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An experience sailing on a small tall ship

The Ostend at Anchor is a must for anyone who likes boats and barges. Oostende Voor Anker (as it is also known), is held in the marina in Ostend on the late Spring bank holiday in May. The festival comprises ships and barges that are 50yrs old or older, and our experience of sailing on a tall ship was a treat.

Ostend at Anchor is in its 20th year this year and is getting bigger all the time. All are lovingly cared for and fully dressed for the occasion with an array of flags. The beauty of it is also that you get to look around many of them too. You can find out more about the festival here.

Old barges fully dressed at the Ostend at Anchor festival

Tall ship excursions

At the Ostend at anchor festival, there are several tall ships on one side of the marina that you can go on for free. However, if it is a bit of sailing you are after, then you can do that too. Some of the tall ships were offering excursions priced between €15-€20 for 1.5-2hrs cruise. We chose a sunset 1.5hr cruise priced at €20 each on the Jantje, A lovely two mast topsail schooner.

The Jantje getting ready to go out on a cruise

The Jantje is 28m in length overall, and 5.90 wide with traditional rigging. The skipper, Marten Munstra, motored her on the outward bound journey. However, we found out that she moves beautifully under sail too, which we experienced on our return.

Experience being part of the crew

There is no need to stand idle on board on this trip. You also get to experience some of the essential sailing activities if you like. If you have a head for heights, you can climb the rigging. Martin couldn’t wait to have a go at this (see the short video of him below). As long as you wear the safety harness, you are free to go up under the watchful eye of the crew. He wasn’t the only one who took up the challenge!

Martin climbing the rigging. He thoroughly enjoyed doing it too!
View of the rigging and the platform that you can climb too

Helping with the sails and steering the ship are other things that you can get involved with. Even I was brave enough to try the latter, and Martin did a great job of turning her around and sailing us back. Well, almost back, the skipper took over right at the end to get her safely back to her mooring at the Ostend at Anchor festival site.

Taking my turn at steering Jantje under sail
Views of the sails from the aft deck.

We finished off with a beautiful sunset after a great trip and some excellent opportunities for some sunset photos from the ship.

Sunset viewed from the starboard side

Jantje is a fantastic little ship, and she does more than appear at the Ostend at Anchor festival. You can sail with her on a variety of different excursions from 1 day to trips of several days. Visit to see what they have to offer. After our experience we highly recommend you check it out.

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