Sydney hydrofoils

The Sydney hydrofoils were a class of hydrofoils operated by Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Company and its successors on the Manly service.

Sydney hydrofoils
Class overview
Completed: 8
Active: 0
General characteristics


On 30 December 1964, the Port Jackson & Manly Steamship Company took delivery of a 75-seat PT20 hydrofoil from Hitachi, Kanagawa. Named Manly III, it entered service on 7 January 1965 taking 15 minutes to cover the 10-kilometre (6 mi) journey from Circular Quay to Manly compared to 35 minutes for conventional ferries.[1][2][3][4]

In November 1966, a larger 140-seat Rodriguez PT50 hydrofoil built by Cantiere navale di Ancona, Ancona entered service. Named Fairlight, it would be joined by the Dee Why in 1970 and Curl Curl in 1973. These were joined by the Palm Beach purchased second hand from Macau in 1975 and the Long Reef from Italy in 1978.[1][2][3][4]

In 1984/85, two 235-seat hydrofoils, Manly IV and Sydney entered service. The State Transit Authority replaced its remaining hydrofoils with three JetCats, with the last operating on 18 March 1991. The remaining vessels were sold for further service on the Mediterranean Sea.[2][3][5] Three Hydrofoils were scrapped at Homebush Bay in 1988. These were Fairlight, Dee Why and Palm Beach.[6]

The Fairlight CMI, a pioneering digital synthesizer, was named for the Fairlight II, which, in turn, was named after Fairlight, New South Wales.[7]


Name Type Builder MMSI Year in service Length Seats Notes
m ft
Manly IIIPT20Hitachi 1965 18.59 61.0 75sold 1979 to Great Keppel Island, renamed Enterprise
Fairlight IIPT50Cantiere navale L Rodriquez, Messina 1966 28.96 95.0 140scrapped 1988[8]
Dee Why IIPT50Cantiere navale L Rodriquez, Messina 1970 28.96 95.0 140scrapped 1988[9]
Curl Curl IIRHS140Cantiere navale L Rodriquez, Messina7232975 1973 28.96 95.0 140sold 1992 to Ustica Lines, Italy & renamed Spargi, sold to Alimare[3][10][11]
Palm BeachPT50Cantiere navale L Rodriquez, Messina 1975 28.96 95.0 140ex Patane, second-hand from Macau, built 1970
Long ReefPT50Cantiere navale L Rodriquez, Messina 1978 28.96 95.0 140second-hand from Italy, built 1967 as Freccia di Mergellina, sold 1992 to Italy[3]
Manly IVRHS160FCantiere navale L Rodriquez, Messina8222290 1984 31.20 102.4 235sold 1992 to Naples, renamed Sinai[3]
SydneyRHS160FCantiere navale L Rodriquez, Messina8310982 1985 31.20 102.4 235sold 1992 to Naples, renamed Fast Blu[3]



  1. Andrews, Graeme (1975). The Ferries of Sydney. Terry Hills: AH & AW Reed. pp. 54–55. ISBN 0 589 07172 6.
  2. Mead, Tom (1988). Manly Ferries. Brookvale: Child & Associates. pp. 133–138, 167. ISBN 0 86777 091 0.
  3. Down Under Foils Classic Fast Ferries June 2002
  4. Do you remember the Hydrofoils Part 1 Afloat Magazine June 2007
  5. Do you remember the Hydrofoils Part 2 Afloat Magazine July 2007
  6. Youtube film Homebush Bay 1988 the scrapping of Fairlight Dee Why & Palm Beach Hydrofoils
  7. Stewart, Andy. "Name Behind the Name: Bruce Jackson — Apogee, Jands, Lake Technology". Audio Technology (40).
  8. Fairlight II Ferries of Sydney
  9. Dee Why II Ferries of Sydney
  10. Curl Curl II Archived 2015-04-14 at the Wayback Machine Ferries of Sydney
  11. SAS: The Hovering Years Classic Fast Ferries May 2004


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