WIGHTLINK'S new flagship Victoria of Wight has impressed senior managers, captains and engineers during her first sea trials in the Sea of Marmara.

The ship has completed three days sailing with staff from the Cemre shipyard in Yalova, Turkey, a Lloyds Register surveyor, numerous specialist engineers and Wightlink representatives on board.

They have been testing all essential systems, including the hybrid power drive, and have been completing full speed trials, manoeuvring and turns.

Before Victoria of Wight can start her long journey to Portsmouth, she will be surveyed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

Project director John Burrows will formally take delivery of the vessel at the end of June and she will then be towed to her home port.

Following her arrival in the Solent, her crew will undertake a rigorous period of training before she enters service and joins Wightlink’s fleet towards the end of the summer.

Victoria of Wight, powered by hybrid energy, can carry up to 178 cars and more than a thousand passengers.

Project manager Colin Stanton and chief engineer Mark Siddle have been based in Yalova during the construction.

Captains Tom Vincent, Mike Smith and chief engineer Andy Hutchison were on board Victoria of Wight for the sea trials.

Cpt Vincent said: “Mike and I have both handled the ship, getting the chance to try various essential manoeuvres during the sea trials.

"She handles extremely well with the hybrid system and four Voith Schneider propellers providing ample power."