On 26 February a new 12m catamaran was delivered from builders BW SeaCat of Portchester to Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, Dorset.

Capable of carrying 35 passengers, the aluminium Castello is powered by twin JCB engines on water jet drives with joystick control for manoeuvrability.

Castello was ordered by the John Lewis Partnership, who lease Brownsea Castle from island owners The National Trust as a luxury hotel for its staff, and is used to ferry personnel, guests and supplies from Sandbanks and Poole Town Quay.

She replaces the 9m, 28 passenger vessel of the same name which was originally built as a River Thames police launch in the early 1960s but never put into service.

Castello (1)  was purchased by the John Lewis Partnership in 1965, however, its wooden hull had become too costly to maintain and required frequent engine reconditioning due to the amount of time spent in service.

Photo and report by Kevin Mitchell

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