Victoria of Wight celebrates her fifth anniversary as Wightlink’s flagship

On Saturday 26 August 2023, it was five years since Wightlink’s flagship ferry Victoria of Wight carried her first passengers from Portsmouth to Fishbourne.

Since then, Victoria of Wight has sailed almost 190,000 nautical miles, or nine times around the world. She has carried 1,807,995 vehicles and 4,384,761 passengers between Portsmouth and Fishbourne and has also sailed to and from UK shipyards in winter for dry-docking and hull surveys.

“Our hybrid flagship set new standards for comfort and reliability, from the moment she joined the fleet,” says Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield. “Victoria of Wight is England’s first large ferry to combine energy from conventional engines and powerful batteries and she is 33% more fuel-efficient than our next largest ship, St Clare, which means reduced emissions.”

Captain Sam Mitchell was in charge on the Bridge on Victoria of Wight that first day on the route: He says: “It was a privilege to be the Master when we carried our first fare-paying passengers. She is a magnificent ship with a hybrid propulsion system that is more environmentally friendly than most other ferries and gives our customers comfortable and smooth crossings to and from the Isle of Wight.”

Wightlink £30million investment in Victoria of Wight was key to the ferry company’s development of the Portsmouth – Fishbourne route. £15million was also spent on port improvements to allow vehicles to be loaded using double-deck ramps on both Victoria of Wight and St Clare.

Wightlink’s hybrid flagship is just part of the company’s focus on sustainability and environmental initiatives across the business. Highlights have included sourcing supplies from local producers wherever possible including milk from Briddlesford Dairy and sandwiches and savouries from Grace’s Bakery. Ninety-nine per cent of waste is either recycled or used to produce energy. Electric vehicle charging points are being installed at ports and a project to install solar panels to generate electricity at ports and on ships is underway. Wightlink also partners with the University of Portsmouth and Blue Marine Foundation on marine science initiatives.