Two men in sailing regalia inspected the ship, while another hosed down the deck until it sparkled. Clipper Navigation couldn’t have asked for a clearer day to launch their new vessel.
Passenger ferry Victoria Clipper V was officially launched by Clipper co-CEOs Tobias Haack and David Gudgel before its maiden voyage on the Victoria to Seattle run yesterday. Following the announcement, the ship was blessed by Songhees First Nation elders.
Many upgrades, including the availability of hot food, were based on feedback from commuters, said Haack. The largest ship in the company’s fleet offers another welcome addition, Clipper’s first-ever business class seating area.
Clipper V is a 52-metre catamaran that can hold up to 579 passengers, but the ship’s current configuration allows for 440. The ship travels at 36 knots (nautical miles per hour), a slight bump from the 30-knot cruising speed of other ships in the fleet. Company officials expect the larger vessel to provide a smoother ride, on top of the slightly quicker arrival time.
The new vessel is an improvement on Clipper I, which is 40 metres long and carries 296 passengers. That 31-year-old ship was taken out of service after its final run on Feb. 28. The Victoria Clipper IV will have its final run next Friday (March 9).