There are many ways to cruise the Atlantic Ocean, and Waterfront Charters – the V&A Waterfront’s longest serving cruise company – reckon they have pretty much covered the full range. From luxurious sailing catamarans through twin-masted schooners to converted double decked trawlers and a purpose built powerful twin-engine cruising catamaran that can cater for 150 partygoing revellers, they have the lot.
But for those who might be seeking out something a little more exciting; something a little closer to the edge, a trifle more thrilling – there is their new boat: Spectre! If this name evokes thoughts of chases and espionage, excitement and being shaken and stirred, it has served its purpose. Spectre can do all of that (apart from the espionage, possibly), and more: after all, an 8.6 metre, semi-rigid hull that is powered by two 200 horsepower outboard motors can do a great deal. Like all speedboat inflatables, Spectre sits low on the waterline, a lean, mean profile with a rigid hull that can handle the chunkiest swells the Atlantic can dredge up, with grinning passengers enjoying their James Bond experience.
Those 400 total combined horsepower mean that the twelve passengers and the experienced skipper aboard Spectre can plane safely across the top of the swells under full throttle, easily averaging 40 knots in complete comfort and safety. A fast boat ride that combines effortless cruising with sightseeing along one of the most scenic coastlines on earth: an unbeatable experience. Which means Spectre is not only about speed and adrenaline-fuelled excitement. Waterfront Charters boss Craig Girdlestone is quick to point out that Spectre offers a lot more than full-throttle thrills.
“Spectre is the perfect boat for eco-tourism. She is fast, yes, but equally manoeuvrable and with a low draft, very suitable for getting up close to marine life, quietly and without disturbing them.” He doesn’t add that the hull is a matt black colour, which would suit secret agents too. For those not on clandestine pursuits, what sort of marine life can one expect to see on a Spectre trip? Craig is enthusiastic: “Everything the Atlantic has to offer! Whales, when they are visiting, huge pods of dolphins, sunfish lazing close to the surface, seals and penguins. Oh, and sharks of course,” he adds with a grin. “Not forgetting the incredible bird life: sometimes we forget that the wild inhabits the air above the sea too.”
To add spice to the eco-tourism world, Waterfront Charters offer a great combination trip: a snorkel with the seals cruise to the rocks off Bakoven, just past Clifton. The thrills of a speedboat ride to and from harbour, combined with an up-close-and-personal dive with the friendly Cape Fur seals offer an excursion to be remembered, and no doubt repeated. Waterfront Charters provide all the equipment, and with their very strong emphasis on safety, Spectre will get you there and back in one piece. Seals will not be allowed on board at any stage, sadly, so taking one home is not an option.
Spectre is a wonderful addition to the Waterfront Charters fleet, and has already proved exceptionally popular with tourists and locals alike. Whether your desire is for cruising thrills, checking out the Cape sights and wildlife, or a combination of both, Spectre can dish up the goods. “Waterfront Charters offer the option of chartering Spectre,” says Craig. “We can tailor make a trip for groups of people. Talk to us and we’ll make it happen.”
A visit to Quay Five at the V&A Waterfront is all it takes.