End of an era at WightLink
The end of a 32 year era came at UK cross-Solent ferry operator WightLink on 26 March when its passenger/vehicle ferry St Helen completed her final voyage between Portsmouth and Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight.
St. Helen has the distinction of being the last vessel built by Scottish yard Henry Robb Shipbuilding & Engineering, when she was handed over to British Rail’s ferry operating division Sealink in November 1983.
Following 32 years of criss-crossing the busy Solent every day of the year, including Christmas Day, St. Helen is expected to be sold to the Sardinian-based ferry company Delcomar.This company bought sistership and fleet mate St. Catherine a few years ago and she now operates Delcomar’s 15 min crossing between Palau and La Madadalena as the GB Conte.
Meanwhile, WightLink has taken the ferry Wight Light off its Yarmouth-Lymington service and placed its on its Portsmouth-Fishbourne run, while St. Clare has retuned to service following an £800,000 refit in Falmouth.
WightLink was recently sold by Australian parent company Macquaire to the UK’s Balfour Beatty Infrastructure which is expected to open the way for funds to be made available for new vessels to be built.