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The approach

5.   The approach to Fishbourne is clearly marked. For the sailors there is a reasonable amount of room, but it is quite tight for the Ferry. However they are specially designed for maximum manoeuvrability.

These Wightlink ferried are steered and pushed along by propellers, which hang down vertically under the ship, unlike a conventional boat where the propellers protrude horizontally from the stern. This system is called the voith schnieder propulsion system and although it is expensive to install and run, it offers excellent manoeuvrability, including the ability to hold the vessel stationary, even in stormy conditions.

The approach

The vessel does not require a rudder, because in normal forward motion during a crossing, the speed wheels are on full ahead and steerage is provided by sideways thrust on the two aft propellers to push the stern one way or the other. This is important on the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route which is a short crossing and requires the captain to do a lot of manoeuvring both leaving and entering the port.

The system is operated by four wheels not unlike a steering wheel in a car which are mounted on consoles on the bridge. These can be seen from the forward ends of the bridge deck.

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