of the ferries eventually passed from the British Railways Board to Sealink UK Limited.

In 1984 Sealink UK Limited was denationalised and the operating name became Sealink British Ferries, which was subsequently bought by the Bermuda based Sea Containers Ltd. When Stena Line bought Sealink in 1990, the Isle of Wight ferries remained with Sea Containers, as Wightlink.[2] In June 1995 Wightlink was the subject of a management buy-in. In 2005 it was bought by the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund for an estimated £240,000,000.[2]

In 2004, Wightlink renewed its sponsorship of the Wightlink Raiders ice hockey team.

In 2005, a Wightlink car ferry featured briefly in the film Fragile, starring Calista Flockhart. The ferry is shown very briefly in a wide-angle shot. Closer shots used Red Funnel's Red Osprey.[3]

In October 2006 Wightlink announced its intention to build two new ferries for the Yarmouth to Lymington route. These ships are slightly bigger than their predecessors, with extra vehicle space, but only accommodate 360 passengers compared to 500 on the older vessels. Wightlink later announced that a third new ferry would enter service in spring 2009. A dispute with some Lymington residents led to delay and threatened the viability of the route.[4][5] In November 2008, the service was reduced so only two ships were required, allowing for the delay in the introduction of the new vessels.[6] Sea trials were not complete by November 2008 and introduction became pressing with the expiry of safety certificates on the previous fleet. Wightlink proposed interim arrangements enabling them restricted use of the new ferries until the trials could be completed in full.[7]

Wightlink old logo
The previous Wightlink logo, replaced at around the time the new ferries were arriving.

In March 2008 Wightlink revealed that an order had been placed with FBMA Marine to construct two new passenger catamarans for the Portsmouth to Ryde service, to replace the three craft currently employed. They entered service in 2009.

From May 2008 Wightlink introduced a fuel surcharge on all crossings, linked to the price of Brent Crude oil.[8] However, in November 2008 the surcharge dropped to zero following the sharp reduction in crude prices during the credit crunch and as of November 2009 was still at zero.

Wightlink planned to spend £17.5 million on improving its Portsmouth to Fishbourne route.[9] This involved remodelling the terminal facilities at both Fishbourne and Portsmouth. The flagship St Clare was to have its upper car deck adjusted so vehicles access it directly from on-shore ramps. Two of the older ferries were to be stretched in length by 12 metres, with upper car decks similar to St Clare's being added, replacing movable mezzanine decks. Of the remaining two ferries, St Catherine has been sold and St Helen was used mainly for freight until she too was sold.[10][11] As part of this investment project the reservations and ticketing system was replaced by CarRes from Carus. [12]

On 16 February 2015, Wightlink was sold by the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners (BBIP) for an undisclosed sum.[13][14]

On 15 May 2015, Wightlink announced a revised investment of £45 million to include the purchase a new ferry, upgrading St Clare and modifications to the terminals at both ends to facilitate double-deck loading.[15][16]

In July 2016, Balfour Beatty exited BBIP, which became Basalt Infrastructure Partners, who as of April 2019 remain owners of the company.[17][18]

In August 2017, Wightlink announced that its new vehicle ferry Victoria of Wight for the Portsmouth to Fishbourne service would enter service in late July or early August 2018. The new ship was launched on 7 February 2018 in Turkey and entered service on 26 August.[19]

In May 2019, a 50% stake of the business was sold to the Fiera Infrastructure Inc of Canada.[20]

Current fleet

St Clare-image05
St Clare, July 2013.
Wightryders
Wight Ryder I and Wight Ryder II at Portsmouth Harbour in August 2009 prior to entry into service
Wight Light
Wight Light, the first of the new ferries launched in 2008 for the Lymington to Yarmouth route

Vehicle ferries

Mvwightsky
Wight Sky at Yarmouth Harbour
Wightlink St Catherine Ferry Gunwharf Quays
Wightlink's former St Catherine Ferry.
Wightlink Cenwulf
Cenwulf, one of the former Lymington – Yarmouth ferries
OurLadyPamela
Our Lady Pamela crossing the Solent
St Helen-image19
St Helen in foreground, and St Faith, 2013
St Cecilia-image04
St Cecilia, July 2013.
Ferry In service Route Current status
MV St Faith 1990 Portsmouth to Fishbourne In Service
MV St Clare 2001 Portsmouth to Fishbourne In Service
MV Victoria of Wight 2018 Portsmouth to Fishbourne In service
MV Wight Sun 2009 Lymington to Yarmouth In Service
MV Wight Light 2009 Lymington to Yarmouth In service
MV Wight Sky 2009 Lymington to Yarmouth In service

The introduction of the Wight class ferries was a much discussed affair, with some Lymington residents claiming that the increased size of the ferries posed a risk, both in environmental terms and to users of pleasure craft on the Lymington river.

