Fish Radio

Sail powered, retractable cargo ships

October 14, 2014

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Wind powered cargo ships   fueled by a grassroots campaign. More on Pacific Sky Power after this —                         

Pacific Sky Power Cat 30 prototype

Pacific Sky Power Cat 30 prototype

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A new approach to an old idea could pioneer a cleaner planet.

The end goal of the project project is to have a fleet of sail powered cargo vessels in operation in the Pacific Ocean traveling from the west coast to Hawaii, then to Asia and back over to Alaska. 2

Dan Tracy heads Pacific Sky Power in Seattle. The company aims to design a new style that cuts  air pollution from the 10,000 or so cargo ships that cover the globe. Estimates say shipping produces 20 million tons of greenhouse gases each year. Sky Power has come up with a Transformer kind of wide stance ship design that uses a telescoping mast and retractable hulls.

We’re looking at a catamaran configuration that uses a folding cross members and a telescoping mast to collapse at port so it can efficiently manage the containers to onload and offload without an issue.

The Sky Power team is designing and conducting trials on two fully operational Cat 30 prototypes of a 300 ft ship carrying more than 200 containers. ocean trials will help calculate fuel use on different sailing courses and wind conditions.

Sky Power also is raising funds to keep the project afloat via Kickstarter, a web based ‘crowd funding’ community that, according to its website, ‘brings creative ideas to life.’ 

Since its launch in 2009, Kickstarter says over 7 million people in 214 countries have pledged $1 billion to fund 71,000 projects. Nearly half of that came in last year alone from 3 million Kickstarter backers. Tracy says the early funding provides fine tuning and feasibility data before seeking out other backers.

A big part of the project is coming up with all the mechanics that will allow us to fold the ships up and redeploy the sail and give the ship a wide stance at sea. It’s a big engineering challenge and that has to be worked out on a small scale first. And then we will be able to work with naval engineers to design the full size ships. 

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.