SPIRIT OF RATHLIN is the Ballycastle to Rathlin Island ferry route’s purpose-built vehicle ferry. The vessel was constructed by Arklow Marine Services of Ireland for the Department for Regional Development (now Department for Infrastructure) at a cost of £2.8m, and is operated by Rathlin Island Ferry Limited under a 10 year subsidised contract with the DFI. AMS also constructed the purpose-built passenger catamaran operating the Rathlin Island route, RATHLIN EXPRESS. SPIRIT OF RATHLIN is essentially an updated and modernised version of CANNA, the vessel she will replace. In advance of the introduction of the SPIRIT OF RATHLIN, a new harbour costing £1 million was built at at Church Bay in Rathlin to accommodate the new vessel. This consisted of a new ferry ramp, berthing pier, car park area, fendering system, lighting and re-alignment of the road at Rathlin Island Harbour.
SPIRIT OF RATHLIN was ‘launched’ at the end of September 2016 when she was lifted by the heavy-lift crane barge LARA I from the north quay at Arklow into the River Avoca. SPIRIT OF RATHLIN was designed by Argyll Maritime Design Services on behalf of Burness Corlett Three Quays (BCTQ) for the Rathlin Island ferry service, and is classified by Lloyds. Coincidentally, one of BCTQ’s predecessor companies was responsible for the design of CANNA, the vessel SPIRIT OF RATHLIN will replace. On 16th January 2017 Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazard announced that SPIRIT OF RATHLIN was complete and ready to enter service once the works to accommodate her at Rathlin were completed, though it would be late March 2017 before she arrived at her new home in Church Bay for the first time. On the 14th of June 2017 SPIRIT OF RATHLIN began service on the Ballycastle to Rathlin Island route. This followed a week of maintenance at Mooney Boats, Killybegs where some adjustments were made and the vessel cleaned and repainted. The modern vessel provides seating for 140 passengers and can accommodate up to 6 passenger cars or a single HGV. 42 of these seats are provided in an enclosed heated saloon to the aft end of the main deck which has padded seating, tables, and a television. The remainder of the seating is provided in open spaces on passenger decks 2 and 3.
Title image: Spirit of Rathlin departing Wiklow. Courtesy of AMS.
General arrangement drawings of SPIRIT OF RATHLIN are available from the DFI website here.
SPIRIT OF RATHLIN
Arklow Marine Services, Arklow, Ireland
Argyll Maritime Design Services
Burness Corlett Three Quays (BCTQ)
Lloyds Register of Shipping
Department for Infrastructure (UK Government)
Rathlin Island Ferry Limited
|In service (Current route)|
14th June 2017
|Service speed|| 8.5 knots|
(9.5kts max speed)
|Vehicle deck configuration|
Single bow loading vehicle deck forward of the passenger accommodation.
|Onboard Facilities in use|
United Kingdom (Belfast)