Five Models for Cargo Sailing Operations


Today in the search for more sustainable ways of shipping, there are 5 companies, who are sailing ships the traditional way and hauling cargo. While they are the oddballs right now, there is growing interest as we see the damage that is done to our world with modern shipping methods.

1. The German company Timbercoast, created by Cornelius Bockermann in 2014, is hauling rum, coffee, and cacao from the Caribbean, back to Europe on Avontuur, a beautiful 44m, 114-ton carrying capacity, two-masted, gaff-rigged schooner built in 1920 in the Netherlands. 

2. Canada's Sailcargo is currently in process of building their first zero-emission ship, Ceiba, in Costa Rica, to be sailing in 2022 - currently tacking to meet its goal. Collaborating with Sigma Plus Associates in Switzerland to develop the electric regenerative system based on their experiences with Schooner Opal from North Sailing in Iceland, Ceiba will be the largest sail-powered cargo ship in the world at 150 feet, with cargo capacity of 250 tons.



3.Fairtransport began on the Dutch barque Europa in 2007, with Andreas Lackner, Jorne Langelaan, and Arjen Van der Veen seeing yellow smog caused by commercial vessels. They decided to start the world’s first modern climate-friendly shipping company, based in The Netherlands. Originally named “Stichting Atlantis Zeilende Handelsvaart”, the company is now simply known as “Fairtransport”.

The 104-foot brigantine, Tres Hombres, was built in 1943 and started her life as a navy vessel for the German Kriegsmarine, then used as a fishing vessel, a package/passenger ferry in Ireland, In two years Fairtransport had fully restored for transatlantic engine-less freight service, hauling mostly Caribbean rum, fair-trade chocolate, and coffee.

The Nordlys was restored in 2014 for the Fairtransport fleet. A wooden ketch from 1873, built on the Isle of Wight, south of England, Nordlys has no engine, only sails, carrying a maximum of 25 tons of organic and traditionally crafted goods like wine, whisky, and olive oil.




4. In 2010, Freya and Marcus Pomeroy-Rowden started an English version of a three-masted lugger - the first in 200 years - working with boat builder, Chris Rees, on  the plans of the 1776 Revenue Lugger Grayhound, built to offer environmentally-friendly charter and cargo shipping on a classic sailing ship. 

The planking was fastened with wooden pegs known as treenails, trenails, or trunnels, with a life expectancy of about 80 – 100 years, as opposed to metal fastenings, lasting 25 years. 

Grayhound is a 5/6th scale replica of a three-masted Customs Lugger built in 1776 in Cawsand, Cornwall, UK. Grayhound carries a Category 0 license for worldwide travel. She can carry 10 to 12 passengers and a crew of 5 and is armed with two cannons. The cargo capacity of Greyhound is 5 tons and 2 barrels. 


5. The Grain de Sail company is located in the heart of the port of Morlaix, France. Using a 36-foot sailboat they transported more than a ton of green coffee to France.  Five years later they were able to expand to the chocolates and using an old sailing rig, transported coffee from the US and cocoa from the Dominican Republic.

Their new 72-foot long aluminum hull cargo ship with over 350m2 of sail area, set sail on November 18, 2020 from St Malmo on the Brittany Coast of France bound for New York. Using a schooner-type rigging and with a crew of four, the vessel has a capacity of up to 50 tons of cargo. They can load 28 pallets into the refrigerated hold cooled with green energy.


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