The revival of sails/wind power

The interest for sails or wind power in some form is increasing in the shipping world:

They’ve been talking about that for ~40 years, it’ll be interesting to see if anything finally comes if it.

More sail power projects is developed almost daily it appears:

Not too much interest here so I revive this old thread:

As a master in square rigged sail, I can assure everyone that it’s days as a cargo carrying solution are over … unless the idiot global warming zealots take over.

It has the same problem as electrical grids powered by renewables; you need to provide 100% backup power. So you increase the cost before you even start by requiring a capital outlay to cover two forms of propulsion.

Ask yourself, in all your years at sea how often was your relative wind NOT from ahead? Sailing ships can’t sail into the wind. Your destination is always upwind.

It’s dead.

P.S. Don’t tell me the wind is free. If that is true, so is free lobsters for all.

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Square rigged ships could sail within 6 points of the wind during Napoleonic Wars so that’s not quite accurate.

Future of wind assist is in kites IMO though so that won’t apply here. Rigging and maintenance costs are too high otherwise. Material advances pioneered by the fishing industry can make kite assist profitable if the setting, adjusting and retrieval can be automated.

My ship, based on an 1850s concept, sails at 60 degrees relative to the wind (depending on the skill of the helmsman), makes 10 degrees leeway, and is slow (5 - 7 knots). Tacking and wearing lose ground such that it can take many miles to recover. You can work out how many miles the ship needs to cover to achieve one mile to windward, and how much extra time it takes to make good that mile.

Don’t tell me sailing ships can go to windward.

As for kites, go for it, but why? Fuels that can power a ship to windward are cheap … and getting cheaper. Only the catastrophist zealots led by the doom pixie, Greta Thunberg (kowtow to her if you wish) can cause those costs to rise.

Show me a working, wind-powered ship carrying cargo commercially without alternative propulsion and I’ll be interested. Until then, sailing ships don’t sail to windward.

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You’re a blathering dipshit if you’re attempting to tell me sailing ships cannot sail to windward, even square rigged ones. They cannot do so efficiently due to leeway. That doesn’t mean they cannot do so.

Nobody has proposed a purely wind powered vessel. All modern sail designs and proposals are wind assist for commercial vessels.

Is that your considered opinion? Bye.

So a majority of the world’s population are idiots in your opinion??
Luck there are some smart ones, like you that know better (on everything).

All those people that actually study how to use wind and solar as power source are obviously total idiots. They are wasting their time even trying.
Why don’t they consult smart people, like Jughead, before putting their money into something that can NEVER be done? Idiots!!!

Nothing new has happened since the1850s that can change how wind can be used to propel ships across oceans. Everybody know that.
Just ask anybody that is Master on square riggers.(Except those who actually know anything about the modern world)

all the windmills will stop the wind so it wont work like it once could…

container freight based on delivery to the hour, if we are happy to give that up then sailing cargo will work like it once did.

Modern fast hulls sail in apparent wind so faster then the wind downwind but I dont see anything made from steel doing that

Why? The idea is wind assisted because it significantly reduces fuel consumption.

How do you know about this so-called majority? People believe in renewable energy right up until they have to pay extra for this supposedly free source of power. Ask people if they believe in renewables, a majority say yes. Asked if they still believe in renewables (I’m speaking of solar and wind mostly) when it causes a doubling of electricity prices and the majority changes their mind.

Australia had the cheapest electricity in 2000. Prices have now doubled and we have perhaps the most expensive. Reason? Renewable targets imposed by governments - without any cost-benefit analysis.

Why, if renewables are so cheap, have consumer prices doubled? Everywhere renewables have been introduced officially to the grids, prices have increased. The greater the proportion of renewables, the greater the increase in power prices. Prove me wrong.

Who pays? Everybody. Every conceivable good and service is affected by excessive electricity costs. Nothing is unaffected.

Why do we do it? To feel smugly superior that we are doing our bit to save the world - knowing full well that Australia could disappear off the map tomorrow and the world’s emissions would continue to rise and the world’s climate will do whatever it wants regardless. So our stupidity has no effect on the climate. And nobody’s hurting themselves more than we do.

Who’s hurt the most? The poor who can least afford higher prices.

Congratulations enviro-zealots. You’ve stabbed the poorest in their backs.

Congratulations. We agree. I’m warming to you, mate. Although there are multiple off-grid applications for those renewables, they truly stuff up grids.

You left out a couple of words. Let’s put them in.
"Nothing new has happened since the1850s that can change how wind can be used to propel ships across oceans cost-effectively.

Hmmmmm. I’m a master of squared rigged sail, sailing on the oceans today, presumably as a member of this “modern world”. And I say sail propulsion for commercial cargo-carrying ships in the hope of making sail commercially viable just makes a few idiots feel smugly superior … or someone is slipping them some cash.

How about renewables power for launching space missions next? As useful as barbed wire fences to keep out mosquitos.

P.S. Oh dear. We are back on climate change. Beware. This rouses emotions.


Does it really? What does it save and what does it cost over the life of the ship? Can the ship’s propulsion system be smaller and cheaper as a result? Compared to what? Is it worth doing overall?

Or is this just all about the dreaded, evil, but unfortunately essential-for-all-life-on-earth gas, CO2?

Or, alternatively, is this just all about seeming to be so wonderfully woke? … prior to being broke, I predict.

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Looks like an 1850s square rig to me/s

Maybe Jughead can skipper her. They can sing sea shanty’s about how global warming is a big hoax.


we have all crossed oceans, how often does the smoke stack smoke go forwards…
( answer, when the sails can be used)


I wouldn’t be seen dead aboard such an abomination. Just imagine the preening owners wanting an ultra-green captain and crew just as fanatical as them to display their masterpiece on the world stage? I don’t think it could get itself out of the harbour. And what does it do?

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Probably not as it needs to be fully capable without wind.

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