High-speed craft

Catamaran In service Route Current status
HSC Wight Ryder I 2009 Portsmouth to Ryde In service
HSC Wight Ryder II 2009 Portsmouth to Ryde In service

Historic fleet

The following ferries have operated historically on routes run by Wightlink or previous companies that have been absorbed by Wightlink.[21][22]

Lymington-Yarmouth

Ship Service Company Notes
PS Glasgow 1830–1850 Solent Steam Packet Co
PS Red Lion 1858–1880 Solent Steam Packet Co
PS Solent 1841–1861 Solent Steam Packet Co
PS Solent 1863 –1901 Solent Steam Packet Co
PS Mayflower 1866 Solent Steam Packet Co
PS Lymington 1893 London and South Western Railway
PS Solent 1902 London and South Western Railway
PS Freshwater 1927-1959 Southern Railway Sold and renamed Sussex Queen, renamed Swanage Queen
MV Lymington 1938–1973 Southern Railway First Voith Schneider driven ferry. Sold and renamed Sound of Sanda
PMV Farringford 1948–1974 British Transport Commission
MV Freshwater 1959–1983 British Transport Commission 2x 320bhp 8cyl Crossley diesels
MV Cenwulf 1973–2009 Wightlink Scrapped 2010
MV Cenred 1974–2009 Wightlink Scrapped 2010
MV Caedmon 1983–2009 Wightlink Scrapped 2010

Portsmouth-Ryde

Ship Service Company Notes
PS Arrow 1825–1851 Portsmouth & Ryde Steam Packet Co
PS Union 1825 Portsmouth & Ryde Steam Packet Co
PS Lord Yarborough 1826–1851 Portsmouth & Ryde Steam Packet Co
PS Lord Spencer 1833
PS Prince Albert 1847–1868 Portsmouth & Ryde Steam Packet Co
PS Prince of Wales 1850 Portsea, Portsmouth, Gosport & Isle of Wight Steam Packet Co
PS Princess Royal 1850 Portsea, Portsmouth, Gosport & Isle of Wight Steam Packet Co
PS Her Majesty 1850-1883 Portsmouth & Ryde Steam Packet Co
PS Prince Consort 1859–1882 Port of Portsmouth & Ryde United Steam Packet Co
PS Princess of Wales 1865–1885
PS Duke of Edinburgh 1869–1884
PS Princess Alice 1869–1882
PS Ventnor 1873–1879 Southsea & Isle of Wight Steam Packet Co
PS Shanklin
PS Ryde
PS Southsea
SS Princess Louise 1873–1874 Port of Portsmouth & Ryde United Steam Packet Co
SS Princess Beatrice 1874-1874
PS Heather Bell 1875
PS Albert Edward 1878
PS Alexandra 1879–1913 Sold to Cosens & Co Ltd
PS Victoria 1881–1899 Joint Railway Companies Steampacket Service
PS Duchess of Edinburgh 1884–1910
PS Duchess of Connaught 1884–1910
PS Duchess of Albany 1890–1927
PS Princess Margaret 1893–1927
PS Duchess of Kent 1897–1933 Sold and renamed Clacton Queen
PS Duchess of Fife 1890–1929
PS Duchess of Richmond 1910–1915 Mined in the Mediterranean
PS Duchess of Norfolk 1911–1937 Sold and renamed Embassy. Scrapped June 1967
PS Shanklin 1924–1950 Southern Railway Sold and renamed Monarch
PS Merstone 1928–1952
PS Portsdown 1928–1941 Mined off Southsea
PS Southsea 1930–1941 J113 HMS Southsea mined off the River Tyne
PS Whippingham 1930–1962 J136 HMS Whippingham in WW2
PS Sandown 1934–1965 J20 HMS Sandown in WW2, evacuated 3000 men at Dunkirk
PS Ryde 1937–1969 J132 HMS Ryde in WW2

Sold for use as a floating hotel and later a nightclub. Subsequent attempts at preservation finally failed in 2018.

