SailNet Community banner
1 - 20 of 77 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off, I am no stranger to work, I have recently had the idea of purchasing a sailing vessel for the purpose of transporting cargo without fossil fuels, I mean why not? It seemed a revolutionary idea to me, come to find out, there are some companies that have already started this idea and seem successful. One company took an old WW2 German ship and converted it into a sailing vessel and are now shipping wine and beer among other products around Europe with plans to build 1800's era schooners to increase their business. My idea which I wanted to throw around is to find a sailing schooner (and I found a few small schooners from 96 feet to 74 feet) and repurpose it. I could figure out or hire someone to figure out a plan in order to strip it of luxury accommodations and in fact build a cargo bay into it. Of course we would leave leave necessary living quarters inside the ship enough for a crew and some passengers to haul around with cargo perhaps. The questions I have however for you experienced ship builders and imaginative folks. What kind of Schooner would I be looking for in order to be able to make a conversion like this. I think the cargo hold/holds should be center of the sip capable of holding at least 20,000 lbs or more. Another Idea would be to replace a diesel with an electric motor for those windless days and setting up solar panels in strategic locations to charge the batteries. Many of you are sickened by my idea and there for no need to comment you can move on and enjoy your day. If anyone out there can help me figure out what kind of ship or schooner I should look for to be strong enough to carry such cargo or what I should look for in a Schooner please let me know. Very much appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
there are others way ahead of you. it doesn't make sense to me at all I'm just passing it along

I have read about them
there are others way ahead of you. it doesn't make sense to me at all I'm just passing it along

I understand. I have read about them. One thing I have to say is that these companies seem to have investors and money and that's a problem for a guy like me. This is more of just an idea I am pushing around because I believe it will become a larger market and I am not trying to start a world class sailing cargo fleet. Just pushing around the idea and tapping into likeminded people's knowledge. Thank you for the link sir!
 

·
cruising all I can
Joined
·
1,062 Posts
I've pondered the very same, sail cargo .
I've casually studied sailing cargo operations that are currently working and solvent.
As well as had the opportunity to live on an offshore island that depended on everything arriving by boat.
The issues I found were competing with established diesel freight hauling boats and addressing the reality of unreliable wind conditions and the resulting possible delays and inconsistency in delivery times.
My preliminary conclusions are,
You'll need to determine the vessel choice/ size/ draft, etc. To accommodate the paying freight you've found to haul and the waters you'll be operating in.
For example, if you're planning on hauling in the Chesapeake, shallow draft would be a consideration.
Or if upon rivers or inland, overhead clearance or the ability to lower the mast(s).
But the freight would be the first thing. And then choose the vessel to fit.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,102 Posts
You could lose a lot of money with a buisne model like this. Between purchase and refit costs, crewing costs and insurance you could be in the hole to the tune of hundreds of thousands a year. Might be less, but big losses are possible.

If you have some special niche or investors that can afford to lose a ton of money, maybe.
 

·
cruising all I can
Joined
·
1,062 Posts
I believe, correct me if I'm wrong ( and I'm confident someone will oblige),
If you're not hauling anything that talks (people) and you're under a certain tonnage and loa, no coast guard license is required
And few other beaurocratic obstacles, or even insurance!
The major impediment I struggle with is- what can you consistently haul ?
The few sail freight operations I've seen are mostly ( not All) hauling " specialty" freight, like high end organics, wines,coffee,cheese.
Overpriced stuff for people with means.
Finding freight is,I believe, the lynchpin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,129 Posts
How much capital is available to buy and refit the boat and get the business off the ground? It would inform answers to your specific question.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You could lose a lot of money with a buisne model like this. Between purchase and refit costs, crewing costs and insurance you could be in the hole to the tune of hundreds of thousands a year. Might be less, but big losses are likely.

If you have some magic potion or investors that can afford to lose a ton of money, maybe.

