A collection of notes about wind assisted / Fair transport.Some vague possibility of this as a connection between older knowledges and newer ones, that could help us deal with coming changes.

Most important, the projects that exist and are in planning, the ones that failed.

Existing Projects

Existing projects, with some notes.


German sail cargo project based in Elsfleth near Bremen. Started and run by Cornelius Boeckerman, Ben Decosse started volunteering and has been involved ever since. Several other long term volunteers. Original plan was to sail to Australia and trade between Indonesia, PNG, Australia, New Zealand and other PAcific islands. This was still planned in Feb 2016, later that year they did their first trip to the Caribbean and back. 2017 Canada. 2018 off to Caribbean again.

Article from early 2015: http://www.kreiszeitung.de/lokales/niedersachsen/elsfleth-cornelius-bockermann-verschifft-bald-waren-prozent-emissionsfrei-4859197.html



UK based coastal sail cargo. 1950s whelk boat. Small, local deliveries, crew come from a homeless shelter.


Run by Coastal explorations. http://coastalexplorationco.co.uk/


Basiert in Hawaii, sudpazifik. Ist noch nicht ganz Windbetrieben. Maybe now. http://svkwai.com/

Tres Hombres

The original. Hollandisches Schiff, seit 2009 unterwegs, bekannt durch rum, kaffee und chocolade.

Bericht von einem Matrosen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihBHZu3h_tg


Zweites Schiff von Fairtransport Gruppe. 141 Jahre alt. Europaisches Kustennaehes Transport, Norwegen bis Portugal.

Unfall: http://www.kleinezeitung.at/s/steiermark/suedostsued/4846212/Rum-aus-der-Karibik_Trotz-Schiffbruchs-voll-in-Fahrt



UK basiert, organische Getraenke zwischen Normandie / Bretagne und suedliches UK. Beer und Wein, Cider. https://www.grayhoundluggersailing.co.uk/

De Galant

Sailed November 2017 over the Atlantic to the Caribbean for TOWT.


Gais Dream

Saw this in Sydney. A large transport Proa, up to 9 tons. Exists, not sure as to what transport is happening. Has been on hold since 2013, gender reassignment.

Emerging Projects

Here we mean ones that are doing things, but not at sea yet.

Schooner Ruth

Afloat in the Caribbean. According to the riggers, it has a great rig but has not gone any further. http://www.schoonerruth.com/ She has sailed at least one in February 2015: http://www.topsailrigging.com/blog/mount-ray-regatta-first-sail-on-ruth


Based in Sicily, 1911 built rivetted steel hull. Started 2016. In Trapani, Sicily. Building spars in the Italian alps. Sister ship is Eye of the Wind and they are aiming at a very similar ship. http://www.brigantes.eu/ https://www.facebook.com/sail.powered.shipping http://www.barchedepocaeclassiche.it/marineria/velieri/434-brigantes,-il-primo-veliero-cargo-ecosostenibile.html

Planned Projects

Celtic Trader

“Stefan Proszynski from Llanycefn is spending much of his spare time working on a long held dream of restoring Wales maritime culture by returning to the tradition of trading by sail boat along our coast” June 2014 http://www.foepembrokeshire.co.uk/newsletters/June_2014_newsletter.pdf

VW sail

According to an article in the Spiegel, VW are trying to lower pollution loads on car deliveries. Run by the Sailing Cargo group (yet another name)

Ship Designs

There are more people putting together designs for cargo vessels to be built from the ground up. These are not projects as such, but designs that could be used by a project.

Stratagig Rant

Vanuatu oriented.


early 2023 still just operating

Scruffie (Australia)

The design for a Sail Electric, two versions 64 and 100 feet. Steel hull, gaff ketch rig, The 100 foot version has space for 2 20 foot containers or a 40 foot, utilising the container standardisation. On board crane only does 1 tonne, so it will not be able to unload the containers itself. Bilge keels for tidal work, with dagger boards.


Tad Roberts cargo Schooner

52 and 60 foot schooners. Steel hull, V bottom 16 foot long cargo area, inspired by Grand Banks fishers.


Ville Matias Lindén

Finnish designer, completed a wooden design. Laminated frames for strangth, wooden hull for ease of repair, schooner, based on New England fishing boats for speed. Designed for the Pacific coast of middle and south America. 17 meter length, 4.6m breadth.

No public version of it, documented in his Master's Thesis, 2018. Lots of calculations and comparisons, good to read.


