Linking cities with hovercraftmakes perfect sense to me

A hovercraft service between Portsmouth and Southampton. What a stupendous idea!

Thursday, 14th July 2016, 6:01 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:20 pm
Hovertravel's new hovercraft, the Solent Flyer

Why not? A craft unique to our waters, invented, operated and built locally. Why not use it to improve connections between the two cities?

I’m sure many will think this idea is pie in the sky, but the hovercraft needs little infrastructure as it can land on beaches, it’s very, very quick and we’re in desperate need of alternatives.

The connection between Portsmouth and Southampton is pretty poor. It takes an hour on the train and the bus service takes about three days.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In Gosport and Lee-on-the-Solent, we have no choice but to drive to Southampton. I’m sure many would consider catching the hover from the beach at Stokes Bay or Daedalus.

So many other cities make use of the water that surrounds them. High-speed catamarans and jetfoils ferry people around. We can do the same.

Red Funnel did try such a service in the past. It used a spare Red Jet catamaran, but because of a lack of berths it had to use the Gosport Ferry pontoon in Gosport.

Its intention was to link Gunwharf Quays with West Quay. But after a few summer seasons and another attempt at Christmas, the service was withdrawn.

The new service can use the pad at Southsea already used by Hovertravel, but an area near to Town Quay would need to be found so passengers are conveniently connected.

Back in the 1970s, Hovertravel ran a service from Cowes to Southampton, inherited from British Rail.

The terminal was next to the Itchen Ferry, which was too far away from the city centre and the service finished in 1980.

So why would this latest hovercraft service work? Well, there seems to be a very positive political will to make this happen. With that in mind and the investment to go with it, it will be a success.

I do hope Gosport is included somehow though. We are desperate for improved links from the town and a hovercraft service to Southampton is a giant step forward. The UK’s largest town with no rail connection needs it.


I felt sorry for the French crew of the Brittany Ferries ship Etretat on Sunday.

She sails in and out of Portsmouth every day and I was travelling back on her from Le Havre.

A lot of people on board were watching France play Portugal in the Euro 2016 football final.

With faces painted, lounges suitably decked out with flags and all screens showing the match, the crew merrily went about their jobs, watching the game as they worked.

The captain even managed to concentrate enough to dock us in the correct port and then ashore we went.

But with fresh passengers boarding, I wonder how depressing the crew found their return trip to Le Havre after seeing what happened to their team in extra-time?


What is the point of the long-range weather forecast?

They are always wrong. They get our hopes up and then we’re left disappointed.

How many times have you checked online for a look at the weekend ahead and made plans, only for them to be ruined?

Based on an excellent forecast for the weekend, which so far says ‘dry,’ we are having a barbecue on Saturday and my folks are coming over from the Isle of Wight on Sunday.

That day is wall-to-wall sunshine, apparently.

But why can’t forecasters be honest and say that, even after all those millions spent on supercomputers, two days ahead is all they can predict?

Maybe it’s because many of them would then be out of a job...