Post by Graeme Wall Post by email@example.com
I remember a long time ago a serious suggestion for aerofoil sails being
installed on moderate sized cargo ships to save fuel. Shame nothing came of
it but I suppose the upfront costs and maintenance were an issue. Shipping
really needs to clean up its act though - I cross the channel on the ferry
to cherbourg quite often and there is almost always a foul brown haze hanging
over the channel in sunny weather.
At least one ship was fitted with aerofoils, I filmed it in Southampton
Water. Problem was it was ahead of its time as far as the control
electronics was concerned - mid-80s. It was also basically one man's
obsession, he did well to drive the project as far as it got but fuel
efficiency, pollution and global warming wasn't really a thing back
Walker wingsails was that ?
The sudden increase of oil prices in the 1970’s was the driver but by the
end of the them an into the 80’s
people had got used to them and engine efficiency was improving and oil
prices also dropped as other sources came on stream.
The ship was the MV Ashington, 2nd photo down on this page.
He also had a demonstration yacht moored in the Ocean village Southampton
and other Marinas around the Solent and after fitting the concept to
commercial vessels proved a non runner concentrated on the yachting market
Potted history of the yacht here ,
Financially he was never really successful but did get a boost when IPC
magazines published an article by someone who didn’t like the concept very
much which proved libellous and resulted in one of the biggest Libel
Awards ever made in British court up to then and though the approx 1.5
million award doesn’t sound much now
the case is still studied by Law students.
Wind assistance is nothing new of course, In a childhood book of my
mother’s so about 80 years old one of the more interesting articles was
about the Flettner Rotor Ship design which was also being presented as
revolutionary (NPI ) concept at the time.
Like the Walker windsail it never caught on though more recent derivations
of the rotor concept have seen to have been more successful than Walkers .
This one e ship 1 which appropriately was constructed to deliver wind
turbine components was at the time of writing making its way to near Bremen
according to its AIS information.
The Rotors look more robust than the wingsails which is an important
consideration for any vessel.