Sail ships

Chinese junk inspired sails:

The more players the merrier:

More Champagne, Cognac and Fresh Cheese head to you the sustainable way:

They look to be using modern rigs that don’t require sending 5 or 10 people up the mast to reduce sail and carry around extra crew to replace the ones that fall off the mast, so that looks like progress :slight_smile:
OTOH the weight of cargo per person you have to pay still won’t be a good ratio.

That may be why they carry high value cargo, not coal.

More about the future of rotor sails:

A real life cargo carrying sailing ship in 2022:


GRAIN DE SAIL moored in Cherbourg (France) . A modern cargo sailboat (72ft / 24.24m overall - 50 ton loading capacity). A schooner type rigging with equal masts, owned and operated by a French shopkeeper / trader of coffee and chocolate having the marketing idea to fetch these products on the other side of the world in Latin America, limiting to the maximum the emission of CO2. The ship is scheduled to make approximately 2 transatlantic trips each year.
One round trip lasts about 3 months. The ship sails from France with 15 000 / 20 000 bottles of wine to New-York for wine shops, restaurants and local wine bars, and brings back Latin american coffee and chocolate to France.
Photo: Michel Leparquier, shipping manager (retired) (c)

Sounds like a backwards triangle trade and not a terribly effective way of doing business. I get that the cargoes and destinations make sense but it sounds a lot like sailing against the prevailing winds and currents for 2 out of 3 legs of the journey. Sure, as a schooner it’s an upwind boat unlike a square-rigger, but remember: gentlemen never sail to weather! Beating upwind across the Atlantic from France to New York and then again from New York to Latin America is an absolutely awful way of getting around. Surely there has got to be a better business model for sailing cargo ships than this…

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TRADE winds got their name for a reason :wink:

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I don’t think the intention is to compete with mega container ships on transit time, freight costs, or profit margin.
There may be something else than MONEY that drives this project.

PS> Besides, wine gets better with age.

A look at Admiralty publication Ocean Passages of the World might be in order. Those running the ship might like to get paid in their lifetime.

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With professional sail crews and existing knowledge of the wind patterns, they’ll be fine.


This is an old pattern used in the US’s early years of trade. There are volumes of records detailing the best saling routes accumulated during the age of sail.

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Yes I’m sure they will be using all available info, incl. old historical records to decide on the route and time of the year to do their crossings. But they will also use the best available forecasts and weather routing services during the passage.

Their aim is not to copy the old ways, so they have the latest and best of navigation and communication equipment to assist them in the venture, which is not to make money, or to get the Blue Ribbon.

At the same time there are similarities between this new ship and some of the old trading ships. Here is an coastal trading ketch used to trade around Britain and near European countries at the beginning of last century:


BESSIE ELLEN passing under the Llanthony Lift bridge, Gloucester heading for Neilsons dry dock. BESSIE ELLEN is one of Britain’s last wooden coasting ketches, she was built in 1904 by William Kelly in Plymouth.
Photo: Eileen Hayes ©

(112) Dar Młodzieży w Sydney - 1988 - YouTube

Matthew Maury was a 19th century US Navy officer who compiled sailing directions based on reports from sea going captains. His findings published in 1850 may be of some use to this new boutique trade.
They are available in The Princeton University archives.

(https://catalog.princeton.edu/catalog/9976737903506421)

Also https://cornellsailing.com/publications/world-cruising-routes/

Modern weather routing does change things, but there is still an easy way and a hard way.

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This is the best way to get a sailship from A to B: