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New Sustainable Passenger Service due to Launch in the Channel

A new green cross-channel ferry service is due to launch in September 2022, taking passengers across the Channel via fast commercial sailing catamarans. SailLink will shortly be transiting passengers between Dover and Boulogne-Sur-Mer, with a crossing time of approximately 4 hours. The first-of-its-kind Channel ferry service will take the first passengers during its pilot phase from the 10-18th September, with tickets available now on SailLink’s website. The official launch of the daily service is expected in the spring of 2023.

SailLink is a new cross-channel ferry service specifically for foot passengers, cycle tourists and small groups looking for a unique travelling experience with sustainable credentials. It will use purpose-built sailing vessels to take a maximum of twelve passengers between the two attractive and accessible coastal destinations of Dover and Boulogne-Sur-Mer.

The SailLink vessels are fast commercial sailing catamarans and are fitted with electric propulsion for marina access and auxiliary power. Though, the company will work with the existing ferry operators to carry passengers to maintain their travel itineraries when weather conditions would make a specific crossing uncomfortable.

Founded by Andrew Simons, a boatbuilder, sailor and environmental scientist, SailLink was conceived as an adventurous and green option for travelling from England to France. He worked with Jim Duerden, a highly experienced sailor and RYA catamaran sailing instructor, to develop the founding concepts that underpin SailLink and determine the first route to launch from.  

Andrew Simons, Founder and Director of SailLink, said:

“At SailLink, we are delighted to commence our first crossing between these two great ports, as brilliant destinations in their own right; in Dover, there is a wealth of history and activities, and in Boulogne-sur-Mer, a beautiful beach and old town as well as the largest sea-life aquarium in Europe. We’ve received enthusiastic support from both the Port of Dover and port authority at Boulogne-Sur-Mer and greatly look forward to the launch in September.”

Christian Pryce, Chief Commercial Officer at the Port of Dover, said:

“We’re excited to play a part in this innovative project with SailLink, which ties their vision to deliver sustainable and active travel across the Channel in with the Port’s ambitions to become an entirely Green Shipping Corridor.  Dover’s strategic location on the Short Straits crossing makes us an ideal location for the launch of this service and we look forward to working alongside the SailLink team on their upcoming pilot and to see how their operation develops.”

In their first year, SailLink plan to schedule one return crossing per day. Border formalities will be conducted on departure and arrival by the mobile border agents – meaning passengers can go from the quaint harbour cafés at either marina and hop aboard the boat for sailing within 30 minutes.

The SailLink routes are designed according to the prevailing winds and tidal streams, as well as the accessibility and suitability of the ports. At both destinations, there is a fantastic offering of attractions and onward connections via public transport or cycle routes. During the crossing, passengers have the option of joining in with the sailing or helping with regular marine sampling and observations for the company’s research partners.

Prices for the pilot phase are £85 for an adult one-way and £150 for a return. For further information or enquiries, please see the SailLink website.


A selection of pictures are available to download here until 24/08/2022

Notes to Editors

The Port of Dover is the UK’s busiest international ferry port, handling more lorries than all other UK ports put together through an unrivalled and fluid operation capable of facilitating 120 ferry movements and 110 miles of freight per day. £144bn worth of UK trade and 33% of all trade with the EU is handled by the Port of Dover. 

Dover is also the UK’s second busiest cruise port, has a marina and property business primed to benefit from a new waterfront and a busy cargo business handling fresh produce, containers, project cargo, general cargo and grain operating from a state-of-the-art terminal.

The Port of Dover holds ambitious net zero targets, placing it at the vanguard of decarbonisation within the UK ports industry. More information on these can be read here.