TSMV Brading 1948–1986 British Transport Commission
TSMV Southsea 1948–1988 British Transport Commission Acquired for preservation, ultimately unsuccessful. Scrapped 2005.
TSMV Shanklin 1951–1980 British Transport Commission Sold and renamed Prince Ivanhoe. Holed and beached in 1981.
Scrapped in 1984.
HSC Our Lady Patricia 1986–2006 Wightlink Scrapped 2006
HSC Our Lady Pamela 1986–2008 Wightlink Scrapped 2008
HSC FastCat Shanklin 1996–2009 Wightlink Sold and renamed Sochi 2
HSC FastCat Ryde 1996–2010 Wightlink Sold and renamed Rapparee, resold and renamed Sochi 1

Portsmouth-Fishbourne

Ship Service Company Notes
MV Fishbourne 1927–1961 Southern Railway Sent to Dunkirk in 1940. 2x 120bhp Gardner 4T7 semi diesels
MV Wootton 1928–1961 Southern Railway Sent to Dunkirk in 1940. 2x 120bhp Gardner 4T7 semi diesels
MV Hilsea 1930–1961 Southern Railway 2x 120bhp Gardner 4T7 semi diesels
MV Fishbourne 1961–1983 British Transport Commission IMO5115587, 2x 320bhp 8cyl Crossley diesels
MV Camber Queen 1961–1984 British Transport Commission 2x 320bhp 8cyl Crossley diesels
MV Cuthred 1969–1986 Wightlink Sold and renamed Mira Praia
MV Caedmon 1973–1983 Wightlink Transferred to Lymington - Yarmouth route. Scrapped 2010
MV St Catherine 1983–2010 Wightlink Sold to Delcomar and renamed GB Conte
MV St Helen 1983–2015 Wightlink Sold to Delcomar and renamed Anna Mur
MV St Cecilia 1987–2019 Wightlink Sold to Delcomar and renamed Nando Murrau

Langstone Harbour-Bembridge

Ship Service Company Notes
TF Carrier 1885–1888 Isle of Wight Marine Transit Co Ex Firth of Tay train ferry. Scrapped 1888 due to being ill-suited for the Solent

Figures

Every year, Wightlink carries:

  • 4.8 million passengers[23]
  • over 1.2 million cars
  • almost 200,000 coaches and freight vehicles
  • annual revenue of £51 million

References

Notes

  1. ^ "Annual Accounts (2015)". Open Corporates.
  2. ^ a b c d "History". Wightlink. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  3. ^ "Fragile - a belated Isle of Wight film review". Isle of Wight Guru. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Threat to ferry route". Isle of Wight County Press. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  5. ^ "Isle of Wight: MP Andrew Turner asks why introduction of new Wightlink ferry is being delayed". Isle of Wight County Press. 14 November 2008. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
  6. ^ "New Lymington Timetable". Wightlink. Archived from the original on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
  7. ^ Andrew Wilson (20 November 2008). "Press Statement: Introduction of new Ferries". Archived from the original on 3 April 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  8. ^ "Fuel Surcharge". Wightlink. Archived from the original on 22 August 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  9. ^ "Portsmouth to Fishbourne Investment". Wightlink. Retrieved 27 March 2009.
  10. ^ "Portsmouth to Fishbourne Car Ferry Service – The Way Forward" (PDF). Wightlink. Summer 2008.
  11. ^ Lorraine Parker (18 April 2008). "Wightlink Stretching Capacity on Board". Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 27 March 2009.
  12. ^ "Article Search". Shippax. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Wightlink bought by Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners". Isle of Wight County Press. 16 February 2015. Archived from the original on 23 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  14. ^ "Cross-Solent island ferry firm sold". BBC News. 16 February 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  15. ^ "Wightlink invests £45 million in a new ship and port facilities". Wightlink.co.uk. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  16. ^ "New island ferry in £45m investment". BBC News. 15 May 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Balfour Beatty sells its Infrastructure Partners business". World Highways. 6 July 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Balfour Beatty exits from BBIP | 1 July 2016 | Stock Market Wire". www.stockmarketwire.com. 1 July 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  19. ^ "WIGHTLINK REVEALS THE NAME OF ITS NEW FLAGSHIP - Island Echo - 24hr news, 7 days a week across the Isle of Wight". IslandEcho.co.uk. 15 August 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  20. ^ "Ferry firm 50% stake sold to investor". BBC News. 10 June 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  21. ^ "History of Isle of Wight Ferries – Wightlink". Archived from the original on 4 January 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2008.
  22. ^ Hendy, John. (1989) Sealink Isle of Wight, Ferry Publications
  23. ^ "Information - Wightlink Ferries". Wightlink Ferries. Retrieved 8 March 2016.

