Hovercraft Hydrofoils & Catamarans: Sixty Years of Fast Ferries (Ferry Publications)

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In July 1962, a small queue of passengers lined up on the beach at Rhyl in North Wales and paid £1 for a bumpy hovercraft ride along the coast to Wallasey. This book tells the story of the fast ferry revolution that followed, changing the face of sea travel around Britain’s coasts.

In less than a decade, the huge SRN4 hovercraft were running across the Channel and Italian-built hydrofoils ferried passengers to the Channel Islands. Boeing’s Jetfoils and fast catamarans arrived in the early 1980s and within a decade the Australian-built Seacats dominated ferry routes on the English Channel and Irish Sea. Stena’s huge HSS catamarans were the ultimate fast ferries, running to Ireland and the Netherlands at forty knots, until they were defeated by the new millennium’s rising fuel prices.

Sixty years on, fast catamarans run on the Thames and the last hovercraftd still cross the Solent, but with only a few large ferries remaining, the story of the fast ferry revolution is ready to be told.

Chapter List:

  • The Joy of Speed
  • The First Hovercraft
  • Denny and Hovermarine
  • Hovering Across the Channel
  • Hydrofoils
  • The Fast Cats
  • Incats and Copycats
  • HSS and the New Millennium
  • Sixty Years On
  • Fleet List

Hovercraft, Hydrofoils & Catamarans: Sixty Years of Fast Ferries traces the rise and fall of these often overlooked vessels. Well-illustrated throughout with colour and black & white photographs and diagrams. Hardback. 192 pages.

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