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Greece’s Beloved Hydrofoil Ships Soon to Retire

Hydrofoil Vessel
Credit: Hellenic Seaways

Greece’s beloved hydrofoil vessels, better known in the country as ”flying dolphins,” will no longer be actively used by Hellenic Seaways.

The news was recently made public by the Hellenic Seaways company, which operates sea routes between Athens and the islands of the Saronic Gulf.

What is a Hydrofoil Vessel?

A hydrofoil vessel is a boat with a lifting surface, or foil, that operates in water.

They are very similar to aerofoils used by airplanes. As a hydrofoil craft gains speed, the hydrofoils lift the boat’s hull out of the water, decreasing drag and allowing greater speeds. This exact ability is what has made people in Greece know them by the nickname flying dolphins.

The hydrofoils usually consist of a structure that looks like it has wings. The overall mechanical structure made these types of vessels very popular in the late 20th century because they offered great speeds and low maintenance costs.

The first flying dolphins of Greece came to the country in the 1970s and were made in the Soviet Union.

Since then, hundreds of millions of passengers, both Greeks, and tourists from abroad, have used such a vessel type to go to different island destinations.

What is Going to Replace Them

Attica, the company that owns Hellenic Seaways announced recently that it aims to replace its fleet of hydrofoil vessels with catamaran ships. More specifically, the company will use newly-built aero catamarans constructed in Norway.

The new vessels are expected to be in full operation as soon as 2022.

These catamaran ships are expected to be faster, environmentally-friendly, and able to carry even more passengers compared to the older hydrofoils.

It has to be noted that approximately three million passengers use the hydrofoils only in the routes between Attica and the Saronic islands.

These islands include Hydra, Spetses, Aegina, Poros, Porto Heli, and many more.

The Saronic islands are the closest islands one can go to from Piraeus, the port city of Attica. This makes them the ideal short-break destination for millions of Athenians.

Traditionally, people who live in Athens or the nearby areas, escape to these destinations for a quick and relaxing vacation even for just a night or two.

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