Round the UK, over to the continent or up shallow creeks. If you're interested in a fun catamaran which can do it all and is ready to go then here it is. All proceeds will be fed back into the development of SailLink
In September we conducted an extensive test of the sailing schedule between Dover and Boulogne using the boat below. We are grateful to all the helpers who came and took the helm so I could collect the data. This shot shows our tracks between the two ports. You can see that we were able to keep to a very direct course whilst sailing. The objective of conducting it in September was to have the weather we might expect at any time of the season and not just warm sunny days.
Of the 51 crossings which we analysed over the course of one month, either by sailing them or assessing their feasibility from port, only 4 were deemed to have the no-go conditions for the type of boat we will use next year. The beginning of the month saw quite a lot of motoring due to the very balmy conditions. All-in-all and as a result we can plan our schedule to an approximate crossing time of 4 hours pontoon to pontoon. Either we can keep to this because we will use the motor to assist or, when the prevailing conditions exist, we should normally be quicker.
Image courtesy of Imray
With the generous support of enthusiastic individuals we have been able to purchase a small test catamaran. A Fontaine Pajot Corneel 28. This is not to take passengers but simply to test the sailing schedule over the period of the month of September 2023. Knowing that we can run to our envisaged schedule is a critical aspect of the SailLink concept and the last remaining aspect of our due diligence. This test phase will provide the experience we need in order to publish a 2024 sailing schedule that we can keep to. Following the test phase we will sell the vessel to recoup the costs.
Our fastest crossing time was 3h 40mins. The longest was a
bit too long and we now know how to improve this. The feedback from passengers and
the collaboration with the ports was really fantastic. Passengers really
enjoyed being involved when there was something to do, or sitting back and
engaging with others on board and with the surroundings. Each crossing was
different and there was always lots to learn from our captains Jim or Toby.
From several passengers we received the feedback that it was the best journey
they’d ever made!
SEE BELOW WHAT THE PRESS HAD TO SAY
We featured in several news articles on both sides of the channel and at both local and national level.
We are working with our highly experienced advisor, Jim Duerden,
and certification examiners of
Richardson Marine Services to ensure suitability as well as compliance with UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency regulations.
Our sincere thanks to Jim and Stuart Richardson & colleagues for their generous support and effective collaboration.
1 November 2022
Our advisors from the Fast Track programme have some illustrious connections with the sea. Their advisor Clive Bonny is an ancestor of the infamous pirate Anne Bonny who partnered up with Calico Jack back in the 18th century! Clive continues this legacy as he ruthlessly wields his expertise in the cut-throat world of intellectual property protection. We’re glad he’s on our side!
The Blue Living Lab is a business incubation scheme run by Nausicaá, the largest sea-life aquarium in Europe, located on the seafront at Boulogne-sur-Mer. Nausicaá is a very impressive visitor experience and marine research center and thereby a highly complementary partner for SailLink. We aim to work together to provide not only a great destination for our passengers but also on-board marine education and observation activities.
SailLink gained support as part of the UK Department for Transport's funding competition, managed by Innovate UK. As a result we were involved as end-user partner for the project "High performance reefable wingsails feasibility study".
We studied the routes, port access & berthing and met with Border Force , Harbour Managers & local interest groups. The result is that a sailing passenger service working in accordance with the prevailing conditions is very feasible. SailLink is go!
Thanks to our commercial sailing advisor and reality checker Jim Duerden of Top Cat Cruising School for supplying his boat and enthusiastic support!