THE SPIRIT CLASS IN TOWNSEND THORESEN ADVERTISING
Townsend Thoresen were justifiably proud of their new Blue Riband winning Spirit class - and they featured very heavily in TT promotional material from their introduction to the sinking of the Herald of Free Enterprise in March 1987. In most years (apart ironically from 1987) one or other of the trio featured on the cover of the main TT brochure for that year.

The loss of the
Herald coincided with the introduction of the new Pride of Dover and Pride of Calais and, later, the new P&O European Ferries name. It is therefore not entirely straightforward to deduce cause and effect in the disappearance of the remaining pair - Spirit and Pride of Free Enterprise (latterly Pride of Kent and Pride of Bruges) from publicity material. Flicking through the P&O brochures for the 1988, 1989 and 1990 however, the majority of other classes of ship in the fleet gain at least a representative picture, but not the Spirits. It seems very probable that the distinctive profile of a ship seen on its side off Zeebrugge would not be something P&O wished to highlight in the immediate post-Herald years. Thus the surviving sisters were rather pushed to one side as the company sought to rebuild. Whilst the 1992 rebuilding of the Pride of Kent did produce a fair amount of material, the ships after 1987 never again featured in their previously prominent position in their company's advertising.
Top:  Dover-Calais Blue Riband - The fastest ships to the Continent. Click on the image for a larger view.
(Image courtesy Arjan van Gelder)
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Above:  The cover of the Dutch 1981 TT guide featured a dramatic low-level shot of the Spirit of Free Enterprise. Click on the image for a larger view.
(Image courtesy Arjan van Gelder)
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Above: A 1983 TT advert: The fleet you can't beat. The ship is Herald of Free Enterprise. Click on the image for a larger view.
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Above: By 1986, the company had introduced it's new stylised TT logo and, as in this advert from that year, the focus was on the experience of the crossing. The Herald of Free Enterprise is the ship seen passing in the background of the main picture which looks to have been taken from one of the Free Enterprise series. Click on the image for a larger view.
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Above: 1986 was the last time one of the Spirit class would feature on the cover of the UK Ferry Guide. The ship, as it seemed to be more often than not, was again the Herald of Free Enterprise. Click on the image for a larger view.
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Above: One of the final Townsend Thoresen adverts, and probably the last widely reproduced to feature the Herald of Free Enterprise. The year was 1987 and the strapline was, It's easy going Townsend Thoresen. Click on the image for a larger view.
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