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The traffic carried by ships cannot be diverted to rail, or vice versa.
Reminds me of a moment I had once. Wife and I were going bareboat cruising for a week in the Caribbean. Then I coincidentally needed to be in Puerto Rico for the follow week to work. I didn't want to drag formal work and evening wear around on the bareboat, so we decided to ship our work luggage directly to the hotel in PR, so it would be waiting for us.

I take our bags to the local shipping store and they look up all the rates. US Post Office would technically work between mainland and PR, but he advises me that arrival time is not guaranteed, nor even estimated. While I have two more weeks, before I'll get to the hotel, he said it was still a gamble. And that was long ago, today I wouldn't trust them to get a letter across town.

He looks up FedEx, etc, and quotes $700 for two oversized pieces of luggage. Then says, unfortunately, they don't have ground service to PR. :)
 

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St Lawrence Seaway? Rail Lines run parallel to the whole thing. View attachment 141322
Maybe because it's flat there and it costs too much to build the bridges? It's also where the markets are, because the people settled along the waterways in the first place. That was how they transported their supplies in and their production out before there were trains.

Kivalo's point about finding a niche in underserved villages is still valid, even if sail would cost a bit more. Tug/Barge service to these towns is not quick or frequent. A sailing vessel coming in a few times a year might provide more service than they get now and get them goods that won't fit on the puddle-jumper planes that carry urgent supplies in Alaska. (Which also has to cost something.) Pipeline revenues might allow tribes/villages to pay for a small scale operation; it's not going to be as capital-intensive as Crowley Towing.
 

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I am in St Martin in the Caribbean. Here is the largest supermarket in the French side :

Electricity Line Engineering Font Gas


Rectangle Font Gas Signage Advertising


Whatever product I am selling I want it IN my store on the agreed date. Not one month later because the wind didn't blow somewhere.

If it's expensive, organic wine/chocolate/coffee-from-a-cats-butt it's all the more likely I need it on time because my customers are rich and demand so.

Sailing a cargo boat might sound very, very romantic but, inho, could send the operator broke.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
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.
I was naive in my vehicle description. The ship I will be looking for or to build would be a cargo schooner capable of at least 50 tonnes that can be used for day tours and long term expeditions all based on A loose schedule..have the cargo holds be able to turn into birthing if necessary. No need to worry about my capitol or how I will pay or if it's a good idea or not. This thread is simply to get ideas on the kind of ship I would look into and if anyone has any ship builders/designers they could turn me onto. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
I am in St Martin in the Caribbean. Here is the largest supermarket in the French side :

View attachment 141323

View attachment 141324

Whatever product I am selling I want it IN my store on the agreed date. Not one month later because the wind didn't blow somewhere.

If it's expensive, organic wine/chocolate/coffee-from-a-cats-butt it's all the more likely I need it on time because my customers are rich and demand so.

Sailing a cargo boat might sound very, very romantic but, inho, could send the operator broke.

Mark
Sounds like you are not a viable customer then. No worries.
 

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Maybe because it's flat there and it costs too much to build the bridges? It's also where the markets are, because the people settled along the waterways in the first place. That was how they transported their supplies in and their production out before there were trains.
The rail lines are there. Have been for over 100 years. Prairie wheat, iron ore, salt and previously coal move largely in ships. You can see the CN freight line running parallel to the St Lawrence seaway. Bulk cargo can be cheaper to carry in ships even when an existing parallel rail line is in place. This isn't even necessarily on international bulk. Thunder Bay and Montreal for example are connected by rail, but a lot of bulk cargo is moved between the two by ship.
 

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I was naive in my vehicle description. The ship I will be looking for or to build would be a cargo schooner capable of at least 50 tonnes that can be used for day tours and long term expeditions all based on A loose schedule..have the cargo holds be able to turn into birthing if necessary. No need to worry about my capitol or how I will pay or if it's a good idea or not. This thread is simply to get ideas on the kind of ship I would look into and if anyone has any ship builders/designers they could turn me onto. Thanks.
I see passenger operations with some freight being much more viable for this kind of operation than cargo. Passengers will pay a premium for an eco experience, freight is going to be more about cost, reliability and speed.

Check out this operation around the Darien Gap. Sailing around the Darien Gap on the Stahlratte
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
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.
Welcome to the thread. I also appreciate your appreciation to the idea. Seems this is a black and white matter. I have some ideas I think are good to help supplement the potential business other than straight cargo sailing, let alone I will be living pretty meager to invest my savings, and capitol into a ship that would work fine but by no means will it be a luxury ship or have fancy accomodations for crew or guests but just enough for a fun adventure. Me and my brother are both skilled blue collar workers with different trades and other members of the family want to help with marketing and other important aspects of the business when we aquire the ship. I may just have the bones built professionally and build the rest with my brother. I would like to install an electric engine or a diesel even with carbon filters at least. I do believe I could find a green niche somewhere here for sure, most business here is tourism or fishing, not much trade with islanders. Maybe I could take the occasional winter to head down to the south pacific to trade Alaskan goods and come back with some Island goods. I do realize of course that this will be my life style and I'm buying a ship instead of a house :sneaky:
 

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I would think that in an ideal world, you might try to find a boat like the Liberty Clipper. (Originally the Mystic Clipper). I worked on the drawings for the Liberty Clipper when I worked for Charlie Wittholz in the early 1980's.

