With the launching of “Free Enterprise III” on May 14th, in a style and atmosphere befitting the £2-million ship, by Mrs. Wickendon, Townsend Car Ferries now have facilities for taking across the Channel daily 4,600 cars and roll-on, roll-off freighters and 24,006 passengers, between Dover, Calais and Zeebrugge in Belgium. As a holiday ship she is fitted with bars, shop, a bank, and a dining saloon for 150 people. The open-plan promenade deck will enable mothers with children to enjoy a more comfortable journey. Motorists will be able to drive on and off, and freight will be loaded and unloaded even more quickly than before, as “Free Enterprise III” has great manoeuvrability assisting speedy berthing and the “drive-through” principle of bow and stern doors, thus obviating the previous frustrating and time-wasting delays often experienced on the Channel crossing sea journey.
She was built by Werf Gusto of Schiedam, Holland, and will be fully operational in July. The largest ferry ever to operate across the Channel, she is 385 ft. 6 in. long and 61 ft. wide at main deck level with a high clearance of 13 ft. 2 in. to accommodate freight. Maximum speed is over 21 knots. Engines are by Smit-M.A.N. and the stabilising system makes for a very steady journey.
With this new ship Townsend Car Ferries Ltd. have gained further status in the world of Channel crossing traffic, in which they are already held in such high esteem.-W.O.B.