top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
arrow down

Sailing firm offers greener Channel crossing by catamaran

A British sailor and environment expert is trialling daily crossings for foot passengers and cyclists

Saillink founder, Andrew Simons, on a catermaran

Saillink founder, Andrew Simons, says his crossings for up to 12 passengers are about the ocean experience Pic: Andrew Simons

A new sailing boat passenger service between Dover and Boulogne-sur-Mer begins a trial this month ahead of its official launch next year.

Trial tickets nearly sold out

SailLink aims to provide a sustainable mode of transport between England and France, designed for foot passengers and cyclists.

The pilot phase will run from September 10 to 18, with one or two crossings per day, and most journeys have already sold out.

The company then plans to run one journey each way between April and October 2023, with each leg taking around four hours. 

Boarding and disembarking will take no longer than 30 minutes, including customs and passport control.

The catamarans will be able to take 12 passengers at a time, with space for luggage in the hold.

Read more: Port of Dover queues: A one-off or a long-term problem?

Links up with local transport

Andrew Simons, boatbuilder, sailor and environmental scientist, had the idea when making trips to England from his home in Switzerland.

“You need to link the train and ferry and end up having to go to an out-of-town ferry terminal,” he said. 

“You pass marinas where the boats are and think, why can’t we use one of those?”

Help sail the boat

As well as being near transport links, the chosen ports are closer to town and to attractions such as the Nausicaá aquarium in Boulogne, with which Yorkshireman Mr Simon is working to provide educational materials.

Passengers can even help with sailing the boat.

“It’s not just about travel – it’s about the ocean experience, and ocean awareness.”

Mr Simons said he does not think seasickness will be an issue. 

“People get seasick on a ferry because they’re in a large building space and don’t have much eye contact with the ocean which governs their movements.”

A route between Ramsgate and Dunkirk is planned for 2024 and one from Newhaven to Dieppe in 2025. 

Tickets for the trial are €100 for adults, €70 for children and €20 extra for bicycles. 

Related articles

When will Eurostar restart trains from Ashford and Calais-Fréthun?

French minister’s reaction to Dover: Don’t blame us for Brexit

‘We sailed to France on a barge and took our time house hunting’

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now