A French project, looks very high tech and pricey. 2012 development, 2015 last update. http://seafretcaraibes.fr/

Discontinued Projects

Pierius Magnus / Atlantis Project

Very small cargo freighter “skonker” (not sure if that is a real ship type), Dutch style, built 2001-2002 in USA, sailed to Europe. Basis of Tres hombres / Fair Transport. Boat abandoned in Cap Verde / Canaries. https://www.schoonerman.com/naval-history/pierius-magnus.html




Men Who Sail

An Amsterdam based group who seem to charter one of the sailing vessels to do the deliveries ofr a bis music / arts festival in the islands off the Dutch coast. http://www.menwhosail.nl/ seems defunct (2018)


81 year old steel vessel. Sylt nach Hamburg.


Nimmt 3 LKW Ladungen, die per Faehre 500 Euro kostet. Also es lohnt sich. Since early 2016 in receivership. No longer operating

Vermon Freight Sail Project

They built a ship in 2012 for the materia cost of 20,000 USD, volunteer labour. This did shipping up and down the Vermont River in 2013-14. It was planning an expansion, but did not find backers. The Vermont project closed in July 2015: https://vermontsailfreightproject.wordpress.com/about/

Some links to articles: http://www.willowell.org/programs/sail/ Article from Erik Andrus in the building stage of the proiject in April 2013, Longer article from end of 2013, after the maiden voyage: http://archive.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20131124/GREEN01/311240006/Vermont-Sail-Freight-Project-highlights-old-shipping-methods-along-Lake-Champlain The vessel was based upon the simple Triliboats designs: http://www.triloboats.com/order.html#cargo Horribly ugly, but very simple to build. Probably cheap, maybe even possible without resorting to marine ply.

John Leavitt

90 tonne sailing cargo vessel built by Ned Ackermann and a group in Maine in 1979 in response to oil embargo and massive increases in oil prices. Self overesimation, they left into a strom, fully laden and foundered. The crew was rescued, the vessel a write off, and the pall still hangs over the whole sail cargo scene. http://www.nytimes.com/1982/07/18/nyregion/a-dream-that-foundered.html The film is called Coaster, but does not seem to be available online.

SCA meetings in spring and autumn

The SCA, the Sail Cargo Alliance, is a loose network of sail cargo practitioners. All projects have taken part in some meetings, but there is a very loose structure.

One of the issues that the SCA and all sail cargo groups are dealing with are the standards that they speak about, what emmisions they actually have and allow, how they claim that and document it.

2014 NSRSail conference in Harlingen

The meeting is interim and tried to outline the current state of the project. Parallel to it, a stakeholders meeting was being held on the ship “Stad Amsterdam” which a few of us talked ourselves into.

The main project for NSRsail is the Ecoliner, a sail assisted container transport vessel.

In general, there is a lot of renderings and plans, unfortunately few actual existing projects. Other than Tres Hombres. I hope to add more actual projects below.

Transcript of notes, extended

Film “Ready About / Rueckkehr der Windjammer” from NDR, features interviews with many of the people present.

Leeuwarden will be capital of culture in 2018 and there is interest to carry on some cultural aspect of this project in that context.

Mast shapes is difficult in aluminium or steel. A cheap cylinder can have less than 1% up to 8% losses.

Early motor driven vessels carried sails as they were a guarantee that the vessels could get through.

“Is the expression “Clean Cargo” greenwashing? Working Group This does not seem to mention anything but carbon footprint, while heavy fuel oil seems to have its major problem with SOx and NOx (sulpher and nitrogen oxides) emmissions. The Clean Shipping Index (Overview Main site) seems to look at these aspects as well.

Andreas Lackner from Tres Hombres talked about their Fair Transport work. Since 2013 they have reached a break even point. So this is financially sustainable, the people working are being paid. “An organic banana is no longer organic after shipping (with normal (heavy oil) transport).” One other aim is to increase maritime job variety.

Question about transport in the Baltic / Ostsee: is it somehow greener, due to local legislation or other requirements? See also the WWF Scenario planning around this.

Carbon credit markets and related topics are difficult. There are various markets.. LNG as a fuel is being considered. There is a problem with split incentives: the owner needs to act, but the charterer pays / saves. There is no existing methodology for (measuring / crediting) fuel savings. Voluntary / Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) is one international system. Given the Ecoliner's aim of saving 50% of fuel, there would be around one million Euro per year in savings that could be made and paid. There is also no existing system for Europe. Once this methodology has been developed, it could be taken on and applied widely - but who will take on the costs for doing it the first time?

As efficiencies increase, CO levels go down, but NOx (and perhaps SOx) emissions go up.