She was a steel hulled schooner built for the short trip charter trade. For a slew reasons she had a very large carrying capacity, was designed to be handled by a very small crew and was very robustly constructed.

But frankly, if I was committed to doing what you are talking about doing, I would consider a purpose built vessel. She would not necessarily look like any traditional working vessel out of the past. She would need to be 70 feet minimum up to maybe 100 feet. The hull should probably be multiple chine steel and the rig a more modern sail multiple mast rig with square top sails. She should probably be a centerboard boat with a retractable rudder so you could get into shallow enough water to do a roll off-roll on loading onto the shore.

That would be an expensive way to start, but it would give you the ability to have enough carrying capacity and operating efficiency to make the idea work.

JeffI
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 · (Edited)
I would think that in an ideal world, you might try to find a boat like the Liberty Clipper. (Originally the Mystic Clipper). I worked on the drawings for the Liberty Clipper when I worked for Charlie Wittholz in the early 1980's.

She was a steel hulled schooner built for the short trip charter trade. For a slew reasons she had a very large carrying capacity, was designed to be handled by a very small crew and was very robustly constructed.

But frankly, if I was committed to doing what you are talking about doing, I would consider a purpose built vessel. She would not necessarily look like any traditional working vessel out of the past. She would need to be 70 feet minimum up to maybe 100 feet. The hull should probably be multiple chine steel and the rig a more modern sail multiple mast rig with square top sails. She should probably be a centerboard boat with a retractable rudder so you could get into shallow enough water to do a roll off-roll on loading onto the shore.

That would be an expensive way to start, but it would give you the ability to have enough carrying capacity and operating efficiency to make the idea work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
I see passenger operations with some freight being much more viable for this kind of operation than cargo. Passengers will pay a premium for an eco experience, freight is going to be more about cost, reliability and speed.

Check out this operation around the Darien Gap. Sailing around the Darien Gap on the Stahlratte
Thanks for sharing the link. That is an awesome operation, small with a good ship. looks family owned. I noticed the part where they operate on a loose schedule, I would definitely want a motor sailor with an electric engine just to be a little better with time. Would be nice to work for me and not for the man.
 

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Very interesting thread, with many comments about profitability and viability of the pursuit. I would add another consideration (without getting into it too much): politics. The spending bill just passed by the House included literally billions for getting the US greener. Many (not all) other countries seem to be onboard (some more seriously than others). So there is the possibility that Uncle Sam might provide subsidies to help the green sailing cargo transport industry become economically feasible. The seaweed farming industry has exploded in recent years; providing not only a food source but absorbing CO as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Very interesting thread, with many comments about profitability and viability of the pursuit. I would add another consideration (without getting into it too much): politics. The spending bill just passed by the House included literally billions for getting the US greener. Many (not all) other countries seem to be onboard (some more seriously than others). So there is the possibility that Uncle Sam might provide subsidies to help the green sailing cargo transport industry become economically feasible. The seaweed farming industry has exploded in recent years; providing not only a food source but absorbing CO as well.
This is where my green sailing idea came to mind. Some countries offer 250k euros to help build green infrastructure including, ships. I wouldn't be able to get a ship for several more years so with that in mind I forsee the U.S. co tinuing down the green side of things.
 

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View attachment 141327
This is the ship you are talking about? shes perfect! :love:
Yes, that is the Liberty Clipper. I worked for Charlie Wittholz when she was being designed and constructed, doing a lot of the drawings.

If I were doing her today as a cargo-hauler. The hull shape would be a little different and her rig would be very different and a whole lot simpler.

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Yes, that is the Liberty Clipper. I worked for Charlie Wittholz when she was being designed and constructed, doing a lot of the drawings.

If I were doing her today as a cargo-hauler. The hull shape would be a little different and her rig would be very different and a whole lot simpler.

Jeff
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A design similar to this but with two masts instead of one and maybe a slightly different layout is what I had in mind. such as dividing the owners quarters into officer quarters for the captain and first mate. The front berthing's would be for 2 to 4 trainees. With the ability to install racks and berthing's in the cargo holds for passenger cruises, I would be looking for designs or a ship that was comfortable sailing blue water and can handle rough weather with a steel hull. Alaska is a big place to get around, lots of places to get grounded if not careful and can have some nasty weather. Also, again I wouldn't mind the occasional south pacific trading/ adventure excursion to get away from Alaska during winter time which we could play into a video vlog and be good for marketing. Any ideas what else I should think to incorporate in the ships design?
 

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You need to be really pretty specific about how a ship is going to be used before designing it. I have worked on building and refit of a number of passenger vessels in the size range you are talking about and there is quite a bit to consider. Some things to consider.

