Cargo Sailing Ship: a near future reality?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Laurent, May 28, 2014.

  1. Laurent
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    Laurent Junior Member

  2. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    A sailing cargo ship is a possibility and of course it as been successfully done before a hundred years ago. I do not see it as a viable short term practicality.

    In the long term it may become necessary because we will eventually run out of fossil fuels. At this time we are obsessed with speed. A large cargo carrier cruises at upward of 20 knots, continuously until the destination port is made. Sails will not often be able to propel the ship at speeds of that sort. We will have to learn how not to be impatient about deliveries.

    Sails used as an auxiliary power source will require the ship to go at a lesser speed than is now the norm. If the fueled engines are made to propel the ship at speeds beyond the the capacity of the sails, then the sails, masts, and rigging will become a liability rather than an advantage.
     
  3. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Not a chance.
    The modern world wants schedule above everything.

    Or - only to impoverished places commercial ships don't care to go, and then it will be a barely profitable business.
     
  4. Rastapop
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    Rastapop Naval Architect

    I don't think people are really reading the article.

    The sails are intended to complement the engines, and as what is really valued above all else is profit, anything that can massively slash fuel consumption will certainly at least be looked at.

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  5. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    the problem with any attempt to use wind power (i.e. sails or windmills, or similar devices), is their cost and maintaince is usually more than it saves.

    Total life cycle cost of transporting goods, with a time vs. investment as part of the consideration, is the only meaningful measure of performance. The billions it costs to commission, purchase, operate and maintain the ship comared to the tons of cargo shipped, over its useful life, will indicates if it is a good investment. if you have many big $ invested into a hull and crew, the faster you can deliver the cargo, the more money you can make. taking any extra time to take advantage of favorable winds means you loose money.

    that has been the way since the invention of a reliable internal combustion engine, and why do do not see sails on commercial vessels anymore. you have to weight the fuel savings against the cost of the sail and extra crew, maintenance and time it takes to use it, the sail will always loose out.
     
  6. Rastapop
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    Rastapop Naval Architect

    That depends on the price of fuel.
     
  7. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    The future cost of most energy will go DOWN , so the complexity and crew required for wind power will never pay.
     
  8. johnhazel
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    johnhazel Senior Member

  9. Rastapop
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    Rastapop Naval Architect

    That would be nice, I hope you're right. I don't think it will without some serious jumps forward in battery technology though, because fossil fuel prices are ever-increasing.

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    I don't see any on-board crew requirements for the sails the OP posted though, they're fully self-contained and computer controlled.
     
  10. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    that is a false picture, you have to inflation adjust the price. the overall trend has been downward, just depends on which incompatents we have in charge at the EPA and the Engergy department, which is subject to change.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Rastapop
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    Rastapop Naval Architect

    Who cares what prices US motorists pay at the pump? Crude prices are rising, even adjusted for inflation.

    [​IMG]

    I've already posted a picture of an actual contemporary box carrier using wind to reduce fuel costs. I predict we'll see more of them in the future, not less.

    If shipping companies can lower their costs by even a fraction of a percent they'll do it. They don't have an idealogical objection to sails, nor a loyalty to oil. They only care about the bottom line, and if sails can improve that they'll welcome them with open arms.

    Here's a nice simple prediction: one year from now more shipping companies will be using wind to reduce fuel costs than are currently doing so.
     
  12. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    A nice safe meaningless prediction/

    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/bo...in-flettner-rotor-ship-launched-24081-19.html

    is a story of one ship that went into production with wind assisted 'sails'.

    This 'wind assisted ships' gets trotted out every now and then, but never comes to anything for all the reasons that have been proposed.
     

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  13. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Everytime this has been brought up someone will make the same one year prediction.
    Kites where supposed to be the next incremental cost reduction on the installation.

    One thing you have got to remember, the people on the boats are not enthusiasts, they just want to get the job done safely and probably with the least effort.

    You really should go back thru Popular Science. In the last 30 years there has probably been a new proposal at least every 3-5 years. Sometimes every year. And they can all PROVE how it will be inevitable.

    Lets see the new technology/ configuration that will actually make this work, rather than another "nice, safe meaningless prediction".

    The last thing I saw was some Dutch who had a scheme to fly large kites to directly produce electricity. At least at sea you wouldn't have issues with kites falling across houses when something went wrong. The electricity could be used to run the ship and "reduce" the fuel requirement. That was several years ago with no further information - the normal path for most new ideas.
     
  14. Rastapop
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    Rastapop Naval Architect

    I'm glad you agree it's safe. What it means is more shipping companies than now will have calculated wind assistance will help their bottom line.

    A flettner ship is not wind assisted, the rotors are powered. This has no relationship to sails at all.

    Well it looks like we've finally started reaching a fuel price that makes it worthwhile. There are cargo ships using the sky sails I posted a picture of to reduce fuel costs today.

    It isn't a choice they make. The people watching the bottom line make the choice.

    When wind is cheaper than oil they'll use it, simple as that.
    And apparently in some circumstances that is now the case.

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  15. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member


    A very inaccurate statement.

    A sailing ship uses power to trim, raise and lower sails - but its still a sailing ship.

    A Flettner rotor uses 25hp to generate 270 hp of thrust from the wind. It is VERY wind assisted. It makes no progress without wind.
     
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