The International Wind Ship Association (IWSA) (Gavin Allwright) is doing projects in the South Pacific. 7-8 Million people, low levels of infrastructure, costs for transport between the islands are getting too high. Project vessel should be able to transport 3-10 containers as cost effectively as 1000. Prototype costs 350-400kEuro.

Carbon War Room seems to be a platform for discussing carbon issues, especially around transport. Apparently set up with support from Richard Branson.

Otto Heinu from Windschiffe talked about the origins of the Dynarig, Wilhelm Proelss / Prolls in 1967, seen on the Maltese Falcon. This is the rig planned for the Ecoliner. It was originally developed precisely for freight, as Prölls anticipated higher fuel costs. Further developed by Hartmut Schwarz into the Pintarig, that has never been built.

Global Maritime Environment Conference GMEC has been biannual since 2012.

Fritjof Giese, a Vienna based industrial designer, has set up Cargosail. Interestingly, his notes show tha transport of container ships not through the Suez Canal or Panama Canal. Is that real? This map from a Chinese shipping company indicates that it might not be.

Presentation about the Solar Challenge, building solar powered boats. Connections to e-cars. They hydrofoil on solar energy.

It was claimed / mentioned that Banana boats were the fastest sailing vessels for bringing fresh bananas to Europe. But this might not be real: evidence needed.

General feeling of a lack of “go to market” solutions or “smart consumer facing markets” - some strategy beyond a business plan. In this context there was a lot of talking about “transition Science” and such things. Currently there is a tonnage oversupply. Too many big, cheap container vessels, needing work. So transport is made with the profit margin being one day. So one day delay is no profit, two days is already a loss. Chemicals transport (and thus probably most bulk carriers) have safety as their number 1 priority. Thus no groundings, Thus no big interest in the risks of wind assisted transport.

There is a heavy legislative and regulatory load. Fuel cost cutting has already given 25-33% fuel savings. the low fruit are gone. some costings were thrown around. daily revenues of 5250 Euro. This gives economic viability. Eco advantage is not part of this calculation (which I have not properly noted). The converse question might be: how much hidden oil subsidy is present? Note that banks think sustainability if high risk.

Three factors: fright/freight, feasibility and financing. How small can an ecoliner be? With no pressure from consumers, this is all economically implusible.

People working on boats think they are invisible.

Norwegian pollution funding has led to cleaner shipping.

There are a number of ongoing and completed research projects looking at clean transport and especially sail.

Wallenius Marine +2 in Sweden

Wind assisted car carrier, three year development project starting in 2019.


SGSA Drax Ultrabulk

Drax are using biomass for power generation, replacing coal. Ultrabulk ships the biomass. Shipping is the highest emissions part of the production chain. Smart Green Shipping Alliance are researching a hard sail retrofit to Ultrabulk carriers to reduce costs and emissions. (Nov 2018)


Low Carbon Shipping

Analysis of shipping industry and models, tech changes and other. There is a longer report and an executive summary on the webpage. Only 1 paragraph about Wind Assisted stuff.


Sustainable Sea Transport

Peter Nuttall at University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. Have run several conferences. There seems to be a useful series of meetings and work going on.

If I understand, the issue is developing vessels for cargo between Pacific islands, that are commercially as well as ecologically workable and sustainable. Islands are losing transport chances because diesel is no longer affordable as a propulsion fuel.

One suggested design, similar to the one above: (in French)

As a result of meeting Madadh MacLaine at NSRsail, a conversation with various people and organisations has arisen. Let us try and keep track of them here. They of course begin to interconnect with other conversations….

Cape Farewell

David Buckland runs this in the UK. Artists and environmental considerations. Arts/Science collaborations.


Wipke Iwersen has been sending out small, unmanned sailing vessels that sail into the wind, as his search for “the origin of the wind” since 2004. Website


While its acronym is relatively general, Media Art Research Interdisciplinary Network, there is a strong Makrolab taste about these projects. Journeys, data streams, autonomous sensor networks, etc. One sees close connections to ATOL's project in Slovenia and the Arctic Perspective Initiative as well. Ran 2009-2011, unsure about current status.

Link: Blog and Info

Meeting the Odysee

A 5 year EU Culture project, re-exploring the Odyssee in the context of the Baltic, The Ionian (I think, around Italy) and the Aegean.


Island Mesh

A voyage from Fiji to Rotuma should take place under the name of Island Mesh. Call will be made in Feb 2015. This is an ANAT / ADA Aotearoa Digital Arts) collaboration.

This might be connectied to the Mesh Cities project about arts in transitional spaces.

A collection of articles, podcasts, television, etc.