Bibliography

  • Hendy, John (1993). Wightlink: Isle Of Wight Ferries (2nd ed.). Narberth, Pembrokeshire: Ferry Publications. ISBN 0951309366.
  • Hendy, John (2008). Lymington-Yarmouth: The New Generation. Ramsey, Isle of Man: Ferry Publications. ISBN 9781906608019.
  • Hendy, John (2010). Solent Seaways: Wightlink - Isle of Wight Ferries. Ramsey, Isle of Man: Ferry Publications. ISBN 9781906608118.

External links

Adam Dobson

Adam Dobson (born 23 June 1986) is an ice-hockey Goaltender for the Vectis Tigers. He is probably most famous for being a bit of a fighter in his time with the Wightlink Raiders. During his time there he was involved in two brawls, one against Slough Jets and another one against the Peterborough Phantoms.

Adam Dobson joined the Raiders in November 2005 after the London Racers folded. Here he gained fighting skills from Cornish and Eric Cairns (a NHL enforcer).

As back up netminder he gained a lot of experience, culminating in a great save rate in London's last game against the Cardiff Devils.

In a recent game, he suffered a bad knee injury which has proved to be over stretched ligaments. At the time of writing (10.11.06) he is expected to return to light training on ice by the end of November 2006.

Unfortunately after pushing his rehab it was obvious something else was wrong. After seeking a second opinion Dobson was to have an operation on 5 January.

Draft Picked for Wightlink Raiders in the EPL. The team had conceded 276 goals and scored 81.

Currently plays for the Vectic Tigers who share their rink with Wightlink Raiders. The team have sponsorship to pay for their travel expenses.

He is currently working as a postdoctorate at Cornell University, Ithaca.

Alan Weeks Trophy

The Alan Weeks Trophy is awarded to the Best British Defenceman in the British Ice Hockey Leagues as voted by Ice Hockey Journalists UK.

The award is named after Alan Weeks who was a BBC Commentator for 45 years and Chairman of the Brighton Tigers ice hockey club from 1946 until 1965.

The trophy was first awarded in 1989 when it was won by Paul Hand of the Murrayfield Racers.

Chelmsford Chieftains

The Chelmsford Chieftains are an Ice Hockey team based in Chelmsford, Essex that are currently playing in the NIHL South Division 1. Since the team was founded in 1987, the Chieftains have played their home games at the Riverside Ice and Leisure Centre.

Chelmsford played their first game against the Peterborough Titans in September 1987. They had been placed in the then "Heineken League Division Two", and beat the Titans 11-4.

First goal Stuart Steeves

After competing in the English Premier Ice Hockey League for eight seasons between 1998 and 2008 (having been absent from the league from 2000 until 2002), the Chelmsford Chieftains withdrew from the league at the end of the 2007/2008 season, and instead entered the English National Ice Hockey League. The hockey governing body in the UK, the EIHA, informed the club that they would be playing in Division 1 for the 2008/2009 season. However, at the league A.G.M., many of the clubs supported a motion to overturn the league's decision and the Chieftains were placed in Division 2. The Chieftains had already assembled a squad capable of playing in Division 1 and at such a late stage, the squad could not be rebuilt. The outcome was that the Chieftains started the season in a very strong position.In the entire 2008/2009 season, the Chieftains allowed a single point, to the Invicta Mustangs at the start of the season. From then until the end of the season, the Chieftains won every game, with an average score of 8-2.

In 2009/10, they finished fourth in the league.

