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Last summer, I was impressed by the speed of the Norwegian hurtigbåt M/S Fjordprinsessa, operating near Tromsø, travelling so fast that travellers are not allowed on-deck and are recommended to remain seated and fasten their seatbelts. I don't recall the actual speed, but another of their boats does Tromsø – Harstad in 2h40m, a distance of around 160 km, meaning an average speed of 60 km/hour including one stop. Googling told me that the Fjord Cat on Kristiansand–Hirtshals does 45 knots or 83 km/hour, while the Shinas in Oman does 51 knots (94 km/hour), but I think those are maximum speeds and not average speeds. The Oman article claims "the world's fastest diesel-powered passenger ferry", but "fastest" can have several definitions, which leads me to my question:

What is the world's fastest point-to-point scheduled ferry route? By fastest in this context, I mean the distance divided by the time according to the timetable, similar to this Wikipedia table for trains.

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  • There's several places around the world with hydrofoil ferries. There's a pair between Fukuoka Japan and Busan Korea. And a couple were used for the Batumi Georgia ↔ Sochi Russia route though I think they're not running right now due to Russia. I'm hunting for speed info ... Oct 8, 2012 at 3:33
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    Passenger Hydrofoil list might be helpful here. Apparently there aren't that many types of these in operation.
    – vartec
    Oct 8, 2012 at 8:54

7 Answers 7

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In Oman, between Muscat and the exclave Musandam, operate the Shinas and the Hormuz.

As reported by The Week, the Shinas has a top speed of 96 km/hour, whereas the Hormuz has a top speed of 104 km/hour:

It’s not a speedboat and it’s definitely not an F1 superboat. Call it the bullet ferry or a super catamaran if you will, but whichever way you look at it, the Shinas is probably as fast as it gets on water in a passenger ferry anywhere in the world.

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Hovertravel operates hovercraft from Southsea, Portsmouth to Ryde, Isle of Wight. One of the types of hovercraft they are using is BHC AP1-88, which has 50 knots (93km/h) top speed.

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I remember that back in the day, some high speed boats were used to go from France to Corsica. I could find some archives about these boats{french} (now they are too expensive to run because of oil prices).

So it says that Nice-Calvi took 2h45 at a speed of 37 knots (70 km/h). Using Google Maps, the distance of current route is 208 km (which would mean the speed is 75km/h). So I suppose it means that the route is probably now longer but yeah, the average speed was at least 70km/h at that time.

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The high-speed ferry operated by Buquebus travels between Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay. It achieves a high speed of 58 knots (107 km/h) and a travel speed of 51 knots (95 km/h). https://www.ship-technology.com/projects/francisco-high-speed-ferry/

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  • Around the world of ferries, this one is still known to be the fastest, however, I doubt it goes full speed often.
    – Jochem
    Apr 18, 2023 at 12:40
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Most answers here cite top speed, which isn't really what the OP has asked. So rewriting this we get

  1. The HSC Franciso between Montevideo and Buenos Aires has a scheduled trip time of 2h 15m and the distance is 203 km, which makes for an average speed of 90.2 km/h.

I coudn't find a time table for the Hormus, assuming that either it's not running anymore or is suspended due to Covid.

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The Ekranoplan is probably the fastest ferry, managing well over 400 knots. http://www.travelcentre.com.au/travel/airshows/Russian/russia_ekranoplan.htm

I am not sure whether they have them as scheduled ferry trips any more or whether they are charter trips, but what a stupendous craft!

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    The one you mention was military craft (now defunct). Regarding ferries: "Other larger designs as ferries and heavy transports have been proposed, but have not been carried to fruition." (see: Wikipedia)
    – vartec
    Oct 9, 2012 at 15:39
  • The smaller designs are the ones I was thinking of, although I would love to see the Caspian Sea Monster at full speed!
    – Rory Alsop
    Oct 9, 2012 at 16:06
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The HSC Fransico (a catamaran ferry) has a top speed of 58 knots (107 kmh), however I don't know if she does that in regular service. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incat#Products

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