Svea Drott / Earl Godwin

Earl Godwin is found resting in Weymouth Harbour, bearing the 'British Ferries' branding that Sealink used for the Channel Islands services in 1986.
Photo: © Ted Ingham.

This ferry bears a remarkable resemblance to Thoresen's Viking trio. It was probably no coincidence that she was launched within ten months of Viking III. She was delivered in 1966 as Svea Drott to her Swedish owners and spent nearly eight years in Baltic service before being laid up for sale in 1974. She was chartered to Sealink, who required a replacement for their life-expired Falaise on the Weymouth/Channel Islands car ferry service. She was given the title Earl Godwin, setting a trend for future renamings on British Rail's ferry operations in the Western Channel.

She was something of a revolution for those had been used to the antiquated converted passenger steamer which had finally given up the ghost when her boilers failed. Compared with the Thoresen Vikings, Earl Godwin’s most notable modifications were her taller funnels and a variation in window arrangements. But she was essentially based on a similar deck plan, with the distinctive twin chimneys which were intended to facilitate a vehicle deck clear of engine room exhaust uptakes in the centre. Post privatisation she was employed under the brand of 'Sun Liner' on daylight services from Weymouth to St. Peter Port (Guernsey) and St. Helier (Jersey). Sealink withdrew from the Dorset port in 1988 and Earl Godwin saw her last days with the Company operating from Portsmouth to Cherbourg.

Here she is seen making a mid-morning departure from Portsmouth for Cherbourg in the late 1980s.
Photo: © Brian Fisher.

M. S. Svea Drott
Builder: A. B. Öresundvarvet, Landskrona.
Yard number: 202.
Dimensions (length, breadth, depth): 99.5 x 18.29 x 5.67 metres.
Tonnages (gross, net) 4,018, 1,654.
Engines: Two 6 cylinder, two 12 cylinder, K. H. D. diesel.
Power: 8,825 kW.
Speed (knots): 19.5.
Passenger certificate: 928.
Car capacity: 160.

20.1.1966 Launched.
8.6.1966: Delivered to Rederi A. B. Svea, Stockholm.
6.1966: Entered service for Trave Lines Helsingborg/Travemünde.
20.8.1974: Chartered to British Rail (Sealink), Weymouth.
13.1.1975: Renamed Earl Godwin.
1.2.1975: Entered service Weymouth/St. Helier (Jersey)/St. Peter Port (Guernsey).
1.1.1979: Registered for Sealink U. K. Limited.
30.3.1987: Laid up at Falmouth.
14.7.1988: Portsmouth/Cherbourg.
17.3.1990: Sold to Nav. Archipelago Maddalenino S. P. A., Naples, Italy. (Moby Line). Renamed Moby Baby.