11th December 2015
Liferafts and RIB
Current / Last Route
Late summer 2016
Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd
Mrs Anna Østergaard, wife of CMAL Chairman Erik Østergaard
A novel written by Robert Louis Stephenson
Ferguson Marine Engineering Ltd, Port Glasgow
Diesel electric hybrid: 3x Volvo Penta Marine D13 MG and bank of lithium-ion batteries providing power to motors driving Voith Schneider propellers
Hoist & Lifts:
Claonaig - Lochranza
Catriona was the third of the so-called 'Literary Class' of hybrid-powered ferries, following on from Hallaig and Lochinvar and also hailing from Port Glasgow. She was the first vessel to be built by the then recently acquired Ferguson's yard and was destined for service across the Kilbrannan Sound from Claonaig on Kintyre to Lochranza on Arran. Like her older sisters, Catriona was powered by a combination of diesel engines and/or batteries providing electrical power to electric motors, which in turn drove her two Voith units. She could be operated in full conventional diesel mode, full battery mode or a combination of the two. The green claim to fame for the hybrid ferries was that by using the hybrid combination, some 5000 less tonnes of carbon dioxide would be pumped out into the atmosphere over the course of the vessel's lifetime. The reality was that funding was only granted for Catriona's construction because it ticked the green box and was something the SNP government could boast about.
Launch took place on a dull Friday 11th December 2015 and Catriona slid into the chilly waters of the Clyde. Fitting out took place at the adjacent berth a short distance to the west of the yard over the coming months and she was dispatched for sea trials during July and August of 2016. Like her sisters Catriona notched up the required 9 knots. She used Largs and Cumbrae Slip for ramp testing and the Skelmorlie mile for speed tests.
Shoreside charging facilities were installed at Lochranza and in the early autumn, 9 months after her launch, the Catriona finally entered service and displaced the smaller Loch Tarbert. As with most things there were teething troubles and Loch Tarbert had to step in while the new ship sat idle at Lochranza pier. One such occasion came in late September and coincided with problems on the Ardrossan - Brodick route when Isle of Arran was withdrawn for propeller and shaft replacement in Aberdeen. The larger boat would have certainly been a bonus given the shortfall in sailings at Brodick at that point.
Catriona settled in to a familiar routine as her predecessor had done. With the Lochranza run still being a seasonal connection with Claonaig, the winter months saw her taking up the combined Tarbert - Portavadie/Lochranza run. She has also been seen covering on the Large - Cumbrae Slip service for a few weeks after New Year, allowing the Loch Shira away for her overhauls. As yet the Catriona hasn't had much of a chance to expand her area of operation and has yet to leave the confines of the Clyde.