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Novel Idea I have never heard of anything like this before! (slight sarcasm)  RSS feed

 
Sam Barber
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Company is set to introduce the first cargo ship propulsed by sails. This is an awesome idea to being to the 21st century the only thing I don't like is then saying it has never been done before. What they should say is that it has never been done before with this size of ship. Because foir thousands of years that is one of the only ways people shippped goods over waterways.
http://www.gizmag.com/b9-shipping-cargo-sailing-ships/23059/
 
Charles Tarnard
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I love how they state 'no rigging' as a positive for wind catch and cargo hold when what I really think they mean is 'no rigging; useful because nobody knows how to rig anymore.'

It is pretty neat, especially if it takes off in any way.
 
Sam Barber
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Yes the no rigging would be good.
 
Chris Olson
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Sam Barber wrote:Yes the no rigging would be good.


It's easy to come up with an idea like that and sometimes not so easy to implement it. Sails have been used to propel ocean-going vessels since at least 300AD. But not that type of sail. No way to reef down when the weather turns bad other than turning the sail out of the wind? Ummmm.......riiiight......... That ship won't make one passage across the North Atlantic without either being knocked down or sunk.

Passage on the North Sea with our 54 foot yacht on a relatively calm day with 30-35 kt wind

http://youtu.be/rX22FkE-UF8
 
John Polk
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I have sailed on almost every conceivable type of water craft, including square-riggers.
You will not see me on that death trap.
It is a great idea, but to make it into a reality, with today's reduced crews seems far fetched.
Once fuels become scarce enough, they may need to revert to large crewed true sailing vessels.

The 'no rigging' claim means massive spars (to be able to support themselves), as well as servo motors to do the work of dozens of sailors. With that much weight aloft, that monstrosity would be horrendous in any kind of bad weather.

An error in the article stated that most of the world's shipping depends on bunker fuel. Not so. Bunker fuel is used on steamships. Other than the U.S., hardly anybody has built a steamship in the past 50 years. Diesel fuel is far more common today than bunkers. (Bunker fuel is basically crude oil with most of the volatiles refined out of it - extremely high BTU rating for the cost.)

 
Chris Olson
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I'm going to say it flat out won't work. Sailing yachts, and even Tall Ships, are heavily ballasted below the waterline and have deep fin keels to provide righting moment and counteract sail thrust sailing on a reach. Cargo ships are top heavy in the first place, and then add the weight of masts that have to weigh many tons with no standing rigging? And no way to change sail shape to de-power it high winds? And no way to reef the mains to move the center of effort lower? The concept ship shown in the photo won't survive even a 30 kt blow. And with the keel required for a sailplan of that magnitude there is no port on earth that could get the ship into port to load or unload it.

Whoever came up with that obviously knows nothing about sailing and just dreamed up the latest "green" scheme that is more concept than practicality.
 
John Polk
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Whoever came up with that obviously knows nothing about sailing

I agree.
Once properly ballasted, I would love to see what the stress tests show under less than favorable conditions.
I was once on an improperly loaded ship, and we were popping rivets all the way across the Pacific.

With all of that weight aloft, and proper ballast to compensate, there would be little left for cargo.

 
Chris Olson
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Yeah, the largest sailing vessels ever sailed were the Windjammers from the early 20th century. Many of them displaced in the thousands of tons and had cargo carrying capability of up to 5,000 tons. But they were designed and built by expert shipbuilders and sailors. Sailing these days is pretty much centered around private yachts up to 70 feet in length, and most of the designs and sailplans in use today come from the world of trans-ocean racing.

Last year we watched the Tall Ships come into our home port for the first time in 3 years - they are beautiful and it is quite fun to go sailing on them - for a fee you can get on as crew on passenger excursions if you are an experienced sailor. These historic sailing ships are absolutely gorgeous and over 1/4 million people came down to the waterfront to watch them sail into the harbor

http://youtu.be/hHsI1CY7KXY

There is one fact about sailing that few people realize - the technology has not changed in over 2000 years, despite all the new radical stuff that has been tried. Advancements have been made in hull and keel design, and use of rigid airfoils to make boats faster, specifically for racing. But the basic concept of the sail being an airfoil and proper technique in hoisting, setting, trimming and dousing sails, from the smallest sailing dinghy to the majestic Tall Ships of years past, has not changed in over 2 millennia.
 
