Image : Bark Europa
This blog is written using quotes and resources from the Sail Cargo and Sail Travel Market Overview, May 2020. If you are interested in reading this report, please sign up to our newsletter.
Imagine boarding a large, square-rig sailing ship bound for a port across an ocean. You booked a place going out there, and you’ve booked a place coming back. You have never been sailing, you don’t know what to expect. Perhaps you’re going for a longer trip, or maybe just a holiday. What you do know is travelling on a plane isn’t an option. You want to travel emission-free. Sailing is the best way to do that.
After a week being a passenger on a ship you feel at home. You climb the rigging with a trained crew member, you sit in the netting of the bowsprit watching dolphins play on the bow, sometimes it’s windy and rainy so you stay below, feeling the ship flying along and coming out on deck to breath the fresh, salty air and watch the waves. You read on deck and watch sunsets, maybe sunrises if you like. Other passengers read, played games, sleep, talk… With the expanse of ocean around and the ship moving forward purely from the power of the wind, you achieve a state of calm as you travel.
“For the purpose of this report, we have used the term ‘sail travel’ to refer to commercial passenger transport by sailing vessel.” – Sail Cargo and Sail Travel Market Overview 2020
Sail travel has predominantly been a leisure activity such as cruising, chartering a yacht, flotilla… But, as the need for environmentally sustainable travel increases, sailing should be considered a form of transport, like any other. “Getting from A to B, where the actual time away starts from A, rather than B” as the founder of Sailink, Andrew Simons, explains.
Although most sail cargo vessels have trainee positions onboard which would give the traveller the full experience of being crew on a sailing shipping vessel, EcoClipper ships will aim to provide long-distance commercial passenger transport. The ships will have accommodation for 12 passengers and 36 trainees (for those looking for a more hands-on, practical experience). This, combined with other companies that are looking to develop what we call the sail travel industry, will start to provide alternative transport for those wishing to travel in a sustainable and cleaner way.
Keep an eye on:
FairFerry – A ferry service using sailing vessels. There are services running around Scandinavia and to London. They also are planning a trip from Europe to New York. FairFerry offer cruises as well as passenger services.
Sailink – A new company with a plan to connect ports on either side of the Channel using sailing vessels. Focussing on ports with easy rail access, this company aims to make crossing the Channel easy and foot-passenger friendly.
VoyageVert – A company that are offering long-distance travel on yachts. They are currently designing a 110-meter yacht to transport 200 passengers across oceans, with a view to build a fleet.
Sailing holiday websites on traditional vessels (in-case it tickles your fancy.):
These are suggestions and examples only, there are many companies online offering different experiences around the world!
Classic Sailing – https://classic-sailing.co.uk/
Sail Venture – https://venturesailholidays.com/