proof of concept
“Ten years ago everybody thought it was crazy to transport goods in sailing ships. Now it is a rising trend for companies to watch their entire production chain for sustainability. Soon customers will demand clean transport…”
From the late 1970s, until the first years of the 21st century the legendary Captain Paul Wahlen ran the sail cargo schooner, Avontuur. At the time, he was the last operator of a sail cargo line in the Caribbean. In the European waters there was another sail cargo operator, the North Sea clipper Albatros and her captain Ton Brouwer. These two companies must have been the last in the Northern hemisphere to make use of the wind for shipping. A few years later everything changed and the concept returned – sustainability became mainstream, sail cargo was promoted online and both of these met the societal longing for real experience.
By 2006 Avontuur and Albatros had stopped operating with cargo. Now a new (old) sailing vessel, Kwai, was taken into commission to trade between Hawaii and the Cook Islands. Shortly after this another sail cargo company was launched: Fairtransport. Fairtransport ran a ship that is widely seen as the unofficial ambassador of sail cargo: Tres Hombres. A few years later the oldest cargo ship in the world, Nordlys, joined Tres Hombres. This was followed by the launch of the beautiful lugger Grayhound, the return of the schooner Avontuur, and the transition of Lune II and Gallant from passenger to sail cargo ships. The sail cargo industry was thriving again.
There are now over 20 sail cargo ship projects underway reaching from Denmark to the Caribbean. The concept has proven itself in the 21st century. Two industry lobbies where established: the International Wind Ship Association (IWSA) and Sail Cargo Alliance (SCA). We can speak of the emergence of a new industry. EcoClipper, with its experienced team, is the organization to scale up the successes of the sail cargo companies. By launching a fleet of large-scale sail cargo vessels, EcoClipper will sustainably connect all the continents of the world.