Friday, December 9, 2022

Virtu Ferries signs Letter of Intent with Seachange for electric RoPax hydrofoils

Virtu Ferries has signed a Letter of Intent with Seachange, Auckland, New Zealand, for their Foil 40 electric RoPax hydrofoil with plans to start operating the vessel between both Valletta, Malta and Pozzallo, Sicily, and Valletta and Gozo.

Manufactured from carbon composite, the fully electric Foil 40 by Seachange will be the first hydrofoil capable of carrying both passengers and vehicles. The 40-meter vessel with a capacity for 250 passengers and 200 lanemetres for vehicles and freight, equivalent to 40 cars, will cruise at a speed of 45 knots. The first Foil 40 vessel is expected to be in service by 2025.

Seachange CEO Max Olson says: “It is clear that Virtu Ferries places a high value on passenger experience and convenience, and we are thrilled to be able to help them offer incredible sea travel experiences for their customers. Virtu Ferries has proven here that they are committed to emission-free transportation by exploring future sailings using Seachange hydrofoils.”

With six meter long struts lifting the hulls out of the water, and advanced control algorithms, the Foil 40 will allow for sailings in sea conditions with a swell of up to five meters, offering great seakeeping and a smooth ride.

Matthew Portelli, Managing Director of Virtu Holdings, the parent company of Virtu Ferries, added: “Ferries of this size that can operate in these conditions are unprecedented – it would change the way we think and what we can offer our customers.”

The Seachange Team includes ex-America’s Cup and Sail GP engineers. A prototype 24 meter version of the Foil 40, which is already under construction is set to begin commercial operation in 2023 on the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

CLASS-LEADING SEAKEEPING

  • With unparalleled seakeeping and comfort, the Foil 40 can operate at cruise in conditions up to 5 meters significant wave height
  • Predictive ride control with fully-submerged actuated foils ensures reliability and smooth sailing

ZERO EMISSION

  • Fully electric energy storage and propulsion systems means no emissions, ever
  • Move passengers, vehicles, and cargo sustainably at scale

COMPOSITE CONSTRUCTION

  • Carbon fibre composite hulls and foils, allowing for a precise hydrodynamic hull form and a high strength to weight ratio
  • Forget corrosion and fatigue – our hulls are cost efficient and easy to maintain, with a design life of over 30 years

DESIGNED FOR OPERATORS

  • Designed and built with ease of operation and maintenance prioritised
  • Engineered redundancy across propulsion, foil actuation, and all other systems to guarantee safety and reliability
Seachange ferry loading cars and passengers

“FERRIES OF THIS SIZE THAT CAN OPERATE IN THESE CONDITIONS ARE UNPRECEDENTED – IT WOULD CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK AND WHAT WE CAN OFFER OUR CUSTOMERS.

MATTHEW PORTELLI – MANAGING DIRECTOR OF VIRTUHOLDINGS

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