Ramsgate Royal Harbour will be hosting visits by two tallships in the coming weeks.
From May 4 there will be a rare opportunity see and explore on-board the full-size replica of a massive 17th-century Spanish Galleon, similar to those of the Spanish Armada that was famously defeated by Sir Francis Drake in 1588.
These weren’t just fighting ships, but massive trading vessels that could carry over 1200 tons of cargo whilst accommodating 150 crew plus merchants, servants and families, not forgetting animals – for food.
Enormous fleets, sometimes up to 70 ships, would sail in convoy between Spain and the Americas or Asia, taking supplies to their colonies and returning with gold, silver and precious gems so it was hardly surprising the ships were armed as they had to frequently defend attacks by pirates and foreign nations – which included England. It was these Spanish galleons that linked nations to trade and share cultures between continents.
‘El Galeon’ was launched in 2009 at Huelva in Spain. The entire timber structure used iroko, pine and beech, reinforced using a totally new and innovative technique to ensure her 500-year-old design meets all 21st-century regulations to safely sail the world’s oceans. After three years of intense research followed by two and a half years in building, the vessel was rigged with over eight miles of traditional rope to handle her 9000 square feet of sails.
The ship’s six decks accommodate a fascinating range of features and exhibits that provide a ‘floating museum’ displaying the history of these magnificent craft and the age in which they operated.
El Galeon is arriving Ramsgate on Wednesday 3 May (subject to the weather) and opens for the public on Thursday 4 May
It will be open at Ramsgate Harbour from 10am until 8pm daily from May 4 until Sunday 14 May. There is a small admission charge with reduced prices for children and families.
The Morgenster will also be in Ramsgate on April 28 departing for a mini cruise to Ostend – as exclusively revealed by The Isle of Thanet News last month.
Launched in 1919 in the Netherlands and after fifty years as a sailing herring lugger, in 1983 ‘Morgenster’ was extensively restored as a brigantine. Morgenster isn’t just a tallship, she’s a thoroughbred sail training vessel regularly providing sea experience opportunities for the Dutch Royal Navy and major European maritime colleges, and is a regular participant in the annual international tallship races.
Morgenster is offering opportunities to join the ship for the ‘mini-cruise’ to Ostend under sail, helping (or just watching) the crew sail the ship, before spending a couple of days using the ship as a ‘base’ to explore Belgium’s largest seaside resort, the ‘City on the Sea’, or taking a 15-minute train journey to Bruges before sailing back to Ramsgate.
It’s a four-day cruise with accommodation in 2 or 4 berth cabins, with all meals included. The mini-cruise is scheduled to depart Ramsgate Harbour on 28 April, returning on 2 May.
The ship will be departing from Ramsgate on 3 May again bound for Ostend, but on this occasion will not be returning to the UK. The single trip can be booked, with return ‘self-arranged’ using train via Brussels or by ferry from France.
There is also an Ipswich – Ramsgate sailing on the Morgenster on 25 to 26 April.
For more information about sailing trips on ‘Morgenster’ contact Fair Ferry directly on 0031 623 529309 or email: [email protected]