Looking at the two TOWT and teh Grain de Sail II as new, effecient sail cargo vessels. https://floatmagazin.de/leute/so-geht-modernes-frachtsegeln-transoceanic-wind-transport/


February Financial Times Some Flettner rotors have already been retirned. IWSA says attitudes are changing. https://www.ft.com/content/50656582-8b42-47d9-9bcf-decb0f976dd3


June: Rocket transporter Canopée hits the water. https://swzmaritime.nl/news/2022/06/28/sailing-freighter-canopee-for-ariane-6-rockets-hits-the-water/ February: Grain de Sail starts build of second boat, 50m long, 350 tonnes cargo capacity. First vessel will “retire” to coastal work. https://splash247.com/france-debuts-another-sail-cargo-ship-design/

Partially critical discussion: https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/sail-cargo.67049/


September: There's Amazon Prime, then there's Shipping by Schooner. Apollonia, nice overview. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/13/style/carbon-neutral-shipping-hudson-valley-new-york.html

May: Low Tech magazine How to design a sailing ship for the 21st century. Critical analysis of the field. https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2021/05/how-to-design-a-sailing-ship-for-the-21st-century.html#more

May: Schooner Appolonia Hudson River. https://www.grubstreet.com/2021/05/a-vintage-sailboat-ferries-groceries-from-hudson-to-brooklyn.html and https://brooklyneagle.com/articles/2021/05/24/sailing-vessel-horse-drawn-wagon-deliver-cargo-to-industrial-red-hook/

Spring: Master's Thesis Steven Woods “Sail Freight Revival: Methods of Calculating Fleet, Labor and Cargo needs for supplying Cities by Sail” https://drive.google.com/file/d/19WDQ0H-FhoBsKJSv0a6bWZZKWXEaX-CI/view


November: UNCTAD “Sail cargo: Charting a new path for emission-free shipping?” https://unctad.org/news/sail-cargo-charting-new-path-emission-free-shipping

July: Magazine ab FLOAT, article about Timbercoast. https://floatmagazin.de/dinge/avontuur-die-fuenfte-frachtsegler-in-hamburg/?all=1

June: BBC Series “People fixing the world” https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cszv13

Text and Photos, “In the Stillness Between Two Waves of the Sea” https://ocean-archive.org/collection/45

The Maritime Executive “Back to the Future” https://www.maritime-executive.com/editorials/back-to-the-future-wind-power-could-cut-shipping-s-co2-emissions

April: Fresh Cup magazine. Coffee, transport. https://www.freshcup.com/trade-winds/

Feb: The Engineer. Overview of existing techniques, Flettner rotors getting more solis evidence. https://www.theengineer.co.uk/wind-ships-marine-propulsion/

March: Brand Eins Zurück in die Zukunft https://www.brandeins.de/magazine/brand-eins-wirtschaftsmagazin/2020/arbeiten/ecoclipper-zurueck-in-die-zukunft


October: French sail assisted project tod eliver the Ariane rockets to South America. https://shipinsight.com/articles/french-yacht-designer-moves-into-commercial-wind-powered-shipping

Guardian “Winds of change: the sailing ships cleaning up sea transport” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/23/sailing-ships-cleaning-up-sea-transport-oceans

July: Lush importing cork products from Portugal with sail cargo. https://theecologist.org/2019/jul/09/lush-sails-lower-carbon-footprint

Slate (Secret History of the Future) A Second Wind: Could we go back to wind-powered ships—and eliminate commercial shipping’s carbon emissions—by rediscovering a clever nautical innovation that we abandoned a century ago? https://slate.com/technology/2019/07/could-we-go-back-to-wind-powered-ships.html

Zotter importiert Cacoa: Brigantes und Timbercoast: https://kurier.at/chronik/welt/josef-zotters-kakao-import-mit-dem-segelfrachter/400544123

March: 6 page article in Afloat in Australia. Ceiba and several other projects. https://afloat.partica.online/afloat-magazine/afloat-march-2019/flipbook/20/






June Slow Food? Depends on the Wind. Main Freight, Hudson River project. http://www.dirt-mag.com/special-spots/slow-food-depends-on-the-wind-KPDM20130628130629993


Joe Butcher was trying to import coffee sirect from Belize, Mexico, to Houston, Texas, in his boat Red Cloud. This article ios from beforehand. https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/baytown-news/article/El-Lago-sailboat-makes-coffee-imports-greener-1842490.php The sad thing is that the ship ended up sinking en route. See article from 2015.

  • future_fabulators/windassisted.txt
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  • by timbo