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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? ... 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.
Btw, I have solar electric auxillary propulsion on my sailboat :) I have no issues with electric propulsion.

My thought is that a traditional 70 ft schooner may have too small of a cargo capacity to be profitable.

Consider crewing costs. For a cargo vessel to be competitive on long range transport, ideally it would be carrying, loading or discharging cargo 24/7 or close to it. Say you can get away with 6 crew per rotation. $500 000/ year in crewing costs. Times 2, because most sailors are looking to work time on for time off these days. That puts your crewing costs at a million dollars a year? Give or take a few hundred thousand?

Say the buisiness is delivering supplies to island out stations in Alaska and BC (I see you posted this in the BC/ Alaska sub forum), you could probably get away with daylight only operations and only a single crew, but that still leaves you competing with small fast power boats carrying similar volumes with one or two crew at 2-4 times the speed
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
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
It will increase due to inflation, and the fact that it is increasingly difficult to find or extract oil. Demand is high and supply is low and that is why oil is increasing in price as it is. I've never heard of an economist saying that the price of oil will fall ( maybe next year but not in several or ten years) in fact I only here them talk about how it will continue up to increase. You seem to be under the impression that this idea serves the purpose to compete against large cargo ships which it is not. Some cargo companies are experimenting with with new ways to run props using wind and solar and are becoming quite successful. This idea I'm thinking of, It is a way to tap a market and find a nich between companies that would like to transport their products under less carbon emissions. There is a market for it and I think it would be a worthwhile venture. Plus there are other materials to make reliable ropes and sails other than plastics made of oil.

Joey
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Btw, I have solar electric auxillary propulsion on my sailboat :) I have no issues with electric propulsion.

My thought is that a traditional 70 ft schooner may have too small of a cargo capacity to be profitable.

Consider crewing costs. For a cargo vessel to be competitive on long range transport, ideally it would be carrying, loading or discharging cargo 24/7 or close to it. Say you can get away with 6 crew per rotation. $500 000/ year in crewing costs. Times 2, because most sailors are looking to work time on for time off these days. That puts your crewing costs at a million dollars a year? Give or take a few hundred thousand?

Say the buisiness is delivering supplies to island out stations in Alaska and BC (I see you posted this in the BC/ Alaska sub forum), you could probably get away with daylight only operations and only a single crew, but that still leaves you competing with small fast power boats carrying similar volumes with one or two crew at 2-4 times the speed
Btw, I have solar electric auxillary propulsion on my sailboat :) I have no issues with electric propulsion.

My thought is that a traditional 70 ft schooner may have too small of a cargo capacity to be profitable.

Consider crewing costs. For a cargo vessel to be competitive on long range transport, ideally it would be carrying, loading or discharging cargo 24/7 or close to it. Say you can get away with 6 crew per rotation. $500 000/ year in crewing costs. Times 2, because most sailors are looking to work time on for time off these days. That puts your crewing costs at a million dollars a year? Give or take a few hundred thousand?

Say the buisiness is delivering supplies to island out stations in Alaska and BC (I see you posted this in the BC/ Alaska sub forum), you could probably get away with daylight only operations and only a single crew, but that still leaves you competing with small fast power boats carrying similar volumes with one or two crew at 2-4 times the speed
That's a good point to consider, but there are other options than paying $500000 per year. I used to work as a wildland firefighter after the millitary, I happily made 20k to 25k per fire season I'm sure there is a way not to get "cheap labor" but to find yound willing college kids looking to learn how to sail. Realistically, you only need one or two good sailors that can teach a crew. Fair transport charges for people to ride as a trainee. However, crewing costs are definitely a consideration. I am in the Alaska area and coastal trading is an idea to think about. Most people here get around on motor fishing boats. But I could be willing to go to where there may be more of a market. I. Sure some wealthy California's would love some alaskan goods shipped by sail... just saying. Yes there are lots of expenses and considerations price of a small crew. And what the ship can hold. I think 70 foot cargo sailing ship depending on build could carry 100 tons. Some ships twice as long are capable of carrying 400 to 500 tons. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Direct trade between California and Alaska probably wouldn't work with a solar electric sailboat. The California current makes northbound coastal voyage very difficult. Typically to get to Alaska from California one would sail via Hawaii. On a route like this you would clearly be competing directly with 800 foot ships on a transoceanic voyage. College kids wouldn't cut it, you need professional mariners for this route.

