Sail on sailor

RoyalClipper01.jpg Pausing in my peregrinations in Nelson, where it rains (but not so much as in Golden Bay last weekend), I’m catching up on climate news. In Hot Topic I looked forward to the day when the first NZ wine clipper sailed into the Port of London, bringing the new vintage of sauvignon blanc to Britain’s drinkers (p156) – but I now find that the French have beaten us to it. The Herald reported (last month):

This month 60,000 bottles from Languedoc will be shipped to Ireland in a 19th-century barque, saving 22,680kg of carbon. Further voyages to Bristol and Manchester in England and even to Canada are planned soon afterwards. The three-mast barque Belem, which was launched in 1896, the last French merchant sailing vessel to be built, will sail into Dublin after a voyage from Bordeaux that should last about four days.

I like the words on the label: “Carried by sailing ship, a better deal for the planet.”
It’s a fast-moving world, this low-carbon image business. It would be a pity if the French beat us at more than the occasional rugby match…

5 thoughts on “Sail on sailor”

  1. Sailing ships are an inherently extremely dangerous form of transportation. Steam power was a revolution in transportation every bit as seminal as the printing press. Sailing vessels being used for cargo in this way are little more than a gimmick, and God help us all if it becomes any more than that.

  2. There is nothing inherently dangerous in using wind as the motive power for shipping. It might be slower – but with modern met services ships can plot routes to optimise winds which helps a lot. At the moment, using old sailing ships is a bit of a gimmick, but it might be much more than that in coming years…

  3. I can see where Toms is coming from, this civilisation is dependent on cheap energy, it enables us to move a lot of mass fast. Sailing ships don’t fit into that, even a wind powered system for shifting non-urgent cargo slowly could prove too expensive because the ships just wouldn’t move enough in a year to justify the capital outlay.

  4. I suspect that Toms’ view of sail as an extremely dangerous form of transport is true if sail is your only choice. And, if you have only limited knowledge of where you are and what is in front of you.

    A modern sailing ship would have:
    a) gps
    b) highly detailed charts and
    c) auxiliary motors
    giving them the necessary tools to avoid and get out of trouble.

    By the way – has anyone heard the outcome of the SS Beluga voyage?

Leave a Reply