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Old 21-03-2012, 06:17   #1
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S/V Tres Hombres - a Working Sail Freighter

We hear much of late of "sustainability", and some diesel-driven cargo and tankers are field-testing sail power as a way to shave their fuel consumption.

But these guys are doing something about it.



I discuss the potential renaissance in sail-powered cargo transport in my last post here.

Is this just another "boutique" movement? Does anyone here see an economic case for even a small proportion of the world's cargo to be moved under sail after 100 years?
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Old 21-03-2012, 06:28   #2
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

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Is this just another "boutique" movement? Does anyone here see an economic case for even a small proportion of the world's cargo to be moved under sail after 100 years?
There will be no return to sail, Its just too labour intensive. "transport systems" just don't revert. it will remain a oddity. Anyway frac-ing will give us loads more oil.


BTW the video is mis-titled, I believe she's wearing ship not tacking( which would be an interesting to watch with square sails!).
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Old 21-03-2012, 07:24   #3
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

Indeed. But I can easily see sail being a small component of the mix, just as I can see a return to the cargo dirigible for certain applications. It's not just about running out of fossil fuels. It's the environmental cost of extraction and the willingness of individuals to buy into that, along with the political cost of dealing with unpleasant people in charge of certain areas.

If you run the numbers for high-value goods going in the right (downwind) direction, I can see a case being made, especially if you can add on a "feel-good" premium. If you think I couldn't put a two-buck per bottle price hike on an absolutely bog-standard dark rum that was shipped by sail-only brig from the Caribbean to, say, Nova Scotia, then you've never worked as I have in marketing.

It's the entire reason people buy Apple tablets, after all. They don't work so much better, but they look great and people wish to be seen carting them around. So price them 40% higher and keep the Chinese factories on the down-low!

Seen from that point of view, sail works a treat.
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Old 21-03-2012, 07:26   #4
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

It will definitely become part of Tanker and heavy transport technology, the shipping companies cannot afford to ignore the fuel cost savings,,however,,the auxiliary systems such as sail and Solar will be very high tech and computer controlled having very little "Hands On" during deployment.
As to "Goboatingnow's" comment about Frac-ing, the sytem he referes to is mainly for the aquasition on Gas not oil,,and then it is a highly damaging way of getting to underground gas bearing shale, because it poisons underground water tables.
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Old 21-03-2012, 07:35   #5
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

They were frac-ing wells when I was a roughneck back in '78. Nothing new there... All it consist of is shooting explosives at depth to fracture the surrounding strata to release pockets of product.
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Old 21-03-2012, 07:44   #6
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

saw this movie, very worrying if its true.
Gasland: A film by Josh Fox

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They were frac-ing wells when I was a roughneck back in '78. Nothing new there... All it consist of is shooting explosives at depth to fracture the surrounding strata to release pockets of product.
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Old 21-03-2012, 08:09   #7
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

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They were frac-ing wells when I was a roughneck back in '78. Nothing new there... All it consist of is shooting explosives at depth to fracture the surrounding strata to release pockets of product.
Actually the modern version is different. It began in 2005 after waivers to the Clean Water Act and one other environmental law by the Bush administration.

The process uses water and some "proprietary chemicals" pumped at pressure into shale layers to fracture them for the purpose of releasing natural gas.

Lots of reports of contaminated ground water and water from faucets that can be lit ablaze by a match.
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Old 21-03-2012, 08:09   #8
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

Because of the "proprietary" nature of the chemicals used, and because of the potential that shortcuts will pollute groundwater, I find fracking about the only fossil fuel technology that makes the Alberta tar sands look quite not so heinous.

The oil/gas companies would have more credibility had the record of accidents (BP Horizon, Exxon Valdez, etc.), ruthless lobbying and screwing up Nigeria not been so memorable.

