I think it’s really wonderful that this group is trying to bring back commercial sail in the US. They’re also working in another area I like which is good food. The sailing barge Ceres is working with a great project bringing farm fresh food down to New York City.
I think there is a definite place for sailing ships even in these modern times. With all the attention being focused now on the environment, climate change, the high price of fossil fuels, etc., we should be taking a new look at sail (traditional or new improved models).
I’ve been keeping my eye on the Tres Hombres (Netherlands) which has been sailing since 2009. She’s a beautiful brigantine and sails between Europe and the Caribbean. She carries cargo that is not as dependent on a fast delivery time. She only carries about 35 tons so she makes it count with high value cargo such as rum and chocolate (yum). 😉
She can also carry trainees who will pay a fee in return for the adventure of a lifetime and a certificate to boot! With just a quick look at their website, I see that they will give you certificates all the way up from ordinary seaman to captain! Too bad they’re not recognized by any government. 🙁
Even so, I’m sure the training you would get on board a ship like that would serve you well in any other. You’ll be better off then just going to work on any power vessel. You’ll also get an interesting, fun adventure, which is all but eliminated from the merchant fleet these days (at least in America). 🙁
I’d love to make a voyage on her myself. Or any of the other similar ships around the world. There are a few of them now, the Bessy Ellen and the Tres Hombres (both with Fairtransport) which are truly cargo ships along with the Ceres of Vermont Sail Freight Project.
The barque Picton Castle (home port Nova Scotia) is primarily a sail training vessel but also does some cargo work. She sails worldwide and is presently making her way across the Pacific.
New designs show promise as not only for pure sailing vessels, but as additions to the usual container and other modern ship types. The addition of sails or kites should help fuel consumption at least. Here’s a link to the Skysails website where you can learn more about that idea and how it works…
Others are working on more new designs to take advantage of the wind. I posted previously about one of them, the ‘Vind’…
I’m really looking forward to seeing more of these ships in the future. I hope one day I will be able to take the time to sail on one of them again. There really is nothing like sailing on a real tall ship. Spending a day is just a small taste of what it’s really like. Get that taste and you WILL want more! 🙂