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New Dawn Traders' ship brings luxury goods from Portugal to Deal in Kent

A sailing vessel built 100 years ago is being used to deliver products from Portugal right to the people of Deal for the first time.

The wind-powered ship is being helmed by New Dawn Traders, an experimental business which imports goods from countries all over the world.

The ship has been travelling across the world for 100 years. Photo by Blue Schooner Company
The ship has been travelling across the world for 100 years. Photo by Blue Schooner Company

Alex Geldenhuys, director of the company, said in the age of large-scale shipping she wants the project to involve real people in the business of importing and exporting food.

She said: "In England 90% of everything we consume has spent time on a container ship.

"Since the container was invented, fewer and fewer people work with the sea, either as fishermen or sailors.

"I think it's just turning people's attention back towards the sea and what's beyond our borders, and how we connect with that."

The team of 12 sailors have taken five weeks travelling from Portugal to France, before sailing across to Bristol, Newhaven and Deal.

Alex Geldenhuys set up New Dawn Traders in 2013
Alex Geldenhuys set up New Dawn Traders in 2013

When it leaves the Kent coast tomorrow, the ship will then sail up to London for the first time, before heading to Great Yarmouth and Holland.

After docking in Holland it will make a long journey back to France, to prepare for a winter trek across the Atlantic.

Will Greenham, director of Smugglers Records in Deal, is one of the trading company's 'port allies'.

It has helped with the logistics of the vessel arriving at the seaside town, and will be selling some of the products in its cafe in Sandwich and record store in Deal.

"It connects us more with the products," he said, "but also it directly connects the consumer with understanding where their food and where their luxury items come from.

The ship arrived in Deal yesterday morning. Photo credit - Mike Owens
The ship arrived in Deal yesterday morning. Photo credit - Mike Owens

"So for us, we just felt so excited about being part of that."

Some of the products being delivered include olive oil, tapenade, almonds, chocolate and coffee.

The ship is also importing herbs and spices such as cayenne pepper and lemongrass.

Although Smugglers will be selling some of the products, people along the coast have pre-ordered items which they will collect over the next few days.

The ship cannot dock in Deal, so a smaller vessel will deliver some of the items, before docking in Ramsgate.

The ship is powered by wind and has a crew of 12 people. Photo by Blue Schooner Company
The ship is powered by wind and has a crew of 12 people. Photo by Blue Schooner Company

Gabrielle Fromentin, who works for Smugglers, organised the arrival of the ship in Deal and said the project has brought people together from across the import line.

She said: "It's a very human scale. We're in direct communication with the producers in Portugal, and also with the captain and the crew on the boat.

"The whole model has this amazing ability to connect communities."

Read more: All the latest news from Deal

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