...just saw this news from Sail-World.com, and being that it relates to 'supplemental wind power' I felt it belonged in this subject thread Advance to the Past: Fishermen Start to use Sails
Commercial fishermen in the UK are reverting to wind power in response to soaring fuel prices, as skippers rig their boats with auxiliary sails to cut the amount of diesel they use.
The move comes as a new generation of vessels is being developed that will rely almost exclusively on sails.
Higher fuel costs threaten to force many fishermen out of business. The price of the red diesel the industry uses has doubled in less than a year, while fish prices have remained relatively stable.
Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, said a number of skippers were now using sail power to help them travel the long distances between port and their fishing grounds.
'Skippers are putting on foresails while steaming to fishing grounds offshore,' he said. 'The whole cost structure of the industry has shifted so dramatically as a result of fuel price rises, and in response, vessels are looking at what they can do to reduce costs.
'Fleets are going to have to find ways of reducing fuel dependency. Everyone is looking for the optimum steaming speed and people are looking at a whole range of measures, including sail.'
Auxiliary sails were once commonly used by fishermen to pick up extra speed, but they died out in the 1980s as engines became more powerful. 'These sails might sound a bit Heath Robinson and a bit of a throwback, but in other ways they are the future
,' Mr Deas added. 'We used to have windmills in this country. Now we are building windfarms.'
At the wheel of his boat, the 36ft Sardia Louise, Roly Kirby, a fisherman from Helford River, Cornwall, said he had saved up to a fifth of his weekly fuel bill since fitting a sail to the 20ft mast. He uses the sail while steaming to and from fishing grounds up to 20 miles from his home port, where he lays nets for monkfish.
'We are steaming for about three hours out and three hours back every day, but with the sail, we can cut the revolutions back on the engine from about 1,300 to 900 and still make the same speed
,' he said.
Mr Kirby, 33, steamed along the sheltered Helford River while crewmate Perry Roger, 28, tied a spinnaker sail to a mast at the bow. Once out into Falmouth Bay, the potent northwesterly filled the sail and the throttle was eased back to save on fuel as the Sardia Louise stormed towards the Lizard.
'We have been using another sail, which is bigger, but this one seems to be doing the job today,' said Mr Kirby. 'You have to be careful in case the wind is too strong for the sail, but in these waters it just gives you the right helping hand.' Since October last year, the cost of red diesel has risen from 30p to 60p a litre, and Mr Kirby now spends about £1,000 a week on fuel. It is his biggest single expense and means that after paying wages, insurance and leasing a quota, he must catch fish worth at least £6,000 every week to make a profit. 'The fuel prices are terrifying, so the savings I can make are a real boost,' he added.
'Of course, it depends on the direction and strength of the wind, but these are pretty good results using an old spinnaker from a racing yacht on a traditionally built fishing boat. It looks like the future. I'm sure this will catch on more and more.'
Kevin Bennetts, a former fisherman who now runs an oil firm selling diesel to fishermen in Cornwall, said: 'A lot of people are dragging old bits of sails out of their lofts and hoisting them up. It can make a difference, supplementing the engine.'
Although the use of sail is currently limited to small and medium-sized boats, there are plans to harness the power of the wind for Britain's biggest and most powerful fishing boats, such as beam trawlers, which use up to £12,000-worth of fuel a week.
A German company is developing a system that would allow larger trawlers to be powered by a computer-controlled kite flying off their bows. The technology is already used on two cargo ships and can provide up to 35 per cent of their power.
In a separate development, an Essex boatyard is developing a new generation of sailing vessels for fishermen. Gemini Workboats in Colchester has designed a 30ft catamaran which uses its small, 14-horsepower engine only to enter and leave harbour and in emergencies. Boats of a similar size would normally require an engine of about 200bhp and would use around £600 of fuel during a week's fishing.
Plans for the catamaran, which will cost about £60,000, are to be announced this week, and work on the first boat is expected to start in October. Although it would not be suitable for trawling, the vessel could be used for laying nets and pots and for trolling - dragging baited lines behind the boat. Andrew Craig, of the company, said: 'This is the first boat of its kind really since the 1930s. But it is time to go back to them. They are cheap to build and cheap to run. We think there will be huge demand. Sailing's time has come again.
by Jaspar Copping, Telegraph/Sail-World
Of course I've tried promoting the idea of 'Sportfishing Under Sail' for quite some time:
...and at one point I commented, "Several times Iíve put this idea into hibernation, particularly the ĎGamefishing Under Sailí idea. My comment at the time was something like, ďI just spent 18 years in the sailboat business trying to convince sailors of the virtues of multihulls, and now Iím going to try and sell a fishing guy a boat with sails on it. Iíve got to be crazy!Ē http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/sho...41&postcount=3
...on another subject thread http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/ge...ail-power.html