In the 2010/11 season, the Chieftains contended for top spot. Only in the final few weeks did the Wightlink Raiders cement their place at the top of the table. The Raiders had been the only side the Chieftains had failed to beat during the regular season.

At the conclusion of the season, Dean Birrell announced he would be moving to the role of Director of Coaching in Chelmsford, which would oversee the coaching of the Chieftains and Warriors. Taking his place would be MK Lightning forward Gary Clarke, who takes over in a player-coach role for the 2011-12 campaign.

English League (ice hockey)

The English League was an early ice hockey league in England. It was founded in 1931 and operated until 1936 when it disbanded, being replaced by the English National League.

A new league of the same name was founded during 1988 and continued on until 1997.[1]

Fishbourne, Isle of Wight

Fishbourne is a village between Wootton and Ryde, on the Isle of Wight.

The name "Fishbourne" might mean "stream of fish" or "fish spring."It is positioned on the eastern bank of Wootton Creek, and includes the terminal for the Wightlink car ferry from Portsmouth.

Fishbourne, together with the adjoining Kite Hill area, became a civil parish in 2006 and has a parish council. The parish includes the ruined Norman abbey (founded 1132) and the Benedictine monastery including Quarr Abbey (founded in the early 1900s).

The Royal Victoria Yacht Club and the 'Fishbourne Inn' are located near the ferry terminal.

Public transport is provided by Southern Vectis bus routes 4 and 9, which stop on the main road, and operate to East Cowes, Newport and Ryde.

HSC FastCat Ryde

HSC FastCat Ryde is a high speed catamaran ferry which operates between the Isle of Wight and mainland England. The vessel was originally built in Singapore for service in the Philippines as Water Jet 1. She was bought by Wightlink in 2000 and following an extensive refit entered service on the Ryde Pier to Portsmouth route since August 2000 along with her sister ship HSC FastCat Shanklin.From early Autumn 2009, Wightlink took delivery of two new vessels to operate the route, Wight Ryder I and Wight Ryder II. Both the FastCat Shanklin and FastCat Ryde were retained by Wightlink until Spring 2010 and drafted in as replacements as teething problems occurred with the new vessels. They were then sold on to new owners in Bristol.On 12 January 2010, the FastCat Ryde crashed into Ryde Pier by landing heavily causing superficial damage to the vessel and a section of the pier. No one was injured in the crash and the vessel was sailed back empty to Portsmouth Harbour for a full investigation to be carried out.In 2010 she was sold, along with her sister craft, to Severn Link in Ilfracombe to operate a service between there and Swansea. As a result of a local competition she was renamed Rapparee. The projected service failed to materialise and in August she returned to Southampton. In May 2011, having been sold to Alien Shipping, a Russian company, the two craft were transported to the Black Sea on board the Beluga Fantasy.

HSC FastCat Shanklin

HSC FastCat Shanklin is a high speed catamaran ferry which operated between the Isle of Wight and mainland England. She operated on the Wightlink Ryde Pier to Portsmouth route from 2000 to 2009 along with her sister ship HSC FastCat Ryde. Prior to working for Wightlink, the ship worked in Singapore and was named Water Jet 2. In 1999, the year before it was sold to Wightlink, its name was changed to Supercat 18.From early autumn 2009, Wightlink took delivery of two new vessels to operate the route, Wight Ryder I and Wight Ryder II. Both the FastCat Shanklin and FastCat Ryde were retained by Wightlink until 2010, due to teething problems which occurred with the new vessels. They were then sold on to new owners Severn Link. In January 2010, the FastCat Shanklin was re-painted into a new livery for use with Severn Link travelling between Ilfracombe and Swansea as part of a new catamaran service with a shorter travel time of 50 minutes. The re-paint occurred in Portsmouth Harbour and shortly afterwards the ferry departed for Swansea. On 29 January 2010 the ship arrived in the Bristol Channel and visited Ilfracombe before heading to Swansea Docks. After arriving there it received an interior refurbishment. However the proposed ferry service failed to start as stated by Severn Link at Easter 2010.

