The article explained that the Sealink vessel was due to begin serving the Weymouth-Jersey route that year.
But I didn’t need to read the words ‘Earl Godwin’ in the headline to know the ship’s name – I recognised it just from glancing at its two funnels in the old photograph that accompanied the piece.
You see, there was a time when, aged seven, I had an unhealthy interest in car ferries, and the Earl Godwin was the first car ferry I ever travelled on.
I remember running around the upper deck of the ship, proudly sporting the full Manchester United kit – the team I had decided to support even though Liverpool were much better back then – on a voyage from Weymouth to Cherbourg the day after my birthday.
The sleek sight of the ferry’s funnels, the toot of the ship’s horn and the sight of the French horizon filled me with a sense of seafaring adventure – slightly unfortunate, then, that we were going on a camping holiday.
After that I was hooked. I loved ferries in the same way that many young lads love trains. At one point I could even name every car ferry that operated between the UK and France, just from looking at their funnels in the brochures of P&O, Brittany Ferries et cetera. Useless knowledge, you might think. Not to my seven-year-old brain it wasn’t, for I harboured the lofty ambition of wowing Kylie Minogue with my ferry knowledge on the hit TV show You Bet! (Just to refresh your memory, panels of celebrities bet on the ability of members of the public to achieve unlikely challenges and stunts.)
I’m not sure if Kylie ever actually appeared on You Bet!, but in my seven-year-old head I imagined her sitting on the front row, cheering me on as I impressed her by naming ferries from pictures of their funnels…
Well, at least I wasn’t the 40-year-old guy who appeared on a real episode to proudly belt out the names of every model of lawnmower under the sun, just from images of their wheels.
Fortunately, my ferry obsession washed away before my teens and I filled the vacuum with teenage angst and acne.