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Wednesday, October 22, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Hydrofoil Comeback Proposed

Seattle Times Business Reporter

Boeing-built hydrofoils may return to Northwest waters after an absence of more than a dozen years.

Clipper Navigation of Seattle, which operates four high-speed catamarans and the Princess Marguerite III between Seattle and Victoria, B.C., has teamed up with the Hong Kong owner of the world's largest Boeing jetfoil fleet to propose year-round jetfoil service between Vancouver and Victoria.

Their bid is one of several international and British Columbia-based proposals seeking to operate service between the B.C. cities.

Hydrofoils, which have wing-like foils that lift the hulls of the boats out of the water, can travel up to 50 mph.

Clipper President Darrell Bryan said the joint venture has proposed bringing two of the 20 jetfoils owned by Far East Hydrofoil to a Vancouver shipyard for renovation. Beginning in the fall of next year, they would carry up to 240 passengers each on the round-trip route from Vancouver, across the Strait of Georgia and through the Gulf Islands, possibly to Swartz Bay, north of Victoria.

The trip, including a bus shuttle between Victoria and the Vancouver Island dock, would take about two hours. The 90-foot-long ships likely would attract 600,000 passengers a year, Bryan said.

Boeing quit making hydrofoils in 1985, although a Victoria company ran two of them for four months that year between Victoria and Seattle.

Boeing decided to get out of the hydrofoil business after building 32. It sold a license to build the hydrofoils to Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries, which has built a few that are used as ferries in the Sea of Japan. Far East operates its fleet between Hong Kong and Macau.

Polly Lane's phone message number is 206-464-2149. Her e-mail address is: plan-new@seatimes.com

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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