New carbon-free ferry service departs from Dover – and we’re onboard IG News

Irshadgul News report,

A new ferry between England and France aims to significantly cut CO2 emissions crossing the Channel. positive news test it

Ver-thump. Against the turquoise waves the bow of the yacht falls down, the English Channel raining down on the deck. We are in the middle of the Strait of Dover, the busiest international sea route in the world.

From shore, the waters seemed calm, but now from here – a motorway of massive cargo ships and round-the-clock Dover crossing for Calais ferry service – the sea seems much cuter.

“It is a moderate to moderate sea state,” says Captain Jim Duerden, meaning the waves are between 50 cm and 250 cm in height. In the world of sailing, this is relatively quiet.

Nevertheless, the bow of the Mago Merlino, the 12-metre-long sailing catamaran we are currently riding, continues to dip back into the waves. It is completely hilarious.

But this crossing is not just for fun. We are making our way to Boulogne-sur-Mer in France on a brand new ferry crossing service set up by SailLink.

Currently in the pilot phase, Duarden and company founder Andrew Simmons have spent two years back and forth from England to France, with the aim of launching a green sailboat service in 2023, testing the route and providing time and passengers. The processes have been streamlined.

I like to focus on the sailing experience, and to be able to tell the passengers back home that they really learned something

“I’m not trying to be a competitor with Ferries—I can’t take a lorry,” says Simmons, who saw the idea of ​​creating an adventurous, green travel option between the two countries. “I want to focus on pedestrians and cyclists, the cultural connections between the heart of the harbor, the sailing experience, the real proximity to the sea, and [for passengers] to be able to go back home and say [they’ve] Really learned something too.”

This crossing definitely ticks all those boxes. Passengers are encouraged to help when they wish – there are ropes to pull, sails to be hoisted, tackles to be made. You can also visit Helming. The response so far has been positive.

“We have a mixed bag of travelers, some locals who have come for a few days, and some who are really trying to [travel] much further. We have passengers too,” says Simmons.


Captain Jim Duarden riding the Mago Merlino on his way to France. Image: Daniel Fahey

François Louillet was one of the first passengers to use the service. Local to Boulogne-sur-Mer, he was using Saillink to cross the Channel, heading to London for the night before heading back home via car ferry.

“I love traveling between France and the UK and I want to try this new way of travel because it is positive and green,” he says. And did he enjoy the crossing? “Yes so much.”

Although exact details have yet to be announced, the Dover to Boulogne-sur-Mer route will likely run from Easter to October. A second route between Ramsgate and Dunkirk is on the cards for 2024, with the more challenging Newhaven to Dieppe crossing due to start in 2025.


Travelers are encouraged to help out when they wish – so we got involved. Pictured: Danielle Fahey

A new high-performance catamaran will be used for the daily ferry service, which is specially designed to cross the channel as quickly as possible. Capable of holding 12 passengers at a time, departures will be timed with tides to maximize speed. Depending on the conditions, the crossing should take approximately three to four and a half hours.

As a navigator and environmental scientist, Simmons previously worked with companies such as fairtransport, a Dutch firm that transports organic and traditionally manufactured goods, such as rum and coffee, by yacht. Since their boats do not have engines, the voyages are carbon-free.

SailLink is also expected to be carbon-free, but the Maritime and Coast Guard Agency (MCA) currently requires commercial boats to have diesel engines. Currently, the catamaran has a solar powered electric motor and a diesel engine.

I wanted to try this new way of traveling because it is positive and green

“I’m hoping – and hoping for Andy – that his boat will be [100 per cent sustainable]With two electric locomotives,” says Duarden.

“It’s not that we can’t do it, it’s the more commercial aspect of it because you have to be able to get yourself out of trouble with the engine… MCA, which is governed by all of us, won’t allow our Has two electric motors at the moment [but] I think this will change,” he continued.

Sailing is one of the most eco-friendly ways of travelling. It emits less than 1g of CO2 per km, per passenger. By comparison, a short distance flight emits about 156g and a pedestrian on a ferry emits 19g.

Ticket prices start at £85 per crossing. If sailing conditions are unfavorable, the yacht may need to use its own engine. There may also be delays and changes in schedule depending on the season, although SailLink will work with local ferry operators to ensure that passengers can cross the Channel if they are unable to sail.

“It should become a common type of public transport between one country and another,” Simmons says.

Main Image: Nikki Wegener/SailLink 2022

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