The America's Cup skipper, Sir Ben Ainslie named two of Hovertravel's new passenger hovercraft at a ceremony on the Isle of Wight.

Hovertravel has unveiled two of its new state-of-the-art passenger hovercraft at a traditional dedication and blessing ceremony at Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

The Solent Flyer and Island Flyer were officially named by Sir Ben Ainslie, who took time out from preparing for the America’s Cup World Series in Portsmouth on 22-24 July.

Each craft has a red, blue and white livery to reflect the Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack.

The managing director of Hovertravel, Neil Chapman explained how the names of the hovercraft were chosen.

“The names of our craft describe what our hovercraft do and where they do it. We chose these names to promote the fact that our craft fly at 1.5 metres above the water,” he explained.

“The addition of Solent is to identify the specific stretch of water where we operate and we added Island to demonstrate that we connect two islands,” added Chapman.

Solent Flyer hovercraft

The Solent Flyer at Southsea


Hovertravel’s new craft are innovative designs which combine enhanced ergonomics alongside weight and energy efficiencies.

The £10 million investment by the company aims to improve passenger comfort through speedier and easier boarding, a quieter ride and better visibility.

Speaking at the ceremony, Gold Olympic medallist, Sir Ben said: “The hovercraft was a revolution in sea travel and has become a real iconic British invention. It’s great to see these two new innovative vessels continue to show off the strength of the British marine industry right now.”

He added: “Whilst out training on our development boats, we often ‘fly by’ each other during their trips from the mainland to the Isle of Wight – in addition, since moving to the island recently, it is also an extremely fast and reliable way to travel.”

In the next month Solent Flyer will be used on an ad hoc basis to service the Hovertravel timetable.

This phased strategy of implementation allows the teams at Hovertravel to gradually introduce the new procedures and policies associated with the new craft without disrupting the daily operation.