The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company are having a brand new ferry built, and it was ‘floated out’ on the water for the first time last week.
The new ferry, the Manxman, will replace the Ben-my-Chree, which is the slow-boat that that you’ve probably been abord if you’ve ever made the four-hour voyage from Heysham to Douglas. ‘Ben,’ the 24-year-old vessel, will be retained by the Steam Packet Company, but demoted to backup duties.
At 133 meters long, Manxman might only be eight meters longer than the Ben-my-Chree, but it can cold 319 more passengers (949 in total) and has twice as many cabins; or it will once they’ve finished building it. If they’d have made it any bigger, it wouldn’t have been able to get into the harbour at Douglas, on the Isle of Man.
Manxman is the namesake of an older Steam Packet Company vessel which went out of service in 1892.
In with the new
The new Manxman is powered by four European built diesel-electric hybrid engines, and is expected to cut down the crossing time from Heysham to Douglas considerably.
The plan is for the new ferry to be completed and delivered to the Isle of Man by spring next year, increasing traveling capacity to the Isle of Man in time for the 2023 TT races. Great news for anyone planning a trip to the island to watch (or race in) the TT.
One of the biggest problems facing potential visitors to the IOM is simply getting there, and during the TT fortnight, the old Ben-my-Chree tends to get sold out pretty sharpish. Particularly for visits during race week.
So a new boat being floated on the water for the first time, might not be the most exciting news for the motorcycle world, on the face of it; but it can only mean good things for the IOM TT, and the people who want to experience it.