*as was pointed out above, a deisel powered ship may well have a smaller carbon footprint per ton of cargo carried than a small electric boat on this route due to the economies of scale.
 

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Back during the oil crisis in the 1970's, I actually designed a schooner intended to be used commercially. The intent was to use it for deep long lining in the Atlantic where the winds generally were adequate to allow that to be profitable.


Naval architecture Water Triangle Slope Line


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We had looked at perhaps adapting a yacht for that purpose, but generally yachts trended to be too lightly constructed too be able to withstand the forces involved in carrying a significant amount of cargo, and lacked sufficient carrying capacity to make that work. Cargo haulers tend to be 'burdensome', meaning that they can carry a very large amount of weight relative to their dry weight displacement. The reason that the design above worked is that deep long liners do not need to carry all that much weight or volume to be profitable.

If I were trying to do what you are thinking or doing, I would try to find an old Baltic Trader. These were some of the last sailing commercial cargo haulers. They were3 brawny boats that could carry a lot and still get by with pretty small crews. Here is a couple examples of the type. Most were ketches and not schooners.

In the Mediterranean there are also Gulets and Galettas, but my limited experience with them is that they tend to be very poorly built and poorly designed.

Jeff
 
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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Direct trade between California and Alaska probably wouldn't work with a solar electric sailboat. The California current makes northbound coastal voyage very difficult. Typically to get to Alaska from California one would sail via Hawaii. On a route like this you would clearly be competing directly with 800 foot ships on a transoceanic voyage. College kids wouldn't cut it, you need professional mariners for this route.

*as was pointed out above, a deisel powered ship may well have a smaller carbon footprint than a small electric boat on this route due to the economies of scale.
Let
Direct trade between California and Alaska probably wouldn't work with a solar electric sailboat. The California current makes northbound coastal voyage very difficult. Typically to get to Alaska from California one would sail via Hawaii. On a route like this you would clearly be competing directly with 800 foot ships on a transoceanic voyage. College kids wouldn't cut it, you need professional mariners for this route.

*as was pointed out above, a deisel powered ship may well have a smaller carbon footprint per ton of cargo carried than a small electric boat on this route due to the economies of scale.
hey! it's an idea. worst case scenario I take on my two skilled brothers my sister or some volunteers and we go for a Pacific sail! as long as I make enough through trade to upkeep the ship and pay into a refit fund then I'm doing good! not trying to be a millionaire here just looking at an alternative lifestyle. Im aiming to be a pilot with the millitary and when I get out I may take this on as a side project, go fly and fight some wildfires during the fire season and head down to conduct trade off my little schooner in the south pacific or the carribean. Hell, possibilities are endless with determination and willingness to action. Could even see if sail cargo or current successful sail cargo companies would hire or subcontract my ship on occasion to run a transatlantic route. They have the routs and volunteers I would have a sailing vessel... ideas. ideas. ideas.
 

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Here is an article to consider. It discusses the relative efficiency of different freight transportation methods.

It points out that shipping is already a very low carbon footprint way to move goods and these figures are using mostly diesel powered ships, a lot of modern ships are going with LNG propulsion which has an even lower carbon footprint.

It gives some rough numbers suggesting current ship efficiency from a carbon footprint perspective is roughly twice as efficient as rail, 5 times more efficient than truck and 50 times as efficient as air freight.

 

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It gives some rough numbers suggesting current ship efficiency from a carbon footprint perspective is roughly twice as efficient as rail, 5 times more efficient than truck and 50 times as efficient as air freight.
Thank you for posting that. I knew ships were efficient but I never would have guessed that they were that much more efficient than rail. I don't know if this is still true but one of the efficiencies that diesel powered ships used to have is that they burned Bunker C, and that saved the energy losses and carbon footprint of refinement.

