New ferry makes a surprise visit to Ilfracombe

THE first of the new Ilfracombe to Swansea ferries appeared in the waters off the pier this afternoon (Thursday) for an unexpected flying visit. The Severn Link fast catamaran passenger ferry was making its way from Falmouth to Swansea following a new pai

THE first of the new Ilfracombe to Swansea ferries appeared in the waters off the pier this afternoon (Thursday) for an unexpected flying visit.

The Severn Link fast catamaran passenger ferry was making its way from Falmouth to Swansea following a new paint job and exterior overhaul.

The former FastCat Shanklin, now awaiting its new name, was decked out in its striking new Severn Link livery as cruised into the waters opposite the pier for a very brief appearance.

The unannounced Ilfracombe visit was spotted by a few in the know and a few hardy souls out and about in the brisk conditions.


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After making its grand entrance the ferry turned about headed across the channel towards Swansea, where it will undergo an internal refit.

"She looked smart, impressive, and it almost brought a lump to your throat to think that this is turning another page in the history of the town," said Ilfracombe Harbour Master Rob Lawson.

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"We look forward to welcoming her back full of passengers in the not too distant future."

The catamaran's external overhaul was carried out at Portsmouth, which the vessel left on Tuesday, making scheduled stops at Dartmouth and Falmouth before the long run to Swansea.

The crossing from Ilfracombe to Swansea is likely to take around 45 minutes when the service commences and a return ticket has been estimated at about �22.

The crew and Severn Link directors on board also used the travelling time to put the vessel through a series of sea trials.

The service is still on course to begin at Easter and ferry watchers can keep up to date with the latest booking information for the first trips at www.severnlink.com.

Read more in next week's Gazette.

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