26th April 1964

Hydrofoil Condor 1 completed its final sea trials

Condor Ferries might not have been the only company to run hydrofoils in the English Channel, but it did have one of the largest fleets. Its Condor 1 through Condor 5, plus Condor 7 were all hydrofoil craft. The odd one out was Condor 6, which was a catamaran.

The first craft, built in Sicily, entered service on 1 May 1964. Less than a week earlier, it was going through its paces in a series of rigorous sea trials by Captain Robinson.

Rough demonstrations

Publicity runs carrying newspaper, television and radio reporters between Guernsey and Jersey had been particularly rough. However, Condor 1 was said to be impossible to capsize because of its skids. It was unsinkable, too, as the space between the hulls was filled with polystyrene. This was enough to keep it on top of the water, even if all of the internal compartments flooded.

The diesel-powered Condor 1 was capable of a top speed of 45mph. It would carry a maximum of 140 passengers between Guernsey, Jersey and St Malo. The Jersey to France crossing took around an hour. Guernsey to Jersey, if everything went according to the timetable, took 35 minutes.

Condor promoted the service largely on the benefits of its high-speed, claiming that “Condor gives you more time for your money than any other form of transport”. It described the craft itself as a “luxury get-up and go hydrofoil”.

There were plans to extend the service to other Channel Islands, including Alderney and Sark, if there was sufficient demand.

Early hydrofoils

The first hydrofoil to cross the Channel went not from the Channel Islands to France, but from Calais to Dover. Named Shadowfax after a mythical flying horse ridden by Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, it had two gas turbines, three crew and a passenger compartment with room for 50.


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Other events that occured in April

Guernsey’s first female murderer goes on trial 1st
A French fisherman is arrested and escorted to St Peter Port 2nd
Guernsey’s new population law comes into force 3rd
Guernsey’s oldest resident dies, aged 110 4th
An occupation-era minefield is discovered at L’Ancresse 5th
Birth of Stone de Croze, the original Guernseyman 6th
The first ever Guernsey stamp is issued 7th
Antiquarian William Collings Lukis was born 8th
Guernsey hosts its first Parkrun at Pembroke 9th
Alderney residents lined the coast to watch Titanic pass 10th
Norfolk pupils spend a week in Guernsey 11th
A plane hit a car while landing at Guernsey Airport 12th
Battery Mirus was test fired for the first time 13th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry fights at Ypres 14th
Guernsey Mormon Sampson Avard dies in Illinois 15th
Lieutenant Governor, Lord Ruthven, died in Bath 16th
Death of the Vicar General of the Channel Islands 17th
TV’s Jeeves is rushed to hospital on Guernsey 18th
Guernsey Airport’s new terminal opened for business 19th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie film opened 20th
Death of Guernsey-born footballer Len Duquemin
Three Jewish women are deported from Guernsey 21st
Guernsey bigamist got married for the second time 22nd
Aurigny pilot Ray Bowyer spots a UFO near Alderney 23rd
The States of Guernsey registers the gov.gg domain 24th
Guernsey-set film The Sea Devils hits cinemas 25th
Hydrofoil Condor 1 completed its final sea trials 26th
The first Muratti football match takes place 27th
Guernsey passengers stage a ferry sit-in 28th
Guernsey abolishes the death penalty for murder 29th
Finishing touches put to new hospital 30th
Murder suspects steal visitor’s boat from St Peter Port