If not, might be cheaper to buy a 767 and charter it out on cargo runs to China.
I believe, correct me if I'm wrong ( and I'm confident someone will oblige),
If you're not hauling anything that talks (people) and you're under a certain tonnage and loa, no coast guard license is required
And few other beaurocratic obstacles, or even insurance!
The major impediment I struggle with is- what can you consistently haul ?
The few sail freight operations I've seen are mostly ( not All) hauling " specialty" freight, like high end organics, wines,coffee,cheese.
Overpriced stuff for people with means.
Finding freight is,I believe, the lynchpin.
You seem like a reasonable forward looking fellow with good information. Thank you for replying. I know some companies make it work by transporting goods as you said fancy organics and the way the world is today there is a growing demand for organics and if it's transported under wind sail then that's great. I have a blue collar back ground, finishing college soon, tossed the idea to my brother who Is all about it. I have one brother who is a cook, one who is a builder and a roofer and I am skilled in electrical and mechanical systems courtesy of the Marines. I am trying to become an officer now and aiming to become a pilot. I plan on saving every penny and in six years from now I may revisit this idea and research the market further. It would be awesome to make a family business out of this idea as I'm not aiming to build a world class fleet but just to repurchase a ship. I suppose I would try and make a video blog as some families make damn good money showing their struggles at sea on video. I would look into investors which I'm sure I could find green loving individuals willing to invest. I am in Alaska currently and there may be a market here. Or down the coast since everything is shipped here. But possibilities are endless I think. Again, thank you for the info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You could lose a lot of money with a buisne model like this. Between purchase and refit costs, crewing costs and insurance you could be in the hole to the tune of hundreds of thousands a year. Might be less, but big losses are likely.

If you have some magic potion or investors that can afford to lose a ton of money, maybe.

If not, might be cheaper to buy a 767 and charter it out on cargo runs to China.
I would start it as a family business, I think me and my willing and skilled brothers and sister have the skills between us to reduce refitting costs and I could take on trainee volunteers possibly. It could be expensive but if the right research is done and a passionate and willing crew is put together then I don't see why we can't make this happen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
You'll want to plan on loosing a boatload of money, the sails and rigging alone will end up costing you much more than the price of commercial diesel. Your hypothetical customers will most likely find cheaper rates using air freight. Besides, unless you plan on hauling only marshmallows, potato chips and toilet paper, a sailing vessel needs to be designed from the beginning to haul freight, it can't be repurposed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You'll want to plan on loosing a boatload of money, the sails and rigging alone will end up costing you much more than the price of commercial diesel. Your hypothetical customers will most likely find cheaper rates using air freight. Besides, unless you plan on hauling only marshmallows, potato chips and toilet paper, a sailing vessel needs to be designed from the beginning to haul freight, it can't be repurposed.
Thats why i'm here and asking, to learn. I figured a vessel would be unlikely to be repurposed into and i know diesel is a cheaper option "for now as prices continue to skyrocket" but i would be looking at tapping into the market of eco friendly companies looking for shipping through green energy. however, there are vessels out there that were built for cargo and repurposed as passenger vessels. I could look into purchasing something of the sort and turning it back into what it's original design was. I do understand that this idea would be to move products at a more expensive rate but there are other ways to help cheapen rates and raise money.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,102 Posts
however, there are vessels out there that were built for cargo and repurposed as passenger vessels.
Yeah, but not the other way around. 20 000lbs? A Boeing 767 is carrying 100 000 pounds. 5 times what your schooner can carry and they can do continental flights in hours. A Bulk freighter will carry millions of pounds on a trip. 20k pounds is one truck at best. Don't see how this freight method is green or profitable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,992 Posts
These guys are making sail work with 50 metric ton loads going transatlantic in a purpose-built schooner 72' long. They're doing 2 to 3 round-trips a year from France:https://graindesail.com/fr/content/14-notre-voilier-cargo-grain-de-sail. They import the raw materials that they process and sell, and export their finished product along with other luxury goods. They are well financed by an ongoing successful company. If you can find a business that doesn't mind long delivery times and which is willing to absorb some of the added costs in order to be "green", you may have a niche you can make work. Used boats big enough to be useful for carrying freight are not easy to find. Many that might seem affordable at first may not be in good condition. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Green as in it's not a giant cargo ship burning thousands of pounds of fuel per trip because it will run on wind and electric motors. Also you think fuel is going to remain cheap? no it is going to rise and fall, rise and fall but ultimately become more expensive until it is ultimately too expensive and wind and electric ships take over. Fossil fuels will also be depleted by the end of the century anyway. Of course a schooner isn't a Boeing 767, but it can get to places where A Boeing can't. you are right I think maybe a 70 foot to a 100 foot ship that can carry tonnage such as an actual purpose built cargo schooner would be the way to go. This isn't a money chasing idea if I can do good enough to pay off the ship, maintain it and pay fair wages to a small crew than I am doing good. Another option is to subcontract it to a already multi million dollar green sailing company such as Sail Cargo or other currently successful companies. The thing is fuel will become expensive and like it or not electric and wind power will be the future in my honest and humble opinion. Also check this out https://graindesail.com/fr/content/14-notre-voilier-cargo-grain-de-sail
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
These guys are making sail work with 50 metric ton loads going transatlantic in a purpose-built schooner 72' long. They're doing 2 to 3 round-trips a year from France:https://graindesail.com/fr/content/14-notre-voilier-cargo-grain-de-sail. They import the raw materials that they process and sell, and export their finished product along with other luxury goods. They are well financed by an ongoing successful company. If you can find a business that doesn't mind long delivery times and which is willing to absorb some of the added costs in order to be "green", you may have a niche you can make work. Used boats big enough to be useful for carrying freight are not easy to find. Many that might seem affordable at first may not be in good condition. Good luck.
That's great information and a great idea. Thank you for sharing, let me know if you have any other good info you don't mind parting with! fair winds!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,361 Posts
Green?
I doubt it. Yes it may use less tons of fossil fuel/year but probably more per pound of cargo.
Your crew taking 3 months to do a trip that a cago shop takes 8 days think of 3 months of food, fuel, effluent, ropes (made of fossil fuel plastics) sails made of plastics) etc compared to 8 days /pound.

