Round trip

The first commercial kitesail cargo ship completes its maiden round voyage.

On Mark’s cue, a cargo ship called the MV Beluga Skysails yesterday completed a 12,000 mile round trip from Bremen (Germany) to Guanta (Venezuela) to Davant (USA Gulf Coast) to a port genuinely called Mo-i-Rana in Norway. Its safe return marks a small Columbus moment for the revival of sail, in the appealing form of giant hi-tech kites.

So (oof) I don’t have to take back my enthusiastic post a of a month ago when the ship set off. The gadget worked, in February in the North Atlantic. It didn’t blow away. It saved quite a lot of fuel. The shipowners want to try bigger ones. This looks a winning technology, and good news for the climate.

My worry is that the inventors, being German and small, will proceed with the caution that seamen like, and won’t drive costs down as fast as Henry Kaiser would have done. But they deserve congratulations anyway.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web