|Cantiere Navaltechnica S.P.A.
|Gross weight :
|26.70 x 5.85 (metres)
|Passenger capacity :
Curl Curl was one of five broadly similar hydrofoils, being of type
Curl Curl was the fourth hydrofoil to enter service commencing
operation in 1973. With this hydrofoil & the earlier Dee Why and
Fairlight in service , the Port Jackson company was able to retire the
smaller Manly to use as a spare boat. Curl Curl was the last vessel
ordered by the Port Jackson company prior to being sold to Brambles in
1974. Brambles did not want the hydrofoils and they sold them to
another company (FNCB-Finance Ltd) and leased the boats back. When the
state government took over the Manly service they had to buy out the
leases. At the time of the government buy-out it was expected that the
three hydrofoils would give another fifteen years service.
The hydrofoils were always expensive to run and prone to breakdown. At
one stage both Fairlight and Curl Curl had parts cannabalised from them
to keep the more expensive Long Reef in service. During their time on
the harbour they were subject to long periods out of service due to
breakdowns & strike action.
Curl Curl killed a man in unusual circumstances on the 2nd of October
1981. Three men were on a hired pleasure cruiser for a bucks party. One
of them, Timothy Charles Graham Wearne, had decided to dive overboard
near Fort Denison at around 5pm. He'd decided to go for a swim.
Considering that this is not only in the main shipping lane for the
harbour and that the area is shark infested one has to wonder why you'd
want to go for a swim in this particular area. Wearne's brothers
shouted a warning to him when they saw the Curl Curl approaching and
although he dived to get out of the way he unfortunately surfaced too
soon and was cut to pieces by the Curl Curl's propellors. The captain
of the Curl Curl (who had one year earlier been in charge of the Lady
Wakehurst when it had been involved in a fatal accident) was unaware
that he had struck the man and only found out when police later
questioned him. No blame was attached to the captain and the coroner
brought down a finding of death by misadventure. Blame for the accident
was laid soley on the unfortunate victim.
By 1991 the hydrofoils were withdrawn from service and replaced with
the more reliable and cheaper to operate Jet Cats (Sir David Martin,
Sea Eagle & Blue Fin). The following year Curl Curl II, Manly IV,
Sydney and Long Reef were sold back to their builder.
Eventually renamed Spargi, Curl Curl was placed into service by
Ustica lines in 1995 before being offered up for sale in 2000 for
$500,000. In April 2004 the company sold Spargi (the oldest hydrofoil
in their fleet) to a shipping company operating the route between
Reggio Calabria Airport and Messina, Italy.
Spargi underwent an extensive refit in 2005 and is currently laid up,
perhaps awaiting scrapping.