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Rapide Brings a New Look - 2001

Photographs  John H. Luxton 2001

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There was some dismay in the local press when the rumours circulating towards the end of the 2000 season were proved to be correct - that SUPERSEACAT THREE would be replaced by the 81m Incat RAPIDE. Some of the press focussed on the fact that she was an older vessel and wasn't a SUPERSEACAT! 

RAPIDE arrived on the Mersey at 20:05 on Thursday February 15, 2001. She arrived in full Hoverspeed Livery. For much of the season she sailed in plain white livery, only gaining SEACAT and Steam Packet logos in late summer. She is seen after the end of the season laid up in Birkenhead Docks - top right.

Not all passengers were unhappy at the change as the Incat vessels had a much more attractive interior layout  with more open deck space which was well sheltered. 

The only major problems with RAPIDE were the very hard seats in the Blue Riband lounge. These might have been fine for a relatively short channel crossing. However, for the four hour run to Dublin they could be something of a trial unless one went for a walk around now and again!


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