So what next for Wightlink? Red Funnel carried more cars during the peak summer months than the Fishbourne service. This must be the first time in fifty odd years that's happened?
The service constantly runs late. The original Saints look very tired with poor facilities (the toilets are awful) giving a poor impression to the customer. They are carrying less and less vehicles due to their size and St Clare takes far too long to load and cannot operate in all weathers.
So new ships are desperately needed for the route to keep up with Red Funnel. For a start, double-deck linkspan operation is a must. A two hour turn round cannot be maintained otherwise. But the ships cannot have similar height to St Clare with the restricted draft, to be more stable in rough weather.
The linkspan would need to be repositioned at Gunwharf to allow for longer ships. It would need to be placed where the current layby berth is.
Would Wightlink not be better off in the long term moving to the International Port? They would have much more marshalling space and the size limit of any new ships would only be dictated by what would be accommodated at Fishbourne. Moving the linkspan further out would mean less dredging.
An extra 10 minutes would be needed to get to the Ferry Port, but time could be made up with a faster operating service across the Solent.
Any new ships really have to have the wow factor and be a revolution, like the Saints were back in 1983. Ships of over 100 metres, faster and sleeker would be the way forward.