Dutch sailing cargo company makes debut voyage

The first ship operated by the Dutch sailing cargo vessel company EcoClipper has set sail. The De Tukker left Amsterdam and is heading to Porto as part of the first voyage on a sailing schedule that will see the ship sail on a regular route across North and West Europe.

After a refit and sea trials, De Tukker, which was built in 1912 and saw life as a coastal trader and sail training vessel, is now propelled again by over 300 sq m of sail. The vessel can carry about 70 cu m, or an equivalent of 50 to 70 tons, of cargo.

The first cargo onboard is chocolate produced by Dutch firm Chocolatemakers and destined for European distribution by sail cargo brokers New Dawn Traders. The cacao used in the chocolate’s production process was also shipped from the Dominican Republic by fellow sailing cargo vessel Tres Hombres.

The ship is expected to arrive in Porto around May 13 and take on a cargo of wine and olive oil. Its other scheduled destinations are Noirmoutier, Saint Nazaire, Penzance, Torquay and London; however, EcoClipper said that it is open to adding additional ports to the route.

Jorne Langelaan, EcoClipper’s founder and CEO, said: “After a year-long period of expert refitting by our own refit crew and the crew of the Talsma shipyard, it was with the greatest pleasure that I watched De Tukker sail off towards the horizon. This is the next step in returning to large scale transport by sailing vessel at sea.”

Splash lead columnist Andrew Craig-Bennett has recently come out in strong support of sailing ships, saying: “I’m going to suggest that wind power might come back. Not so much in the form of kite sails, Flettner rotors, and other wind assistance gadgets but as in the form of actual sailing ships.”

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