Chris Ancrum - Wightlink Fleet Technician Team Leader - in the bilges of a Wightlink FastCat

Behind the scenes for This is Engineering Day

We’re giving you a glimpse behind the scenes for This is Engineering Day (4 November 2020) to celebrate the work of engineers in the world around us and show the difference they make to almost every aspect of our lives. Meet Chris Ancrum; Wightlink’s Fleet Technician Team Leader.

Chris, pictured here in the bilges of a Wightlink FastCat, leads a team of five technicians who make sure our two catamarans stay in good shape to carry hundreds of thousands of people a year. These foot passenger catamarans link Portsmouth Harbour station with Ryde Pier Head at the end of Britain’s oldest working pier – built in 1814.

Wightlink Fastcat catamaran at Ryde Pier Head

Although much of his time is taken up with planning and managing resources, Chris is quick to jump into his boiler suit whenever he can to help out.

“My team are very busy behind the scenes, most of the customers have no idea what we do but it’s all essential work to keep the FastCats running efficiently.

“No two days are the same. We might be packed out with revellers going to the Isle of Wight Festival or holidaymakers heading for Ryde Beach, supervising contractors to carry out maintenance or even helping a film crew shoot a murder mystery from the water.

“I also arrange the annual refits – it’s a bit like servicing a car. We go to dry dock, take the FastCats out of the water and carry out planned maintenance.

“It’s a great career. I’m pleased my nephew is studying to be an engineer. He’s now in the Royal Navy with a posting on the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. After his service, he’ll have the skills to work anywhere, maybe he’ll even join Wightlink.”

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