As of August 2010 the planned ferry service has been postponed indefinitely and FastCat Shanklin has been put up for sale along with her sister ship Rapparee (formerly FastCat Ryde). On 3 August she moved from Swansea to Hythe, Hampshire. In May 2011, having been sold to Alien Shipping, a Russian company, the two craft were transported to the Black Sea on board the Beluga Fantasy.

HSC Our Lady Pamela

HSC Our Lady Pamela was a high-speed catamaran ferry which operated between the Isle of Wight and mainland England. She had operated on the Wightlink Ryde Pier to Portsmouth route since 1986 under Sealink along with her now scrapped sister ship HSC Our Lady Patricia. Both ships were named after the daughters of Lord Mountbatten, who had been the Governor of the Isle of Wight.

In March 2009, it was announced that Wightlink would be replacing its FastCat catamarans with two new vessels, Wight Ryder I and Wight Ryder II. Our Lady Pamela was, however, taken out of service earlier than the two other vessels, FastCat Ryde and FastCat Shanklin. This was partly due to an engine fire causing significant damage, This vessel was scrapped at Esbjerg.

HSC Our Lady Patricia

HSC Our Lady Patricia was a high speed catamaran ferry which operated between the Isle of Wight and mainland England. She operated on the Wightlink Ryde Pier to Portsmouth route from 1986 to 2006, in conjunction with her sister ship HSC Our Lady Pamela, after which she was sold. She was scrapped at Marchwood in 2006.

HSC Wight Ryder I

HSC Wight Ryder I and her sister-vessel HSC Wight Ryder II are two high-speed passenger catamarans operated by Wightlink on the Ryde to Portsmouth ferry route.

Both vessels left their construction site in the Philippines in June 2009, and began service in September 2009. In preparation for their arrival, berth improvements at Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier were carried out. Following the introduction of the Wight Ryders into service, the existing vessels, FastCat Ryde and FastCat Shanklin were phased out, and eventually sold to new owners in Bristol.Unlike the older catamarans, the new vessels do not feature yellow and white "FastCat" branding, but are painted in a similar livery to Wightlink's larger car ferries. They include an open-air upper deck whereas the previous catamarans were fully enclosed.

On introduction, the vessels were criticised for being too slow and too small, with a seating capacity reduced from 294 to 260. Wightlink stated that a new timetable would be introduced offering more services during the day to ensure that there would be sufficient places to meet demand. The maximum speed is 26 knots compared to 34 knots for the earlier vessels, but as significant time is spent in the speed-limited region round Portsmouth Harbour, only a couple of minutes are lost, and fuel consumption is significantly less. However, the tight turnarounds can give cumulative delays if only one vessel is in operation on an hourly service.

A private naming and dedication ceremony took place on 17 September 2009 following the issuing of the passenger certificate. The vessels were initially expected to go into service on 21 September, with two days of discounted travel enabling passengers to trial the new vessels, but this was later postponed and occurred towards the end of September.Following the launch, further problems arose when Wight Ryder II suffered a generator fault. This was followed by more problems on a later crossing involving a bang. The vessel returned to Ryde Pier, and was temporarily replaced with an older FastCat vessel. Wightlink were criticised by passengers for poor levels of communication. The older FastCats were again drafted in the following weekend when engineers discovered fuel contamination affecting both vessels.

Invicta Dynamos

Invicta Dynamos are the senior ice hockey team based in Gillingham in Kent. The season runs from September to April. They usually play their home games on a Sunday at 17:15.

The club's fiercest rivalry has traditionally been with the Romford (now London) Raiders and to a slightly lesser extent the Chelmsford Chieftains, with the Dynamos competing in the same league as the two Essex clubs for its first six seasons. However more recently a healthy rivalry has developed with the Streatham Redskins due to the geographical proximity of the two clubs. Another rivalry has emerged in recent years with the Wightlink Raiders due to a number of feisty and sometimes controversial encounters between the two teams.

Kirkcaldy Kestrels

Kirkcaldy Kestrels are a Scottish ice hockey team that play in the Scottish National League. They play their games at Fife Ice Arena in Kirkcaldy.

Medway Bears

The Medway Bears were a professional British Ice Hockey team based in Gillingham, England. They played in the British Hockey League's Division One from 1986 to 1991, the English League Division One in 1991-92, the British Hockey League Division One again from 1992 to 1996, and finally the British National League in 1996-97.

