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In 2015 and 2016 Expat Club spent several days at sea with the beautiful 28 meters two-master sailing boat De Nele (see 2015 pics here).
This year we will again sail with this beauty, as well as the modern 14 meters sailing ship Arenal. In 2017 we will again privately sail the North Sea a few times with these amazing ships.
This is not one of our boats (unfortunately)
This year we kick-off the sailing season with a major sailing event, namely the Oostende voor Anker festival. This classic maritime event boasts over 150 authentic ships, in all shapes, sizes and colours. The harbour and waters of Oostende will offer us a magnificent sight! What a spectacular day to go sailing!
Today we sail from Oostende to the historic city of Nieuwpoort and back. With its many fish shops and restaurants it is the perfect destination to walk around and have lunch. In previous years we organised this trip as well and each time it was quickly fully booked. Don’t wait too long joining us!
Our trip to Oostende
We leave Brussels by train around 8h00 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.
Our two boats For this trip you can choose between two different boats. The first boat is De Nele, a beautiful two-master of 28 meters. Sailing on this lady is very relaxed. Although you’re not required to do anything except enjoying, some participants will be asked to help hoisting the sails. The second boat is the Arenal, a whole different category boat. It is a brand new ship that offers space to “just” 10 people. It’s therefore much faster and gives more of a sailing experience.
From the train station it is just a few minutes walking to where we board the boat our 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.
We are sailing with a classic yet modern ship that was built only 12 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 brand new ship (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.
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). If you join this boat for the day, which you can indicate during checkout, there will be a surcharge of €45 for the day.
For both boats 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.
We will organise a nice lunch on board with freshly baked fish, scampi, shrimp, salad and some fresh french fries (price €10). Please note that you will need to be able to climb some vertical stairs to get on the docks because the tides cause significant changes in water level of several meters. For everyone on our previous trips this was not a problem (although one lady suffered from a fear of heights).
The arrival time is about 18h00, 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 ticket (it’s namely included in the fee).