1) Where? Will it be trading domestically or internationally? US domestic trade is fairly straightforward, but as soon as you trade in a foreign port, including Canada, things get significantly more complicated. Ships in foreign trade are going to be subject to STCW, requirements, minimum safe manning, port state control, MarSec, MarPol, maybe SOLAS. Your crew are going to need to be licensed mariners. Both crewing costs and construction/outfitting costs go way up for international trade. If the bulk of your trade is going to be domestic, then there is no point in going down the international path.

2) Type of waters? Will you be sailing within protected water or open ocean. Again, this has both regulatory and construction/outfitting considerations.

3) climate. Is Alaska going to be a place you can recharge propulsion batteries off solar? If you need diesel engine any way because you can't make enough solar, why bother with the added cost of EP? Unless you are doing short runs only and can recharge off the grid, in which case why bother with the sails?

4) geographic limitations. If you have a specific trade route in mind are there bridge clearances you need to be concerned with? Strong currents? Are there depth concerns? How will you discharge cargo? Roll on roll off? Will you be beaching to discharge cargo? Will you be operating somewhere with a dock?

If I was putting a plan like this together, I would want to know which specific ports I would be trading between and who exactly my intended clients would be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
You need to be really pretty specific about how a ship is going to be used before designing it. I have worked on building and refit of a number of passenger vessels in the size range you are talking about and there is quite a bit to consider. Some things to consider.

1) Where? Will it be trading domestically or internationally? US domestic trade is fairly straightforward, but as soon as you trade in a foreign port, including Canada, things get significantly more complicated. Ships in foreign trade are going to be subject to STCW, requirements, minimum safe manning, port state control, MarSec, MarPol, maybe SOLAS. Your crew are going to need to be licensed mariners. Both crewing costs and construction/outfitting costs go way up for international trade. If the bulk of your trade is going to be domestic, then there is no point in going down the international path.

2) Type of waters? Will you be sailing within protected water or open ocean. Again, this has both regulatory and construction/outfitting considerations.

3) climate. Is Alaska going to be a place you can recharge propulsion batteries off solar? If you need diesel engine any way because you can't make enough solar, why bother with the added cost of EP? Unless you are doing short runs only and can recharge off the grid, in which case why bother with the sails?

4) geographic limitations. If you have a specific trade route in mind are there bridge clearances you need to be concerned with? Strong currents? Are there depth concerns? How will you discharge cargo? Roll on roll off? Will you be beaching to discharge cargo? Will you be operating somewhere with a dock?

If I was putting a plan like this together, I would want to know which specific ports I would be trading between and who exactly my intended clients would be.
Some good points some of which I am considering already.
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
You need to be really pretty specific about how a ship is going to be used before designing it. I have worked on building and refit of a number of passenger vessels in the size range you are talking about and there is quite a bit to consider. Some things to consider.

1) Where? Will it be trading domestically or internationally? US domestic trade is fairly straightforward, but as soon as you trade in a foreign port, including Canada, things get significantly more complicated. Ships in foreign trade are going to be subject to STCW, requirements, minimum safe manning, port state control, MarSec, MarPol, maybe SOLAS. Your crew are going to need to be licensed mariners. Both crewing costs and construction/outfitting costs go way up for international trade. If the bulk of your trade is going to be domestic, then there is no point in going down the international path.

2) Type of waters? Will you be sailing within protected water or open ocean. Again, this has both regulatory and construction/outfitting considerations.

3) climate. Is Alaska going to be a place you can recharge propulsion batteries off solar? If you need diesel engine any way because you can't make enough solar, why bother with the added cost of EP? Unless you are doing short runs only and can recharge off the grid, in which case why bother with the sails?

4) geographic limitations. If you have a specific trade route in mind are there bridge clearances you need to be concerned with? Strong currents? Are there depth concerns? How will you discharge cargo? Roll on roll off? Will you be beaching to discharge cargo? Will you be operating somewhere with a dock?

If I was putting a plan like this together, I would want to know which specific ports I would be trading between and who exactly my intended clients would be.
So the purpose of having a versatile vessel is because Alaska has two seasons, tourist season and winter. during winter, vessels typically do not run. They are parked and just take the cold. This is why I thought about an open ocean vessel so that before winter comes we could refit the ship for a sailing expedition south to Hawaii and then to the south pacific. We would be taking on trainee crew or offer expedition cruise to the south carrying some kind of Alaskan cargo as mentioned possible used atv parts, or some farm products, something needed and we would have buyers already set up with a rout established following every national custom. me and my brother would have all the qualifications necessary and the crew will have necessary training or will be trained prior. Then we could maybe pick something up from the south and head to California to deliver said product to some hippy Californians and then take passengers or some other cargo up to Alaska for the short tourist season. some winters we could pull the ship out of the water to do maintenance and refit. These are my thoughts. and If EV is inadequate due to lack of sun here in Alaska, well there is usually some good wind. Another thought is that EV may be inadequate and I would run diesel when I have to I have another 7 years to think and plan about this before I would even start the project but thank you all for your inquiries.
 
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