Thar She Blows - Return To The Age Of Sailing Ships

When steamships took over the world's long distance routes nearly 150 years ago, nobody could have imagined that we would ever return to the age of sailing ships. But the latest development in international shipping is - believe it or not - ships that sail.

To be fair, these are not your traditional sailing ships, with masts and spinnakers and mainsails. This is state-of-the-art sailing, which promises to reduce bunker fuel consumption by up to 35 percent - representing 100 million tonnes of the total annual oceangoing carbon dioxide output.

This innovation comes from German automated towing kite company, SkySails, who have entered into a partnership with Cargill. The international agricultural behemoth will utilize one of SkySails' kites on a ship that weighs around 30,000 deadweight tonnes, making it the largest vessel propelled by a kite in the world. The kite, which measures nearly 3,500 square feet, will be computer-controlled to fly at a height of between 330 and 1,400 feet, thereby enabling it to maximize the wind's potential.

Here's one in action:

Mar 1, 2011
by Anonymous

Must for all (save warships)

Neat for all cargo, oil large carriers alone & even cruise ships, rig Skysail & use winds & save fuel for Mn engines when warranted.
Guide sail by joystick from bridge console.
Must for larger yachts.

Mar 3, 2011
by Anonymous

Hope it works

Oh... Hope it's really useful.
On this video it's looks like toy-kiting. Little sail just meaningless flying around the huge ship...

Mar 4, 2011
by Jamie Reygle
Jamie Reygle's picture

The kite they'll be using is

The kite they'll be using is supposed to be around 3,500 square feet, so hopefully it'll work...

Jamie Reygle
Great Idea Blogger