In the 1990s lightly built, high-powered fast ferries made a splash in Cook Strait. Compared to the 17–19-knot conventional ferries such as the Arahanga (left), the Incat 050, trading as the Top Cat (right) and looking like an apparition from a sci-fi movie, hit 49.3 knots on trials. The ferry wars saw several ships come and go, but the tortoises beat the hares when wake damage to the coastline led to the imposition of speed restrictions in the Marlborough Sounds. The last fast ferry departed in 2005, to be replaced by a hulking 22,000-ton conventional ferry.
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