From August 2022, the flying dolphins of Hellenic Seaways, which carried dozens, if not hundreds of millions of Greek and foreign passengers in Argosaronicos gulf over the past five decades, will go down in history.
Associated in the perception of most as noisy but fast vehicles for summer and not only escapes, mainly in Argosaronicos, they far exceeded their expected life time with success. They will be replaced by three state-of-the-art new-build diesel-powered high-speed carbon fiber catamarans with photovoltaic panels. Once in Greek waters there were many more such flying dolphins routed, not only to the Argosaronic, but also to the Dodecanese islands, Tzia, the eastern coasts of the Peloponnese and the Ionian sea. They arrived in Greece for the first time in the 1960s, but their widespread and organized use began after the mid-1970s.
The urban legend then has the shipowner Giorgos Livanos buying two abandoned Soviet-made hydrofoils in Elefsina and gradually expanding the fleet of Ceres into a dominant force based on the Zea marina. A few decades later, modern speedboats of new technology – mostly catamarans – with a greater passenger carrying capacity began to gain passenger preferences. Attica Group, the company that inherited the flying dolphins imported by Livanos after a series of acquisitions carried out in recent years by itself and other cruise lines before it, has already long launched two such modern catamarans in the Argosaronic, which will now be flanked from three high-tech Aero Highspeed newbuilds.
Built at the Brdrene Aa shipyards in Norway, their total cost was 21 million and covered by Attica’s equity and bank borrowing. The first two have already been delivered and the third is expected to be delivered by the middle of July, at which time they will all be loaded onto a special type of ship that will transport them to Piraeus so they can start work immediately at the end of July and beginning of August.
The flying dolphins will either be sold abroad or the aluminum they are made of will be given away for recycling. One last Attica flying dolphin vessel will however remain for some more years in Piraeus to act as a backup for its younger siblings if needed. However, dolphins will not completely disappear from the Greek seas yet. Another shipping company, Aegean Flying Dolphins, operates three routes in Argosaronicos with hydrofoils, while it is possible that an ambitious businessman will decide to buy those of Hellenic Seaways to give them a new life extension. However, their days may now be numbered, since the competition with modern Aero Highspeed and other catamarans will be overwhelming. The replacements for the Flying Dolphins, the Norwegian-designed and built speedboats, have more seats – 150 compared to the Flying Dolphins’ 130 – and, being made entirely of carbon fibre, are more environmentally friendly given their low carbon footprint per person-mile carried. , the experts explain. It should be noted that they also have photovoltaic units, which will cover the lighting and electricity needs of the accommodation services.
The Aeros have a maximum speed of 32.2 knots fully loaded, an overall length of 36m, a beam of 9.7m and their interior layout and overall design aim to offer much greater comfort and better service. With their routing, the available transport capacity for the Argosaronic destinations will increase. They promise a new era for the Argosaronic gulf, but also nostalgia for the noisy and shaking Soviet Meteors, which first brought high speeds for passengers to the Greek seas.
A high-speed craft (HSC) is a high-speed water vessel for civilian use, also called a fastcraft or fast ferry. The first high-speed craft were often hydrofoils or hovercraft, but in the 1990s catamaran and monohull designs become more popular and large hydrofoils and hovercraft are no longer built. (High-speed catamarans )
A monohull is a type of boat having only one hull, unlike multihulled boats which can have two or more individual hulls connected to one another
A hydrofoil is a lifting surface, or foil, that operates in water. They are similar in appearance and purpose to aerofoils used by aeroplanes. Boats that use hydrofoil technology are also simply termed hydrofoils. As a hydrofoil craft gains speed, the hydrofoils lift the boat’s hull out of the water, decreasing drag and allowing greater speeds
A hovercraft, also known as an air-cushion vehicle or ACV, is an amphibious craft capable of travelling over land, water, mud, ice, and other surfaces. Hovercraft use blowers to produce a large volume of air below the hull, or air cushion, that is slightly above atmospheric pressure. The pressure difference between the higher pressure air below the hull and lower pressure ambient air above it produces lift, which causes the hull to float above the running surface
Brødrene Aa – a world leader in the construction of fast ferries made of carbon fibre composites
Next-generation ‘Aero’ passenger catamarans – Attica Group has signed an agreement with Norwegian shipbuilder Brødrene Aa for the construction of three 150-passenger high-speed catamarans that will follow the builder’s state-of-the-art ‘Aero Catamaran’ design
Agreement for the construction of three (3) state-of-the-art Aero Catamaran vessels to serve the Saronic Islands