Further you state a few time fossil fuel prices will rise in the future. Why? How? Most economists think it will drop are other energy comes on line as tgeres a world production glut by countries like Iran. That won't be over in a week.

There's different ways to rape the earth, and sailing cargo around it may turn out to be one way.

Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,992 Posts
Green?
I doubt it. Yes it may use less tons of fossil fuel/year but probably more per pound of cargo.
Your crew taking 3 months to do a trip that a cago shop takes 8 days think of 3 months of food, fuel, effluent, ropes (made of fossil fuel plastics) sails made of plastics) etc compared to 8 days /pound.

Further you state a few time fossil fuel prices will rise in the future. Why? How? Most economists think it will drop are other energy comes on line as tgeres a world production glut by countries like Iran. That won't be over in a week.

There's different ways to rape the earth, and sailing cargo around it may turn out to be one way.

Mark
Good article by Richard Jagels in WoodenBoat this month about the carbon footprint of different boat construction options - wood, fiberglass, aluminum... and the implications. Everything we do has implications, and we learn as we go what we have to do to to keep going. We learned early that you don't build latrines uphill from where you're living. It goes on. We will figure it out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,992 Posts
That's great information and a great idea. Thank you for sharing, let me know if you have any other good info you don't mind parting with! fair winds!
Neoline has been lining up shippers in France like Beneteau, Michelin, Hennesey & Co. and others for over a year for their sail cargo project: Home - NEOLINE Wind powered transatlantic shipping. In June they signed a letter of intent with a shipyard in the Loire Valley (Nantes region) for building a 136m RO-RO sail cargo vessel. There are a lot of pieces in the puzzle.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,102 Posts
Neoline has been lining up shippers in France like Beneteau, Michelin, Hennesey & Co. and others for over a year for their sail cargo project: Home - NEOLINE Wind powered transatlantic shipping. In June they signed a letter of intent with a shipyard in the Loire Valley (Nantes region) for building a 136m RO-RO sail cargo vessel. There are a lot of pieces in the puzzle.
5000 tons (10 million pounds) of high value cargo :)
Font Electric blue Rectangle Art Publication
 
1 - 20 of 77 Posts
Top