Factfile: Know your fast ferries

Factfile: Know your fast ferries

Know your fast ferries

SeaCat: the SeaCat is Hoverspeed's fast catamaran, but the word has become a generic term for similar types of craft. They vary in capacity, depending on the size of the vessel, from 600 to 830 passengers and 100-200 cars. Layout is either one or two passenger decks. Loading and unloading is through the front and back or at the back only. Having two hulls can mean an uncomfortable ride in bad weather.

Superseacat: the new generation of SeaCat are actually monohulls. Because they only have one hull they should be at the mercy of bad seas, but stabilisers work well to stop any roll. Holds 700 passengers and 175 cars. Loads through the back.

High-speed sea service: the HSSs are the big guys in the fast-ferry market. In the UK these catamarans hold 1,500 passengers and 375 cars. Smaller models of the vessels operate in Scandinavia.

Hovercraft: the original fast craft and are still the fastest way to travel across the English Channel. They operate by skimming across the water on a bed of air. They tend to be noisy, but are a popular way to travel.

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