I could go on, but I might give the impression I'm a raving greenie, which is not the case. But I do like to see businesses run ethically, and I don't feel that precludes profit. The energy-extraction business is not, in my view, particularly ethical.
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Old 21-03-2012, 08:14   #9
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

I am not trying to promote any one site here,,i am only supplying what may be of interest to all of us.
Kite assisted cruising may be in our future.
KiteShip - Innovation in Tethered Flight
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Old 21-03-2012, 08:19   #10
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
They were frac-ing wells when I was a roughneck back in '78. Nothing new there... All it consist of is shooting explosives at depth to fracture the surrounding strata to release pockets of product.
Thatís correct, but what is new is the public knowledge of the damage it can and does do, frac-ing is about as popular as a heart attack these days.....
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Old 21-03-2012, 08:46   #11
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

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I am not trying to promote any one site here,,i am only supplying what may be of interest to all of us.
Kite assisted cruising may be in our future.
KiteShip - Innovation in Tethered Flight
I recall this...it's pretty cool. Hoisted in the trades, it would add quite a few knots to even the biggest tanker, with little penalty in gear or strain on the ship, I would think.

It's a part-solution, anyway. Even lowering bunker oil usage by 10-20% would make a big difference to the cost of shipping bulk or containerized goods.

I'll add the link to my blog post. Thanks.
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Old 21-03-2012, 08:55   #12
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

As seen in the video, it takes more crew to tack a small sail cargo ship than to man an enormous ocean going cargo that will deliver countless times more cargo and do so in less time.

Sustainability is a great concept but the train of technology moves in one direction only - forward.

BTW When the trouble boils over the top, sure we will be back to such simple and sustainable means!

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Old 21-03-2012, 12:27   #13
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

As most sailors know there are Routes thruout serveral oceans that have prevaling winds that supply fairly steady wind in both directions at different times of the year. This in itself should lead to some sail useage in the future! folks seem to forget that even just 80 or 90 yrs ago there were still sailing vessels (maybe with engines also) delivering goods from both coasts to many places. From the west coast, wood and fish was deliverd to the pacific islands and Oz. they could count on the wind to get them there and back again!All I know for sure is, someones gonna have figure somethig out cus one of these days the oils gonna be gone !! I only wish I would be here to see it cus I would love to be a seaman in the future !! just my thoughts
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Old 21-03-2012, 12:31   #14
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

Good for them if it is financially viable.

In the shipping business there is value in speed and being able to keep a schedule. Most businesses who ship cargo need to know when their cargo will get to their customers. They make guarantees when their cargo will arrive.

Imagine if FedEx could only give you a very rough estimate on when your package would arrive.

There are also enormous economies of scale by being able to put thousands of containers on one ship.

The crew requirements per ton carried are also much higher.

I'm not saying a sailing ship could not work, it's just going to be extremely difficult to compete with the higher costs and slower delivery times.
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Old 21-03-2012, 14:41   #15
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Re: S/V Tres Hombres, a working sail freighter

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
As seen in the video, it takes more crew to tack a small sail cargo ship than to man an enormous ocean going cargo that will deliver countless times more cargo and do so in less time.

Sustainability is a great concept but the train of technology moves in one direction only - forward.

BTW When the trouble boils over the top, sure we will be back to such simple and sustainable means!

b.
B. I would agree with you had I not been subject to at least three "new maths" during my school career.

I have also seen that the best medical solution to keeping reattached fingers, toes, hands and feet have been the application of leeches...

I could mention the return of the electric car, last seen about 100 years ago, but my point is that today's high end sailboats, with carbon fibre this and Dyneema that, can travel faster than anything in the past, and faster than some cargo ships at full burn.

It should be a surmountable challenge, but not radically difficult, to automate a sailing cargo vessel of considerable dimensions and capacity, not just a 100 footer old bark. It needn't require a big crew, either.

It does require, however, some thinking...and some investment...out of the box that says the current paradigm is the future, and not merely the latest in a long line of "presents".
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