company_name = Wightlink
company_type = Ltd
foundation = 1991
location = Portsmouth
key_people = | num_employees =
industry = Shipping
products =
revenue = £51 million
operating_income =
net_income =
company_slogan = "Welcome to the isle of Wightlink"
homepage = [http://www.wightlink.co.uk/ www.wightlink.co.uk]

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

Their core routes are from Lymington to Yarmouth (30 minutes) and Portsmouth to Fishbourne (40 minutes), both of which are car ferry operations. A fast passenger-only catamaran operates between Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier Head (taking 18 minutes), directly linking into the Island Line rail line.

In 2005 Wightlink was bought by the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund for an estimated £240,000,000.


Wightlink and its forerunners have provided ferry services to and from the Isle of Wight for more than 160 years.

In the early nineteenth 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 between Lymington and Yarmouth and Portsmouth and Ryde.

Ownership of the ferries eventually passed from the British Railways Board to Sealink UK Limited. In 1984, when Sealink UK Limited was denationalised, the operating name became Sealink British Ferries and was subsequently bought by the Bermuda based ‘Sea Containers Ltd’. When Stena Line bought Sealink British Ferries in 1990, the Isle of Wight Ferries remained with Sea Containers, renaming the company ‘Wightlink’.

In June 1995 the company was the subject of a management buy-in. In 2005 it was bought by the Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund.

In 2004, Wightlink decided to renew its sponsorship of the Wightlink Raiders ice hockey team

In October 2006 Wightlink announced that it intended to built two new ferries for the Yarmouth to Lymington route. These are going to be slightly bigger than the original and will only hold 360 while the existing ferries hold 500 passengers. The two ferries are not expected to enter service till June 2008 but will arrive at the solent in May. Recently Wightlink have announcent that a third ferry will be built for the route and will enter service in spring 2009.

In March 2008 Wightlink also revealed that an order has been placed with FBMA Marine to construct 2 new passenger catamarans for the Portsmouth to Ryde service to replace the three craft currently employed. They will enter service in 2009.

In May 2008 Wightlink introduced a fuel surcharge on all crossings [ [http://www.wightlink.co.uk/fuel/index.htm Wightlink Fuel Surcharge] ] . The surcharge came into effect at 0001 Friday 9th May and is linked to the price of Brent Crude oil.

Current fleet


The following car ferries are used on the Fishbourne to Portsmouth route:
*MV St Catherine
*MV St Helen
*MV St Cecilia
*MV St Clare
*MV St Faith


The following passenger-only catamaran (FastCat) ferries operate on the Ryde Pier head to Portsmouth route:
*HSC FastCat Shanklin
*HSC FastCat Ryde
*HSC Our Lady Pamela

Wightlink have said that two new High speed craft will replace the three vessels currently on the route. These are expected to come into service summer 2009. These are yet to be named. [ [http://www.wightlink.co.uk/aboutus/press_releases/investment_310308.htm Wightlink press release about new services] ]

On 15 April 2008, it was reported [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/hampshire/7349356.stm 2008 Our Lady Pamela Fire] ] [ [http://www.islandpulse.co.uk/b2/delays-follow-fire-on-isle-of-wight-ferry/ 2008 Our Lady Pamela Fire, as reported by IslandPulse] ] that Fastcat "Our Lady Pamela" had suffered an engine fire whilst making the crossing to Ryde. There were no injuries and the ship berthed at Ryde safely, after the on board CO2 fire drenching systems were activated. Another Fastcat, "Our Lady Patricia" (the sister ship to "Our Lady Pamela"), had left the fleet (for scrapping) in 2006 following a similar incident. [ [http://www.hantsfire.gov.uk/news/stories/recentincidents.htm?newsid=18363&textid=200603221904 2006 Our Lady Patricia Fire] ]


The following car ferries are used on the Yarmouth to Lymington route:
*MV Caedmon
*MV Cenred
*MV Cenwulf

The following new ferries are in the process of being prepared for the Yarmouth to Lymington route as of mid-September 2008:
*MV Wight Light - in Lymington, on trial
*MV Wight Sky - berthed at the Wightlink terminal in Portsmouth
*MV Wight Sun - being fitted out at Brodogradiliste Kraljevica, Croatia

Historic fleet

The following ferries have operated historically on routes run by Wightlink or previous companies that have been absorbed by Wightlink.cite web| title=History of Isle of Wight Ferries - Wightlink|url=http://www.wightlink.co.uk/aboutus/history_fleet.htm| accessdate=2008-02-18]
*HSC Our Lady Patricia 1986 - 2006
*TSMV Shanklin 1951 - 1980
*TSMV Southsea 1948 - 1988
*TSMV Brading 1948 - 1985
*PS Ryde 1937 - 1969
*PS Sandown 1934 - 1964
*PS Southsea 1930 -
*PS Whippingham 1930 - 1962
*PS Merstone 1928 - 1952
*PS Portsdown 1928 - 1941
*PS Shanklin 1924 - 1951
*PS Duchess Of Norfolk 1911 - 1937
*PS Duchess Of Richmond 1910 - 1915
*PS Duchess Of Fife 1899 - 1929
*PS Duchess Of Kent 1897
*PS Princess Margaret 1893
*PS Duchess Of Albany 1889
*PS Duchess Of Edinburgh 1884
*PS Duchess Of Connaught 1884
*PS Victoria 1881
*PS Alexandra 1879
*PS Albert Edward 1878
*PS Heather Bell 1876
*PS Ventnor 1873
*PS Shanklin 1873
*PS Southsea 1873
*PS Ryde 1873
*PS Duke Of Edinburgh 1869
*PS Princess Alice 1869
*PS Prince Of Wales 1865
*PS Gareloch 1863
*PS Chancellor 1863
*PS Prince Consort 1859
*PS Her Majesty 1850
*PS Lindsey 1850
*PS Prince Of Wales 1850
*PS Princess Royal 1850
*PS Prince Albert 1847
*PS Lord Yarborough
*PS Arrow
*PS Union 1825
*PS Brittania 1817


Every year, Wightlink carries:
* 5 ½ million passengers
* over 1.2 million cars
* almost 200,000 coaches and freight vehicles
* Annual revenue £51 million

External links

* [http://www.wightlink.co.uk/ Wightlink website]


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