|Cantiere Navale Leopoldo
|Gross weight :
|28.96 x 5.85 (metres)
|Passenger capacity :
Fairlight was a Rodriguez PT50 hydrofoil and the second to be
introduced to the Manly fleet.
When she entered service with her running mate Manly she proved a
popular addition. With two hydrofoils in the fleet now offering fast
(and mostly affordable) travel, the Manly company decided that it's
future would be with these fast vessels. Before the company was sold in
1972 a total of five hydrofoils would be operating. Initially the
hydrofoils were profitable; it was only later with numerous breakdowns
and industrial issues that they started to become problematic to
The final death knell for the hydrofoils was the introduction of the
three (later four) Freshwater class ferries - the travelling public
voted with their feet and wallets and headed back to the slower and
more traditional mode of transport.
During the first three years of life of the hydrofoil fleet over 60
propellors had to be replaced due to a design flaw. Fairlight was the
first hydrofoil to be modified to correct this failure. As initially
designed, the propellor sat forward of the aft foil. Basically anything
that was going to hit the aft foil hit the propellor first and this
happened often. The fix was to move the propellor behind the aft foil
as the foil was stronger and generally deflected anything that hit it
away from the propellor. The fix was costly, but better than spending
$700 for a new propellor each time one was damaged. As well, the
propellor had to be sent from the builder resulting in legthy delays
while the vessel was laid up awaiting repairs.
In 1970 Fairlight was taken to Newcastle in two hours (a record she
would hold until Sydney would do the trip in 1 hour 35 minutes).
Compare this to the XPT which when introduced did the trip in two hours
fifteen minutes - it's even slower now.
In her later life Fairlight was plundered (along with Curl Curl) for
parts to keep the Long Reef operational. She was withdrawn from service
in 1984. By 1985 Fairlight had been laid up for ten months. A
combination of lack of parts and industrial action signed the death
warrant for the vessel and she was ultimately scrapped at Homebush Bay
in 1988 along with Dee Why & Palm Beach.
Fairlight has one enduring claim to fame - the Fairlight CMI
Synthesiser released in 1979 was named after her. The company
built the synthesiser chose the name Fairlight because hydrofoils
represented the latest in technological achievements.