In 2024, the Swedish shipbuilder Wallenius Marine plans to launch the "Oceanbird" Launch a cargo sailer that can transport 7000 cars. The announcement in September of this year was followed by a first practical test on a small scale.
An experiment with a 7-meter boat and a sail was successful, writes Wallenius Marine. Five 80-meter-high sails are to be installed on the ship, which is ultimately planned to be 200 meters long. It will be able to make an Atlantic crossing in twelve days, with emissions savings of 90 percent compared with conventional car transports.
Students from the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) love to launch the test boat at the Viggbyholm Boat Club north of Stockholm to study the structure of the wing-like sail, whether its remote-controlled orientation works, and to prepare for rough tests in November. In future prototypes, instead of radio control, a computer will use data from wind sensors, GPS and a compass to decide independently how to adjust the sails and rudder.
Next tests in November
During the test, there was only light wind, and the boat behaved as expected, according to the statement. Without the engine, the rudder had to be kept at a constant angle, otherwise the boat would have gone in circles. But this was already clear before the start of the test.
Oceanbird cargo sailer to transport thousands of cars in 2024
200 meters long and ..
Next, the project operators want to test a boat with four sails. Then sensors and a computer will also be on board. However, before the next prototype can be launched, the technology must first be extensively tested and optimized in the laboratory on land.
Originally, foldable sails were to be placed on the Oceanbird. Instead, the project creators decided to use the telescope principle, because this construction is more stable, space-saving and practical, for example, in strong winds.
Wallenius Marine expects the final design of the Oceanbird to be finalized and available for order by the end of 2021. In addition to KTH, the company is collaborating with SSPA, a Swedish marine technology company.
A competing project is the cargo sailing vessel of the Canadian company Sailcargo. It is to be 45 meters long and capable of carrying ten standard containers.