Oxford Blades

The Oxford Blades were an English ice hockey team based in Oxford, Oxfordshire. They competed in the English Premier Ice Hockey League during the 1998-99 season and folded halfway through the 1999-00 season.

The Blades were formed after a year without senior men's hockey in the town. Following the dissolution of the Oxford City Stars, Mike Kellond created the Oxford Chill. Due to the failure of the Ice plant at Oxford, Kellond moved the team to Swindon where they became known as the Swindon Chill.

Following a move back to the university-town, the club's concessions from the council for the ice costs were lost along with the majority of its players.

A group of ice hockey-loving businessmen created the Oxford Blades, bringing in former Stars' coach Sid Cabby as managing director in January 1999. Due to a sponsorship deal, the club was known during their debut season as The City Motors FOX Blades. The club's only full season saw them have four head coaches: Geoff Copping got things underway and Erskine Douglas provided a solid structure and programme for a few weeks before leaving for Chelmsford Chieftains. He was replaced by Daryl Morvan and then by late signing Mark Budz. The club lost every game during 1998-99 and finished bottom of the league. However, the club won the sportsmanship trophy for finishing top of the fair play league with a total of 386 penalty minutes during the course of the league season.

The 1999-00 season would prove to be their last, as the club ran out of money and played their last game on 23 January 2000, which saw them lose 16-3 at home to the Isle of Wight Raiders. All league statistics from the season were expunged.

Portsmouth International Port

Also known as Portsmouth Port or Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port, Portsmouth International Port is a port and ferry terminal located in the city of Portsmouth on the South Coast of England. It operates departures and arrivals for cruise ships, cargo ships and passenger ferries.

Ryde Pier Head railway station

Ryde Pier Head railway station is one of three stations in the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight. Situated at the end of the town's pier, it is adjacent to the terminal for the Wightlink fast catamaran service connecting the island with Portsmouth on the UK mainland. Passengers can use this to connect with the rest of the National Rail network at Portsmouth Harbour station, which is adjacent to the Portsmouth terminal. Through rail tickets for travel via Pier Head station are available to and from other stations on the Isle of Wight. These include travel on the catamaran service to or from Portsmouth as appropriate.

Trains run down the eastern coast of the Isle of Wight to Shanklin (the Island Line), the last remnant of a network of railways on the island. Because of the restricted loading gauge, particularly through the tunnel under Ryde, services are operated by Class 483s (London Underground 1938 Stock).

The ticket office at the station is run by Wightlink and not Island Line.

Wightlink Raiders

The Wightlink Raiders was an ice hockey team based in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, England. The team were known for their small ice rink, Ryde Arena, which prevented them competing at a higher level. In 2016, following the closure of the rink by AEW UK, the building's landlord over a rent dispute with the community group which ran the ice rink

, the team withdrew from the league and competitive play.

Wightlink Tigers

The Wightlink Tigers was an amateur English ice hockey team from the Isle of Wight. The team was founded in July 2007 as the Vectis Tigers, and played at Ryde Arena, Isle of Wight. From the 2009-10 season onwards the team played as the Wightlink Tigers, after sponsors Wightlink. In its last competitive season (2015-16) the Tigers played in Division 2 of the National Ice Hockey League (NIHL) Southern Conference (SC). Many of the team's roster moved to the newly formed Wightlink Buccaneers, which debuted in the 2016-17 season in NIHL SC Division 2.

Wootton Creek

Wootton Creek is a tidal estuary that flows into the Solent on the north coast of the Isle of Wight. The estuary has also been known in the past as "Fishbourne Creek", "Wootton River" and "Wootton Haven".

At the mouth of the estuary is the Wightlink car ferry terminal for connections to Portsmouth. On the west bank of the creek is the village of Wootton, whilst on the east bank is the village of Fishbourne. The estuary is bridged by the main Ryde to Newport road, where there once was a tide mill. The estuary is not navigable south of the bridge, and tide controls means that water is retained south of the bridge most of the time, in the old mill pond.

To the south of the bridge, on the east side of the mill pond, is a Forestry Commission woodland called "Firestone Copse" which is about 30 acres (120,000 m2) in size.

Since 1993 Wootton Creek and the adjacent Ryde Sands have been designated as SSSIs due to their wide range of intertidal sand flats.

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