Two ferries heading for Ilfracombe this summer

AS the wait for the new Ilfracombe to South Wales ferry service draws ever shorter, ferry operator Severn Link has announced it has completed the deal to buy its two fast catamaran vessels outright. The operator has purchased the second vessel in its burg

AS the wait for the new Ilfracombe to South Wales ferry service draws ever shorter, ferry operator Severn Link has announced it has completed the deal to buy its two fast catamaran vessels outright.

The operator has purchased the second vessel in its burgeoning fleet, the FastCat Ryde, from former owner Wightlink.

The 34 knot Kvaerner "Flying Cat" catamaran, which carries up to 360 passengers, has undergone exterior renovations and repaint and will shortly join its sister ship, the former FastCat Shanklin, in Swansea.

The completion of the purchase signals a landmark moment for Severn Link, which is now finalising a series of routes to roll out through 2010 and paving the way for the first modern ferry service to link the shores of North Devon and South Wales.


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The formal launch announcement is now very close - once the service is up and running it is expected there will be crossing from Ilfracombe to both Swansea and Penarth near Cardiff.

The first ferry, the former FastCat Shanklin, is currently completing an extensive interior refit in the docks at Swansea's SA1. It has been the focus of huge interest, with crowds of people turning out earlier this year to watch a brief appearance at Ilfracombe on its way from Portsmouth to Swansea.

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"We are very happy to shortly be able to introduce the second Flying Cat to her new home in South Wales," said Geoff Metcalf, Severn Link managing director.

"This is the next major step in being able to commence regular Bristol Channel crossings with a fun, fast and affordable ferry service which will make travelling from the South West of England to South Wales much easier than ever before."

Schedules, pricing and booking information are shortly expected to be available on www.severnlink.com and through its Facebook and Twitter channels.

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