Jeff
 

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Thank you for posting that. I knew ships were efficient but I never would have guessed that they were that much more efficient than rail. I don't know if this is still true but one of the efficiencies that diesel powered ships used to have is that they burned Bunker C, and that saved the energy losses and carbon footprint of refinement.

Jeff
Must be the friction of the wheels on the freight cars compared to the drag on a ship's hull. A ship can probably carry many trains' worth of cargo. It would help to understand the methodology of the comparison too, though. The article in WoodenBoat this month describes some of the assumptions about carbon footprint made in the construction of a pinasse. These obviously have effects on the results.
 

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Size plays a big role. Ships are bigger than trains. A bigger ship will be more efficient than a small ship.

Accomodation space is a good example. With water transport a certain amount of earning space is lost to accomodations, machinery, tanks, anchoring gear. As ships get bigger, so do the non earning parts of the ship, but not at the same rate as the cargo space. The accomodation space on a 600 foot ship and consumables for the accomodation space might be the same or close to the size as the accomodations space on a 300 ft ship.

Most modern decent ships need around 12 crew to operate 24/7.

This is the problem with a transport truck sized boat used for freight. It's almost all accomodations, tanks and machinery space, requires relatively more power to propel to a lower speed due to the relatively short waterline etc.
 

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Here is an article to consider. It discusses the relative efficiency of different freight transportation methods.

It points out that shipping is already a very low carbon footprint way to move goods and these figures are using mostly diesel powered ships, a lot of modern ships are going with LNG propulsion which has an even lower carbon footprint.

It gives some rough numbers suggesting current ship efficiency from a carbon footprint perspective is roughly twice as efficient as rail, 5 times more efficient than truck and 50 times as efficient as air freight.

Rail vs. Shipping isn't really an apples to apples comparison. Since they serve different markets, head to head comparisons between railroads and cargo carriers are not very illuminating. The traffic carried by ships cannot be diverted to rail, or vice versa.
 

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Cool thread. I am chief mate on towing vessel in Alaska and I have the very same thought as the OP.
There are countless little communitues that rely on goods being flown in or coming in by tugboat. I wonder if by focusing on remote, difficult to access areas you could carve out a niche? Many of these villages band together in to form co-ops and corporations and what not. Their world is effected by global warming and "going green" even if minimally might appeal to them even if just for promotional purposes. Things like clothing and electronics, that don't need to be flown in and could be made cheaper might be an option for you? Also I have seen tons of broken down equipment, everything from outboards to ATVs to snowmobiles, that could be purchased and parted out back in the lower 48.

Anyhow, cool idea you got.
 
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There are countless little communitues that rely on goods being flown in or coming in by tugboat
Things like clothing and electronics, that don't need to be flown in and could be made cheaper might be an option for you?
I applaud the OP having a dream on the water, although, it sounds like there is insufficient capital to give it a go and it does seem like a stretch to be viable. A shoestring, family run, single cargo carrier isn't going to be very reliable, let alone likely profitable. It's described as a very small carrier, which would be inefficient. Sailing isn't free. The sails for a vessel of this size will cost tens of thousands of dollars, plus running and standing rigging, and wear out far more often that a weekend warrior's. Down for repairs is one thing, but I'll bet it won't be that much cheaper to operate per mile than a slow displacement diesel barge, when you factor in the life cycle of the sailing bits.

Time is money, as they say. The longer the stuff sits in transit, the more it costs whomever made it. Most companies have borrowed money to fund their inventory, because that's the cheapest way. Shareholder capital demands much higher returns. Most "green" things need to be priced up or government subsidized to work. I figured the niche was going to need to be wealthy areas that would pay up to feel better.
 

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Rail vs. Shipping isn't really an apples to apples comparison. Since they serve different markets, head to head comparisons between railroads and cargo carriers are not very illuminating. The traffic carried by ships cannot be diverted to rail, or vice versa.
St Lawrence Seaway? Rail Lines run parallel to the whole thing.
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