A Boat on the Side

A New Cargo Ship

The life of a boat designer is nothing if not challenging and I wouldn’t have it any other way for we are defined by how we respond to challenges. Me, I relish them.

The big challenge for me is the drafting of a new generation of sailing cargo ships. It’s all very well to drool over tall ships under full sail but the reality of 21st century cargo logistics soon put a stop to any turquoise trade wind fantasies. So the challenge I set myself was to design zero emission cargo ships that would fit in with the current freight handling procedures. As members of the International Wind Ship Association http://wind-ship.org/go-sail-cargo-iwsa-associate-member/  we are well aware of the sustained and passionate push for cargo boats that don’t pollute our planet and I can only applaud most of the innovative new ships harnessing the wind. Nevertheless the challenges are daunting – how to move millions of containers efficiently, safely and responsibly.

My own experience is in small – tiny by comparison – vessels and I’m certainly not experienced enough to presume otherwise, so my efforts focus on one, two, or at the most twelve container capacity boats.

I started with a 30-metre cargo ketch with a hold for two x 20-foot (or one x 40-foot) containers plus a dozen pallets. The rig is manageable with a crew of three or four – that’s my Electric Clipper 100. From there I went up in size to a three masted schooner for twelve 40-foot containers (coming soon!) and down to a 19-metre for a single 20-foot container – the new Electric Clipper 64. This one progressed in leaps and bounds. Then I shrank the drawing board back to our smallest boat, the Shimmy 12 as I’m re-drafting this, our most popular model, for a new mass production version in both all electric and sail. The Shimmy MKII will be in fibreglass or roto moulded and fitted out beautifully in timber. I will be getting the boat manufactured to commercial standards as we are keen to make the new Shimmy suitable for hire or lease, and for use in resorts and schools. It is also to be the designated clipper ships’ boat.

Electric Clipper 64

Electric Clipper 64

Back to the big ones. The new cargo boats incorporate all the tried and tested features of the original sailing ships but use them in a cost conscious 21st century efficiency driven marketplace. And that’s the key here really – the marketplace. The shop must appeal to the buyer – the ship owner, government, co-operative or whatever, but most importantly, to their accountants. For they rule the world, don’t they?

So here’s a pitch just for the accounts department.

Choose one:

Boat A – a diesel powered short sea cargo boat shipping a couple of containers from say Brisbane to Port Moresby. Costs include diesel fuel and a percentage of engine maintenance – several thousand dollars.

Boat B – a sail electric powered boat as above. Same crew, same capacity, same reliability but zero fuel costs and dramatically reduced maintenance costs. But there’s more!

* Free advertising hoardings – the sails

* Paying passengers

* Excellent publicity opportunities – photo opportunities abound.

* Zero emissions – a clear conscience, you are making a difference

* Ongoing low operational costs

Build a better boat – leave the world in a better place.

Visit our dedicated website for more information http://www.gosailcargo.com/

Cargo Ketch

This is a typical 19th century cargo ketch with the main gaff being used to unload her cargo. Photo: The London Stereophonic Company

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