A new age of sail may be coming

I have been following this for some time. Thought this might be of interest. Wind powered tankers and freighters. The sailing rig sure looks different from the Lug sail on my Scamp.

Wind-powered cargo ship sets sail in a move to make shipping greener | CNN


Very cool.

I’m in vacation mode. Rode my ebike yesterday over an hour to a neighboring town to have lunch with a friend yesterday. Seeing more and more ebikes and e-cargo bikes (as a minivan for young parents and children in the city) on expanding and improved bike lane infrastructure in the greater metro area. Better environmentally and socially. Bikers actually wave and exchange pleasantries at red lights. :smiling_face:



If I owned cargo ships I’d be using these sails. Cutting emissions is great and saving $ is even greater.

Two of our kids use their ebikes often. One to get around on their chicken farm, and the other to commute back and forth to the University where they teach and do research. Both really like them.

Looks different from the lug on my canoe as well…

A great comeback idea for cargo ships, especially if solar is incorporated for additional propulsion. Speed can’t be an argumentative factor, given the global shipping industry’s recent covid-supply line slow down. So why not go green.

Scamp was high on my “next boat build” list for a long time. But have been closely following the development of a new 21st Century sailing canoe prototype, designed by Howard Rice and company. Waiting with baited breath for his plans to hit the market. An earlier creation, that he sailed/paddled around Cape Horn…

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Looks like I will have to add a fourth boat to my wish list! Howard Rice’s story of sailing the Scamp and having to abandon it in a storm is quite remarkable. These 3 are the ones I have been daydreaming about.

Sailboat & Rowboat with a Cabin - Sailing RowCruiser - Angus Rowboats

15’ Micro cruiser | Bedard Yacht Design

Long Steps Plans PDF (duckworks.com)

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The idea of sailing freighters has been brewing for at least a couple of years now. First I heard of it was an article about a small company that was delivering goods by sailboat (not a modded freighter) in the Puget Sound area. They said they hoped that sail power would return to its early days of being common transport over water.

One advantage besides the obvious one is that sailing vessels don’t need such deep harbors as big ships do. This would allow lighter goods to be delivered at more ports, and more quickly, without the onerous procedures that container ships have to abide by. This in turn frees up space and union labor at the deepwater ports.

Full circle? I like it!

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I saw an article with what looked like a giant free floating Jib Sail on big boats.

Those looked to be used for big crossings using the trade-winds.

Those you show look to be for coastal sailing, so maybe those will all be able to help cut emissions,

Here is another look at the sail designs for freighters.

Giant inflatable sails could make shipping greener | CNN

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I don’t know if you have stumbled across ‘SailCargo’. Several years into building a large sail & solar cargo ship in CostaRica. Quite the project & worth checking out.

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Thanks, I was aware of the project. A fine example of why I like this place so much. It’s a constant learning experience. With helpful people. Neat story, the clear hardwood made me jealous!

I have been seeing plans for wind-powered cargo and passenger cruise ships for at least three decades, and not one has yet put in service and long survived. One reason is that wind-powered routes will usually have to be longer than motor-powered ones to stay in the good winds , and “time is money.” Another reason is the winds don’t blow as reliably as modern ship engines run. Another reason is most wind-powered ship proposals create windage that is a hazard in storm conditions. Of course, wind-powered, ocean crossing, cargo ships have been in service for several centuries, but shipping costs were much higher with them.
At our current state of technology, the real opportunity for “greening” cargo transport is for us to buy less stuff.

Buying less stuff can - and probably must - solve a big part of the problem on both ends of the product life cycle, that’s for sure. On the other hand, rather than finding one big Eureka (!) answer, I think it more likely that we’ll see a bunch of smaller solutions with niche applications that together have an important cumulative impact.


This company is going old school and new tech for sailing cargo, their “iron jennie”(the engine) is electric for when the wind doesn’t cooperate.