Sam Barber
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On a slightly different sailing matter I do like this idea! Delivering produce to market via sail! I think that this would be an awesome Idea for the great lakes! I feel like if you sailed up and down the coast picking up organic produce then sailed down to Chicago to sell it I feel like there would be a pretty decent market to sell to in chicago. I think that people who really want to remove petroleum from their food supply chain but don't grow whatever you ship would be interested in it. I also feel like a ship would be a great way to transport produce. If you made some slight modifications it seem like the hold could be kept at refrigerator temperatures. This would be also be a good business if the oil ran out or was jacked up in price. I imagine that in todays market people would pay extra for this because of the good feels and the good food it would provide them. But in a time when oil is super expensive it may be a way to provide fruit for a lower price then conventional refrigerator trucks. Just my thoughts.
http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2013/s3767549.htm
 
Chris Olson
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It would probably work better in coastal areas than on the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes are impassable to sailing vessels for close to 6 months of the year. Good sailing is about from June 1 to first part of October on the Great Lakes, and even then the weather is unpredictable and fierce storms can develop that make ocean storms look like child's play.

Lake Superior is considered the third most dangerous body of water on earth for sailors, and she has thoroughly kicked the butts of ocean captains with 40 years experience on the North Atlantic. Even the 1,000 foot freighters stay in the safety of the harbor when Superior kicks up her heels. There are so many shipwrecks from the St Mary's to 40 nm outside of Whitefish Bay (something like 350 of them and 6,000 sailors lost at sea) in the last 100 years that they have made a shipwreck preserve out of the area. Including the most famous of them all - the 728 foot Edmund Fitzgerald that went down with all hands on Nov 10, 1975 after being caught in a storm with 100 kt winds and 40-60 foot seas.

The killer on the Great Lakes is the wave interval, which is much more frequent and violent than ocean waves. Great Lakes sailors that venture out of the bays out onto the open lakes are made of sterncloth. And the freight business is best left to the specially designed "Lakers". Ocean captains are no longer allowed to bring their ocean-going freighters into the Great Lakes - a licensed Great Lakes Pilot takes over at the St Lawrence and has command of the ship while it is on the Great Lakes.
 
John Polk
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Along those lines, when I lived in the Virgin Islands, seasonally, the sailing schooners from the Dominican Republic would sail into St. Thomas with fresh produce. There was always a line at the docks to buy this, even though the supermarkets had the same goods on their shelves.

Every year, right after harvest, several sailing vessels would arrive from the island of Dominica with gunny sacks full of fresh limes. Everybody would stock up with as many as they felt they could keep.

In that region, there was a strong belief in dealing with other West Indians, and the sailing tradition was a part of everybody's DNA.

We would sail out in the early a.m., and return with a load of fresh lobsters in the afternoon.
Always sold out on the spot.
When we used an outboard motor to do the same, we often struggled to sell our load - even at $1 per pound.
Seeing a wooden sailing vessel dock under wind power alone was enough to get the locals into the buying frame of mind.

 
Chris Olson
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John Polk wrote:
In that region, there was a strong belief in dealing with other West Indians, and the sailing tradition was a part of everybody's DNA.


While sailing is a long tradition in the Caribbean, the people don't really care what sort of vessel catches the fish. We sailed our yacht into the USVI last winter and had an anchorage there for about a week. While sport fishing is alive and well, commercial fishing is about dead there. The shelf off St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John is massively over-fished. The reefs are dying off, raw sewage is dumped into the coastal zones, and most of the large predatory fish (snapper and grouper) are gone.

The USVI exhibit the same problem as most other eastern Caribbean islands we have sailed to and visited - massively over-populated with a maze of powerlines and fiber optic cables laid on the ocean floor around them, and totally destroying the marine environment to support their over-populated lifestyle. The USVI is one of our least favorite destinations in the Caribbean - we prefer the islands and countries along Central America (Belize/Ambergris Caye, San Andres, etc). They are all drug-running countries but the people that live there are much more careful to not destroy the marine environment and live more in tune with nature than what we have seen in the eastern Caribbean.
 
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