A sailing service on the Ramsgate-Ostend route is due to be tested in April with Dutch firm Fair Ferry saying it is investigating whether the route could be resumed permanently.
Sea travel from Ramsgate to Ostend ended in 2013 when TransEuropa Ferries went bankrupt. But now there is a bid to bring in a sailing vessel venture, although journey times are much longer as the trip is part of the experience.
Fair Ferry is to run a Pioneers trip -the first journey Fair Ferry makes on a certain route- on April 28. The business, based in Amsterdam, runs several other services and launched a London-Rotterdam route in 2019.
The Ramsgate-Ostend journey is to take place aboard Tall Ship Morgenster, which was built in 1919 as a haring lugger and carried the name De Vrouw Maria. In 1927, she was extended by 7 meters and her rigging was replaced by an engine. She was renamed the Morgenster in 1959 and was in use as a fishing vessel until 1970.
Since 2008, she sails passengers and operates as a sail training vessel.
The two-masted lugger has room for 24 passengers, in two and four person cabins.
The crossing can be booked as a one-way or mini-cruise. Morgenster will leave Ramsgate on April 28 and arrive in Ostend in the course of April 29. People taking the mini-cruise stay on board in Ostend.On May 1 it will sail back to Ramsgate, mooring on May 2.
The exact time of departure is determined shortly in advance based on the weather conditions but organisers say it will most likely be a night sail at sea.
Fair Ferry founder Karel de Boer said: “We make this trip with tall ship Morgenster and we sail as much as possible, we use the engine to sail out and into the harbour and at sea only for safety reasons. This means that we depend on the wind to reach our goal and the crossing from Ostend to Ramsgate or vice versa takes between 10 and 30 hours.
“Sailing experience is not necessary, an active and open attitude is. Along the way, the crew is happy to give non-binding (practical) education in everything that is involved in nautical life, from hoisting the sails to navigating. Driving the ship is also discussed.”
Mr de Boer says the aim of Fair Ferry, which currently has four vessels, is adventure in a way that reduces dependence on fossil fuels.
He said: “While out sailing, I came to the realisation that it was such a shame we no longer used sailing ships for day-to-day purposes. Especially on the North Sea where the wind blows almost all the time.
“I love sharing the beauty of the sea and ships with people and sailing them across the sea to London – safely, sustainably and adventurously.”
Earlier this month he told EcoClipper: “We started pioneering sustainable travel on sailing ships before the pandemic. It turned out that the demand of travellers was three times larger than the supply of vessels.”
Ramsgate – Ostend – Ramsgate: April 28 to May 2
The mini cruise is a five-day trip mooring in the centre of Ostend for two nights before sailing back.
Ramsgate – Ostend: 28 to 29 April 2023
Ostend – Ramsgate: 1 to 2 May 2023
Ramsgate – Ostend: 4 to 5 May 2023
Prices range from €380 to €1.080
Fair Ferry is registered with VZR Garant – a Dutch collective guarantee scheme for the package travel industry.
Morgenster is a training vessel which also takes part in the Tall Ships Race. The Ramsgate-Ostend sailings are listed amongst its 2023 schedule here
Find out more at https://www.fairferry.co.uk/ramsgateostend-booking
That’s certainly not a quid to France booze cruise !!
Wasn’t this meant to be published in 2 days time?
It’s great to see this but it’s not really a ferry service mist people will use, it’s more a sailing ship crew experience.
380 quid to go to Ostende, is that per person or family of 4 ?? And the majority of people in Thanet, and the U.K. or so we are told, have to pay their utility Bill’s.
Should be, have problems to pay their utility Bill’s.
That’s wonderful! A beautiful masted ship carrying passengers. What an experience. I think that is such a rare opportunity to get on a huge sailboat and sail the seas. What fun! Well worth the price in my opinion. It is so unique.
More losses for Council tax payers. This will not provide the financial rejuvenation of the Port.
2/6 per passenger revenue to the council possibly with TDC having all up front costs and potentially having to pay for dredging on an annual basis.
1st April just yet, surely?
Next it will be ferry service to the moon £6000000000
Beautiful looking boat . Expensive days out for a family shame it’s not a lot cheaper. As only the few have the income in these times to have a trip on this boat . If I’m reading this correctly it’s 760 euros per head return and that’s the starting price.
Best of luck to them.
Promoting the event will be very important. As of 03rd April, it’s not listed on the visitthanet web site yet where people can search what’s on section. It really is a unique experience and I wish them well/hope it sells. Any thing that encourages people to visit Ramsgate is a bonus and hopefully it will encourage people to return and book the hotels and restaurants
So beautiful, she’s a lovely ship and we’ll be there to see her sail. A fabulous sight in Ramsgate harbour, and a very special experience to sail in her. I wish the enterprise well, and have only admiration for the endeavor.