Tuesday 21 July 2020
From about 08h30 until 20h00
Oostende on the coast
Reserved 2nd class seat direct train (included)
Every year Expat Club spends a few days at sea with the beautiful 28 meters two-master sailing boat De Nele as well as the luxury 14-meter sailing yacht De Arenal. Also this year we return to Oostende at the Northsea for a relaxing day on the water with these lovely boats to celebrate Belgium’s National Day. Depending on the wind conditions we set sail for either Nieuwpoort or Blankenberge, where we will have lunch before returning to Oostende. A return train ticket with reserved seats to/from Oostende is already arranged for you, so the only thing you have to do is to take your sunglasses and sunscreen and let us do the rest. There is a maximum of just 25 guests for the larger boat and 10 for the smaller one, and these trips are virtually always sold out, so don’t wait too long reserving your spot!
What is included?
- A return trip by train (2nd class reserved seats)
- A relaxing morning and afternoon sailing trip on De Nele
- Optional: join the faster luxury yacht De Arenal
- Some drinks & snacks
- The best views of the Belgian coast
- A visit to Nieuwpoort or Blankenberge (depending on wind conditions)
- Some free time in Oostende
- A great group of international people
- A lifetime expat memory
Who can join us?
Expat Club is known for welcoming a wide variety of international people. This creates a special, open-minded, safe and friendly environment in which everyone should feel comfortable. You do not even have to be a member, and of course Belgians are more than invited too. We always welcome many solo travellers, couples, retirees, small groups of friends and on this trip certainly also families.
How to add a child ticket?
Expat Club loves welcoming the youngest expats, especially for this lovely sailing trip! Many children joined us in the past. If you want to bring your child(ren) up until 18 years, please first add the regular adult ticket(s) to the cart and then go to the cart page. On the cart page, there is a child ticket available for just €60 (De Nele only, De Arenal upon request only).
Like any Expat Club trip, we carefully planned the program. You won’t have to do anything, except show up on time and in good spirit at Brussels Midi. All below times are approximate. Actual departure times by train will be communicated to the participants by email.
08h30 – Departure to Oostende
09h45 – Arrival in Oostende
10h00 – Boarding De Nele / De Arenal
10h15 – Departure for Nieuwpoort (or Blankenberge)
13h00 – Arrival Nieuwpoort (or Blankenberge)
15h00 – Departure by sailing boat to Oostende
17h45 – Arrival Oostende
18h40 – Departure to Brussels
20h00 – Arrival in Brussels
Today we sail South from Oostende to the historic city of Nieuwpoort (or Blankenberge). With its many fish shops and restaurants it is the perfect destination to walk around and have lunch. You could even take a tram to the beach area of Nieuwpoort and enjoy some time there. As an alternative we may sail also to Blankenberge to the North, but this depends largely on the wind conditions. In previous years we organised this trip several times and almost every time it was quickly fully booked. So don’t wait too long joining us!
From the train station it is just a few minutes walking to where we board the boats. We first receive safety instructions as well as sailing instructions. Indeed, as a group we must do some work to get this ship going. Of course the friendly and helpful staff will show us what to do, but it’s a big ship and some extra pairs of hands are necessary to hoist the sails. No worries, sailing experience is not necessary! Everybody can join us on this memorable trip and if you don’t feel like helping out, you can just relax while others do the work.
After a few hours sailing we will reach Nieuwpoort. This little town has a long history. Besides, it boast Northern Europe’s largest yacht harbour. We will spend some time here to walk around and have lunch before we board our boat again and sail back towards Oostende. Lunch is not yet included in the trip fare, but you can easily get lunch in Nieuwpoort (from something cheap and quick to something fancy, there is something for everyone).
Back in Oostende
The arrival time in Oostende is about 17h45, but of course this depends to a great extend on the wind conditions. We make a short walk through Oostende and finish the day with a nice drink and maybe a quick snack before we head back to Brussels by train. The estimated arrival time is around 20h00. Note that we must travel as a group. If you would like to return earlier (if possible) or later, you are responsible for getting your own train ticket.
De Nele sailing ship
We are sailing with a classic yet modern ship that was built only 15 years ago: De Nele. “Past, present and future come together on board this two-master. The “Nele” was built after the design of the historical Oostende two-mast smack and in accordance with the best sailing traditions. However, the ship is brand-new! It boasts exceptional classic line and seaworthiness. In short, nostalgia and craftmanship going hand in hand.”
On board we will find everything that we would need for a comfortable day at sea, including seats, a restroom and a kitchen. Expat Club offers a limited selection of drinks and snacks, but if you would like something else the crew could help you as well with some drinks for affordable (= low) prices.
The Arenal is a new ship from 2016 of the Hanse type. It is 13,95 meters long and 4,38 meters wide with a sail surface of 103 m³. It’s a modern fast sailing ship. Surely this guarantees a complete different sailing experience than with the other ship.
Sailing experience is not necessary, but everybody needs to actively participate when the skipper needs your help (e.g. going to the other side of the boat). Also, keep in mind that it may splash a bit, so watertight clothes are key. If you join this boat for the day, which you can indicate during checkout, there will be a surcharge of €60.
Train to Oostende
We leave Brussels by train around 8h30 from Midi Station. Your 2nd class train ticket is included in the price, so don’t worry about standing in line or figuring out how that ticketing machine works. You will receive all information about where we meet and what you need to bring on this trip a few days in advance. After a comfortable ride in a reserved section of the train we arrive in Oostende, the largest coastal city in Belgium.
- The trip will take place irrespective of weather conditions, unless it is not safe to sail. This decision will be made by the ship’s Captain.
- Life vests are available on both boats (required for children).
- Make sure to get proper clothes (wind- and watertight jacket/pants, the Decathlon has this)