Sir David Martin

Sir David Martin

Type :
Launched  :
21/12/ 1990
Builder :

Cairns, QLD
Gross weight :
87.47 tons
Dimensions :
34.80 x 10.00 (metres)
Passenger capacity :
Speed :
31 knots

The introduction of the three high speed wave piercing catamarans to the Manly fleet marked what was perhaps the biggest change in the long history of the service. The three new vessels were designed to be fast & comfortable and to be more reliable than the trouble-ridden hydrofoils that they were replacing.

By 1989, there were four hydrofoils left in the fleet & for most of the time, they were out of service due to the long history of problems that plagued them. The NSW government let a tender, worth fifteen million dollars, to replace the hydrofoils & a little over a year later the first, Blue Fin, was launched. Sir David Martin was the second of the new vessels launched.

The three vessels travelled from Cairns under their own power & promised a comfortable, fast (15 minute) trip to manly from the Quay. The government had an option for two more vessels, however, this was not taken up.

By March 1991 all three new cats were in operation on the harbour & the last hydrofoil had been withdrawn. The three were faster, cleaner & more efficient than the hydrofoils & being of a standard design, replacement parts could be ordered far more cheaply.

In 1987 Reef Link II which was built by the same company as had built the Cats was burnt out - this was to eventually cause problems for the three Sydney vessels. In April of 1991 there was a fire on board Sir David Martin. As a result all three Cats were taken off & given an extensive overhaul.

During the disastrous bushfires of  January 1994, all three Jet Cats were used to evacuate people from Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury River to the Central Coast. (This was the ferry that the webmaster was on during the evacuation).

As had been promised at their introduction, all three vessels now provide a fast journey for tourists & commuters alike between Sydney & Manly.