Monday, June 16, 2014

The Future Looks a Lot Like the Pasture

Over at WSJ, they're reporting on a new initiative to bring food from farmers to markets in New York city. From farms as far away as Vermont, with multiple stops along the way, the sail barge Ceres hauls product from small producers to the New Amsterdam Market in NYC.
The Vermont Sail Project’s ship Ceres,
a 39-foot-long sail barge, traveling down the Hudson River.
(Photo by Jim Peppler)

And the Ceres isn't all that small: she hauls seven to 12 tons (6 to 10 tonnes) with a thirty-nine foot (12 metre) waterline. Her initial voyage last October took three weeks to traversed 300 miles (485 km), with multiple stops to set up temporary markets along the way.

The Vermont Sail Project’s ship Ceres, video from National Geographic

Ceres isn't in regular service just yet. Current trips are still shakedown cruises for the crew, the ship, and, most importantly, the route. But what I like is that the Ceres is a sail-powered barge, with nothing more than a 20 hp motor for docking.And she's not the only one. The NatGeo has an excellent article on the Ceres and other sail powered freight boats--where they point out that container ships are often running at 12 knots, whereas the old wind-powered clippers ran at 14 to 17 knots. Not quite the same tonnage, though.

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