This year Red Funnel is celebrating 50 years of continuous high-speed service between Southampton and West Cowes.
To celebrate the anniversary the company has delved into its extensive archives to explore how its high-speed ferries have changed over the decades. The initial hydrofoil Shearwater ferries started in service in May, 1969 and five further vessels followed with Shearwater 6 were withdrawn from service in 1998, Shearwater 5 was finally retired in 2000.
The first Red Jet catamaran entered service in April, 1991. She was the first waterjet
propelled high speed vessel on the Solent and could carry 120 passengers. She was also the first of Red Funnel’s fleet to receive an official naming ceremony.
Red Jet 6 entered service in 2016, built by Shemara Refit LLP in East Cowes she marked the return of fast ferry building in the UK. Red Funnel 7, her sister ship is the latest addition to Red Funnel’s high-speed fleet and was named by the HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in July 2018.
Today, Red Funnel has three high-speed ferries in its fleet – Red Jets 4, 6 and 7. Each with
a top speed of 38 knots, they transport thousands of passengers each year between Southampton and West Cowes.
Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel, said: “This year marks our 50th anniversary of high-
speed service between Southampton and West Cowes. It is fantastic to look back and see the progression both the company and ferry industry as a whole, has made during this time, with all efforts focused on giving our customers the best travel experience possible.”